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CT OUI lawyerThere are many ways that being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can affect your life. This offense is commonly referred to as DUI or DWI, but it is known as Operating Under the Influence (OUI) in Connecticut. While you may be concerned about some of the more serious consequences that you could face, such as large fines or potential jail time, you may also be subject to a suspension of your driver’s license, even if you are not convicted on criminal charges. If your license is suspended, you will also need to understand your requirements for using an ignition interlock device on your vehicle once your license is reinstated.

Connecticut IID Requirements

If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk or intoxicated driving, and a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine shows that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit, or if you refuse to take a chemical test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 45 days. A conviction for a first-time OUI or second OUI will also result in a 45-day license suspension, although you may be eligible to have your license restored immediately if you have already served a 45-day administrative license suspension.

After the license suspension period and once you have met any requirements for the reinstatement of your driver’s license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. This device will require you to measure your BAC through a breath sample before starting your car, and the vehicle will not start if your BAC exceeds a certain level. You will be required to pay all costs related to the installation and maintenance of an IID, and every 25-30 days, you will be required to have the device calibrated by the installer.

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CT defense lawyerThere are multiple different types of offenses that are categorized as property crimes, and they usually involve taking or damaging someone else’s property. In addition to facing criminal charges for larceny or theft, a person may also be charged with burglary, which involves entering someone else’s property with the intent of committing a crime. Those who have been accused of these types of offenses will want to understand the specific charges that may apply in their situation and the potential consequences they could face if they are convicted.

Burglary and Related Offenses

Burglary charges may apply in situations where someone enters a building, vehicle, watercraft, trailer, railroad car, or another structure while planning to commit a crime inside that building. Burglary offenses are grouped into three categories:

  • First-degree burglary - This charge will apply if a person was armed with a deadly weapon or explosives, if they inflicted bodily injury on someone else or attempted to do so, or if they entered or remained in a building at night. This offense is a Class B felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. The maximum sentence is 20 years with a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Second-degree burglary - This charge will apply if a person allegedly committed burglary while another person who was not participating in the crime was in the building. This offense is a Class C felony, which can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. If a person was armed with a firearm and either used or threatened to use it against someone else, they will face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year that cannot be suspended or reduced.
  • Third-degree burglary - This charge will apply in any other situations where a person entered or remained in a building unlawfully with the intent of committing a crime. This offense is a Class D felony, which can result in a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. If a person was armed with a firearm and either used or threatened to use it against someone else, they will face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year that cannot be suspended or reduced.

If, while committing burglary, a person allegedly committed or attempted to commit a felony against someone else who was in the building (other than a person who was participating in the crime), the offense a person is charged with may be elevated to home invasion. This is a Class A felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of 25 years, as well as a fine of up to $20,000.

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CT criminal lawyerBeing convicted of criminal charges can result in a number of penalties, which can range in severity depending on the nature of the offense, the person’s previous criminal record, and other factors. Among the different types of offenses, sex crimes are some of the most serious, since a person will not only face consequences such as fines and imprisonment but they may also be required to register as a sex offender. People in Connecticut who have been accused of sexual offenses will want to understand whether a conviction will cause their name to be listed in the sex offender registry, and by working with a skilled criminal defense lawyer, they can determine their best options for addressing these charges and avoiding penalties that will affect their lives, their freedom, and their reputation.

Sex Offender Registration Requirements

The requirements a person must follow when registering as a sex offender will depend on the nature of their offense. A person who is convicted of a sexually violent offense, such as first-degree sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault of a minor, will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life. A person who is convicted of a nonviolent sexual offense, such as second-degree or third-degree sexual assault, will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. Following a second conviction for a nonviolent sexual offense, a person will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

The requirement to register as a sex offender begins after a person is released into the community, including those who are sentenced to probation, those who are released on parole, and those who have completed a prison sentence. Within three days after being released, a person must notify the Connecticut Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, providing them with their name and address, as well as their email address and other accounts used online, their identifying characteristics, and their criminal record. A person will also be required to immediately update their registration if they move to a new address or make any other changes to the information included in the registry.

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stamford real estate lawyerDuring a residential real estate transaction, both the buyer and the seller will need to meet multiple requirements to ensure that the sale can be completed. In some cases, issues may arise that affect the title to the property, and if these are not addressed correctly, the sale may not proceed. Buyers and sellers will need to understand the different types of title issues that can play a role in a real estate transaction, and by working with an attorney, they can determine the best ways to address these matters.

Common Encumbrances and Title Issues

Some title issues that may affect the sale of residential property are known as “encumbrances,” and they involve a claim against the property by a third party. Other issues may affect the ownership of the property by the current owner or the ways the property can be used. Title issues that can arise during a real estate transaction include:

  • Liens - If a property owner owes money to a person or organization, a lien may be placed on their property, and these liens must be resolved before the property can be sold. These may include tax liens based on unpaid federal or state income taxes or local property taxes, mechanic’s liens used by a contractor or supplier to collect payment for work done on the property, or liens for unpaid child support or spousal support.

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stamford criminal defense lawyerViolations of the law can result in multiple types of consequences. The severity of these consequences will depend on a person’s specific criminal charges and other factors that may play a role in their case. Multiple convictions will usually result in more serious penalties, and in some cases, a person may be subject to laws that detail enhanced penalties for “persistent offenders.” Those facing criminal charges will need to be represented by an experienced attorney who can explain how these laws apply to their case and determine the best defense strategies.

Persistent Offender Laws in Connecticut

Connecticut law defines several categories of persistent offenders, including:

  • Persistent dangerous felony offenders - If a person is convicted of violent crimes such as manslaughter, kidnapping, first- or second-degree robbery, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary with a firearm, or arson, and they had previously been convicted of one of these crimes, they will be sentenced to at least twice the minimum sentence for the offense and a maximum of 40 years in prison. A third conviction will result in being sentenced to at least three times the minimum sentence for the offense.

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stamford dui lawyerThe use of marijuana has become more and more widespread in recent years, especially as multiple states have legalized the drug for both recreational and medicinal use. Because of this, many people may drive after using this drug. However, drivers should understand that they could potentially face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) due to their use of marijuana. Those who have been arrested and charged with intoxicated driving will need to make sure they have legal representation by a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in these types of cases.

Legal Issues in Marijuana DUI Cases

Under the laws in Connecticut, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating drug. However, unlike in DUI cases involving alcohol, Connecticut law does not specify a legal limit to determine when a person is intoxicated by marijuana. If a police officer pulls a driver over based on the suspicion that they are intoxicated, they may make an arrest based on the results of field sobriety tests or other observations that indicate that a person has been using marijuana. These may include the smell of marijuana in the vehicle or physical symptoms of marijuana intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, drowsiness, or delayed responses to questions.

Connecticut’s implied consent laws require a driver to submit to chemical testing if they are arrested for DUI. These tests typically involve the use of a breathalyzer to measure the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). However, a breath test will not measure the level of intoxication by marijuana, so a driver may be asked to provide a urine sample, which may detect any marijuana in the driver’s system. While a driver who is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol will face an administrative suspension of their driver’s license if they refuse to submit to chemical testing, this administrative suspension will not apply to drivers who are charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

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CT defense lawyerOriginally published: July 29, 2018 -- Updated: June 3, 2021

UPDATE: Drivers who use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving may be subject to traffic violations as described below. However, distracted driving may also result in criminal charges if it leads to an accident that causes a person’s death.

Connecticut law does not specifically define the offense of causing a fatality due to using a cell phone or texting while driving. Depending on the circumstances of a case, a person may be charged with multiple types of criminal offenses:

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stamford underage drinking lawyerThe last year and a half have been stressful for everyone. As a result, more people are turning to alcohol and drugs to cope. This is true for adults as well as teenagers. The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services reports that underage drinking is on the rise. The organization hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of underage drinking and encourages individuals to reach out for help if they are struggling with substance use. In Connecticut, underage drinking and underage drinking and driving can lead to serious consequences. If your child was caught drinking, a juvenile criminal defense lawyer can help.  

Know the Consequences of Underage Drinking in Connecticut

With prom, high school graduation, and summer parties just around the corner, parents should remain vigilant regarding underage drinking. Many young people think that drinking before age 21 is no big deal. However, underage purchase and possession of alcohol can lead to stiff fines and even criminal penalties. Buying alcohol or possessing alcohol when you are younger than 21 is penalized by a fine of up to $500. Using a fake ID to purchase alcohol is a misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a driver’s license suspension of 150 days.

Underage Driving Under the Influence D) Can Lead to Criminal Penalties

If you are under age 21, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit when driving a motor vehicle is 0.02 percent. This means that even a single alcoholic drink could make you too impaired to drive legally. For underage drivers, driving while under the influence of alcohol may result in a driver’s license suspension of six months for a first offense as well as a fine of up to $1000 and up to 6 months in detention or jail. If an underage driver’s BAC is above 0.08 percent, the license suspension is increased to one year. Second and subsequent offenses are penalized by longer driver’s license suspension periods.

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stamford criminal defense lawyerAmple research has demonstrated the relationship between alcohol and violence. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that one in four instances of violent crime involves an offender who was drinking. Consequently, bar fights are not uncommon in Connecticut or elsewhere in the U.S. If you were involved in a bar fight, you could be charged with a serious criminal offense. You could even be facing jail time for assault.

You Could be Charged with Assault Even If You Were Defending Yourself

Bar fights often take place in dark, crowded bars or nightclubs. This can make it very difficult for police to determine who instigated the fight. Sometimes, the victim of a violent crime ends up being arrested and charged with assault even though he or she was not the instigator of the altercation. Regardless of your role in the fight, you could be subject to significant legal penalties, so it is crucial to seek qualified legal counsel right away.

You May Be Facing Considerable Criminal Penalties Including Imprisonment

The criminal consequences associated with an assault charge vary widely in Connecticut. Assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $2000. You could be charged with misdemeanor assault if you allegedly intentionally injured another person or caused someone to be seriously injured as a result of reckless actions.

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stamford juvenile defense lawyerMost people make poor decisions in their youth, and Connecticut law reflects that these decisions should not necessarily follow a young person for the rest of his or her life. However, this does not mean that juvenile offenders are absolved of all responsibility for their offenses. Juveniles who are convicted of a crime can be sentenced to juvenile detention, and in some cases, may even be tried as an adult and sentenced to jail. If your child has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, speak with a criminal defense lawyer with experience in juvenile law for help.   

Potential Consequences for Minors Who Are Accused of a Criminal Offense  

The State of Connecticut recognizes that minors accused of criminal offenses deserve a second chance. Therefore, penalties for juvenile offenses are typically focused more on rehabilitating the alleged offender rather than punishing him or her. That being said, the penalties your child may face depend largely on the type of offense he or she allegedly committed. Crimes like vandalism or petty theft are typically punished less severely than violent offenses like assault.

Connecticut Juvenile Detention

In many cases, a child who is arrested is released to his or her parents or guardians. The child is then expected to appear in juvenile court. However, some minors are held in juvenile detention until their arraignment. If your child is sentenced to juvenile detention, he or she may be held for up to 15 days. However, the detainment period may be greater if your child was accused of a “serious juvenile offense.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_hate-crime_20210504-195208_1.jpgWhen someone breaks the law, they can be charged with a criminal offense and sentenced to various criminal penalties. However, not all crimes are treated equally under Connecticut or federal law. Some crimes are considered “hate crimes.” Understanding exactly what crimes are considered hate crimes is not always easy. The law is often difficult to interpret, and the issue is shrouded in controversy. However, one matter remains clear: If you are charged with a crime, speaking with a criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure that you receive the legal advice and support you need.  

What is a Hate Crime?

Certain individuals are specifically protected by the law. When a crime targets a protected class of people, this crime may be considered a hate crime. In Connecticut, it is against the law to threaten, harm, or harass someone on the basis of his or her ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. An individual who is charged with a hate crime may face criminal penalties and monetary damages in a civil lawsuit.

Categories of Hate Crimes in Connecticut

Per Connecticut law, a person commits first-degree “intimidation based on bigotry or bias” if the person deliberately injures another individual because of that individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or disability. This crime is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Second-degree intimidation involves destroying property, threatening, or making physical contact with someone in order to intimidate or harass him or her. This Class D felony is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. Third-degree intimidation involves damaging or destroying property or threatening or encouraging someone to damage property on the basis of the aforementioned attributes. This is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and up to 2,000 in fines.

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Stamford CT DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence of alcohol can lead to criminal consequences and administrative penalties in Connecticut. If you are arrested for DUI, you could be sentenced to jail time or community service and probation. You may also be fined up to $1000 or more. Your license may be temporarily suspended, and you may have to get an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to regain your driving privileges. Second or subsequent DUI offenses are penalized even more harshly. When defending against DUI charges, Connecticut DUI defense attorneys may argue that the charges should be dismissed entirely.

You May Be Able to Avoid a DUI Conviction

A skilled defense lawyer will know Connecticut DUI laws and how to defend against DUI charges. In some cases, DUI charges are dropped. Some of the most common reasons that DUI cases are dismissed include:

  • Illegal police stop – The police cannot pull someone over for no reason. They must have a “reasonable suspicion” that unlawful activity is occurring. Speeding, erratic lane changes, or running a red light may all justify a police officer’s stop. However, if there were no grounds for the police to pull you over, the evidence obtained during the stop, including breathalyzer results, may be inadmissible in court.

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Fairfield CT criminal defense attorneyMany people buy items through Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, or other online marketplaces. Others go to garage sales, flea markets, or simply ask neighbors or friends when they are interested in purchasing something. What happens when someone buys property that was stolen? Can the buyer face criminal charges for theft even if he or she paid for the item? What if the buyer did not know that the item was stolen?

Receiving Stolen Property Can Be Charged as Larceny

Consider the following situation: John buys a motorcycle from his neighbor, Jill. Unbeknownst to John, Jill stole the motorcycle from someone else. Can John face criminal theft charges? Many people are surprised to learn that the answer to this question is “yes.” An individual can be charged with theft in Connecticut if they buy or otherwise receive property that has been stolen.

Connecticut Law Regarding Receipt of Stolen Property

Connecticut uses the term “larceny” to refer to theft of property. An individual may be charged with larceny if he or she receives, holds, or disposes of stolen items “knowing that it has probably been stolen or believing that it has probably been stolen.” The language used by Connecticut law leaves room for interpretation. Most people charged with larceny for receiving stolen property claim that they did not know that the item was stolen. However, prosecutors often counter that the defendant should have known that the property was stolen. Prosecutors may point to the fact that the item was sold for much less than the market value or that the circumstances of the transaction were suspicious.

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Fairfield County criminal defense lawyerThe moments immediately following a major car accident are often a blur of adrenaline-induced panic. After realizing that a serious accident has occurred, a driver may check on the other individuals involved in the accident only to find that another person has been seriously injured or killed. If you cause an accident in which a vehicle occupant, cyclist, or pedestrian is hurt or killed, do you go to jail? In a situation like this, the first thing you should do is speak with a skilled attorney. You could be facing charges for assault with a motor vehicle or vehicular homicide.

Connecticut Laws Regarding Negligent Homicide with a Motor Vehicle

Car accidents happen for almost countless reasons. Sometimes, a driver is simply not paying close enough attention to the road. Other times, the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol. The term negligence means carelessness or recklessness. If a driver acts with negligence, meaning he or she fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would act in a similar situation, and causes an accident in which someone dies, he or she may be charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle. This offense is also referred to as vehicular homicide. If you are convicted of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle in Connecticut, you face up to six months in jail.

Driving Under the Influence and Causing Severe Injury or Death

If a driver is intoxicated at the time of a fatal or injury-causing accident, the penalties are especially severe. In Connecticut, a driver may be charged with “assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle” if:

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Fairfield CT real estate attorneyThe requirements for purchasing a home vary from state to state. In Connecticut, a lawyer is required for any real estate transaction that involves title insurance. A title insurance agent must be a practicing attorney unless the agent received his or her title insurance license before June 12, 1984. Furthermore, as of October 2019, only lawyers licensed to practice in the state of Connecticut are permitted to perform certain real estate closings. Aside from these requirements, there are also many benefits associated with using a real estate lawyer when buying your home.

Peace of Mind During the Home-Buying Process

Buying a home is one of the most consequential decisions you will ever make. It is also likely to be one of the most significant financial purchases of your life. The process of buying a home can be complicated, stressful, and confusing. Mistakes can lead to massive legal and financial consequences. Working with an experienced real estate attorney gives you the peace of mind you need during this exciting, yet stressful, time in your life.

Due Diligence and Preparing Legal Documents

A real estate lawyer can ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions contained in the numerous contracts you are signing. This prevents you from agreeing to anything that you do not intend to agree to. A lawyer can also perform a title search to look for any property liens or other hindrances. Sometimes a home has a lien on it unbeknownst to the seller. Many lenders will refuse to loan money for a home with a lien on it. Unknowingly acquiring a home with a lien on it can land you in major debt. Your real estate attorney will also review the sales agreement and closing documents and ensure that the terms are what you have agreed to. If a legal dispute regarding the purchase of your new home arises, your attorney will advocate on your behalf and help you resolve the issue.

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Connecticut juvenile defense attorneyIn recent decades, more and more attention has been given to bullying in schools. Teasing, psychological torment, cyberbullying through social media, and other forms of bullying often escalate into physical altercations. In many cases, it is hard to know which individual started a fight at school. Altercations can develop in a matter of seconds and teachers do not always see the circumstances that led up to a child being involved in a fight. If your son or daughter has been arrested and accused of school violence or bullying, it is important to learn about your child’s legal rights and options.

Understand Your Child’s Rights Under the Law

Your child has most of the same basic rights as an adult after being arrested. This includes the right to avoid self-incrimination and remain silent. Anything your child says to the police can be used against them. A child also has the right to contact their parent or guardian after being arrested. When you can talk to your child, encourage them to assert their rights and decline police questioning.

Learn About the Connecticut Pretrial School Violence Prevention Program

As a parent, you are probably worried that your child’s arrest will negatively affect their future. Fortunately, there may be a way to get your child’s charges dismissed. If your child has been accused of physically harming another child or threatening physical violence, they may qualify for the Connecticut Pretrial School Violence Prevention Program. This program aims to educate youth offenders instead of punishing them. To qualify for the program, the student and their parents or guardians must swear that they do not possess drugs, firearms, dangerous weapons, or other illicit materials. The student must also consent to extending the statute of limitations for the case. The program lasts one year and involves group counseling and lessons in anger management and conflict resolution. If the student finishes the program, the charges against them are dismissed and their record is sealed. This means that the record will not be visible to the general public.

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Stamford CT juvenile defense attorneyAs a parent, it can be extremely disheartening to watch your child make bad decisions. This is especially true if your child makes a mistake that leads to criminal charges. If your son or daughter has been convicted of drug possession, driving under the influence of alcohol, assault, theft, or another offense, you may worry about how this will affect the rest of their life. You may worry about your child being labeled a criminal for something that they did when they were very young. Fortunately, you may be able to get your child’s record expunged.

Expungement and Sealing of a Juvenile Record

Juvenile criminal cases are handled differently depending on the severity of the crime, the juvenile’s age, and other factors. If your child’s case was decided in juvenile court, they are a “juvenile offender” or “juvenile delinquent.” This is not the same as being convicted of a crime in the way that adult offenders are convicted of a crime. Juvenile offenses or “delinquencies” may be expunged if:

  • The juvenile is 18 years old or older.

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Fairfield County juvenile defense attorneyThe term “sexting” is used to describe sending text messages, emails, or social media communications of a sexual nature. Often, sexting involves sending explicit photographs or videos. Many teenagers see sexting as harmless fun, but the consequences of sending explicit media can be profound. Many teenagers have had their private photographs leaked to unintended recipients and suffered other humiliating consequences. Furthermore, sending and receiving explicit photographs can lead to criminal charges including charges for child pornography.

Personal Consequences of Sexting

Teens may send sexual messages to get attention, to “fit in” with their peers, or for countless other reasons. Many teens think that sending messages through certain social media platforms like Snapchat ensures that the photograph or video cannot be saved and shared. However, nothing sent through the internet is ever completely private. According to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, sexting can lead to ridicule, embarrassment, and even mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Legal Implications for Sending Sexual Images in Connecticut

Child pornography refers to photographs, videos, and other media that depict children in a sexual manner. Many teens do not realize that by sending sexually explicit photographs of themselves, they may technically be sending child pornography. Prior to recent changes in Connecticut law, there was no distinction between traditional child pornography and teen sexting. While the law now distinguishes between these two issues, sexting involving minors is still unlawful.

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Stamford criminal defense lawyerCriminal charges have the potential to change a person’s life forever. Fortunately, the state of Connecticut realizes that many criminal defendants are good people who simply made a mistake. They do not need to be punished; they just need the opportunity to learn from their mistake and live a law-abiding life moving forward. Connecticut offers several diversionary programs that may allow you to avoid a criminal conviction and jail time. If you successfully complete a diversionary program, you avoid going to trial and the charges against you will be dismissed.

Diversionary Programs for Criminal Offenses in Connecticut

During a pretrial diversionary program, an individual who has been accused of a crime must complete certain tasks and/or refrain from certain conduct. If he or she can fulfill the requirements of the program, the charges against him or her will be dropped.

Three of the most common pretrial diversionary programs in Connecticut include:

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Fairfield CT juvenile defense lawyerAs any parent can tell you, raising a teenager can be quite challenging. Despite your best efforts to teach him or her to make good choices, your child may sometimes do things you disagree with. Your child may even have ended up in legal trouble because of his or her decisions. Unfortunately, this could mean that you find yourself financially responsible.

Learning that your child has been charged with a crime or accused of causing damages to a person or their property can be a shocking and confusing situation to go through. If your child has recently been charged with a criminal offense, it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in the juvenile justice system and can provide legal support and guidance.

Parental Responsibility for the Actions of Minors in Connecticut

Chapter 925 of the Connecticut state law statutes, Statutory Rights of Action and Defenses, describes when a child’s parents or legal guardians are liable for the child’s actions. According to the law, a parent or guardian is responsible if their child “willfully or maliciously” causes property damage or bodily injury. The term “willfully or maliciously” is generally interpreted to mean acting in a way that is unjustified and almost certain to cause injury. If a child causes harm to another person or to another party’s property without a valid reason for doing so, his or her parents may be responsible for the harm. The law places a $5,000 cap on parents’ liability for the actions of their child. However, there may be exceptions for offenses based on common law.

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