Erasure of Convictions For Since-Decriminalized Offenses (e.g. Marijuana Possession)

What if you were convicted of a crime that is now, due to court decisions or legislative enactments, is no longer a crime? Would it be fair to still carry that conviction and all of its problems? Of course not. Connecticut has a legal process for that. Individuals who are in that situation may petition the court that entered the conviction to erase it–the conviction will no longer exist or appear in a criminal history. This is commonplace with marijuana possession. In 2011 the legislature decriminalized the simple possession of less than an half ounce of marijuana. Before that, it was a misdemeanor and many people still have convictions for those offenses. In early 2015, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that convictions wherein the facts fit the new law can be erased. I wrote about this decision here. Marijuana convictions, as any drug conviction, have many collateral consequences, including prohibitions on pistol permits and higher education financial aid, in addition to the stigma of a conviction for employment applications. Another law that changed was Sexual Assault in the Second Degree (commonly known as statutory rape): the age gap increased from two years to three so there are many people who were convicted under the old law that can potentially erase their convictions under the new law.

If you were convicted of a crime–especially a marijuana possession charge–that might have changed, contact me and we will figure out what your options are.


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