How Can I Get a Pardon in Connecticut?

Posted by Tamar BirckheadJul 22, 2023

The pardon application process in Connecticut can difficult and frustrating to navigate. 

Attorney Tamar Birckhead has been consistently successful in her applications for absolute pardons for her clients, which result in complete erasure of the client's official criminal record. 

If you are considering whether to apply to the Connecticut Board of Pardons, you should keep the following in mind:

When can I apply?

You may apply for a pardon as soon as three years after the disposition date of your most recent misdemeanor conviction and five years after the disposition of your most recent felony conviction. Yet, your application may be more likely to be approved if you wait until at least five years after a misdemeanor and ten years after a felony conviction, depending of course on the nature and specifics of the crime and the reason(s) you need a pardon.  There is no penalty, however, in applying more than once, as long as you can demonstrate why the most recent submission is more compelling than your last one.

Do I need references?

A minimum of three “Absolute Pardon Reference Questionnaire” forms must be submitted with your application, with only one allowed from a family member. There is no maximum limit, however, on the number of forms that you can submit as long as they have been drafted within one year of your application.  Start working on gathering these documents early in the application process, but think carefully about whom to ask, as you want your references to address different aspects of your background, character, and achievements.

How do I prepare for the hearing?

If your application has been approved for a hearing during the pre-screening session of the Board, prepare carefully for the hearing itself. If possible, arrange to have one or two of your supporters (family, close friends) accompany you to the proceeding.  Draft what you plan to say to the panel ahead of time, practice it, and get feedback from people you trust.  Remember to be very specific when you speak about your remorse for the crime, the pain you have caused others, and why you are requesting a pardon; avoid clichés and generalities. 

Should I hire a lawyer?

It is wise to get professional legal advice from the outset to help you:

a) Navigate the Board of Pardon's policies and regulations;

b) Compile a submission packet that is well-organized, thorough, and compelling; and

c) Ensure that you are presenting the strongest possible case to the panel at the hearing.

For more information about this topic or other legal assistance in Connecticut, please contact Attorney Tamar Birckhead at (203) 805-7851 for a free consultation.