OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6025 (as amended by House "A" and "B")*

AN ACT INCREASING THE PENALTY FOR ENGAGING A POLICE OFFICER IN PURSUIT.

SUMMARY:

This bill increases the penalties for someone who, in order to elude a police officer, increases his or her driving speed after an officer in a police vehicle signals to stop by using an audible signal or flashing lights from a:

1. class D felony to a class C felony for a first offense that causes death or serious physical injury and

2. class D felony to a class C felony for a second offense, regardless of whether it causes physical injury.

By law, unchanged by the bill, a first offense that does not cause death or serious physical injury is a class A misdemeanor.

By law, a first offense carries a one year driver's license suspension and a subsequent offense carries a suspension of 18 months to two years. By law, a one year mandatory minimum sentence applies if the current and a prior offense caused death or serious physical injury.

The bill makes assault of public transit personnel a class C felony, the same penalty as for assault of public safety and emergency medical personnel. A person commits assault of public transit personnel by assaulting a public transit employee who is performing his or her duties, with intent to prevent the employee from performing them, by doing any of the following to the employee:

1. causing injury;

2. throwing potentially damaging objects;

3. using tear gas, Mace, or a similar agent;

4. throwing paint, dye, or any other offensive substance; or

5. throwing bodily fluid, such as feces, blood, or saliva.

The bill defines a public transit employee as someone (1) employed by the state, a political subdivision, or transit district or (2) who operates a vehicle or vessel for public rail, ferry, or fixed route bus service or duties directly related to operating the vehicle or vessel under a contract with the transportation commissioner to provide transportation services.

Under current law, assaults are punishable, depending on the conduct, by penalties ranging from a class A misdemeanor to a class A felony.

*House Amendment “A” adds the provision on public transit personnel.

*House Amendment “B” eliminates the penalty increase for a first offense of increasing speed to evade police that does not cause death or serious injury from a class A misdemeanor, the penalty under current law, to a class D felony.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

BACKGROUND

Criminal Penalties

The table below shows the penalties for various classifications of crimes.

Classification

Imprisonment and Fine

Class A felony

10 to 25 years in prison, up to $ 20,000 fine, or both

Class B felony

1 to 20 years in prison, up to $ 15,000 fine, or both

Class C felony

1 to 10 years in prison, up to $ 10,000 fine, or both

Class D felony

1 to 5 years in prison, up to $ 5,000 fine, or both

Class A misdemeanor

Up to 1 year in prison, up to $ 2,000 fine, or both

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

40

Nay

2

(04/03/2009)