New Law Addresses Juvenile Motor Vehicle Thefts

July 27, 2022

Over the past two years, and in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut, like many states across our country, has experienced an uptick in juvenile motor vehicle thefts and other criminal activity.

House Democrats heard your calls for swift action and responded by leading bipartisan discussions to develop smart juvenile justice reforms. I'm pleased to share this bipartisan legislation addressing the pandemic-driven uptick in juvenile crime was recently signed into law.

The new law updates Connecticut's criminal justice statutes so that our courts and law enforcement can effectively respond to juveniles with repeated motor vehicle theft and other crimes.

This law makes juvenile arrest and delinquency proceedings more effective by:

  • Requiring youth who are arrested but not detained to be brought before the court within five business days.
  • Increasing 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.
  • Providing police officers with access to electronic records containing statewide pending charges and 90 days of prior arrest records.
  • Allowing courts to formally order that a youth be assessed for services.
  • Expanding the special juvenile probation docket to include homicide and firearm crimes.
  • Allowing courts to order GPS monitoring for a youth charged with a second or subsequent motor vehicle offense.
  • Establishing a new structure for motor vehicle thefts with penalties that become more serious for subsequent offenses rather than basing penalties on the value of the vehicle.

HB 5417

This law, coupled with increased investment in diversion programs and services, will help stem juvenile crime over the long-term. Connecticut remains one of the safest places to live because of smart-on-crime policy and we will continue to support forward-thinking initiatives.