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Felony, Misdemeanor, and Infractions in Connecticut

Unlike other states in the country, Connecticut’s Judicial Branch categorizes crime into two: felonies and misdemeanors. In Connecticut, a felony attracts a punishment of one year or more in state prison. Misdemeanors are not thought to be as serious as felonies and attract punishments of one year or less in prison. Summarily, Connecticut crimes are tried on the basis of the categorization.

What is a felony in Connecticut?

Felonies are the most severe class of crime in the State of Connecticut. They attract harsh punishments once a defendant is found guilty.

Felonies are classified as

  • Capital felonies,
  • Class A felonies,
  • Class B felonies,
  • Class C felonies, and
  • Class D felonies.

Some felonies are unclassified, and if a person is convicted of an unclassified felony, they will serve their sentence as explicitly stated in the criminal statute.

Capital felonies are the most severe category of crime in the State of Connecticut.

After capital felonies, Class A felonies are the most serious category of crime in Connecticut. The degree of seriousness decreases with each class, with Class D felonies being the least serious.

The severity of sentencing depends on the type of crime committed and its perceived seriousness.

Connecticut’s Revised Penal Code gives full details of all crimes and their penalties.

What are some examples of felonies in Connecticut?

  • Capital felonies:Before the Connecticut criminal law was revised in 2012, the state’s laws punished capital felonies by death or life, and there was no parole (release).

However, the death penalty law was abolished in 2012. The new law gives a more lenient penalty to people convicted of a capital felony, putting certain criteria into consideration.

In Connecticut, these individuals will be given a sentence of life imprisonment, and release is not a possibility. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a–35a.). Examples include;

  • Aggravated murder.
  • Class A felonies:

Examples include:

  • Sexually assaulting a child that is below the age of 12,
  • Felony murder,
  • Kidnapping with a firearm (first degree),
  • Assaulting a pregnant woman (which leads to her losing the pregnancy), and
  • Invasion of homes.
  • Class B felonies:

Any individual convicted of a class B felony can spend a jail term ranging from one to forty years in state prison and could be fined a sum of up to 15,000 USD (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a–35a, 53a–41.). Examples include;

  • Theft of property worth more than 20,000 USD,
  • Manslaughter (first degree),
  • Assaulting a corrections officer, and
  • Aggravated sexual assault on children above 16 years of age.
  • Class C felonies:

An individual guilty of a Class C felony will receive a punishment of between one and ten years’ imprisonment in state prison and could be required to pay a fine of as much as 10,000 USD. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a–35a, 53a–41.). Examples include:

  • The false representation of age to woo a child,
  • Manslaughter (second degree),
  • Manslaughter (second degree) with a firearm or motor vehicle,
  • Intimidating or blackmailing a witness, and
  • Receiving or giving bribes.
  • Class D felonies:

If a person is convicted of a Class D felony, they will serve between one and five years in state prison and may be fined up to $5,000. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a–35a, 53a–41.)

In Connecticut, the Statutes of Limitation for most felonies is five years. However, crimes of high severity like capital felonies and some sexual assaults do not have a Statute of Limitation. What this implies is that the state can begin prosecution for these crimes at any time. Examples include:

  • Any form of engaging in or endorsing prostitution, and
  • Misconduct using an automobile.

Can an Individual get a Felony Removed From a Court Record in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, criminal records laws allow the removal of felony convictions, criminal charges, and arrest records from an individual’s criminal history.

In some cases, an absolute pardon is granted for adult convictions; hence these crimes may be eligible for removal.

The state’s Board of Pardon provides two types of pardons for convicted individuals. An absolute pardon will expunge convictions, but a certificate of employability (also called a provisional pardon) will not.

The implication of expunging a criminal record is that the public will not be able to view past criminal records. Expungement makes it possible for a previously convicted individual to appear as though they were never convicted.

The Connecticut Board of Pardon will determine other eligibility criteria. Some of which include;

  • The severity of the crime committed,
  • An individual’s work history since release from prison,
  • Pending criminal charges,
  • Character references, and
  • Evidence of rehabilitation.

The power to grant or refuse an expungement request lies in the hands of the Connecticut Board.

Detailed information is contained in Chapter 961a of the Connecticut Criminal Procedure Code.

Is Expungement the Same as Sealing Court Records in Connecticut?

Yes! In Connecticut, expungement is the same as sealing a court record. The removal of a felony from public records in Connecticut is known as “expungement.”

How Long Does a Felony Stay on an Individual’s Record in Connecticut?

Before a record of a crime can be eligible for expungement in Connecticut, they will be required to wait for some time, depending on the nature of their crime.

The waiting period for unconvicted charges is 13 months. For misdemeanors and felonies, the waiting periods are three and five years, respectively.

For felonies, the five-year waiting period will begin after one has completely served the required prison sentence.

It is easier to remove lower class felonies than higher ones.

For example, if anyone was convicted and sentenced to serve a jail term of five years and the jail term ends August 2013, the waiting period will begin in August 2013. This person will only be eligible to file for expungement starting August 2018.

The period it will take for the Board of Pardon to grant an expungement request is not explicitly stated in the state’s laws.

However, once an expungement is granted, convictions are wiped off an individual’s criminal records.

What is a Misdemeanor in Connecticut?

As with felonies, misdemeanors in Connecticut are categorized into the following classes:

  • Class A misdemeanors,
  • Class B misdemeanors,
  • Class C misdemeanors, and
  • Class D misdemeanors.

Some misdemeanors are categorized as unclassified. Anyone convicted of an unclassified misdemeanor will serve a sentence as explicitly stated in the state’s criminal statute (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a–26 and § 53a–36.))

Class A misdemeanors are more serious than other classes. Class D misdemeanors are the least serious of the four categories.

What are some examples of misdemeanors?

  • Class A Misdemeanors:

Class A misdemeanors attract punishments of up to one year in jail, and convicted individuals may be expected to pay a fine of up to 2,000 USD. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a–36, 53a–42.). Examples include;

  • Prostitution, and
  • The illegal possession of a dangerous weapon.
  • Class B Misdemeanors:

An individual convicted of a Class B misdemeanor could receive sentencing of up to six months in jail. They can also be fined as much as 1,000 USD. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a–36, 53a–42.). Examples include;

  • Embezzling properties worth between 500 USD and 1000 USD.
  • Class C Misdemeanors:

Punishment for Class C Misdemeanors includes serving a jail term for as long as three months and paying a fine as much as $500. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a–36, 53a–42.). Examples include:

  • The theft of property and services worth up to $500 or less,
  • Illegal use of an Automated Teller Machine,
  • Paying for services with a bad currency note, and
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
  • Class D Misdemeanors:

They are often considered the least serious crimes in the state, and most cases are unclassified.

Individuals convicted of Class D misdemeanors are liable to a jail sentence of up to 30 days and will pay a fine of as much as $250. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 53a–36, 53a–42.)

In Connecticut, the state has a limiting period of one year to begin prosecution for misdemeanors, after which a defendant can file for a case dismissal.

Can an Individual Get a Misdemeanor Removed from a Record in Connecticut?

Yes, an individual can expunge a misdemeanor off their criminal record. Individuals will need to file for expungement provided they meet the eligibility criteria, as stated in the state’s criminal laws.

The records will remain on their criminal record if an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor unless expunged by the state’s Board of Pardon. An individual’s criminal record is accessible to the public.

Not expunging a misdemeanor conviction can be detrimental to an individual’s career ambitions.

As in the case of felonies, a convict is expected to wait at least three years before they can be eligible to file for expungement.

The waiting period begins after the convicted individual has finished serving their sentence and concludes at the end of the third year.

The Board of Pardon has the power to reject a defendant’s request for expungement if the person does not meet certain criteria as determined by the board.

Can a DUI Be Expunged in Connecticut?

Yes, an individual convicted of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) can expunge the conviction from their criminal record in Connecticut, provided that certain conditions are met.

A person could be charged with a DUI if they are found to exceed the state’s standard alcohol limits.

The BAC of anyone that is found driving should not reach or exceed 0.08% in the State of Connecticut. This law can also be found in many other states in the United States,

If a person’s BAC reaches or exceeds this limit, they are said to be driving under the influence of alcohol.

A police officer holds the right to stop any driver on the road when it is perceived that they are driving under the influence.

Persons charged with DUI will have to undergo a BAC test before they are convicted. If a person is found to exceed the standard limit, they will be sentenced. This law is called a Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit DUI Law.

This law implies that there is enough evidence to prove that an individual was driving under the influence.

Once convicted of DUI, the defendant will have his or her driver’s license revoked and have to pay a fine.

A DUI conviction would stay on the individual’s Connecticut driving record and, if not erased, could cause damage to an individual’s freedom or reputation.

If a person is not convicted of a DUI but is only charged, they can also have their records expunged once the charges are dismissed or the person is acquitted of the charge.

Full details can be found in the Connecticut Law of Criminal Records.

What constitutes an Infraction in Connecticut?

An infraction is a failure to adhere to state law, community regulation, or local ordinances. It is the state’s legislature that identifies these breaches as infractions.

In Connecticut, an infraction does not attract a jail sentence. However, individuals caught committing infractions are required to pay a fine. The amount to be paid depends on the type of infraction.

The state of Connecticut does not consider infraction as a crime or an offense, as clearly stated in the Connecticut Criminal Laws.

A person will not be charged in court if they are guilty of an infraction.

Accused individuals may pay a fine or choose to plead Not Guilty. They can only plead not guilty by mail.

Full information on infractions is stated in the Connecticut General Statute section 51–164m.

What are some examples of Infractions in Connecticut?

There have been several infractions in Connecticut. Some examples include:

  • Over speeding,
  • Noise violation,
  • Failing to use a seatbelt,
  • Disobeying traffic orders, and
  • Littering the floor.

As seen in the examples, most infractions are traffic crimes.

Can Infractions be Expunged from a Connecticut Criminal Court Record?

No. Unlike felonies and misdemeanors, infractions are not considered an offense. Only criminal convictions can be expunged from a person’s criminal records.

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