Connecticut Pardon Information
The Board of Pardons and Paroles is the governmental body in Connecticut that oversees and grants all pardon applications. This Board consists of 13 members who are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the General Assembly. However, only 5 members of the Board are assigned to hear pardon applications. Although the Board members are appointed by the Governor, the Governor has no direct involvement in the pardon process.
Because the focus of this site is on pardons, we do not discuss reprieves, commutations, amnesties, parole, or other types of clemency that may be available in Connecticut here. We also do not discuss judicial alternatives such as record expungements, record sealing, dismissal or setting aside of convictions. You should talk to an attorney if you think any of these alternative options may be more appropriate for you.
Connecticut law gives the Board of Pardons and Paroles the power to pardon only offenses “against the state” of Connecticut. Thus, the Board does not have the power to pardon federal convictions or convictions from another state. If you want a pardon on a federal conviction, you must do that through the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney (see our page on this site on federal pardons). If you want to pardon for an out-of-state conviction, you should find the appropriate page on this site dealing with pardons in that particular state.
You may apply for a pardon whether your conviction is a felony or a misdemeanor. The rule of thumb is if you are unsure whether you are eligible to apply for a pardon, you should go ahead and apply; there is no harm in doing so.
There are 2 types of pardons that you can apply for in Connecticut. The first is called an “expungement pardon” (also known as an “absolute pardon”). The expungement pardon erases your conviction from your criminal record. This means that, once you receive the pardon, you can essentially pretend as though the conviction never happened.
The second type of pardon is the “provisional pardon.” A provisional pardon does not erase your conviction; it is used merely for employment purposes. For example, the provisional pardon may provide that you cannot be denied a teaching or nursing license because of your conviction, but does not erase your conviction from your criminal record.
The Board can limit the types of employment and licensing opportunities available to you through the provisional pardon or it can grant you a blanket provisional pardon that relieves you of all employment and licensing barriers. However, a provisional pardon will not help you apply for a law enforcement position or for public office.
You can apply for a provisional pardon at any time after you were sentenced, even if you are still on probation or parole. However, to apply for an expungement pardon, you must wait 3 years after your most recent misdemeanor conviction or 5 years after your most recent felony conviction. The Board can make exceptions to this rule in “extraordinary circumstances.”
An example of an extraordinary circumstance might be you are currently in the process of being deported from the country and require the pardon now in order to stay in the country (and therefore not be separated from your family). Another example might be you are currently being offered a job that is conditional upon you removing the conviction and/or restoring your gun rights, and the offer is soon to expire.
Keep in mind that the Board receives a lot of pardon applications (1555 pardon applications in 2016). In 2016, 1555 applications were received. 773 pardons were granted and 469 applications were denied. The number of pardon applications has increased over the last few years, but so has the rate of pardons being granted. Your chance of getting a pardon largely depends on your individual circumstances. Naturally, the older and less serious your conviction(s) are, and the more compelling your life story is, the higher your chance of getting a pardon.
The Application Process
The Board of Pardons and Paroles can be reached at 203-805-6643 or 800-303-2884. The Board’s central office is located at 55 West Main Street, Waterbury, Connecticut 06702. Never hesitate to call or write them if you have any questions about the application process.
There is no application fee to apply for a pardon in Connecticut. Connecticut’s pardon application may seem a little more detailed than those of other states. Therefore, it is important that you read the instructions carefully and follow the procedures exactly; otherwise, your application may be rejected or denied.
The Board has conveniently provided the application form you need on its website, at http://www.ct.gov/bopp/cwp/view.asp?a=4331&q=508294. If you cannot access the Board’s website or the application form itself, call the number above or write to the above address and request the application be sent to you. If you have an email address, the Board might even email the form to you.
Again, it is very important that you follow the procedures listed on the first page (the instruction page) of the application form. One small mistake can cause your application to be rejected or denied.
The Board will require a criminal background check. As the application instructs, you will need to fill out a “Criminal History Request for a Pardon” form (which is included in the application package) and mail it to the State Police Bureau of Identification at 1111 Country Club Road, Middletown, CT 06457-9294 (Telephone No. 860-685-8480). You will need to submit $25 and a complete set of fingerprints with along with that form. You can obtain your fingerprints from most police stations.
You will also need to obtain a copy of the police report for any arrest within the last 10 years which resulted in a conviction; if there are no such reports, you will need a letter from the arresting agency stating this to be the case. It is important that you mention all of your convictions on your application, even those you received in other states. To obtain a police report for an arrest/conviction that occurred in another state, contact the arresting agency that was involved in the case in that state.
If you do not remember all the details of an arrest/conviction that occurred in the last 10 years, you will need to obtain a criminal report for yourself in order to find out who the arresting agency was. Almost every state has a criminal history record repository that keeps a record of all criminal activity in that state (similar to the State Police Bureau of Identification in Connecticut). Listed on Criminal History Record Repositories is a list of criminal history record repositories for all 50 states.
You can also obtain a more comprehensive, nationwide criminal report for yourself from the FBI. You can find out how to do this by calling the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., a (202) 324-3000, or logging onto its website at http://www.fbi.gov. The FBI’s website also has a list of local FBI offices you can call.
You will be required to submit letters of reference from at least 3 people who know you well and can say good things about you to get your pardon approved. Only one of these letters may be from a family member (related by blood or marriage). Choose your references carefully. The more credible the person writing the reference, the better; church leaders, employers, co-workers and teachers are usually good, credible references (as opposed to your 16-year-old sister or high school buddy). Remember that you may submit more than 3 letters.
Although not required, we highly suggest that you submit, on a separate sheet of paper, a detailed and genuine personal statement to the Board. In your personal statement, explain how a pardon would help you. Simply stating that you want to “clear your record” will not be enough. For example, explain how you have been passed over for employment opportunities or denied housing because of your conviction. Submit any proof you may have. Explain how this has prevented you from obtaining decent employment and/or housing in order to adequately provide for you and your family.
If you are facing deportation because of the conviction, explain how deportation (and, thus, separation from your family) would negatively affect your spouse and children. If you are pursuing a particular career or a license in a particular field that requires you to have a clean record, send documents, letters, or other types of proof from a prospective employer or licensing agency stating this requirement. Perhaps explain what your plans are in the event you are granted a pardon.
In your personal statement, also list all of the positive things that have occurred in your life, including educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc. Furthermore, send copies of your college transcript, high school diploma, marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates, military certificates, awards and recognitions, and other documents that show your rehabilitation and positive character.
However, in writing your personal statement, keep in mind that the Board will not be retrying you for the offense. Although you may want to explain the facts and circumstances of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt. Whatever you feel about the crime, you had already been found guilty. The Board is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.
We do not reproduce word for word here every little procedure outlined on the instruction page of the application form. It is your responsibility to read the instructions very carefully. The application may be detailed but it is self-explanatory. Again, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Board at the number above.
Your application, letters of reference, and all supporting documents will need to be sent by certified mail to:
The Board of Pardons and Paroles
55 West Main St., Suite 520
Waterbury, CT 06702
Attn: Pardons Unit
Make a copy of everything you send for your records.
After the Board receives your completed application, it will schedule a pre-screening date, and then a full hearing date 1 month after that. Depending on the type of conviction or convictions you have, the Board may grant your pardon without a hearing.  The Board holds pardon hearings at least once every 3 months in various areas of the state. Currently the Board has 12 hearings per year.
If the Board holds a hearing in your case, you will be notified of the time and place. You must show up at the hearing, otherwise your pardon may be rejected or denied. By law, the Board must allow the victim(s) of your offense an opportunity to make a statement in person or in writing, regarding whether your pardon should be granted or denied.  If the Board denies your application, it must provide you in writing the reasons for the denial.
If possible, have friends, family members, a neighbor, church members, your employer, your pastor, co-workers, and others in your community attend the hearing to support you. The hearing (if one is held) is a good opportunity for you to put a human face onto your application; it lets the Board see you in person and the amount of support you have in your community. You must act and dress your best. If possible, dress in the same way you would if you were going to court for a trial (this means, for men, a suit and tie).
As part of its standard procedure, the Board will send a copy of your application to the court that sentenced you and the government’s attorney.  These individuals will be allowed to attend your hearing (if one is held) and speak out in support of or in opposition to your application.
You should be upfront and cooperative with the Board and its agents at all times during the application process. If you attempt to hide anything and the Board later finds out, this will look very negative for you.
The whole process, from beginning to end, can take many months to complete. Again, the Governor has no involvement in the pardon process.
If the Board grants you a pardon, whether an expungement or provisional pardon, it will notify the court which convicted you of the pardon.
Again, if you receive an expungement pardon, this means the law treats the conviction as though it never occurred. The court that convicted you will have to issue an “order of erasure,” which will “direct all police and court records and records of the state’s or prosecuting attorney pertaining to such case to be erased.” Once your conviction is erased, you are “deemed to have never been arrested” of that crime and can swear under oath that you were never arrested of that crime.
That also means that on any employment or licensing application, you are not required to disclose any conviction that has been erased as a result of an expungement pardon. In fact, Connecticut law specifically prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose any conviction which has been erased. Employers may not consider the erased conviction in their decisions at all.
If you receive a provisional pardon (as opposed to an expungement pardon), employers may not consider your conviction either.  However, the provisional pardon does not help you obtain public office or work with a law enforcement agency, and it does not erase your conviction from your criminal record.
If you were charged of a crime that was ultimately dismissed or nolled, or for which you were acquitted, there is a process for you to apply to a court to have those charges erased from your criminal record (if this has not already happened automatically). This is not the same as a pardon and, because it is a judicial procedure, may be a little more formal and adversarial than the pardon procedure. You may want to talk to an attorney if you think you qualify for this option.
You lose your right to vote in Connecticut if you have been convicted of a felony.However, your voting rights are automatically restored once you are discharged from your prison sentence (including any parole) and have paid all fines ordered as part of your sentence. Your rights to run for and hold public office is automatically restored at the same time your voting rights are restored. Therefore, if you are only interested in regaining these rights, a pardon is probably not necessary.
You are not qualified to sit on a jury if you have been convicted of a felony in the last 7 years, are currently incarcerated, or are currently a defendant in a felony case. If none of these apply to you, then you can be a juror. At any rate, a pardon would restore your right to serve on a jury in Connecticut.
You lose your right to possess a gun in Connecticut if you have been convicted of a felony, regardless of whether it is a federal or state conviction, and regardless of what state it is from. The Board may restore your gun rights at the time it grants you the pardon. In fact, the pardon application will specifically ask you whether you want your gun right restored. If the pardon does not specifically say that your gun rights are restored, do not assume that they are.
Under federal law, if you have received a pardon from any state, the pardoned conviction cannot be used by federal authorities to prosecute you for “unlawful possession of a firearm” under federal law, unless the pardon specifically says you cannot possess a gun. However, just because you cannot be prosecuted under federal law does not mean you cannot be prosecuted under State law. Some states have stricter gun laws than federal law. If regaining your gun rights is important to you, make sure you make this clear on your application.
In most cases, federal immigration authorities cannot rely solely on a conviction that has been subject to a pardon to deport you from the country. If immigration is not an issue for you, then obviously this benefit is irrelevant.
Finally, keep in mind that the effects of a pardon can vary from one state to the next. For example, if you receive a pardon in Connecticut and then move to another state, that other state might take away your gun rights or require you to register as a sex offender again even if the pardon removed those restrictions on you while you were living in Connecticut. You should always check with the laws of the state you move to rather than just assume that the benefits of the pardon moves with you across state lines. Fortunately, states tend and honor each other’s pardons.
- Connecticut on Wikipedia
- Connecticut State Bar
- ApplyForPardon .com - Pardon form completion service. Enter your information and get a neat and clean looking form sent to you.
- Record Clearing .org - post conviction information
- See Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 54-124a & 54-130a.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-124a.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130a.
- Need citation.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130e(b).
- Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole Pardons Statistics by Calendar Year, http://www.ct.gov/bopp/cwp/view.asp?a=4331&q=550204
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-124a(j).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-124a(k).
- Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole, http://www.ct.gov/bopp/cwp/view.asp?a=4331&q=508292.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130d.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130d. § 54-124a(j)(3).
- The Sentencing Project, Connecticut, Margaret Colgate Love, http://www.sentencingproject.org/tmp/File/Collateral%20Consequences/Connecticut.pdf
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130a(d)-(e).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-142a(d).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-142a(d) § 54-142a(e).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51i(b).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51i(b) § 31-51i(d).
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51i(b)
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-142a.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-46a.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-46a.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-46a.; NACDL Restoration of Rights Project, https://www.nacdl.org/ResourceCenter.aspx?id=25091#CT
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-217(a).
- NACDL Restoration of Rights Project, https://www.nacdl.org/ResourceCenter.aspx?id=25091#CT
- Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217.
- 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20) & (33).