Connecticut Expungement Law
Expungement of Criminal Records – General – Connecticut
1. What is an expungement?
The process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.
2. Do the records just “disappear”?
No. They shall be erased by operation of law and the clerk or any person charged with the retention and control of such records shall not disclose to anyone their existence or any information pertaining to any charge so erased. After three years from the final disposition of the criminal case, the records may be destroyed. C.S. Sec. 54-142a. The records cannot be accessed for general law enforcement or civil use. However, under certain exceptional situations, the expunged records can be searched, retrieved, and used, but this is occurs only in exceptional circumstances and normally requires a court order or statutory authorization. A court may order disclosure of such records to a defendant in an action for false arrest arising out of the proceedings so erased, or in connection with any perjury charges which the prosecutor alleges may have arisen from the testimony elicited during the trial. Within two years of from the date of disposition of any case, the fact of dismissal of the conviction may be disclosed to the victim of the crime or their legal representative. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142c. If the crime has been later decriminalized, the person charged may petition for destruction of records. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142d.
3. What records may be expunged?
All police and court records and records of any state’s attorney pertaining to such charge. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142a. For juvenile offeners, all references including arrest, complaint, referrals, petitions, reports and orders, shall be removed from all agency, official and institutional files. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-76o. DNA records may also be expunged. Sec.54-102l. Information in the registry of protective orders is not subject to erasure. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142a. The effect of an expungement is that one’s criminal record of arrest and/or conviction is erased and legally deemed not to have occurred.
Who is eligible for an expungement? An adult whose criminal charges have been pardoned, decriminalized, dismissed, nolled, or has been found not quilty. A person not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect or guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or defect is not eligible. All related counts must be eligible for erasure. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142a-54-142d.
Persons deemed youthful offenders,when such person attains twenty- one years of age, provided such person has not subsequent to being adjudged a youthful offender been convicted of a felony. Connecticut Statutes Sec.54-76o
Also, a child has been found delinquent or a member of a family with service needs, and has subsequently been discharged from the supervision of the Superior Court or from the custody of the Department of Children and Families or from the care of any other institution or agency to whom he has been committed by the court. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 46-146.
4. How do I get an “Expungement”?
The arrested person or any one of his heirs may file a petition for erasure with the court granting such not guilty judgment or dismissal, or, where the matter had been before a municipal court, a trial justice, the Circuit Court or the Court of Common Pleas with the records center of the Judicial, modified, or supplemented by the agency of record. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142a.
Each person, including, but not limited to, a consumer reporting agency, that has purchased records of criminal matters of public record from the Judicial Department shall, prior to disclosing such records, (1) purchase from the Judicial Department, on a monthly basis or on such other schedule as the Judicial Department may establish, any updated criminal matters of public record or information available for the purpose of complying with this section, and (2) update its records of criminal matters of public record to permanently delete such erased records. Such person shall not further disclose such erased records. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-142e.
In the case of youthful offenders, all police and court records pertaining to such youthful offender shall be automatically erased when such person attains twenty- one years of age. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 54-76o.
Whenever any child has been convicted as delinquent, has been adjudicated a member of a family with service needs or has signed a statement of responsibility admitting to having committed a delinquent act, and has subsequently been discharged from the supervision of the Superior Court or from the custody of the Department of Children and Families or from the care of any other institution or agency to whom the child has been committed by the court, such child, or the child’s parent or guardian, may file a petition with the Superior Court. If such court finds (1) (A) that at least two years or, in the case of a child convicted as delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense, four years have elapsed from the date of such discharge, (2)(B) that no subsequent juvenile proceeding or adult criminal proceeding is pending against such child, (3)(C) that such child has not been convicted of a delinquent act that would constitute a felony or misdemeanor if committed by an adult during such two-year or four-year period, (4)(D) that such child has not been convicted as an adult of a felony or misdemeanor during such two-year or four-year period, and (5)(E) that such child has reached eighteen years of age, or (2) that such child has a criminal record as a result of being a victim of conduct by another person that constitutes a violation of section 53a-192a, as amended by this act, or a criminal violation of 18 USC Chapter 77, the court shall order all police and court records pertaining to such child to be erased. Upon the entry of such an erasure order, all references including arrest, complaint, referrals, petitions, reports and orders, shall be removed from all agency, official and institutional files, and a finding of delinquency or that the child was a member of a family with service needs shall be deemed never to have occurred. The persons in charge of such records shall not disclose to any person information pertaining to the record so erased, except that the fact of such erasure may be substantiated where, in the opinion of the court, it is in the best interests of such child to do so. No child who has been the subject of such an erasure order shall be deemed to have been arrested ab initio, within the meaning of the general statutes, with respect to proceedings so erased. Copies of the erasure order shall be sent to all persons, agencies, officials or institutions known to have information pertaining to the delinquency or family with service needs proceedings affecting such child. Whenever a child is dismissed as not delinquent or as not being a member of a family with service needs, all police and court records pertaining to such charge shall be ordered erased immediately, without the filing of a petition. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the court from granting a petition to erase a child’s records on a showing of good cause, after a hearing, before the time when such records could be erased. Connecticut Statutes Sec. 46b-146.