What Is a Class D Felony in Connecticut?
The state of Connecticut has capital felonies, and then divides all other felonies into four categories, on a scale from A to D. Class A crimes, which include murder, are the most serious. Class D crimes are the least serious. Class D crimes include:
- 2nd degree assault
- Larceny – valued between $1,000 and $5,000
- Possession of a forged instrument
- Issuing a bad check over $1,000
- Impersonating a police officer
- Burglary – third degree
- Possession of a weapon on school property
Maximum and Minimum Sentences
Connecticut law calls for a sentence between 1 and 5 years and a fine of up to $5,000 for a Class D felony conviction. Judges have the discretion to enhance penalties in certain situations or to consider probation or parole instead of a prison sentence. That is most likely with Class D felonies, though it is possible for all but Class A felonies. First-time offenders and those convicted of non-violent Class D felonies are most likely to avoid a prison sentence.
The state has rules in place to enhance penalties when a firearm is a part of or possessed during the commission of a crime such as a Class D felony. A higher minimum sentence is required in these circumstances. For example, a second degree assault involving a firearm – a Class D felony – requires a minimum of 1 year in prison. A third degree assault of someone who is elderly, blind or pregnant – also a Class D felony – must be punished by at least two years in prison. Enhanced penalties also are required for “dangerous felony offenders.” Those are criminals with prior convictions, generally for violent crimes. These enhancements do not affect any Class D felonies.
Loss of Rights and Benefits
As soon as you are convicted you will lose the following rights in Connecticut:
- Hold public office
- Own or possess a firearm
- Serve on a jury
- Enlist in the armed services
- Hold some occupations that require federal or state licenses such as attorney, architect and psychologist
Voting rights are automatically restored once you have completed your sentence, including any probation or parole requirements. The right to hold public office is automatically restored after completion of the sentence. The right to serve on a jury is restored once 7 years has passed since the felony conviction without any new felony convictions. Firearms rights are not automatically restored in Connecticut.
Employment and Housing with a Felony Record
Connecticut has laws designed to protect felons from discrimination on the job market. Employers cannot simply refuse to hire someone with a criminal record. Instead, an employer must have a specific reason not to hire an applicant with a criminal record that is related to the specific job or field involved. Only law enforcement agencies can deny employment to an applicant because of a criminal conviction without any further explanation. Still, most people with criminal records will find it difficult to find both jobs and housing.
Clearing Your Record
There are two types of pardons in Connecticut – an expungement pardon and a provisional pardon. The end result of a provisional pardon is a Certificate of Employability from the Board of Parole. In some cases, that can make getting a job easier. Expungement pardons erase an applicant’s criminal record. A felon must wait 3 after completing the sentence for a misdemeanor and 5 years after a felony to apply. There can be no criminal activity since the initial conviction. The process takes about 12 months to complete. There is no separate expungement process in Connecticut for felony offenders.
For more on crimes and sentencing guidelines, see the Connecticut penal code.
The information contained above is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.