OVA: Youthful Offender Status


In Connecticut, 16- and 17-year-old offenders are considered to be adults.  Under current law, some offenders in this age group can apply for Youthful Offender (YO) status rather than be prosecuted as an adult in criminal court.  The intent of providing this status is to allow first-time offenders in this age group, who successfully complete the court imposed sentence, a second chance by erasing their criminal record.


Offenders in this age group are NOT eligible for YO status if s/he:



is charged with a class A felony;


is charged with a violation of:


1.  risk of injury to a minor involving sex (CGS § 53-21 (2)),

2.  sexual assault in the first degree (CGS § 53a-70),

3.  aggravated sexual assault in the first degree (CGS § 53a-70a),

4.  sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship (CGS § 53a- 70b),

5.  sexual assault in the second degree (CGS § 53a-71),

6.  sexual assault in the third degree (CGS § 53a-72a), or

7.  sexual assault in the third degree with a firearm (CGS § 53a-72b);


was previously convicted of a felony; adjudged a serious juvenile offender; a serious juvenile repeat offender or a youthful offender; or


was previously afforded the AR program.


In order to be considered a youthful offender the minor must be adjudged to be one by the Superior Court.  Once the court has adjudicated a person a youthful offender it can impose a range of sentences including commitment for up to three years, a fine, conditional discharge, community service, or a suspended sentence.  


Upon successful completion of the sentence and discharge of the youthful offender from the supervision of the court, all police and court records are automatically erased when the person reaches age 21.  Erased records are not actually obliterated but are available to establish, for example, that a particular person had already been adjudicated a youthful offender and therefore could not be granted that status again.  


Youthful offender status is not deemed to be commission of a crime nor is it considered an arrest, so someone who has been adjudged a youthful offender can in later life respond in the negative if they are asked either of these questions, at least as regards the crime for which they were adjudged a youthful offender.


Under a new law, effective January 1, 2006, 16- and 17-year-olds arrested for crimes other than Class A felonies will automatically be treated as Youthful Offenders unless a prosecutor objects.


Prior to Jan. 1, 2006, state statute automatically sealed the cases of 16- and 17-year-olds once they applied for YO status. Under a new law enacted in 2005 by the General Assembly, 16- and 17-year-olds charged with offenses not on the excluded list of crimes “shall be presumed to be adjudged a youthful offender and the court having jurisdiction shall, but only as to the public, order the court file sealed.” That means, effective Jan. 1, 2006, courts no longer may provide any information about the cases unless and until they are ordered returned to the regular adult docket.


After a person is adjudged a youthful offender, the court may:



commit him to a religious, charitable, or correctional institution authorized by law to receive people over age 16 for a term up to the maximum one authorized for the crime he was accused of;


impose a fine of up to $ 1,000;


impose a sentence of conditional or unconditional discharge;


impose a sentence of community service;


impose a prison sentence up to the term authorized by law for the crime he was accused of;


suspend any sentence imposed entirely or after a period set by the court;


order drug or alcohol treatment; or


transfer him to the jurisdiction of a drug court, if available (CGS § 54-76j).

Content Last Modified on 1/12/2007 9:26:17 AM