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.
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.
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.
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.
Since March 1, 2020, the BOPP is no longer accepting paper applications! The entire pardon application process will be paperless. The BOPP webpage is equipped with a portal where applications can be completed and filed electronically along with their supporting documentation. This is a major change. Applicants will need to be able to scan documents and load them on to computers from where they will need to be forwarded to the BOPP via its new web portal. The savings in postage and trees should be considerable.
How long does the pardon process take?
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has announced it has very substantially reduced pardon application processing time. According to the BOPP, It now takes about six months from when it receives a complete pardon application to when it grants and sends pardon certificates to successful applicants. Under its expedited pardons review procedure, if you are granted an absolute pardon without a hearing, it will take even less time. 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. They must be complete and properly filed before a hearing will be granted or a pardon is granted without a hearing.
Several weeks before your hearing, you will receive notice from the Board that you were granted a hearing. If you are pardoned 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 (expunge) your criminal records from public view.
After the hearing you will receive a letter from the Board telling you your pardon was granted or denied. If granted, it takes several more weeks 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 because you have waited long enough to become eligible to file a pardon application does not mean the Board of Pardons will find you suitable to be pardoned. The BOPP screens pardon applications to separate applicants who have convictions for only non-violent offenses from those who have a conviction for a violent crime. Those with convictions for only non-violent offenses are eligible for an expedited pardons review procedure.
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.
According to the Board, under its expedited pardons review procedure, 67% of non-violent offender pardon applications are granted without a hearing. The remaining 33% of non-violent offender applications are granted a hearing or denied a pardon without a hearing. Of those non-violent offender applicants granted hearings, over 95% are granted absolute pardons. So, people convicted of non-violent offenses who apply for absolute pardons have excellent chances their pardons will be granted if their pardon applications are completely and properly prepared and filed.
Not surprisingly, people convicted of a violent crime are ineligible for the expedited pardons review procedure and are less likely to be pardoned. But even their odds for getting pardoned are pretty good.
According to the BOPP, 67% of people convicted of violent crimes who apply for pardons are granted hearings. That means the other 33% are denied pardons without hearings. In other words, for each violent offender denied a pardon, two are granted hearings. Not bad odds.
Of those granted hearings, 86% are granted pardons after their hearings. While not as good as those convicted of non-violent offenses, the odds of violent offenders getting pardons are still very good. The key to getting a pardon for a person convicted of violent crimes is to convince the BOPP to grant him or her a hearing.
Why should you care about these numbers? The bottom line is you need to maximize your chances of persuading the Board to grant you a hearing or a pardon without a hearing. You do that by submitting a properly prepared and complete 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 your pardon application. We will file it with the BOPP when it is complete. 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 or a pardon without a hearing. If 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 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 (860) 455-4202 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.
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