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What is a mandatory minimum sentence?

People who are arrested and charged with criminal offenses in Connecticut may often have immediate concerns about what type of punishment or consequence they may face. In particular, it is understandable for you or anyone is this position to want to know if you will have to spend time in jail and, if so, how much time you will need to spend. Depending upon the offense that a person is convicted of, there may be what is called a mandatory minimum sentence.

As the State of Connecticut Office of Legislative Report indicates, not every crime has such a sentence but many do. As the name implies, a mandatory minimum sentence is a length of jail or prison time that must be ordered for someone convicted of a specific crime. It eliminates a judge’s discretion on the low end of the sentence but does maintain the judge’s discretion for the high end. For example, if a mandatory minimum sentence is one year, a judge may order a person to spend 18 months, two years or more in jail. The judge may also order only the minimum 12 months be spent.

These sentences are based in part on the classification of the crime such as Class A felony or Class B misdemeanor. They may also be influenced or identified by the actual crime such as murder, kidnapping or assault in the third degree.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give people in Connecticut an overview of one element of how a sentence for a criminal conviction may be determined or influenced.

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