Connecticut recently brought misdemeanors into the limelight with their decision to lower a significant number of drug charges from felonies to misdemeanors.
This is good news for those facing charges for minor crimes, including drug possession. The change significantly increases the number of charges that Connecticut now considers misdemeanor crimes.
The bipartisan effort to pass this new legislation comes behind a larger movement to save Connecticut tax dollars by rethinking how we handle low-level, nonviolent drug offenders.
So how are Connecticut misdemeanors shaking out right now? Let’s take a closer look…
Connecticut Misdemeanors in Five Classes
There are currently five classes of misdemeanor charges here in the state of Connecticut. Fines for various misdemeanor crimes can range from $250 to a couple thousand dollars, and jail time typically tops out at a year.
Misdemeanor crimes are broken out by class, as follows:
- Class D Misdemeanors (least severe penalties)
- Class C Misdemeanors
- Class B Misdemeanors
- Class A Misdemeanors (most severe penalties)
- “Unclassified” Misdemeanors (not linked to a penalty level)
Connecticut’s Lowest-Level Misdemeanor Crimes (Class D)
The least severe misdemeanor in Connecticut is the Class D misdemeanor. This is the first level of criminal penalty according to the state of Connecticut. A Class D misdemeanor may garner up to 30 days in prison and a $250 fine.
A Class C Misdemeanor Is a Bit More Serious in CT
Class C misdemeanors are the next step up. A conviction can double your fine to $500, and triple your time behind bars. Larceny of the 6th degree (including “petty larceny”) is considered a Class C misdemeanor.
Sometimes a Class C Misdemeanor is Charged as Class B (or Even Class A)
Note, however, that crimes including varying degrees can become a bit more complicated as they can often be charged under several different classes of misdemeanors, depending on the severity (or degree) of the crime.
For instance, larceny can also be a Class B or Class A misdemeanor, or even a felony, depending upon the circumstances surrounding your case.
Class B Misdemeanors in Connecticut Can Cost Quite a Bit
A Class B misdemeanor is the second-most serious level of misdemeanor and can cost you quite a bit in both time and money. Crimes that are classified as Class B can result in up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
Obscenity, or the promotion of “obscene” materials or performances, are examples of a Class B misdemeanor.
Connecticut’s Most Serious Misdemeanors Class (Class A)
The most serious misdemeanor charge is a Class A misdemeanor. For this level of crime, there is a fine of up to $2,000 and a potential jail sentence of up to a year.
According to the newest Connecticut drug laws, possession of a number of drugs will now be classified as Class A misdemeanors. That includes cannabis, but harder drugs as well.
Aggravating Factors Can Push a Misdemeanor into a Felony Charge
Many Class A misdemeanors can become aggravated, which elevates them to felonies. For example, persistent offenders can have Class A misdemeanors punished as Class D felonies.
The “Other” Connecticut Misdemeanors (Unclassified)
The final type of misdemeanor in Connecticut are those that are unclassified. These misdemeanors aren’t linked to a penalty level. Instead, punishments are specifically listed in the statute defining the given crime.
Misdemeanors are an important subset of crimes under Connecticut law. The average person is far more likely to end up with a misdemeanor charge than a felony. Understanding how misdemeanors work can help you avoid them.
This understanding can also lead you to get help when you need it. If you’re unsure of where you stand in regards to a misdemeanor, an experienced Connecticut defense attorney can make all the difference.
About the Author
Douglas D. Rudolph practices criminal defense law with two guiding principles in mind: that you are someone who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that you are innocent until proven guilty. Those are beliefs that have served him well so far in New Haven and across Connecticut, where he has built a reputation as someone who truly cares about his clients and will fight aggressively for them. His work has earned him a number of prestigious awards, including landing on The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 list two years in a row and being named to the Top 10 Under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys in 2018.