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Felonies, Misdemeanors & Infractions

Windham County Criminal Defense Attorney

There are two classes of crime in Connecticut, felonies and misdemeanors. The state considers infractions not to be crimes and we’ll address them separately.

Felonies & Misdemeanors

Felonies are more serious crimes. They have more serious penalties and they have life-long consequences. Felonies are those crimes punishable by more than one year in jail.

Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are less serious crimes. Misdemeanors are those crimes punishable by up to, but not more than, one year in jail.

In Connecticut, we divide these two crime classes into subclasses. Felonies are classified A through E. Class A felonies are the most serious. Class E felonies are the least serious felonies. Similarly, misdemeanors are classified A through D. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors. Class D misdemeanors are the least serious.

Each letter is tied directly to the maximum jail time a judge could impose for a conviction of that level of offense. For example, if you were convicted of a class E felony, a judge could sentence you to up to three years in jail. That is the maximum sentence for class E felonies. Similarly, if you were convicted of a class A misdemeanor, a judge could sentence you to up to one year in jail because that is the maximum sentence for class A misdemeanors.

Just because a crime has a maximum jail sentence doesn’t mean that if you are convicted, you would go to jail for that period of time. You might not go to jail at all! But if you were sentenced to jail, you couldn’t be sent to jail for more than the maximum permitted for a conviction for that level of crime.

The letter classification also tells us how much of a fine could be imposed for a conviction. To use the same examples, if you were convicted of a class E felony, a judge could fine you up to $3,500. If you were convicted of a class A misdemeanor, a judge could fine you up to $2,000.

If you were convicted of a crime, a judge could order you to pay just a fine without a jail sentence. That usually only applies to convictions for lower level crimes. But a judge could sentence you to jail and also impose a fine. That only rarely happens, unless the particular conviction, like drunk driving, requires both a jail sentence and a fine.

If you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor, you should retain criminal defense counsel. Your liberty is at risk. The prosecutors and judges who will confront you in court are lawyers. They have been trained in criminal law and procedure and are experienced at convicting and punishing people. You need a criminal defense attorney in Windham County who also knows the law and procedure and can defend you. Without a defense lawyer, you are simply out-gunned.

Call The Law Office of Jerome Paun at (860) 455-4202 for a free case consultation.

Infractions

Infractions are the least serious offenses. They are prosecuted in Connecticut criminal courts by criminal prosecutors, just like felonies and misdemeanors. You have the same rights defending against infractions that you have defending against criminal charges.

These include:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • You have the right to be defended by an attorney you hire.
  • You have the right to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • You have the right to make the state prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial before a judge but not before a jury.

Infractions may seem like crimes but the State of Connecticut does not see them as such. If you plead guilty to an infraction or are convicted after a trial, a judge can order you to pay a fine but you cannot be sent to jail.

If you have only been convicted of infractions and you are asked if you have been convicted of a crime, your answer is no. This is important for all kinds of applications for: Jobs, schools, loans, insurance, housing, and more.

Motor Vehicle Infractions

There are non-motor vehicle infractions in Connecticut, like creating a public disturbance or possession of alcohol by a minor. But the vast majority of infractions, and the kind most people encounter, are the motor vehicle variety. As with all infractions, motor vehicle infractions are only punishable by a fine. No jail time is at stake.

But there can be other consequences for an infraction conviction. Convictions for certain motor vehicle infractions can result in a suspension of your driver’s license. This is also true for convictions of certain non-motor vehicle infractions such as possession of alcohol by a minor. Even if they do not result in a driver’s license suspension, conviction for certain motor vehicle infractions might result in points against your driver’s license. They may affect your automobile insurance.

Unless you are certain that pleading guilty to a particular infraction will not have other negative consequences for you, you should to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Please call The Law Office of Jerome Paun at (860) 455-4202 for a free consultation.

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