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How much of my sentence will I actually have to serve?  Parole Eligibility in Connecticut

January 21, 2022 Criminal Defense

Depending on a host of factors and circumstances, in some criminal cases the State’s Attorney’s Office makes a criminal defendant an offer to resolve their criminal case that involves serving a period of incarceration. indeed, this is a crucial decision-point for any defendant.  There are many of things to consider to properly evaluate whether to accept an offer by the State or to take the case to trial.  Some of these include what the laws are, the State’s allegations, the evidence the State claims to have, as well as the defense’s evidence and trial strategies.  However, an important aspect to consider is also the practical effects of the conviction including:

How much time in jail would the defendant actually serve?

My advice to clients is that they need to be mentally prepared to serve the full portion of any unsuspended period of incarceration.  However, there are a number of legal factors and Department of Corrections policies that likely will result in a lesser period of incarceration. 

One such factor is whether the person is eligible for parole after serving 50% or 85% of the period of incarceration. 

Assuming that the sentence is more than two years, under Connecticut General Statute Section 54-125a(a), the general rule is that a person becomes eligible for parole after serving half (50%) of any unsuspended period of incarceration, after application of any risk-reduction credits (“good behavior”).

However, the legislature has also carved out a number of offenses that requires the person to serve eighty-five percent (85%) of the unsuspended sentence before being eligible for parole.  These offenses (which involve the use, attempted use or threatened use of force against another person) have been listed by the Board of Pardons and Paroles to include:

  • Manslaughter 1st
  • Manslaughter 1st with a Firearm
  • Manslaughter 2nd
  • Manslaughter 2nd with a Firearm
  • Manslaughter 2nd with a Motor Vehicle
  • Misconduct with a Motor Vehicle
  • Assault 1st
  • Assault of a Victim Sixty or Older
  • Assault on Dept of Correction Employee
  • Assault 2nd
  • Assault 2nd with a Firearm
  • Assault of a Victim Sixty or Older 2nd
  • Assault of a Victim Sixty or Older 2nd
  • Strangulation 1st
  • Strangulation 2nd
  • Sexual Assault 1st
  • Sexual Assault in a Spousal or
  • Sexual Assault 3rd with a Firearm
  • Kidnapping 1st
  • Kidnapping 1st with a Firearm
  • Kidnapping 2nd
  • Kidnapping 2nd with a Firearm
  • Unlawful Restraint 1st
  • Home Invasion
  • Burglary 1st
  • Burglary 2nd
  • Burglary 2nd with a Firearm
  • Burglary 3rd with a Firearm
  • Arson 1st
  • Arson 2nd
  • Robbery 1st
  • Robbery 2nd
  • Robbery 3rd
  • Assault on a Policeman or Fireman
  • Rioting in a Correctional Facility
  • Inciting a Riot in a Correctional Facility
  • Stalking 1st
  • Abuse of Persons 1st

There are a number of offenses which a person would be entirely ineligible for parole.  These offenses include:

  • Murder
  • Capital Felony Murder
  • Felony Murder
  • Arson Murder
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault1st

The Board will also treat a person convicted of Conspiracy or Attempt of the above offenses to have been convicted of the offense itself, for evaluating parole eligibility. 

While there are a number of things to consider in evaluating the time a person will actually serve of a criminal sense, undoubtedly an important part is parole eligibility.  If you or someone you know is under investigation for a crime or facing prosecution in the state or federal courts of Connecticut or Massachusetts and could use help, contact Attorney Cody N. Guarnieri at (860) 996-8473 or today.