Location:
CRIMINAL LAW; SENTENCING;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


October 12, 2010

 

2010-R-0408

SENTENCING STATISTICS FOR 2ND DEGREE MANSLAUGHTER WITH A MOTOR VEHICLE

By: Christopher Reinhart, Chief Attorney

You asked about the number of people sentenced for 2nd degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle (CGS 53a-56b) over the last 10 years and what their prison sentences were.

You also asked how many people were charged with this crime in the last 10 years but were sentenced to a lesser crime. We do not yet have information on this question and will provide it as soon as it is available.

SUMMARY

A person commits 2nd degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle when he or she (1) operates a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor, drugs, or both and (2) causes the death of another person due to the effect of the liquor or drugs. This crime is a class C felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both. The court must also suspend the person's driver's license for one year and prohibit the person from driving any motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device for the following two years.

According to the Judicial Branch, the courts imposed 191 sentences for 2nd degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle since January 1, 2001. This data reflects the number of charges resulting in convictions rather than the number of people convicted of this crime. It is possible that a defendant could have been convicted of more than one charge during this time period and that a single case could involve multiple convictions for this crime.

Of these 191 convictions, the court imposed a prison sentence for each conviction but for 10 convictions, the court suspended the entire sentence. Only one conviction had the maximum 10-year prison sentence with none of the sentence suspended. Overall, the average effective prison sentence (the sentence minus any portion that the court suspended) was 4.94 years. The average effective sentence has exceeded this mark in each year since 2007.

For all but 10 of these convictions, the court also imposed a period of probation: 145 convictions received a five-year probation term, five received four years, 30 received three years, and one received two years. The maximum probation period for a C felony changed during the period covered by this data. Prior to October 1, 2008, the court could impose up to five years probation. After that date, the maximum term is three years but the court can still impose a period of up to five years on a case-by-case basis.

The court imposed a fine for six convictions: $4,500, $2,000, and $1,000 for one conviction each and $500 for three convictions.

The court also imposed special parole for two convictions (one for four years and the other for five years). The court can require a period of special parole to follow a prison sentence.

Because the data from the Judicial Branch is for individual charges resulting in convictions, we do not know any other circumstances of an individual's case that could affect sentencing, such as what other crimes a person was charged with and what other sentences were imposed.

PRISON SENTENCES

The Judicial Branch provided us with sentencing information on convictions for 2nd degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle (CGS 53a-56b) since January 1, 2001. For each year, table 1 shows the number of convictions and the low, high, and average prison sentence imposed after any portion was suspended.

Table 1: Prison Sentences for 2nd Degree Manslaughter with a Motor Vehicle since January 1, 2001

 

Number of Sentences Imposed

Non-Suspended Portion of Prison Sentence (in years)

Low

High

Average

2001

19

0

9

4.41

2002

19

0

10

5.12

2003

19

0

7.5

4.47

2004

22

0

8.25

4.43

2005

19

0

9

5.00

2006

17

0

8.5

4.49

2007

19

1

9.97

5.26

2008

21

2.33

8

5.19

2009

22

0

9.33

5.57

2010*

14

3

7.75

5.45

*Through September 29, 2010

CR:ts