Location:
CRIME AND CRIMINALS;

OLR Research Report


February 4, 2009

 

2009-R-0102

CRIMINAL FINES

By: Christopher Reinhart, Senior Attorney

You asked about the fines for different classes of crimes, when they were last changed, why they were changed, and what they would be if adjusted for inflation since the last time they were changed.

The fines for the different classes of felonies and misdemeanors were first adopted in 1969. The fines for class A, B, and C felonies and class A misdemeanors were increased in 1992 (PA 92-256). The fines have not changed since.

The legislative history of the 1992 act shows limited discussion on the increase in fines but indicates that the changes were made as part of a Judicial Branch pilot program imposing “day fines.” Under this program, the court sentenced an offender to a certain number of day-fine units based on the seriousness of the offense without regard to the offender's financial resources. Then the value of each unit was established as a share of the offender's daily income (see OLR Report 96-R-1577 for more information on the program).

Using the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI) Inflation Calculator, we determined the maximum fine for each class of felony or misdemeanor adjusted for inflation to 2008. The calculator uses the average CPI for each calendar year. The data represents changes in prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households. For those fines not changed since 1969, we updated them for inflation since 1969 and also since 1992, the last year that any of the fines were changed. Table 1 below displays the fines and prison terms for each class of felony or misdemeanor with fines adjusted for inflation. We also include the fines for violations.

Table 1: Prison Terms and Fines for Classes of Crimes with Fines Adjusted for Inflation to 2008

Crime

Prison Term

Current Maximum Fine

Maximum Fine Adjusted for

Inflation to 2008

Felonies

(CGS 53a-41)

Class A

10 to 25 years except:

25 to life for murder

25 to 50 for aggravated sexual assault of a minor

$20,000

(set in 1992)

$30,281.54

Class B

1 to 20 years with some exceptions

$15,000

(set in 1992)

$22,711.15

Class C

1 to 10 years

$10,000

(set in 1992)

$15,140.77

Class D

1 to 5 years

$5,000

(set in 1969)

$28,940.74

($7,570.38 if adjust for inflation since 1992)

Misdemeanors

(CGS 53a-42)

Class A

Up to 1 year

$2,000

(set in 1992)

$3,028.15

Class B

Up to 6 months

$1,000

(set in 1969)

$5,788.15

($1,514.08 if adjust for inflation since 1992)

Class C

Up to 3 months

$500

(set in 1969)

$2,894.07

($757.04 if adjust for inflation since 1992)

Violations

(CGS 53a-43)

   

$500

(set in 1969)

$2,894.07

($757.04 if adjust for inflation since 1992)

The statutes also provide for an alternative fine of up to twice the defendant's gain (CGS 53a-44) and a 50% surcharge on the fine for criminal trespass or criminal mischief on public land (CGS 53a-44a).

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