A mandatory minimum sentence means that if you plead guilty to or are found guilty of a crime, the judge or jury is bound by law to impose at least a certain penalty. It is possible for the defendant to be sentenced to more than the mandatory minimum, but in most cases there is also a maximum sentence.
In the state of Connecticut the mandatory minimum sentence for theft and property crimes varies depending on the exact offense. In situations where the offense was committed without a firearm or other weapon, there is often no mandatory minimum sentence — first-degree larceny is one example. When the incident does involve the use of a gun or other weapon, the mandatory minimum usually involves a prison sentence. First-degree robbery and first-degree burglary both carry a mandatory minimum of five years in prison when committed with a gun.
It's important to understand that even if the crime you are accused of does not have a mandatory minimum sentence, a felony conviction can still have serious repercussions on many different aspects of your life. First-degree larceny is still a Class B felony in Connecticut, and a felony conviction can keep you from being eligible for certain jobs. It could also result in a current professional license you hold being revoked, and you will not be able to possess a firearm in the future.
Laws and the penalties for breaking those laws change often, as the state and federal justice systems attempt to stay abreast of the way crime is changing in the United States and ensure that the penalties are appropriate for the crimes. Because of this, it is vital for each defendant to talk with someone who knows what the current law states and is aware of any special exceptions that may affect the case.
Source: Office of Legislative Research Research Report, "Connecticut penal code - revised and updated" Christopher Reinhart, Sep. 21, 2014