House Bill No. 6892

Public Act No. 01-201

AN ACT CONCERNING VICTIM IMPACT PANELS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 14-227a of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (m) as follows:

(NEW) (m) If the court sentences a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this section to a period of probation, the court may require as a condition of such probation that such person participate in a victim impact panel program approved by the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department. Such victim impact panel program shall provide a nonconfrontational forum for the victims of alcohol-related or drug-related offenses and offenders to share experiences on the impact of alcohol-related or drug-related incidents in their lives. Such victim impact panel program shall be conducted by a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of victims of accidents caused by persons who operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both. Such organization may assess a participation fee of not more than twenty-five dollars on any person required by the court to participate in such program.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 54-56g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) The court, after consideration of the recommendation of the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney in charge of the case, may, in its discretion, grant such application. If the court grants such application, it shall refer such person to the Bail Commission for assessment and confirmation of the eligibility of the applicant. The Bail Commission, in making its assessment and confirmation, may rely on the representations made by the applicant under oath in open court with respect to convictions in other states of offenses specified in subsection (a) of this section. Upon confirmation of eligibility, the defendant shall be referred to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services by the Bail Commission for evaluation and placement in an appropriate alcohol program for one year. Any person who enters the system shall agree: (1) To the tolling of the statute of limitations with respect to such crime, (2) to a waiver of such person's right to a speedy trial, (3) to participate in at least ten counseling sessions in an alcohol program pursuant to this section or, if such person was charged with a violation of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227a, where the ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person was sixteen-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight, to participate in at least fifteen counseling sessions in an alcohol program pursuant to this section, and complete the assigned program, [and] (4) to accept placement in a treatment program upon recommendation of a provider under contract with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services pursuant to subsection (d) of this section or placement in a treatment program which has standards substantially similar to, or higher than, a program of a provider under contract with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services if the Bail Commission deems it appropriate, and (5) if ordered by the court, to participate in at least one victim impact panel. The suspension of the motor vehicle operator's license of any such person pursuant to section 14-227b shall be effective during the period such person is participating in such program, provided such person shall have the option of not commencing the participation in such program until the period of such suspension is completed. If the Bail Commission informs the court that the defendant is ineligible for the system and the court makes a determination of ineligibility or if the program provider certifies to the court that the defendant did not successfully complete the assigned program or is no longer amenable to treatment, the court shall order the court file to be unsealed, enter a plea of not guilty for such defendant and immediately place the case on the trial list. If such defendant satisfactorily completes the assigned program, such defendant may apply for dismissal of the charges against such defendant and the court, on reviewing the record of the defendant's participation in such program submitted by the Bail Commission and on finding such satisfactory completion, shall dismiss the charges. If the defendant does not apply for dismissal of the charges against such defendant after satisfactorily completing the assigned program the court, upon receipt of the record of the defendant's participation in such program submitted by the Bail Commission, may on its own motion make a finding of such satisfactory completion and dismiss the charges. Upon motion of the defendant and a showing of good cause, the court may extend the one-year placement period for a reasonable period for the defendant to complete the assigned program. A record of participation in such program shall be retained by the Bail Commission for a period of seven years from the date of application. The Bail Commission shall transmit to the Department of Motor Vehicles a record of participation in such program for each person who satisfactorily completes such program. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall maintain for a period of seven years the record of a person's participation in such program as part of such person's driving record.

Sec. 3. Section 54-56g of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (e) as follows:

(NEW) (e) The court may, as a condition of granting such application, require that such person participate in a victim impact panel program approved by the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Department. Such victim impact panel program shall provide a nonconfrontational forum for the victims of alcohol-related or drug-related offenses and offenders to share experiences on the impact of alcohol-related or drug-related incidents in their lives. Such victim impact panel program shall be conducted by a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of victims of accidents caused by persons who operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, or both. Such organization may assess a participation fee of not more than twenty-five dollars on any person required by the court to participate in such program.

Approved July 11, 2001