A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can have serious, long-lasting consequences on a person's life. Aside from the criminal penalties, such as a fine and license suspension, it also can make insurance premiums go up, harm personal and professional relationships, and make it difficult to obtain employment. Fortunately, there is a way to clear a DUI off a record in Connecticut if certain conditions are met.
Absolute Pardon in Connecticut
In Connecticut, an expungement is known as an absolute pardon. This completely erases a criminal offense from someone's record, meaning it can't be seen by any member of the public and the person does not have to disclose the offense when he applies for a job, a license, a permit or an apartment. Effectively, it's as if the offense never existed in the first place.
An absolute pardon can only be applied for after a certain amount of time has passed – three years after a misdemeanor conviction and five years after a felony conviction. Since a DUI is a misdemeanor in Connecticut, the defendant must wait three years after the date of his conviction before he applies for an absolute pardon. Additionally, he cannot have any pending cases or other open cases in any other jurisdiction – state or federal.
Provisional Pardon in Connecticut
Another type of pardon in Connecticut is a certificate of employability, also known as a provisional pardon. This does not completely erase the offense, but it gets rid of obstacles that might interfere with getting a driver's license, a permit or a job. If someone has a provisional pardon, she must tell an employer about her criminal conviction if asked, but it is illegal for the employer to deny her a job based solely on her criminal record. A provisional pardon can be applied for any time after being convicted and sentenced.
Applying for Expungement
An application form for an absolute pardon can be downloaded from the Board of Pardons and Paroles website. If the eligibility criteria are met, the first step is to obtain a copy of criminal history and police reports that resulted in convictions from the last 10 years. A complete set of fingerprints must be obtained and presented to the state police with a completed Criminal History Request form and the correct fee to get a criminal records search. As of December 2019, the fee is $75 for a criminal conviction history record search.
If the defendant served probation, she must get a letter from the Office of Adult Probation that states the date she was discharged from probation.
The application form requires three references, of which only one may come from a family member who is related to the applicant by blood or marriage. The application form must also be signed, witnessed and notarized by a notary public before it is sent to the Pardons Units at: Board of Pardons and Paroles, 55 West Main Street, Suite 520, Waterbury, CT 06702.
Lawyer Assistance Is Not Mandatory
It's not necessary to get a lawyer to submit a pardon application. All applications are processed in the same way, whether a lawyer is involved or not. As of December 2019, the Pardons Unit does not charge a fee for a pardon application.
Waiting for Expungement
Unfortunately, it can take some time for Connecticut's Board of Pardons and Paroles, state police, and the judicial department to review a criminal record and make a decision on an expungement application. The board considers many factors, including the severity of the offense, the impact on the victim, the defendant's work history, and history of drug/alcohol treatment. In some cases, the defendant may be asked to appear at a pardon hearing.
Omitting any required documents is grounds for denial.
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