Derek Chauvin Faces Maximum Sentence of Decades in Jail After Guilty Verdict

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all charges. As a result, the former Minneapolis police officer faces up to 75 years in prison, though the sentence could be significantly less. Most experts predict the high-end of the sentence to be closer to 40 years.

Chauvin was found guilty on two counts of murder—second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder. According to sentencing guidelines, he likely faces at least 12.5 years on those charges since he has no criminal history. But maximum sentences for each charge differs.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years; third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years; and an additional second-degree manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years. He would most likely be sentenced to four years for the manslaughter charge, according to state guidelines.

In addition, the judge has the option to rule that the sentences be served concurrently, or at the same time, meaning that the longest sentence is the active one, or consecutively. However, it is unlikely that Chavin will be sentenced to serve consecutive sentences.

Derek Chauvin
In this handout provided by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a mugshot after being charged in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin faces up to 75 years in prison, though the sentence could be significantly less. Most experts predict the high-end of the sentence to be closer to 40 years. Getty

The state also sought a lengthier sentence prior to the verdict, citing aggravating factors. State filings showed these factors included Floyd's death happening in the presence of children; Floyd being treated with "particular cruelty"; and, as a police officer, Chauvin "abused his position of authority."

Sentencing is expected to come in eight weeks. First, a pre-sentencing report about Chauvin's background must be produced. Then, Judge Peter A. Cahill will have to determine if there were special circumstances related to the crime that would justify a higher sentence than the prison terms laid out by Minnesota's sentencing guidelines.

Chauvin, who was seen on video pressing his knee to George Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe, has been out on bail since last fall. Following the reading of the verdict, Judge Cahill revoked Chauvin's bail, and he will remain in custody until sentencing.

Chauvin had the choice of having the jury rule on the aggravating factors or letting Judge Cahill decide. He gave that decision to the judge at the end of closing arguments, who will weigh in on those factors during the sentencing. After the verdict was read, the judge announced the sentencing will happen in eight weeks.

After being out on bail since last fall, Chauvin's bail was also revoked today. He will remain in detention while he awaits sentencing.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Chauvin caused Floyd's death by cutting off his oxygen with his knee. The defense argued underlying heart issues and drugs found in Floyd's system caused his death during the arrest. The prosecution rested its case on April 13, and the defense rested on April 15. Closing arguments from attorneys for both sides occurred earlier today.

Update (9:00 p.m., 4/20/2021): This article was updated to make the difference between concurrent and consecutive sentences clearer.