Connecticut’s laws divide crimes into felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies in Connecticut are punishable by state prison terms of one year or more. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes, punishable by one year or less in jail.
For more information on misdemeanors in Connecticut, see Connecticut Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Felonies may be capital felonies, or Class A, B, C, or D felonies; or they may be unclassified. If a felony is unclassified, the sentence will be specified in the criminal statute. Different sentencing laws apply for crimes committed in Connecticut before July 1, 1981. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-25, 53a-35, 53a-35a.)
Until 2012, Connecticut’s laws punished capital felonies (murder with special circumstances) by death or life without the possibility of parole. In April 2012, Connecticut abolished the death penalty. Today, people convicted of murder with special circumstances in Connecticut will be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-35a.)
Class A Felonies
After murder with special circumstances, class A felonies are the most serious crimes in Connecticut. A class A felony is punishable by ten to 50 years’ or 25 years' to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $20,000. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-35a, 53a-41.) Sexual assault of a child under the age of 12 is a class A felony.
For more information on this and other sex crimes against children, see Connecticut Statutory Rape Laws.
Class B Felonies
A class B felony conviction can result in a prison term of one to 40 years and a fine of up to $15,000. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-35a, 53a-41.) Theft of property or services worth more than $20,000 is a class B felony.
For more information, see Connecticut Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws.
Class C Felonies
Class C felonies are punishable by one to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-35a, 53a-41.) A person who misrepresents his or her age in order to entice a child can be convicted of a class C felony.
For more information on this crime, see Child Enticement in Connecticut.
Class D Felonies
A class D felony is the least serious type of felony in Connecticut, punishable by a state prison term of one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-35a, 53a-41.) Promoting (advancing or profiting from) prostitution is a class D felony.
For more information on this and related crimes, see Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Connecticut.
Connecticut has a recidivist sentencing law. People who have prior felony convictions can expect to receive longer prison sentences than first time offenders, even when the two people are convicted of the same offense. (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-40.)
Statute of Limitations
Many crimes have a time limit, called a statute of limitations, by which the state must begin criminal prosecution or the defendant can have the case dismissed. In Connecticut, the most serious crimes, such as murder and some sexual assaults, have no statute of limitations and the state can begin prosecution at any time. For most other felonies, the statute of limitations is five years from the time the crime is committed.
For more information, see Connecticut Criminal Statute of Limitations.
Obtaining Legal Assistance
Criminal convictions have serious consequences. Aside from time in prison and fines, criminal convictions can make it difficult to obtain a job, buy a gun, or qualify for certain government benefits. If you are charged with any crime, you should talk to a Connecticut criminal defense attorney about your case. An attorney can help you understand your options and protect your rights.