The Connecticut General Assembly passed comprehensive erasure of criminal records legislation during the 2021 legislative session.
Public Act 21-32 has the most far reaching impact related to erasure of criminal records in the country, creating a process to erase records of certain criminal convictions after a specified period following a person’s most recent conviction.
Dubbed "clean slate," the law will have a substantial effect for thousands of individuals in Connecticut.
The new law does not allow for the erasure of class A, B, or C felonies, family violence crimes, or certain sex offender crimes requiring registration.
However, the law erases certain low level felonies (class D and E) and misdemeanors after a specified period of time.
Someone convicted of a misdemeanor criminal offense may have that conviction erased from their criminal record after seven years if the offense occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2000.
If the offense occurred before this date, the convicted person may have the offense erased from their record by filing a petition with the Office of the Chief Court Administrator.
A person convicted of a Class D or E felony, or an unclassified felony offense carrying a term of imprisonment of not more than five years, may have the conviction erased after 10 years if the offense occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2000.
As is the case with misdemeanor offenses, if a person committed a felony offense before Jan. 1, 2000, they may have their records erased upon filing a petition with the Chief Court Administrator.
The law clearly spells out that offenses not eligible for erasure, include: (1) any conviction designated as a family violence crime and (2) nonviolent sexual offense or (3) sexually violent offense.
Additionally, the law does not require the state Department of Motor Vehicles to erase criminal history record information on an operator’s driving record.
The legislation, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023, passed the state House 91-56 and the Senate 23-12 and was signed by Gov. Ned Lamont June 10.
Utah, Michigan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are the only other states that have adopted similar clean slate laws, while the Connecticut legislation is among the most comprehensive.
For more information, contact CBIA's John Blair (860.244.1921).