CT Clean Slate Law Updated
Criminal justice reform advocates, lawyers, and people who have been convicted of a crime have long understood the life-altering impact of a criminal conviction. A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, get into college or technical school, or enter certain professions or trades. A felony conviction can affect a person’s right to vote, possess firearms, and qualify for certain public benefits. And as employers and educational institutions increasingly look into an employee’s or applicant’s criminal past, the situation has become worse.
To address this problem, Connecticut and other states have introduced Clean Slate legislation. These laws create an opportunity for people with criminal convictions to wipe the slate clean and seek a second chance at job opportunities that were previously available only to people who did not have a criminal history.
Connecticut’s Clean Slate Law, which was passed in 2021 and went into effect on January 1, 2023, will limit an employer’s ability to discover, consider, or make decisions about a job applicant or employee based on their criminal history. The new law enhances protections available to people whose criminal records have been erased. It also expands the types of criminal convictions that are eligible for erasure and implements provisions that will automatically erase a person’s criminal convictions and make them easier to erase upon a person’s request.
CT Clean Slate Law Erases Certain Misdemeanor and Felony Convictions
Connecticut’s Clean Slate Law provides that the following misdemeanor and felony convictions will be automatically erased:
- Misdemeanor offenses will be erased seven years from the date the court entered the person’s most recent judgment of conviction.
- Class D and Class E felonies and unclassified felonies with a term of imprisonment of five years or less will be erased ten years from the date the court entered the person’s most recent judgment of conviction.
The law also provides for the erasure of offenses that have been decriminalized, such as the use of cannabis by adults. This change will eliminate the expensive, time-consuming, and cumbersome process of requesting expungement through the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Parole.
Once a criminal conviction has been erased, a person can legally say they do not have a criminal record. If an employer asks about a person’s criminal background and their conviction has been erased, they can legally say they were not arrested or convicted.
Employment Protections for People Whose Criminal Records Were Erased
The Clean Slate Law provides additional protections for people whose criminal records have been erased. While Connecticut law already prohibited employers from making employment decisions based on an employee or applicant’s criminal history, the new law makes it a form of discrimination “to discriminate against [a] person in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment on the basis of that person’s erased criminal history record information.”
Before the new law was passed, employers were already prohibited from taking certain actions based on a person’s criminal history. They were prohibited from asking about prior arrests or convictions, except in certain circumstances where required by law, such as for people working in education. But the new law goes further and prohibits employers from advertising employment opportunities in a way that restricts employment of people whose criminal records have been erased.
By classifying violations of the Clean Slate Law as a form of discrimination, employees gain additional protections as employers risk receiving complaints of discrimination from the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, or people seeking declaratory or injunctive relief from the court.
Impact of Connecticut Clean Slate Laws
Before Connecticut’s Clean Slate Law was passed, the only way to apply for erasure of a criminal conviction was by seeking expungement through the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. The application process can be time-consuming and expensive, and the results were often subjective.
Under the new law, many low-level crimes will automatically be erased. The new law will also help ensure that people convicted of a crime are not punished beyond their sentence and enable them to live full and productive lives.
Contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm for Help Understanding Connecticut Clean Slate Legislation
If you do not want to wait until your criminal conviction is eligible for automatic erasure, you can still apply for expungement. The Lebedevitch Law Firm works closely with Connecticut residents struggling to overcome criminal convictions. We can review your situation, determine if and when Clean Slate legislation will apply, and petition the Board of Pardons to get you relief sooner. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.
The Lebedevitch Law Firm is based in Fairfield, Connecticut, and proudly serves people in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Darien, Rowayton, Fairfield, Trumbull, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Danbury, New Haven, Bethany, Woodbridge, Milford, Stratford, Bridgeport, and throughout the State of Connecticut. We offer predictable flat fees in most criminal cases.