Governor Lamont Signs Legislation Addressing Motor Vehicle Theft
HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont announced that he has signed into law Public Act 22-115, which updates Connecticut’s criminal justice statutes to enable law enforcement and the courts to provide swifter, more effective responses to youth charged with repeated motor vehicle theft and other crimes. Combined with increased investments in the recently approved state budget, the improved responses implemented under the law will help connect youth with services and treatment to reduce recidivism.
“These updates to Connecticut’s criminal justice statutes make juvenile arrest and delinquency proceedings swifter with more information for courts to review, provide more intensive responses to the small number of juveniles with serious and repeated charges, and restructure motor vehicle theft laws to focus on people with prior offenses,” Governor Lamont said. “This bipartisan legislation shows the good that comes when policymakers on both sides of the aisle seek common ground to develop solutions together. Connecticut is a safe state, and keeping it safe requires continuous policy improvements and investments in needed areas.”
At the start of the legislative session, Governor Lamont introduced legislation (Senate Bill 16) containing several provisions that were later incorporated into this public act as state lawmakers hammered out bipartisan agreement. Several provisions included in Public Act 22-115 are:
- Makes juvenile arrest and delinquency proceedings swifter and more effective
- Requires youth who are arrested but not detained to be brought before the court within five business days.
- Increases from six to eight hours the amount of time a youth can be held if police are awaiting a judicial ruling on a detention order or are trying to locate a parent or guardian.
- Grants municipal police officers investigating a juvenile access to electronic records containing statewide pending charges and 90 days of prior arrest records.
- Allows courts to formally order that a youth be assessed for services.
- Provides more intensive responses to the small number of juveniles with serious, repeated charges
- Expands the special juvenile probation docket to include homicide and firearm crimes.
- Allows courts to order GPS monitoring for a youth charged with a second or subsequent motor vehicle offense.
- Focuses motor vehicle theft penalties on people with prior offenses
- Establishes a new structure for motor vehicle thefts with penalties that grow more serious for subsequent offenses rather than basing penalties on the value of the vehicle.
In addition to this legislation, the budget adjustment bill that Governor Lamont signed into law this spring (Public Act 22-118) makes several significant investments, using American Rescue Plan Act authorizations and state appropriations, to increase public safety, including:
- $11.4 million for law enforcement-led strategies and partnerships to trace recovered firearms to their source, reduce stolen cars and violence, expand support for communities experiencing increases in violent crime, and promote safety on rural roads;
- $7.5 million for community- and public- health-led strategies to prevent and reduce gun violence;
- $4.1 million for upgrades to forensic science technology to speed up and improve the investigation and clearing of criminal cases; and
- $3.3 million to provide at-risk juveniles with access to services and diversion programs.