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8 Things to Think About When Applying for a Pardon in Connecticut

Getting a Pardon Can Change Your Life.

Having a criminal conviction on your record has many negative consequences; a criminal record may make it hard to find housing, apply for benefits, or obtain certain licenses or permits.  Many people often have difficulty obtaining employment because of their criminal record.  The state of Connecticut has a Pardons process, and you may be eligible to have your Connecticut criminal record erased. 

You Must Meet Certain Requirements Before you can Apply.

In Connecticut, you are technically eligible to apply for a Pardon five years after the date of conviction for a felony offense, and three years after the date of conviction for a misdemeanor.  You cannot apply for a Pardon if you have any pending state (in this or any other jurisdiction) or federal criminal cases.

You Must be Willing to Put Time and Effort into the Pardon Process.

The Pardon application process is time-consuming and work-intensive, for good reason.  The granting of a Pardon is not a right, but an act of mercy and an extreme measure taken by the Pardons Board.  Due to the large number of applications and the review process, it can take up to two years from application to decision.

If your Pardon Application is Denied, you can Reapply.

Eligibility for a Pardon does not necessarily mean your Pardon application will be granted.  There are many factors that go into the decision to grant a Pardon.  However, there is no limit to how many times you can apply, and you have the opportunity to continue to provide the Pardons Board with information related to your involvement in treatment, educational pursuits, etc.

Your Criminal History Matters.

When applying for a Pardon, you are asking the Board to expunge your entire Connecticut criminal history.  If you have several convictions, and they span a lengthy period of time, it will be difficult to obtain a Pardon.  Although the Board will still look at all of the other factors that may weigh in your favor, be aware that you have to be able to demonstrate, through certificates, letters, etc., that you are not likely to offend again, and that you are not a threat to society.

The Nature of the Offense Matters.

If your conviction is for a sex offense, particularly if you are required to register on the sex offender registry, it will be very difficult for you to obtain a Pardon.  Also, if your conviction is serious in nature, especially if you served a lengthy prison sentence as a result of the offense, it will be difficult to obtain a Pardon.

Your Post-Conviction Conduct Matters.

If you have successfully completed the terms of your sentence, the Board will look more favorably on your Pardon application than if you violated Parole and/or Probation.  Successful completion of your period of incarceration, parole and/or probation are all indicators that you are sincere about paying your debt to society and that you warrant consideration for a Pardon.  Participation in rehabilitation programs is very important, especially if those programs are related to your offense conduct. 

A Victim of an Offense has a Right to be Heard.

If there was an identifiable victim of your offense, and he or she opposes the granting of a Pardon, it will be very difficult to obtain a Pardon (Note:  Do NOT attempt to contact the victim to determine and/or influence his or her position regarding your Pardon application.).

 

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