Murder is one of the oldest and most serious crimes in civilized society. The killing of one human being by another is taken very seriously and can come with extremely severe punishments. Many states divide murder charges into first, second, and third degree murder, but Connecticut is slightly different. Rather than dividing murder charges into degrees, Connecticut determines the seriousness of the murder charge based on a variety of factors, such as the people involved in the crime, whether or not the murder occurred at the same time a felony was committed, the type of felony that was committed, and other circumstances.
Connecticut Murder Charges
According to the Connecticut Penal Code, murder is defined as causing the death of another person when the offender has the intent to cause death. A murder charge becomes a murder with special circumstances when the offender:
- Murders a police officer, firefighter, inspector, or other government official performing their duties;
- Murders for financial gain or hires someone to murder for financial gain;
- Murders someone and had previously been convicted of murder or felony murder;
- Murders while serving a life sentence;
- Murders during a kidnapping;
- Murders during sexual assault;
- Murders two or more people at once; or
- Murders someone under the age of 16.
Additional charges and penalties may apply when a person commits murder while also committing or attempting to commit any of the following felonies:
- Sexual assault in the first, second, or third degree; or
- Escape (e.g., from a correctional institution) in the first or second degree.
Manslaughter is also a murder charge, but is different than actual murder. Under Connecticut law, manslaughter can be classified into first degree and second degree manslaughter. First degree manslaughter is committed when a person intends to inflict serious physical injury to another and ends up killing them, or when a person engages in reckless conduct with indifference to human life and kills another. Second degree manslaughter occurs when a person acts recklessly and accidentally kills another person.
Sentences for Murder Charges
When it comes to sentencing, like most crimes, murder charges in Connecticut are decided depending on the type of murder charge and the circumstances surrounding the case. Basic murder is classified as a Class A felony. This means that the offender will face a prison sentence of no less than 25 years but not more than life imprisonment. If a person is convicted of a murder with special circumstances, they will face a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
First degree manslaughter is classified as a Class B felony, which carries a sentence of one to 20 years in prison. Second degree manslaughter is a Class C felony and carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison.
Contact a Hartford, CT Murder Defense Lawyer
Murder is one of the most serious crimes you can be charged with. If you are facing charges for any type of murder, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Hartford criminal defense attorney. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have over 20 years of experience defending clients against violent crime charges. Contact our office at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.