The Eraser: How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Connecticut
A criminal record can make it difficult to get a job or find a place to live. Not only that, a criminal record can make it almost impossible to become a lawyer, doctor, police officer, Sheriff's deputy, or any other position that requires a clean background. An experienced criminal defense attorney can show you how to expunge your criminal past. In many circumstances, the process is largely mechanical.
How Do I Get My Record Expunged?
Connecticut has some very generous erasure laws, as opposed to some other states. In New York, for example, a criminal record can be erased only in very limited circumstances, such as the discovery of exonerating DNA evidence. According to the statute in Connecticut, a person’s felony or misdemeanor record “shall be erased” in the following situations:
- Final Verdict: If a fact-finder determines the defendant not guilty, or the conviction is overturned on appeal and the deadline to file a writ of error passes, all police and court records are erased.
- Dismissal: The law gives no specifics. If the judge dismisses the charge for any reason, including a lack of evidence, the record is erased.
- Direct Nolle: If the prosecutor officially drops the charge, the records are erased after 13 months.
- Indirect Nolle: If the prosecutor continues the case and takes no action for at least 13 months, even if the case was never technically dropped, the records are erased.
The erasure is supposed to occur automatically. If it does not, speak to an attorney who will take steps to help ensure that your rights are protected.
In addition, defendants who are ineligible for erasure under these rules may ask for an expungement pardon if the conviction is at least three (for a misdemeanor) or five (for a felony) years old. The reviewing committee considers a number of factors, including:
- Educational and military background;
- Criminal record;
- Employment history; and
- The purpose of the application.
The committee also considers the explanation given for criminal behavior, such as “I was hanging around some bad people,” or “I had problems with substance abuse,” and looks favorably on people who have truly reformed. All the records are physically destroyed after three years. Until that time, the clerk can disclose the criminal history to no one, except the requestor.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer in Stamford can not only help you fight criminal charges, but help you get your life back together after the case ends. Call the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.