Expunging or Sealing an Adult Criminal Record in Connecticut

In Connecticut, you may be able to have your criminal records expunged -- that is, erased or sealed -- if you meet certain requirements. For legal purposes, after a criminal record is expunged, it is as though the crime never happened.

By , MSLIS · Long Island University
Updated May 31, 2023

In Connecticut, your criminal records can be erased or expunged under the circumstances described below. If your record is eliminated, it's as though the arrest, charge, or conviction never occurred, and you can legally say that you don't have a criminal record.

What is Expungement?

In general, an expunged criminal record is essentially erased or sealed. Usually when this happens, the record will be hidden from public view and available only to law enforcement agencies and certain professional licensing boards. In most cases, you won't have to disclose that you were arrested or convicted of a crime.

Who is Eligible for Expungement in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, you can often get your record expunged if you weren't convicted of a crime. And even if you were convicted, you might still be able to have the record of your misdemeanor or felony record expunged.

Expungement in Connecticut If You Were Not Convicted of a Crime

In Connecticut, you're eligible for expungement if:

  • you were charged with a crime but found not guilty
  • your case was dismissed
  • the charges against you were dropped (often called "nolled" in Connecticut) at least 13 months ago, or
  • your case was put on hold ("continued") at least 13 months ago and there's been no prosecution or other disposition of the case.

If any of these circumstances describe what happened in your case, the record should be erased automatically. But if for some reason it doesn't happen automatically, you can petition the court where your case was handled and ask that your record be cleared.

Expungement in Connecticut If You Were Convicted of a Crime

If your records can't be erased under the rules above, you might apply for what is called an "expungement pardon" or "absolute pardon." If you qualify, your entire criminal history will be erased. Expungement pardons are potentially available for:

  • misdemeanor convictions, after waiting three years, and
  • felony convictions, after waiting five years.

An expungement pardon is available only if you're not on probation or parole, and you don't have any pending charges or other open criminal cases in any state or federal court.

The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles has the authority to grant expungement pardons for any crime, and it's entirely up to the Board whether to grant a pardon or not. Some of the factors the Board will consider are:

  • whether the person appears to be rehabilitated
  • the severity of the offense
  • the impact on the victim and the victim's input
  • the State's Attorney's opinion
  • the person's past criminal history
  • how much time has passed since the person's most recent offense
  • the person's accomplishments since the most recent offense
  • the person's work history and community service
  • subsequent contact with the criminal justice system
  • character references
  • whether the public interest is served by erasing the criminal record, and
  • any other relevant information.

Certificates of Employability in Connecticut

In Connecticut, if you're ineligible for or denied expungement, you might qualify for a certificate of employability (COE), also known as a "provisional pardon." A COE isn't an expungement, but it's a document stating that you're employable despite your record. A COE makes it illegal to refuse to employ people just because of their criminal record. A COE also makes it possible to hold certain types of professional licenses, provided the person is otherwise qualified for the license.

How to File for Expungement in Connecticut

The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles website is an excellent resource for information on expungement pardons. There, you'll find the forms and instructions for completing an Expungement Pardon Petition and Certificate of Employability.

Correcting Your Criminal Record in CT

If you believe there's a mistake on your criminal record, you can ask to have it corrected. To do that, you need to get a copy of your record and then send a letter to the state police containing proof of the mistake.

To request a copy of your criminal history record, visit the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection website and complete the form titled DPS-0846-C.

Getting Legal Help

Cleaning up your criminal record can be complicated. To learn more about erasing or expunging criminal records in Connecticut—and to discuss your personal circumstances—you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

(Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 54-130a, 54-142a, 54-142l (2023).)

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