A common school of thought in Stamford may be that having a criminal record is akin to a modern-day scarlet letter. Those who have an arrest or conviction in their backgrounds may have difficulty securing a job or finding adequate housing. Anyone who believes the number of people with such a history to be relatively small may be in for a surprise: According to information shared by The Sentencing Project, between 70 and 100 million Americans may have some form of a criminal record.
However, those who have been arrested or convicted in their pasts may not need to carry the social stigma that accompanies such incidents around with them forever. In certain situations, they may be able to have their records expunged. The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles refers to the process encompassing expungement as a pardon. The state offers three such options:
- Absolute Pardons: A person’s criminal record is completely erased.
- Conditional Pardons: A person’s criminal record is erased provided he or she fulfills certain conditions set forth by the state’s Pardons Board.
- Certificates of Employability: A person’s criminal record remains, yet he or she cannot be denied employment based upon the presence of such a record alone. He or she may also seek certain licenses and certifications.
While each of the three aforementioned options offers some degree of relief from having a criminal history, only an Absolute or Conditional Pardon may meet the standard definition most would apply to expungement.
To be eligible for any form of expungement, five years must have passed from the date of one’s felony conviction, or three years for a misdemeanor. He or she also may not have any other open cases or pending charges in another jurisdiction in order to qualify.