What types of pardons are available?
There are two (2) types of pardons:
Certificate of Employability
An Absolute Pardon (also known as an expungement/erasure/full pardon), if granted, results in complete erasure of your official Connecticut adult criminal record. You may apply to the Pardons Board for an Absolute pardon three (3) years after the date of the disposition of your most recent misdemeanor conviction and/or five (5) years after the date of the disposition of your most recent felony conviction.
A Certificate of Employability, also known statutorily as a Provisional Pardon or Certificate of Rehabilitation, is for employment and licensing purposes only. It is an official State document certifying that despite your criminal history, you should not be prevented from getting a job or a license and makes it illegal for an employer or prospective employer to deny employment based on your criminal history alone. A Certificate of Employability does not expunge conviction(s) from your record. Persons granted will receive a ‘Certificate of Employability’ from the Pardons Board.
Am I eligible for an Absolute Pardon?
That depends on how much time has passed since the conviction date for the Connecticut offense(s) you are asking to be pardoned. For an Absolute Pardon, you are eligible to apply five (5) years from the date of conviction for a felony and/or three (3) years from the date of conviction for a misdemeanor. Additionally, you cannot have any pending charges or other open cases in any jurisdiction (state or federal,) a nolle within the previous thirteen (13) months of your application and you cannot be on probation or parole.
What about cases or charges that were ‘nolled’?
If you have a case that was “nolled,” you are not eligible to apply for any type of pardon until the nolle has cleared. A nolle remains for a period of thirteen (13) months after the date of disposition by the court.
What is an Expedited Pardon and how do I apply?If you are convicted of a non-violent offense(s) where there is no victim interest, you may be considered for an Expedited Review. Following receipt of your application, staff will review to determine if you will be scheduled for an Expedited Review without a hearing or a standard pre-screen review. If you qualify for an Expedited Review, you may be granted an Absolute Pardon without being required to be present. At an Expedited Review, the Board may choose to grant an Absolute Pardon, deny your application for a pardon or continue your application to a full panel hearing. There is no separate application process.
How can I get a pardon application?
You can apply for a pardon by visiting the Board of Pardons and Paroles ePardon Portal at www.ct.gov/bopp. Public libraries and job centers have computers with internet access for use by the public. The site is also accessible on tablets and mobile devices.
Do I need an attorney or other legal representation to apply for a pardon? Does having
such representation improve my chances of getting a pardon?
You do not need a lawyer or any other representation to apply for a pardon. Having a lawyer will not accelerate the review of your application nor will the application be treated differently. All pardons applications, regardless of whether an applicant has an attorney, are processed in the same manner.
Is there a deadline date to apply?
No, there is no deadline. However, you will have six (6) months to complete your application once you begin the online process. Pardons applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis continuously throughout the year.
What happens once I apply?
Following receipt, staff will review your application to ensure its completeness and whether you meet the eligibility requirements. If you are not eligible or your application is incomplete, you will be notified via electronic correspondence. If eligible, staff will conduct a thorough background investigation and those applying for an Absolute Pardon will be contacted for a telephone interview. Upon completion of the background investigation, your application will be scheduled for review before the Board.
How long does the entire Pardons process take?
The entire process can vary depending on the volume of applications received. The Board of Pardons and Paroles, State Police, the Probation Department and the Judicial Branch all have to review the criminal record of the applicant to ensure all convictions are considered and erased as required, if a pardon is granted. You will receive electronic correspondence from the Board after your application has been received and when review (Expedited Review or Pre-screen Review) of your application is scheduled. You will also receive electronic correspondence informing you of the results of the review session and any pertinent information.
What is on my Connecticut State Police (SPBI) Criminal History Report?
The State Police Criminal History Report (rap sheet) lists most of your convictions obtained in the state of Connecticut. It does not list out-of-state or federal charges. However, you may have other convictions not listed on the State Police Criminal History Report. Some examples are: certain Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Reckless Driving offenses. Also, some non-fingerprinted convictions may not be on the criminal history sheet. You are responsible for identifying and listing all of your previous convictions. If all of your convictions are not listed on the State Police criminal history report, you should contact:
The Court where you were convicted
The Probation Department (if you were ever on probation)
The local Police Department(s) in the town(s) where you were arrested
The Department of Motor Vehicles (for driving offense records)
Judicial Records Center (for older convictions no longer kept by the local court
In some cases, the Department of Correction may be able to supply old conviction history that resulted in a term of incarceration.
Use your memory to help list the missing conviction information.
NOTE: The Criminal History Report must be dated within one (1) year of application. If criminal history exceeds the one year, your application will be returned.
Why do I have to pay a fee to the State Police? What is DESPP?
The Board of Pardons and Paroles does not currently charge a fee to apply for a pardon. However, you must pay the State Police - now known as the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) - for processing and providing your State Police Criminal History Report (rap sheet.) Payment is made when you register electronically on the Connecticut Criminal History Request System (CCHRS) website. State Police will send your criminal history sheet directly to you. The Board of Pardons and Paroles does not determine the fee that the State Police charges for their criminal history reports.
Do I need to complete the fingerprint card to get my criminal history from the State Police? I have a background check from my previous employer.
Yes. You must obtain a fingerprint card and submit it to the State Police in order to get your criminal history report. Please visit your local Police Department and ask them to PRINT out your fingerprints to include with your request to State Police when you submit it. Please note, you must submit fingerprints every time you request a new criminal history report for pardons. Background checks from previous employers will not be accepted as a substitute for the document from the State Police.
I cannot remember the date of my crime or the details. What should I put on my application form?
You must list all of the offenses you have been convicted of in any jurisdiction, along with explanations. Failure to list and explain every conviction may result in a denial of your application. The Board may deny the application due to the omissions.
Do I need to get all the police incident reports if I have multiple offenses that resulted in convictions?
Yes. A police incident report must be submitted for each Connecticut offense that resulted in a conviction, if the arrest occurred within the last ten (10) years. The police incident report is not the same document as the State Police criminal history report.
Does the Board have to know about misdemeanors, violations and infractions?
Yes. You must list every offense you have been convicted of in any jurisdiction in Connecticut, including felonies, misdemeanors and violations. Infractions and some motor vehicle violations are generally not taken into consideration as convictions for infractions (and some motor vehicle violations) normally do not give rise to the types of disabilities or legal disadvantages resulting from a conviction for criminal offenses. Infractions and violations are offenses, but they are not considered to be ‘crimes’ under State law. The Board will consider your entire offense history as part of its assessment in determining your suitability for a pardon.
What happens to my record if I am granted a pardon?
If granted an Absolute Pardon, your Connecticut adult criminal convictions will be erased.
When I re-apply, do I have to use new references?
You may use the same references, but you must have them fill out new reference questionnaire forms as they must be dated within one (1) year of the date you submit your application electronically.
Can I be sent a copy of my old application for resubmission to the Board, if I am re-applying for a pardon?
There are no longer “copies” of applications as we have an electronic process. When you log into your account, you will be able to view any previously submitted applications. However, you must complete a new application for the Board to review.
What happens if I have pending charges?
If you have pending criminal charges in any jurisdiction, you are not eligible to apply for a pardon. Once your charges are disposed of and you meet the remainder of the eligibility criteria, you may apply.
How many hearings are there per year?
There are currently twelve hearings per year. Before each hearing, there is a pre-screen session at which the Board reviews all of the cases submitted for pardon consideration for that particular hearing session, to include Expedited Reviews. Hearing sessions are open to the public.
Will I have to appear at the full hearing?
Yes. If you are granted a Full Hearing, you will be required to appear before the Board and notified via electronic correspondence of your need to appear. You may be required to appear even if you do not currently reside in Connecticut.
How does the Board decide who does or does not get a pardon?
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has the discretion to grant or deny any pardon application at any time. The Board decides whether or not to grant a pardon, based on – among other things - the rehabilitation of the offender applicant, the severity of the offense, the impact on the victim and the victim’s input, past criminal history and how much time has passed since the commission of the most recent offense, and whether the public interest is served by erasing a criminal record. The State’s Attorney’s opinion is also taken into consideration. The Board will also consider what the individual has accomplished since the most recent offense. The Board considers the individuals work history; subsequent contact with the criminal justice system, and character references. Community service is also taken into consideration. The Board may consider any other pertinent information available in deciding whether to grant or deny a pardon. Your chances each time you apply are based not only on your eligibility, but on your suitability as well.
If I get denied, what are my chances the next time I apply?
Your chances each time you apply are based on both your eligibility and suitability (i.e., whether or not you should have your offenses “excused” so you can work or retain a license or whether you should have your CT adult criminal record erased altogether.)
If I am denied, what can I do to guarantee that my pardon will be granted in the future?
There is no guarantee a pardon will be granted.
If I am denied a pardon, do I have to wait an entire year from the hearing date to re-apply for a pardon?
Yes. Generally, you must wait one (1) year from the date of denial before you can reapply. The Board may, at its discretion, specify a longer waiting period. If you are denied, you will receive electronic correspondence you of the reasons for denial and a date when you can reapply.
If I am granted a pardon, will my application be destroyed?
Your application will remain on file with the Pardons Board. If you are granted an Absolute Pardon, the offense(s) will be expunged (erased) from the criminal record database.