He was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The most serious charge—the second-degree unintentional murder– could result in a 40-year sentence. The two other counts carry 25 and 10-year sentences, respectively.
The actual sentence that Chauvin receives depends on whether Judge Peter Cahill will agree with prosecutors two months from now and impose a longer prison term than stated in Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines for first-time offenders. Cahill would have to agree with prosecutors that there are aggravating factors in the case. Slate reported it “may be years before we find out the precise punishment that Chauvin will receive.”
Under the state’s guidelines, those with no criminal records would receive a presumptive sentence of 12 1/2 years for the murder charges, and four years for manslaughter. The state law says even though Chauvin was convicted of three counts, he would only have to serve the one tied to the top charge, WUSA9 reported.
Prosecutors are seeking what is called an “upward sentencing departure,” which means they want the judge to weigh other factors in the case, including the fact that the killing occurred in front of a child and their claim that Chauvin “abused his position of authority.”
Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that if Cahill accepts the prosecution’s claim that aggravating factors should be applied, the sentence would be 30 years.
He told the paper that the first 20 would be served in prison and—if he qualified— could finish out his sentence on supervised release. If Cahill follows the state’s sentencing guidelines, Chauvin could be sentenced to 12.5 years in prison.