Am I Eligible for a Pardon? What Relief Should I Seek?

Pardons can give you a second chance at a clean slate. 

In Connecticut, all pardon applications go to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Board can grant:  

  • Absolute Pardon
  • Certificate of Employability
  • Clemency

Absolute pardon is a complete erasure of your criminal record. You may apply for an absolute pardon five years from the date of a felony conviction, and three years from the date of a misdemeanor conviction. It is important to note, you cannot be on parole or probation when you apply. 

Certificate of employability does not erase your record. The certificate gives people convicted of a crime relief from barriers to employment, or the ability to get certain licenses. You can apply for a certificate of employability if:

  • You are a CT resident convicted of a crime in any state or jurisdiction. 
  • You are under the supervision of the Parole and Community Services Division of the DOC and have successfully completed 90 days of supervision; or
  • You have completed your sentence and are not under supervision, have no new arrests and have been in the community for 90 days.  

Clemency is for inmates serving a sentence. Clemency can result in:

  • An inmates release with no further obligations to the sentence
  • A reduction in the term of the sentence
  • Erasure of the CT criminal record; or
  • Commutation from the death penalty.

Inmates currently serving a sentence can apply four years into a sentence of eight years or more, or after 50% of a sentence of less than eight years. 

Information on how to apply for the various types of relief from can be found on the Board’s website here. However, if you want to ensure you are following the appropriate steps to ensure your best chances of obtaining a pardon, you should speak with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process. 

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