Topic:
MOTOR VEHICLES; MURDER; CRIME; DEATH; TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS;
Location:
DEATH;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


The Connecticut General Assembly

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH




June 3, 1997 97-R-0774

TO:

FROM: George Coppolo, Chief Attorney

RE: Connecticut Vehicular Homicide Laws

You asked for a summary of Connecticut laws relating to motor vehicle homicide.

SUMMARY

There are several offenses the police can consider when a person accidentally causes the death of another person through the operation of a motor vehicle. They include manslaughter in the first degree (CGS 53a-55), manslaughter in the second degree (CGS 53a-56), manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle (CGS 53a-56b), misconduct with a motor vehicle (CGS 53a-57), and negligent homicide with a motor vehicle (CGS 14-222a).

MANSLAUGHTER IN THE FIRST DEGREE (CGS 53a-55)

A person is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree when under circumstances evincing an extreme indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes the death of another person. A person acts recklessly when he is aware of, and consciously disregards, a substantial and unjustifiable risk (CGS 53a-3(13)). Manslaughter in the first degree is a class B felony which is punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

MANSLAUGHTER IN THE SECOND DEGREE (CGS 53a-56)

A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when he recklessly causes the death of another person. Manslaughter in the second degree is a class C felony, which is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. This offense is easier to prosecute than manslaughter in the first degree because the prosecutor does not have to show that there were circumstances evincing an extreme indifference to human life.

MANSLAUGHTER IN THE SECOND DEGREE WITH A MOTOR VEHICLE (CGS 53a-56b)

A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, he causes the death of another person as a consequence of the effect of such liquor or drug. Manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle is a class C felony and the court is required to suspend the motor vehicle operator's license or nonresident operating privilege of any person found guilty under this section for one year. This offense is easier to prosecute than the first two discussed because the prosecutor does not have to prove the defendant acted recklessly. But he has to prove the driver was under the influence and that this caused the death.

MISCONDUCT WITH A MOTOR VEHICLE (CGS 53a-57)

A person is guilty of misconduct with a motor vehicle when, with criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, he causes the death of another person. Misconduct with a motor vehicle is a class D felony, which is punishable by a prison term of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. A person acts with “criminal negligence” when he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk of accidentally causing someone's death.

NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE WITH A MOTOR VEHICLE (CGS 14-222a)

A person is guilty of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle when, because of his negligent operation of a motor vehicle, he causes someone's death. The penalty is up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. This offense involves ordinary negligence which occurs when someone deviates from the standard of care or conduct a person should reasonably follow under the circumstances. This is easier to prove than misconduct with a motor vehicle which involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that should be followed.

GC:lc