Searching for answers online about pardons can be daunting and overwhelming for those who have little to no legal knowledge or experience. If you are searching for answers and are getting discouraged because you do not understand the terminology, here is a list of terms that you can familiarize yourself with. Understanding these basic terms can make the pardon process easier.

Common Pardon Terms

Pardon: This is the most basic term you should familiarize yourself with if you want to apply for a pardon. While you might think you know what this means, make sure that you fully understand the definition. A pardon is an expungement of a person’s criminal record. Pardon means to forgive someone for something that they have done.

Absolute Pardon: This is a type of pardon that resulted in expungement of a person’s criminal record, if granted.

Provisional Pardon: A provisional pardon will not erase your criminal history like an absolute pardon will. However, this type of pardon informs potential employers that you are employable despite any crimes you were convicted of in the past.

Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP): BOPP is a state agency with administrative support from the Department of Correction. The board has the authority to grant pardons for any crime under Connecticut law.

Misdemeanor: Typically misdemeanors are “lesser” crimes such as harassment, disorderly conduct, larceny, criminal mischief, trespass, rioting, and stalking. A person is not eligible to apply for a pardon until three years after the conviction of a misdemeanor.

Felony: These are crimes that carry higher seriousness than a misdemeanor. Felonies may include criminal possession of a firearm, robbery, burglary, and assault. A person is not eligible to apply for a pardon until five years after the conviction of a felony.

Preliminary Pardon Hearing: If the applicant is eligible, the Board of Pardons will grant the applicant a preliminary hearing to determine if he or she will be granted a full hearing.

Full Pardon Hearing: Hearings must be held at least once every three months, the hearing consists of a panel of three judges. A state attorney and victims may appear. The application for a pardon is either accepted or rejected. The applicant is usually required to appear at the hearing.

Expungement: This is the process of deleting your criminal history. If you are granted a pardon, the Board of Pardons will erase or “expunge” your criminal history from government databases. This process could take several months or even more than a year.

Getting Help

If you have questions about applying for a pardon or you are ready to start the process now, call our office to speak with someone who can answer those questions or help you get started today. We are happy to help!