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What is a pardon?

If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you already likely know the negative effects it can have on your life. Even if the offense was only a misdemeanor, when your background check is pulled for a job or to rent an apartment, people can make assumptions about who you are as a person. Many people want to have their records expunged but are unsure if they are eligible or how to complete the process.

In Connecticut, expungements are also called pardons. Depending on the type of pardon, it is possible to have convictions removed from your record completely. Doing this means that those convictions and arrests will no longer appear on any kind of background check or limit your ability to work in certain fields.

Something most people don't know, however, is that there are different types of pardons. A full pardon is the same thing as having your criminal record expunged, meaning no offenses will show on your criminal record at all. A conditional pardon offers the same benefits, but there are strings attached. Conditional pardons are granted with certain requirements of the person that must be maintained for the pardon to stay in effect. Lastly, a certificate of employability is a possibility. This does not remove the convictions from your record, but it does make it so that employers cannot deny you a job based on your criminal history.

Not everyone is eligible to receive a pardon, and even those who are are not guaranteed the expungement. You will have to have not had any recent convictions and cannot have any charges pending anywhere else. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to apply for a pardon and walk you through the process.

Source: Connecticut Board of Pardons & Paroles, "Pardon FAQs," accessed April. 22, 2015

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