Clean Slate Act set to erase certain marijuana convicitons
In 2021, Connecticut legalized the personal use of cannabis. However, that legalization did nothing to help the many, many Connecticut residents with previous convictions for marijuana-based offenses. For years people with low level criminal histories, including possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, have been discriminated against in employment, housing, and education.
In response to the legalization of personal cannabis use in Connecticut, as well as the growing understanding of the handicap that good people, branded with a marijuana conviction, have faced, the Connecticut General Assembly passed the Clean Slate Act, Public Act No. 21-32.
On January 1, 2023, the Clean Slate Act will begin an automatic erasure process for people who have prior marijuana convictions. Specifically, anyone convicted between January 1, 2000, and September 30, 2015, for possession of less than or equal to four ounces of a cannabis-type substance in violation of Connecticut General Statutes Section 21a-279c will have that charge expunged from their criminal record.
This automatic erasure process, by early estimates, will impact up to 44,000 people. The best part? As the name implies, people with such convictions will not need to act themselves, their prior marijuana convictions are set to erase automatically.
PETITIONS FOR ERASURE
On January 1, 2023 the Clean Slate Act will also begin to allow additional drug related conviction types to be erased by a petition to the superior court. Petitions will appear on the Judicial Branch Website. Petitions for erasure will be allowed for the following convictions:
- Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-279 for possession of less than or equal to four ounces of a cannabis-type substance imposed before January 1, 2000, and between October 1, 2015, and June 30, 2021.
- Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-267(a) for possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia for cannabis imposed before July 1, 2021.
- Convictions for violations of C.G.S. § 21a-277(b) imposed before July 1, 2021, for manufacturing, selling, possessing with intent to sell, or giving or administering to another person a cannabis-type substance and the amount involved was under four ounces or six plants grown inside a person’s home for personal use.
ERASURES FOR LATE 2023
The Clean Slate Act was supposed to result in many other automatic erasures for non-violent crimes beginning on January 1, 2023, but the State was not prepared for the technology upgrades that would be necessary to implement the Clean Slate Act. As the State continues to try and prepare for the mandates of the Act, the rest of the erasure will have to be pushed back to later in 2023. The additional crimes that will be subject to an automatic erasure will include most misdemeanors, most Class D and Class E felonies, and most unclassified felonies with a possible prison sentence of five years or less that occurred on or after January1, 2000. Misdemeanors will be erased 7 years after the last conviction and 10 years from the last felony conviction. These same crimes will be subject to erasure by petition if they occurred prior to January 1, 2000. The reason for this is that the State’s electronic information system was not in place prior to January 1, 2000, so automatic erasure cannot be accomplished. Disappointingly, erasure will not apply to certain convictions designated as family violence convictions, and non-violent sexual offenses, even if those convictions were low-level misdemeanors. Special interest and political pressure prevented that result.
The delay in the implementation of the full power of the Clean Slate Act is unfortunate. However, the time is near that many Connecticut residents will now be able to apply for jobs, housing and educational loans without the debilitating handicap of a drug conviction on their criminal record. People can now tell their employers, educational facilities, and landlords that they have a clean background record. Later in 2023 that ability will apply to even more Connecticut residents.
It should be noted that nothing in the Clean Slate Act prevents applying for a pardon prior to the erasure rules and, in fact, the Clean Slate Act was clear in its language and expectations of the Board of Pardons and Paroles to create a more receptive process for pardon applications.
We are here to help with any of your erasure needs or questions. Call us today at 302-762-0751.
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Kevin M. Black, Sr. is a former trial level Assistant State’s Attorney (prosecutor) for the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice and the current Liaison to the Judicial District of Danbury for the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, as well as a Member of the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee overseeing attorney misconduct. Kevin M. Black, Jr. is a former Special Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney (prosecutor) with the Appellate Unit of the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice. Both serve as approved Assigned Counsel for the Connecticut Office of the Chief Public Defender when needed. Our team has tried many cases to verdict and take cases to trial, or pretrial contested hearings, if needed. Our clients become part of our family and when you work with us, you will see and feel the care, compassion, and dedication that we put into defending our family. Don’t settle for anything less than a firm with a proven track record of success and deep experience on both sides of the process.
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Bayer & Black, P.C. is a leading, full service criminal defense firm serving Fairfield County, Hartford County, Litchfield County, Middlesex County, New Haven County, New London County, Tolland County, and Windham County residents for 25+ years. Contact us today to discuss the erasure of your criminal history in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Fairfield, Wilton, Ridgefield, Norwalk, Trumbull, Bridgeport, Milford, Weston, Danbury, Newtown, Rowayton, case and receive a free telephone consultation. In addition to Criminal Defense we also serve people threatened by DCF, defending against Restraining Orders, Divorce victims and people injured by the negligence of others or their pets (Bodily Injury).