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Pardons & Certificates of Employability

Connecticut Pardons Attorney

Criminal records, including misdemeanor but especially felony records, will hurt you. They can stop you from getting a job you want or a promotion to a better job. They can stop you from getting a license you may need for a career. They can stop you from getting a bank loan for: job training, school, a new car, a new home, you name it. They can stop you from living where you want to live, even if you don’t need a loan to live there. They can interfere with other opportunities, including international travel, even to Canada or Mexico.

Fortunately, the State of Connecticut makes it possible for people to expunge their criminal records. An absolute (or full) pardon erases (expunges) all Connecticut criminal records from public view. If granted, you can honestly say you’ve not been arrested or convicted of a crime in Connecticut. Your Connecticut criminal record will no longer haunt you!

A certificate of employability (COE) (also known as a provisional pardon) does not erase or expunge criminal records. But it can remove barriers to getting certain licenses and employment.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP or Board), in its sole discretion, has exclusive jurisdiction to grant or deny pardons and COEs. Effective August 2016, the pardon process was revised to provide for “expedited pardons review.” If your pardon application qualifies for expedited review, you may be granted an absolute pardon without a hearing.

If your pardon application is denied, there is no appeal to a court or higher authority. Your only option is to re-apply a year or more later. If you are granted an absolute pardon, your criminal record will be erased from public view so your past won’t haunt your future anymore. If your pardon application is denied, you may be granted a COE instead.

Contact the Law Office of Jerome Paun to maximize your chances of getting a pardon. Call or email us today for your free and thorough pardon evaluation.

What crimes and offenses can be pardoned?

The Board of Pardons and Paroles has authority to pardon any crimes and offenses committed in Connecticut. This includes felonies, misdemeanors, and violations for which a term of imprisonment may have been imposed.

What is the difference between an absolute pardon and a certificate of employability (COE)?

If you are granted an absolute pardon, you will be given an unconditional pardon certificate. More importantly, your criminal arrest and conviction records will be erased from public view (expunged). You will be free to say you have never been arrested or convicted of a crime or offense in Connecticut. Also, you won’t have to disclose your pardoned criminal arrest and conviction record to employers or anyone else. You will be able to deny having had a Connecticut criminal record for purposes of international travel with a valid passport. Certificates of employability are much more limited and do not provide these advantages.

If your pardon application is denied, the Board may grant you a COE instead. If you are granted a COE, the BOPP gives you a certificate of employability. A COE is intended to remove barriers that might otherwise make you ineligible for or disqualify you from getting certain licenses or employment. A COE does not erase or expunge your criminal records. You will still have to disclose your criminal record if you are asked about it.

When may I apply for a pardon or certificate of employability?

This depends on a number of factors. You must first decide whether you want an absolute pardon or a certificate of employability (COE).

If you want an absolute pardon, and you were convicted of a felony, you must wait until five years after the date you were convicted and sentenced before you may file your pardon application. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a violation for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed, you must wait until three years after the date you were convicted and sentenced before you may file your pardon application.

Additionally, you should not file an absolute pardon application even if more than the minimum waiting time has passed if any of the following applies:

  • you are serving a jail sentence; or
  • you are on parole or probation; or
  • you have unpaid court fees or fines; or
  • you have judicial motions pending in criminal court; or
  • you had a nolle prosequi entered in a case less than 13 months ago.

If you want a certificate of employability (COE) (formerly known as a provisional pardon), you don’t have to wait nearly as long. You may file your application for a COE after you have served your jail sentence and been released into the community for at least 90 days with no new arrests. If you are on probation when you file an application for a COE with the Board of Pardons and Paroles, your application will not be processed by it. Your COE application will instead be sent to the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch for processing.

How do I apply for a pardon or certificate of employability?

There is a two-step application process. The first step is to complete and file your written pardon application, including all supporting documents, with the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The second step is to argue your case at a hearing. The Board may grant a COE or an absolute pardon under its expedited pardons review process without a hearing.

After it has been filed, the written pardon application and supporting documents are screened by the Board to determine if you qualify for expedited pardons review. If your pardon application qualifies, the Board may grant or deny your pardon without a hearing. Or it could decide to refer your application to a hearing and afterward. If your written application with supporting documents is not properly submitted, the Board may deny your application without giving you a hearing.

If you are granted a hearing, you must appear before the Board on the assigned date to argue your case and convince it to pardon you. Hearings are held throughout the year. Your written application with all supporting documentation must be completely filed at least three months before your hearing date.

The Law Office of Jerome Paun can help you properly prepare and file your pardon application to maximize your chance of getting a hearing. We will then prepare you to present your best case to the Board at the hearing. We will be there with you at each step to help persuade the Board to grant you a pardon.

Contact the Law Office of Jerome Paun to maximize your chances of getting a pardon. Call or email us today for your free and thorough pardon evaluation.

Which pardon applications qualify for expedited pardons review?

Your application may qualify for expedited pardons review if, in addition to the usual pardon application requirements listed above, you were not convicted of a “violent offense.” “Violent offenses” are defined by state statutes. If you were required to serve at least 85% of your jail sentence before becoming eligible for parole, or you were otherwise prohibited from being granted parole, your application will not qualify for expedited pardons review. If you were convicted for any one of a long list of specified “violent” crimes, your application also won’t qualify.

The Law Office of Jerome Paun can help you determine if your pardon application should qualify for expedited pardons review.

Contact the Law Office of Jerome Paun to maximize your chances of getting a pardon. Call or email us today for your free and thorough pardon evaluation.

Where can I get a pardon application?

You can find the current pardon application package on the Board of Pardons and Paroles webpage at www.ct.gov/bopp. There you will also find other useful information and helpful checklists.

How long does the pardon process take?

The road to a successful absolute pardon is long. In our experience, it takes from about 18 months to two years from beginning to end, if you are granted an absolute pardon. Under the new expedited pardons review procedure, if you are granted an absolute pardon without a hearing, it should take three to four months less. Please read on for a description of the process and the estimated time it takes to complete.

It takes anywhere from several weeks to several months to collect all of the required documentation and complete your written application for filing. Pardon applications with supporting documentation can be filed whenever they are ready for filing. They must be completed and properly filed at least three months before the hearing at which your application will be heard.

Several weeks before the hearing, you will receive notice from the Board informing you that you were granted a hearing. Hearing denial letters are usually received sooner. If your pardon is granted without a hearing, you save the time it would take to get to the hearing and wait for a decision. But it still takes the same time to erase your criminal records.

After the hearing you will receive a letter from the Board telling you your pardon was granted or denied. If granted, it takes an additional eight to nine months to erase (expunge) all of your criminal records from public view. You will not receive your official pardon certificate until that has been accomplished. Once you have received your pardon certificate but not before, you may truthfully say that you have never been arrested or convicted of a crime in Connecticut.

What are the chances of being granted a pardon?

Just as in other areas of law, there is no easy answer. Each case is different from every other. Your case must be assessed on its own merits. The best way to do that is to consult with an experienced Connecticut pardon attorney. The Law Office of Jerome Paun has been representing people and securing pardons for over ten years. We have the knowledge and experience to assess your case.

Contact the Law Office of Jerome Paun to maximize your chances of getting a pardon. Call or email us today for your free and thorough pardon evaluation.

On its website, the Board of Pardons has published statistics for the number of applications filed, granted, and denied from 2013 to 2016. Unfortunately, the statistics reported are unclear unless you have a conversation with the Board’s statistician.

Knowing the number of applications processed (not just received) and granted by the Board, allows us to calculate the likelihood an application was granted that year. But this calculation looks backward and analyzes what happened. It doesn’t look forward to tell us how many are likely to be granted or denied in any future year. To the extent the past is the best predictor of the future, we expect the future to produce results similar to the past. But there is no guarantee it will.

From my conversation with the Board statistician I learned how to distinguish the number of applications received from those processed to completion by the Board each year. These two numbers are different because the Board can’t completely process all the applications it receives in any one calendar year. Some applications processed to completion in 2016 were received in 2015 or possibly even earlier.

We don’t really care about how many applications the Board receives each year. We care about how many it processed to completion and how many were granted.

After talking to the Board’s statistician, I computed the number of applications processed to completion in 2016. I then calculated the percentage of applications granted and denied. Below you will find accurate calculations and analysis.

In 2016, 38% of pardon applications processed to completion were denied. Of the 62% granted, about eight percent were given certificates of employability (COE). Fifty-four percent were granted absolute pardons. Here are the raw numbers if you prefer to perform your own computations.

The Board processed a total of 1242 applications.

It granted a total of 773 including pardons & COEs (62%).

It granted 672 absolute pardons (54%).

It also granted 101 COEs (8%).

It denied a total of 469 including pardons & COEs (38%).

It denied 407 after pre-screening w/o hearing (33%).

It also denied 62 after hearing (5%).

The numbers tell us that more than a third (38%) of the pardon and COE applications processed to completion in 2016 were denied. Just over half (54%) were granted absolute pardons. That’s just a bit better than a 50/50 chance of getting an absolute pardon. But that is only part of the picture. Please read on for the good news.

The Board denied one third (33%) of applications (407) without hearing after pre-screening. But if an application was not denied after pre-screening, there was only a five percent (5%) chance it would be denied after a hearing. So, if a written pardon application passed the pre-screening process and was granted a hearing, there was a whopping 95% chance an absolute pardon or COE would be granted in 2016! Those are excellent odds!

Fewer pardon applications were filed each year before 2016. On average, for the years between 2013 and 2015, the Board granted about 50% of the pardon applications it processed. On average, it denied just under seven percent (7%) after hearing. That means that on average, about 43% were denied without hearing after pre-screening. On average for those three years, if an application passed pre-screening and went to a hearing, there was about a 93% chance an absolute pardon was granted. Still excellent odds even though the average overall denial rate was about 50%.

What do all these numbers mean and why should I care? The bottom line is you need to maximize your chances of persuading the Board to grant you a hearing. You do that by submitting a properly prepared written pardon application. If you are granted a hearing and your case is well argued before the Board, you will most likely be pardoned.

If you retain The Law Office of Jerome Paun, we will help you properly prepare and we will file your pardon application when it is ready. With our help, your pardon application will be properly prepared and filed to maximize your chance of persuading the Board to grant you a hearing. When your hearing is granted, Attorney Paun will prepare you to answer any questions Board members may ask you at the hearing. You will not need to argue your case at the hearing because Attorney Paun will do that for you.

There is no appeal to a court or higher authority if the Board of Pardons denies your pardon application. If denied, your only option is to wait a year or more and then file another application.

Contact the Law Office of Jerome Paun to maximize your chances of getting a pardon. Call or email us today for your free and thorough pardon evaluation.

What are the chances of being granted a Certificate of Employability (COE)?

The Board’s statistics reveal that in 2016 it considered 124 applications for certificates of employability. It granted 101 COEs (82%). It denied 23 (19%). (Percentages do not equal 100% due to rounding error.) Although we know how many COEs were granted and denied between 2013 and 2016, we cannot tell from the Board’s published statistics how many were granted or denied after pre-screening or if any were referred for hearing. Still, the odds of being granted a COE were very good.

If a COE applicant was still under probation supervision, that application was not considered by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Instead, it was sent to the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch for determination.

Do I need a pardon attorney?

If you want to maximize the odds that your pardon application will be granted, the answer is yes. Submitting a properly prepared pardon application to the Board of Pardons is essential to persuading it to grant you a hearing. If you are granted a hearing, you need to be well prepared to answer any questions Board members may ask you at the hearing and be prepared to argue your case. A well argued case at the hearing will probably persuade the Board to pardon you.

Most people are not well equipped to properly prepare their own pardon application without the help of an experienced pardon advocate. If you retain The Law Office of Jerome Paun, we will help you properly prepare and we will file your pardon application when it is ready. With our help, your pardon application will be properly prepared and filed to maximize the chance of persuading the Board to grant you a hearing.

When you are granted a hearing, Attorney Paun will prepare you to answer any questions Board members may ask you at the hearing. You will not need to argue your case at the hearing because Attorney Paun, experienced pardon attorney, will do that for you. The Law Office of Jerome Paun has lots of experience helping people get pardons for their Connecticut criminal records. Let us help you.

There is no appeal to a court or higher authority if the Board denies your pardon application. If denied, all you can do is wait at least one more year before filing another pardon application.

Why not maximize your chance of convincing the Board to pardon you. Experienced representation by The Law Office of Jerome Paun can improve your chances of getting a pardon so your criminal past won’t continue to haunt your future.

Contact the Law Office of Jerome Paun to maximize your chances of getting a pardon. Call or email us today for your free and thorough pardon evaluation.

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