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What defines a Criminal Record in Connecticut?
Connecticut criminal records refer to official documents containing the criminal history information of persons within the state. This information comprises arrest records, court dockets, and conviction information all assembled from local, county and state jurisdictions, trial courts, courts of appeals as well as county and state correctional facilities.
What is in a Connecticut Criminal Record?
Criminal records in the state of Connecticut generally comprise the following:
- The full name of the subject (including any aliases)
- A photograph/mugshot
- Details of any unique physical identifiers
- A full set of fingerprints
- Current and former addresses
- Past, pending and/or most current arrests, warrants and charges
- Conviction history
What is an Arrest Record?
Connecticut arrest records are a compilation of an individual’s arrest history following their alleged involvement in criminal offenses within the state’s jurisdiction.
These records are typically generated and maintained by law enforcement agencies and other judicial administrative institutions. They include (but are not exclusive to) personal identification information, details about the arrests and any consequent charges and convictions. Arrest records remain open throughout that person’s lifetime unless they are expunged or sealed. Having a record expunged or sealed is done by petitioning the court and receiving a court order that removes that arrest record from all public government records including police records.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
Connecticut arrest warrants provide legal authorization to law enforcement agents seeking to arrest or detain person(s) named in the warrant, or to search and seize property. They are primarily issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state jurisdictions and often require that the requestor of the warrant submit a written affidavit stating the crime and implicated person(s). Essentially, Connecticut state arrest warrants comprise:
- A description of the crime committed
- The date and time the arrest may occur
- Restrictions on the validity of the warrant
- Any applicable bail/bond conditions.
As per Connecticut state law, law enforcement agents may arrest criminal suspects without arrest warrants; this is the case if the officer is a witness to the crime. On the account of a suspect’s refusal to appear in court, the Connecticut state court may issue a bench warrant which often excludes bail or bond-related clauses.
What are Felonies?
A felony offense in the state of Connecticut is a crime that may be punishable with a minimum sentence of more than 1 year, and in some cases by death (until 2012 when Connecticut abolished the death sentence). Inmates may serve their convictions in a county jail or state prison. In line with Connecticut laws, felonies were categorized as being capital offenses, Class A, B, C, D felonies or unclassified. While different sentencing laws apply for crimes committed in Connecticut before July 1, 1981, the following crimes are considered felonies across the board:
- Capital Offenses: Felony murder and murder
- Class A Felonies: Sexual assault of a minor, 1st-degree kidnapping and home invasion
- Class B Felonies: 1st-degree Manslaughter and theft of property worth $20,000 or more
- Class C Felonies: Age misrepresentation and child enticement
- Class D Felonies: Prostitution
- Unclassified Felonies: Most unclassified felonies are judged according to the seriousness of the crime and its cost.
What are Misdemeanors?
Connecticut state misdemeanors are non-indictable offenses that are generally less severe than felonies. Like felonies, misdemeanor charges are classified by a number-based system which is primarily dependent on the severity of the crime. Connecticut, misdemeanors are categorized into Class A, B, C, D or unclassified crimes. The punishment can vary from 30 days for Class D misdemeanors to one year for Class A misdemeanors. The following are examples of misdemeanor crimes:
- Class A Misdemeanor: 3rd-degree assault, Pandering, prostitution, and related offenses
- Class B Misdemeanor: 2nd-degree trespassing and embezzlement of property worth $1000 or less
- Class C Misdemeanor: Theft of property worth no more than $500
- Class D Misdemeanor: Crimes considered to be of the least severity compared to all others.
What are Sex Offender Listings?
A Connecticut sex offender listing refers to a database of information regarding persons convicted of sex-related crimes in Connecticut. These listings are public-record and in most cases are complied by various jurisdictions within the state. It is the responsibility of the judges of various local courts to determine whether a criminal offense qualifies a person to be included in the sex offender registry of that jurisdiction. As per U.S. sex offender registration law, all convicted sex offenders are required to register with local law enforcement agencies upon their arrival at any Connecticut city or county. Whether they are expected to register for crimes besides the charges listed under the law is determined by the judge or magistrate in charge of their conviction.
Connecticut Megan’s Law
The state of Connecticut is mandated by U.S law to publish all information regarding sex offenders following the establishment of the first Megan’s Law. As per this law, sex offender registries are maintained by state and local law enforcement agencies which offer the public with information about those registered. Convicted offenders are required to register with the local law enforcement agency within a specified time of arriving at a jurisdiction. Offenders may be registered temporarily or for a lifetime depending on the severity of their crime.
What are Serious Traffic Violations?
Serious traffic violations in Connecticut are considered the most severe of all traffic-related crimes in the state. This typically involves the willful disregard for public safety which may consequently lead to death, serious bodily injury and damage to property. Infractions, which are relatively minor compared to violations, usually attract fines, most of which can be paid via mail. But while infractions may include non-dangerous offenses such as a broken taillight, serious violations include reckless driving, speeding, ignoring traffic signals, driving without proper documentation and others. As per state law, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is tasked with the assessment of points on the license of a person who is found guilty of a serious violation. Drivers with an extensive history of serious traffic violations run the risk of losing their driving privileges.
What are Conviction Records?
Connecticut conviction records are official documentation that provides information regarding a person’s public criminal charges. The records detail the plea of the offender and indicate whether the alleged crime is a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. Conviction records are only created subsequent to the offender’s conviction and sentencing. However, arrest records are generated and maintained regardless of the alleged suspect’s role in the crime. Conviction records also detail the sentence of the accused whether prison time, fines or community service. However, these records exclude final judgments relieved by pardon or set aside/reversed.
What are Criminal Court Judgements?
In Connecticut, criminal court judgments refer to the final resolution in a criminal case reached at the end of a bench or jury trial. These typically include the final judgment and/or anything pertaining to the sentence -- i.e. fines, community service prison time, mandatory courses or sessions and any forfeited rights.
What Happens During a Criminal Case?
While criminal trials in Connecticut typically vary depending on the crime and/or the accused, proceedings are generally similar. The process often begins as soon as the first arrest occurs and then proceeds thus:
Connecticut state arrests are often preceded by a warrant and followed by a court summons. Within 24 hours of the summon (or the next business day), the arrested individual will make their first court appearance and following the initial appearance may opt to post bail or bond (except those arrested on a bench warrant).
- Indictment & Arraignment:
Indictments refer to the formal charges leveled by the prosecution. These charges must be prepared within 30 days of the initial arrest after which they are assigned at the arraignment at which the defendant may state their plea -- i.e. guilty or not guilty.
The defense and prosecution may negotiate possible plea deals in the light of the available evidence, witnesses, etc. This may be done in private or in an open court. Unsatisfactory negotiations may then lead the case to a judicial pretrial where the presiding judge will decide as the final mediator. Cases that remain unresolved will then proceed to trial.
- Trial & Judgment
As per Connecticut State law, defendants may be subject to a bench trial or a jury trial depending on the offense committed. Bench trials often require a 3-judge panel and jury trials between 6-12 persons considered to be ‘peers’ of the accused.
To arrive at a judgment, most verdicts must be unanimous otherwise a hung-jury may be declared.
Cases that are dismissed or in which the defendant is found not guilty, all court records are automatically erased and are not available to members of the public. However, this may not be the case with trials outside the state.
All convictions, both guilty and not guilty may be appealed in a higher court. Depending on the outcome of the appeal, the case may be retried and the initial judgment, overturned.
What are Jail and Inmate Records?
Connecticut Jail and inmate records refer to official documents of information about a person’s current and sometimes past incarceration status. Incarcerated persons who are otherwise known as inmates are persons who have been deprived of his/her civil liberties and serving jail time subsequent to their conviction. Like most states, the Connecticut Department of Corrections maintains an inmate database which often includes information such as:
- Inmate’s full name and alias
- incarceration and expected release dates
- Convicted offense(s)
- Mugshots, fingerprints, physical descriptors, etc.
How to Find Parole Information
Connecticut parole records are primarily generated and maintained by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles which is tasked with overseeing all the state’s parole proceedings. Paroles, which refer to early jail releases, are typically granted to prisoners who fulfill all of the state’s requirements in the course of their prison term and before the completion of their maximum sentence. Connecticut state prisoners who are eligible for parole are supervised while in custody. The parolee may be required to pay a fee which may be lowered by the board if the prisoner is deemed unable to pay the stated fee. The conditions of parole are determined by the state board which is tasked with ensuring that the interests of the prisoner and the state are served.
What are Probation Records?
Connecticut probation records are official documentation that features details of a convict’s court-ordered supervision. Probation sentences are often issued as an alternative to prison time. Essentially, convicts on probation may serve their sentences out of custody, following the conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation sentences are typically issued in proportion to the crime, thus, sentences may differ depending on the case. Probation Sentences may be minimally supervised, supervised or intensive, with minimally supervised probations being far less strict than intensive sentences.
How to find Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile criminal record in the state of Connecticut refers to records pertaining to the criminal activity of children or adolescents in the state. As per Connecticut laws, these records are confidential and members of the public have limited rights to attend hearings involving persons under legal age. Juveniles are not considered convicts but delinquents if proven guilty of a crime. Juvenile criminal records including arrest records, detention center records, and records of proceedings involving juveniles are confidential but remain valid unless the individual petitions to have it expunged. Persons found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, may not respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless if probe regarding adjudicated delinquency.
Connecticut History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
Record keeping in the state of Connecticut depends primarily on each of the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record is generated. Most criminal records in the state go back as far as the 1970s when the earliest efforts to centralize and compile criminal and arrest data into an organized database were made. With the advent of technological advancements beginning in the 1990s, the quality and accuracy of record-keeping improved exponentially. These advancements have significantly improved the process of retrieval. The alternative methods of record retrieval offered by independent aggregate sites like StateRecords.org are equally hassle-free, and in most cases, this is the expeditious option.
How to Find Criminal Records in Connecticut
Criminal records are generally organized by local law enforcement agencies and published in public access online repositories. While the dissemination method employed may vary by jurisdiction, most records are accessible in the form of a Criminal History Record which may be obtained through the State Police managed by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. As per Connecticut state law, these are to be used as an alternative to the Letter of Good Conduct for purposes other than visa requests, foreign adoption, and immigration.
Since various jurisdictions have varying protocols, the criminal record information presented on StateRecords.org focuses primarily on Connecticut’s state-run repositories. These depositories serve as the central locations for criminal record collation, management, and dissemination.