Our Criminal Defense Frequently Asked Questions
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What should I know about seeking a pardon in Connecticut?
If you are seeking a pardon in Connecticut, you probably have plenty of questions about pardons, your eligibility, and the entire process as a whole. Take a look at our frequently asked questions about Connecticut pardons page here for some helpful answers from professional Fairfield County criminal defense attorneys. You can also contact our team by calling 203-614-9734 or filling out a free online consultation form today for more information.
Your Top Questions About Pardons
- What is the difference between an expungement pardon and a provisional pardon? If you qualify for an expungement pardon, your conviction will be erased right off your criminal record after a certain number of years has passed – varies depending on severity of crime. A provision pardon leaves the conviction there but you may no longer be disqualified for employment based solely on your criminal record.
- When am I eligible for a pardon? As previously mentioned, several years need to pass before you can even be eligible for a pardon. Most misdemeanor convictions require 3 years while felonies require 5. With this stated, there is no deadline for applicants; you can apply whenever you like but keep in mind it may take some time to process (up to an entire year) so you should apply as soon as you can. There are also only 8 full hearings each year, so time is truly limited.
- What convictions are on my criminal record that might need a pardon? While it is true that the majority of criminal convictions are going to go on your official criminal record, it is also true that not everything does. Nonviolent DUI convictions may be excluded, as well as anything that did not require fingerprinting when you were booked at the station. Understanding what is on your record is critical when you are filing for a pardon in Connecticut, as you need to list all details of your convictions – even misdemeanors and infractions – on the form.
- Do I have to pay for a pardon? Yes and no. There is no state fee for processing a pardon. Instead, the State Police Department of Public Safety will request payment for the procurement of your criminal record. You should also take this time to request any police reports linked to your convictions.
- Is a background check from one of my employers good enough to get my criminal history? No. You need a completed fingerprint card along with any payments and request forms to get a copy of your criminal record.
- This is not the first time I am filing for a pardon – can I use my previous application again? No, you must always use a fresh application when you are requesting a pardon in Connecticut. If you are worried about listing new references, don't be. Anyone you used the first time should work again.
- Do pending cases affect my pardon request? You cannot have any pending criminal court cases currently active if you want to file for a pardon.
- Can I send a lawyer in my place for the pardons hearing? While securing an attorney is beneficial for your cause and helps you navigate the pardon process, you will need to be present at the hearing or else the case will likely be tossed out and you'll have to start all over again.
- Does the board use its own discretion to decide who to pardon? Being granted a pardon is based on so much more than what is shown on the paperwork placed before the board at your pardons hearing. They need to evaluate your livelihood, your lifestyle, criminal actions of people you associate with, what the state thinks about your eligibility, and more. Since the decision can come down to how persuasive your argument is before the board, you should team up with an attorney who knows how to do the talking.
- Does a pardon denial for one conviction affect my chances for the next pardon I request? No. Pardons are examined on a case-to-case basis. What might have led to a denial for one case could be evidence enough to grant it for the next. Once again, the board's discretion has the final word.
- I was denied – can I apply for a pardon right away? For most cases, you need to wait an entire year after a denial before you can apply for another pardon, even if it is for a different conviction. The board should send you a letter explaining the reasoning behind their denial, and specifications about what you can do next. Share it with your defense lawyer.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Case?
Hiring a lawyer for the less serious criminal case is usually a cost-benefit analysis for many people, especially those people on a budget. Not every person can afford a lawyer in every situation. When people call me for advice or respond to my marketing I give them an honest assessment of what benefit a lawyer will provide. Every case can benefit from a lawyer in the sense that every now and then a lawyer will spot mistakes or omissions that may result in the case being dropped, or the lawyer can convince the prosecutor to drop the charge due to some other reason.
In many less serious cases, however, especially cases that are eligible for diversionary programs, the program will be granted, or a similar result will be reached, whether you have a lawyer or don't have a lawyer. So, if that is the case why use a lawyer? For many people it removes the unknown from the process and answers questions including:
- When do I get there?
- Where do I stand?
- Who do I talk to?
- Do I sign up somewhere?
- What forms do I need?
- How do I fill them out?
- What is a bail commissioner?
- Where is probation?
- How much will it all cost?
- What do I say? (Or more importantly sometimes is what shouldn't I say!)
Having an attorney also typically gets you in and out of the courthouse much faster, and it removes the fear of speaking or addressing a judge in open court. If these benefits aren't worth it or you are comfortable navigating the unknown then in many cases you won't need a lawyer. Peace of mind is great for those who can afford it.
Beware of the lawyer you consult who tells you "if you're convicted of that charge you could get up to XYZ year(s) or months in jail." Good lawyers won't do that. There is no need to scare people into using legal services but I hear about it happening all too often.