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Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records in Connecticut

In Connecticut, criminal records can hinder the bearer’s ability to have an everyday life since employment can be difficult for persons with criminal history records. Connecticut does not have record sealing laws, but it has a unique expungement law. Record erasure refers to the expungement of criminal records in Connecticut. It is the deletion of all the criminal files and related history of a person from the Connecticut Judicial System.

Criminal record erasure in Connecticut can either be automatic or obtained by court order. Records that qualify for automatic erasure are files in which the accused is not convicted or found guilty of the offense charged. Examples are:

  • Records of criminal cases in which the defendant was found not guilty;
  • Records of criminal cases with dismissed charges;
  • Records of criminal cases in which the prosecution does not find probable cause to continue the prosecution within 13 months (nolle prosequi);
  • Records of criminal cases are put on hold, and no prosecution or disposition occurs within 13 months.

All felonies and misdemeanors not automatically erased can qualify for erasure under a specific condition. The court can erase felonies or misdemeanors for which conviction took place if the offense committed is decriminalized. This action can only occur if the convicted individual receives an absolute pardon from the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. If granted the unconditional pardon, criminal records of convicted individuals become eligible for erasure. The erasure process is unique as it is not case-specific, but it erases all the requestor’s criminal history. The records erasure law is under Title 54, Chapter 961a Section 54–142a of the Connecticut General Statutes.

The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records

Sealing a criminal record is an official declaration that the case file and the information contained is closed to the public. No part of the document can be viewed or disclosed by anyone. An expungement is the elimination of a person’s criminal record. An order for expungement is to destroy the case file, and the record cannot be referred to by the bearer and governmental or judicial entities in some states. While a sealed criminal record still exists but cannot be accessed, an expunged record and the crime attached no longer exists.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Seal a Criminal Record in Connecticut

Connecticut has no records sealing law. Records of criminal offenses charged against an individual will continue to exist and be accessible to the public after conviction. Only court records such as juvenile arrest records and the records of victims of sexual offenses are automatically restricted from public view. Other files of criminal violations will remain on record unless erased.

What Crimes can be Expunged in Connecticut?

The expungement of crimes in Connecticut refers to records erasure, and all crimes are eligible for erasure. Crimes that led to conviction can be erased if the conviction is decriminalized after an absolute pardon from the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. The pardon received is not crime-specific but covers the entire criminal history of the individual concerned. After decriminalizing, individuals can petition the court to erase the records of the crime. The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles has the authority to pardon any crime.

How to Expunge Criminal Records in Connecticut

The expungement of criminal records in Connecticut is referred to as erasure and is a process. An erasure does not only erase a specific criminal record, but it also erases the person’s entire criminal history, including all previous felonies, misdemeanors, and violations. Erasure can only occur if an individual obtains an absolute pardon from the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Applicants can obtain a form for an expungement pardon and file with the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. If the agency grants the request, all the previous convictions will become decriminalized. Requestors can then send the petition to the superior court at which the conviction occurred or to the superior court located in the region where conviction records are stored. If the petition is accepted, the court will erase all the criminal history an individual has accrued.

An erasure of criminal records can also occur automatically, but this erasure is only for the specific case addressed and does not involve the accused’s entire criminal history. These are cases in which:

  • The defendant was found not guilty;
  • The court dismissed the case;
  • The prosecution does not continue to prosecute after no probable cause to do so within 13 months (nolle prosequi);
  • The case is on hold, and no further prosecution or disposition occurs within 13 months.

Do Sealed Records Show up in Connecticut Background Checks?

No, sealed records cannot show up in Connecticut background checks because cases cannot be sealed in Connecticut unless declared exempt from public view under Connecticut state law. The erased records cannot appear during a background check.

Who can see Sealed Criminal Records in Connecticut?

Sealed records do not exist in Connecticut except for juvenile records and records of victims of sex offenses exempt from public view under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act. Law enforcement agencies, upon request, can view the exempted records.

How to Obtain Sealed Records in Connecticut

In Connecticut, records of juvenile arrest and victims of sexual offenses are inaccessible by the public. Only law enforcement agencies can view the exempted files upon request. The agency in charge of the records will review the application and observe if reasonable ground exists to disclose the records.

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