Stamford Criminal Attorney | Connecticut Drug Crimes Lawyer
Blog

Se Habla Español

Call Today for a Free Consultation

203-348-5846

24 Hoyt Street, Stamford, CT 06905

Recent blog posts

CT defense lawyerPossessing any kind of illegal drugs in Connecticut (with the exception of very small amounts of marijuana) is a serious offense in Connecticut, and if you are caught, you will face consequences that can be long-lasting, especially for juveniles. Do not try to navigate the court process alone; enlist a knowledgeable attorney who has experience in these cases to make sure that your rights are protected and the outcome of your case is appropriate.

Sentences Are Stiff

Connecticut’s drug laws are specific and uncompromising, and possession is seen as a significant offense, despite the decriminalization of possessing less than ½ an ounce of marijuana. Possessing more than ½ an ounce is generally a misdemeanor while possessing some harder drugs like narcotics can be a felony charge, and possessing hallucinogens like LSD or MDMA is punishable by up to five years in prison for a first offense. Because of the perceived risk to society, drug possession is a crime that prosecutors will often try to pursue aggressively.

That said, not every case of possession is an automatic black mark on a person’s record. The law does recognize certain exceptions to the law governing possession - it states, for example, that where possible, people who “breathe, inhale, sniff or drink” controlled substances are to be afforded medical treatment rather than criminal penalties. Also, no one who is seeking medical help for an overdose will be charged with drug crimes solely on the basis of that status - even though one might infer that they had to have possessed significant amounts of a drug in order to overdose. The law puts the person’s well-being first.

...

CT defense lawyerSex crimes cause untold suffering for their victims, but can also cause serious trouble for those unjustly accused. Because these crimes are so serious, sometimes law enforcement will arrest and charge a defendant when they lack sufficient evidence to get a conviction. If this has happened to you, it is crucial that you seek out an attorney with the experience to help you fight this type of charge before its consequences can be visited on you.

A Variety of Charges

Sex crimes under Connecticut law are fairly wide-ranging, as the actual conduct in question may range from a single touch to the more popularly understood perception of sexual assault. However, any offense that can be shown to have a sexual or prurient component may qualify as a sex offense - for example, Connecticut law establishes that any touching of a sexual nature outside the clothing is sexual assault in the fourth degree, which can be a Class D felony or Class A misdemeanor, depending on the specific situation.

State law also allows for the possibility of “aggravated” assault, which may be charged when an alleged sex crime is perpetrated under specific circumstances. For example, a person may be charged with aggravated sexual assault in the first degree if they commit sexual assault in the first degree, but they do so with an accomplice or with a deadly weapon (or they convince the victim they have a deadly weapon they are not afraid to use).

...

CT defense lawyerWe live in a volatile age at this point in time, with beliefs that might once have been restricted to private circles finding a place in the open, right in the middle of our national discourse. While free speech should be protected, there must also be limits on what others can say and do without repercussions, and this rationale is what gives rise to hate crime laws. Connecticut’s is fairly specific and strict, aiming to protect marginalized people from crimes based solely on their innate characteristics. If you worry that you have committed a hate crime, you may face some serious penalties based on one bad decision.

“Actual Or Perceived” Characteristics Protected

Every state’s hate crime laws list characteristics protected from harassment or intimidation under its aegis. Connecticut’s primary hate crime law prohibits causing physical injury based on an intent to discriminate or harass based on “actual or perceived” race, religion, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. In other words, if you have been the aggressor in an attack on someone, and it was based on one of the listed characteristics, you may have committed a hate crime.

It is also worth noting that your victim does not necessarily have to be a member of any of the listed marginalized communities for you to have committed a hate crime - for example, if you attack or harm someone based on homophobia, it does not matter whether the victim is actually a part of the LGBTQ+ community or not. The prosecution will argue that your intent was still malicious and motivated by a protected characteristic, so they can still be charged.

...

CT defense lawyerWhen you have been convicted of a crime in Connecticut, you must face the consequences. However, if it is your first brush with the law, or if your conviction is for a crime that is neither particularly violent nor sexual, you may be eligible for a consequence called pretrial diversion. Pretrial diversion programs are meant for those with low-level convictions, designed to try and help people learn from their mistakes instead of skipping right to punitive measures. Contacting an attorney to see if you are eligible may be a good move.

For Lower-Level Crimes

Pretrial diversion programs use several different techniques to try and guide offenders onto a better path, including counseling, community services, drug treatment, and random testing, and education. Those who have been convicted of relatively minor crimes like public drunkenness, criminal mischief, or simple marijuana possession (possession of a small amount of marijuana, with no intent to distribute) can have their record expunged if they complete the program satisfactorily.

Pretrial diversion is also a common sentence given to juvenile defendants, whose offenses are, by law, lesser than most crimes in adult court. Juvenile court, as a rule, is a place where sentences are not punitive, because juvenile defendants are seen to be the most deserving of second chances. (If a juvenile commits a serious offense, their case is usually removed to adult court.) The outcome is largely the same for juveniles who successfully complete a pretrial diversion program, though as long as they do not re-offend, juvenile records are automatically expunged once the person reaches age 21.

...

CTdefense lawyerSome young people make bad choices and wind up with a criminal record, which can, in turn, cause them serious problems later in life. However, in Connecticut, it is often possible for juveniles to have their criminal records expunged, meaning that all (or most) of the offenses will be erased as if they had never existed. That said, not every juvenile record is eligible for expungement or sealing, and it is important that you be able to understand the options that you and your child may face.

Three Routes Through The Legal System

Whether or not your child’s record can be expunged will largely depend on how the offense or offenses were disposed of by the Connecticut legal system. Your child will be assessed under one of three categories in the legal system, depending on the offense they have committed. They may have their case adjudicated in juvenile court, where they will be referred to as a juvenile offender; they may have their case removed to adult court and receive special “youthful offender” protections, or they can, if the offense is deemed serious enough, be tried as an adult, and have to navigate the court system as any other adult would.

Each of these three categories can lead to a different outcome in terms of having one’s record expunged. A juvenile offender is not technically convicted of a crime; rather, they are adjudicated delinquent, and unless they commit further crimes requiring the supervision of the juvenile justice system (generally the Superior Court or the Department of Children and Family Services), those delinquencies can be erased automatically after two years. Juveniles are generally seen to merit the most second chances.

...

CT defense lawyerWith the increasing prevalence of powerful technology in this day and age, more and more cybercrimes are occurring, and more consumers are at risk. However, it can also be more difficult in some cases to determine whether or not you have actually committed a computer crime. If you have questions or concerns about computer-related crimes, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who can guide you in the right direction.

Cybercrime Laws Are Vague

Connecticut’s computer crime law is quite wide-ranging, but because of this, it can also be vague, at least to the average person. There are five different broad categories of offenses that qualify as computer crimes under the relevant law: unauthorized access to a computer system, theft of computer services, interruption of computer services, misuse of computer system information, and destruction of computer equipment. These headings can mean little or nothing to the man on the street.

Some of the charges contained under Sec 53a-251 are self-explanatory - destruction of computer equipment is just that. However, many others may require a dedicated attorney to explain, because they require several criteria before the offense can actually be charged. For example, accidentally using another person’s identical laptop without permission is technically unauthorized access to a computer system, but it would not necessarily be charged because the intent to cause harm was missing.

...

CT defense lawyerNormally, when a person is convicted of a criminal offense, they serve their sentence and that is that. However, if a non-U.S. citizen is convicted of a criminal offense in Connecticut, they may face far more severe consequences than fines or a period in jail. Criminal convictions for immigrants can be very severe, with the most extreme being deportation. If you are facing criminal charges in Connecticut, you need an attorney who understands the potential consequences.

Two Types of Crimes

U.S. immigration law recognizes two types of crimes. A crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) is not something that one will find in a law book; it is a sort of catch-all title designed to categorize any crime that is said to have a component involving ‘moral turpitude’ like dishonesty or fraud. An aggravated felony is another category title that is used for crimes of violence or nonviolent crimes like money laundering or obstruction of justice on a grand scale. That said, it can be very difficult to determine whether the crime you have been convicted of fits either of these categories.

Not every crime falls under one of these categories - there is a petty offense exception, which can remove the possibility of deportation from a CIMT conviction if you can show that your offense was “petty” - that is, that its maximum penalty was one year or less, and that you personally were sentenced to six months or less. It does not necessarily follow that a misdemeanor will be a petty offense and a felony will not - the amount of time at issue is the crucial criterion. However, any conviction that is not for a petty offense will trigger serious immigration consequences.

...

Posted on in Criminal Defense

CT defense lawyerThere are several different types of theft crimes in Connecticut, from simple larceny to embezzlement to shoplifting. However, there are certain types of theft crimes that differ in their execution from more simple acts - robbery being the most potentially remarkable. Unlike most other theft crimes, robbery has an element of force to it that can lead to violence. If you have been charged with robbery or other home invasion crimes, you need an experienced attorney on your side to guide you through the process.

Many Factors to Consider

Robbery is defined as a person in the process of committing larceny either using or threatening to use force for two possible purposes: (1) demanding or threatening someone so they provide the property sought, and/or (2) preventing anyone from trying to stop the larceny in progress. For example, a person who steals money from a convenience store cash register without anyone noticing has committed larceny, but a person who holds a gun on the clerk and demands the money has committed robbery, because of the use of force.

The potential penalties for robbery are quite severe, though sentences may fluctuate based on different factors that might or might not be present in the specific case. For example, if someone has a prior criminal record, their sentence might be enhanced by that factor. Even the lowest category of robbery, however, still carries up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine, with the highest degree possibly carrying a 20-year jail term. Every case is different, which is why an experienced attorney is crucial to have on your side.

...

CT defense lawyerDomestic violence is a serious crime with serious consequences, and those who engage in it often find themselves with ruined reputations and derailed lives. However, it is not impossible for those who are innocent to be faced with the same consequences, even though they are not guilty. Mistakes happen in investigations, or in rare cases, a malicious spouse may try to smear the other - no matter what the cause if you have been charged with domestic violence in Connecticut, you need an attorney who will act fast to get at the truth.

Not a Separate Crime

Connecticut does not classify ‘domestic violence’ as a separate crime; instead, ‘domestic’ or ‘family’ violence is charged as whatever specific crime occurred (such as battery or sexual assault), just against a family member - there are differences in the prosecution of such a case, but the end sentence if convicted is generally similar. In addition, the definition of ‘family member’ in Connecticut is very wide, covering not only blood family but also spouses, former spouses, co-parents, roommates, and many other classifications.

Domestic violence-related crimes are handled by the Family Relations Division of the Superior Court of Connecticut, and are often dealt with very quickly because in many cases, time is of the essence - a violent spouse or ex-spouse may have the intent to harm the other, and bringing the case before a judge as quickly as possible means that a protective order or a restraining order can be issued just as quickly.

...

Posted on in Traffic Violations

CT defense lawyerLike any other job, driving a commercial truck has rules and regulations that must be obeyed, so as to keep the road as safe as possible for truckers and all other drivers. However, sometimes the penalties for violations can seemingly come out of the blue. If you acquire too many points on your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), your very livelihood can be threatened - enlisting a knowledgeable attorney to fight violations is crucial.

Less Likely to Be Reduced

Historically, many Connecticut trucking violations could be reduced to a lesser violation which did not add points to a CDL, but over time, most of the possible reductions were eliminated. The legislature intended to hold commercial truckers to a higher standard than standard automobile drivers, because they spend so much more time on the road and have the capacity to cause more injuries and fatalities. Thus, each violation has the potential to add points to a CDL, the same way they would for a standard driver’s license.

There are several different types of violations that can attach to a CDL, all of varying severity. Some examples include:

...

CT defense lawyerViolence is never the answer unless in self-defense. Sometimes, though, things simply happen, and you wind up in the very serious situation of being charged with a violent crime in Connecticut. Violent crimes are the most harshly punished in the state, and even if the victim survives, you may face an extremely severe penalty including years in prison. If you have been charged with a violent crime, you need an experienced attorney on your side as soon as possible.

Violent Crime Receives Stiff Penalties

There are many, many different types of violent crimes, and they come in two types. One type is inherently violent - for example, murder requires violence and bodily harm to be successfully completed. The other type is conditionally violent - an example would be a robbery, which does not necessarily have to involve violence unless the perpetrator wants it to, or finds it necessary. Intent does matter in many crimes, but not all; you would generally be punished for the commission of a violent crime as long as it can be proven that you did so, but demonstrated intent might push your sentence into a higher bracket, so to speak.

Any offense involving bodily harm done to another person will fall under the umbrella of violent crime, but the sentences for such crimes will vary significantly. Crimes involving accidental or incidental violence will often mandate lower sentences than a deliberately violent crime - for example, a conviction in a murder where the victim was less than 16 years old triggers an automatic life sentence, with no possibility of parole, while robberies, which require intimidation but not necessarily violence, can lead to sentences as low as 1 year in prison.

...

CT defense attorneyIn many communities, vandalism and minor property crimes, referred to as criminal mischief in Connecticut, are essentially considered a rite of passage for young men and women. However, law enforcement can and does take these offenses very seriously, especially if the amount of property damage is significant. If your child has been arrested for criminal mischief, you need to engage an attorney who understands the nature of both Connecticut’s juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Different Levels of Severity

Connecticut criminal mischief laws are designed to encompass a variety of crimes designed to damage property. The state statute covers not only classic property damage and vandalism, but also intentionally causing an interruption of services such as electricity and otherwise interfering with equipment or property belonging to a utility. Like with many different crimes in Connecticut, there are different degrees of criminal mischief, and the charge will depend on the level of damage caused by your child.

In adult court, the consequences for criminal mischief can vary from 3 months in jail up to 5 years, with fines ranging between $500 and $2,000. Intent is a major issue - you cannot ‘accidentally’ commit vandalism or criminal mischief. One may accidentally cause property damage, but if the damage is accidental, then by definition, no crime has been committed. Essentially, if the prosecution cannot establish that you had intent to cause the damage, they have little to no case.

...

CT defense attorneyWhen someone drives under the influence, they endanger themselves and everyone around them. However, a first-time DUI offender, while still behaving recklessly, is more likely to have simply made a mistake than to have engaged in any pattern of consciously reckless behavior, and may have no idea how to negotiate the legal process after being charged with a DUI. If you are in this situation, an experienced attorney can be of help in guiding you through.

Criminal and Administrative Consequences

Connecticut’s DUI law states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 (for most drivers; for juveniles, the limit is lower). Criminal charges and administrative processes both start at the time a person is charged with driving under the influence. In addition to whatever criminal charges the state decides to bring against a driver, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles also automatically starts proceedings that may wind up with your license suspended, or with an ignition interlock placed on your vehicle.

It can be confusing for first-time offenders, in particular, to understand that both criminal and administrative consequences can result from the same action. However, driving under the influence is seen as such a potentially serious offense that a mere license suspension, or a mere fine, is not considered sufficient punishment. The Connecticut legislature has balanced the two so as to be more certain that the punishment fits the crime.

...

CT defense attorneyMost of the time, when juveniles commit crimes, they are judged in juvenile court, which tends to be more focused on rehabilitation than punishment. However, some crimes are too severe to be handled in the juvenile system, and the law allows for these young offenders to be tried in adult criminal court. If this is happening to your child, you need to be aware of their rights and your options going forward.

Charging as an Adult Is for Serious Crimes

Most crimes committed by a juvenile are considered to be serious, but not serious enough to merit a life-changing criminal conviction. Thus, most juveniles who are arrested for crimes in Connecticut will have their case handled in juvenile court, which focuses on rehabilitating young offenders and trying to help them understand the potential consequences of their actions. If a juvenile is judged to be delinquent, they can be assigned a probationary period, pretrial detention, or another non-judicial sentence if you have no prior criminal record.

Juvenile offenses can be anything from criminal mischief to possession of controlled substances, but there are other crimes that must be classified more severely. Connecticut law lists a host of specific felonies that are referred to as SJOs (serious juvenile offenses), which by law can be tried in the adult criminal court system. Examples include, but are not limited to:

...

CT defense lawyerAt common law, assault was the crime of threatening or menacing someone into believing they are about to be harmed. However, in Connecticut, the definition actually requires physical contact and can be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have been charged with assault, you need an experienced attorney on your side to help ensure that your rights are protected in court.

Several Degrees

Assault in Connecticut can be charged in three different degrees, as of current law, with the specific choice of charge being affected by the severity of the incident. For example, if you cause bodily harm to someone with the intent to hurt them (as opposed to having intent to kill), you would likely be charged with third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor. Comparatively, if you cause serious physical injury to someone with intent (or with extreme recklessness), you would most likely be charged with first-degree assault, which is a Class B felony.

In Connecticut, you might also be charged with aggravated assault, which is an enhancement to an assault charge, rather than an individual charge on its own. In other words, a person will be charged with assault, but if they allegedly committed assault with ‘aggravating factors’ (such as, say, the use of a weapon, or the victim being a vulnerable person such as a disabled or elderly person), their charge may be ‘enhanced’ to aggravated assault. Aggravated assault carries stiffer penalties than a standard assault charge.

...

CT defense lawyerNo one enjoys getting a traffic ticket. However, too many people simply neglect them when they get them, setting them aside until a moment when the consequences come back to haunt them. If you get traffic tickets in Fairfield County, you need to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible in order to either pay them or fight them - failure to do this can actually impact your driving record in a very serious way.

Many Different Violations and Penalties

There are multiple types of traffic violations in Connecticut, though some are more common than others. Moving violations are generally considered minor, especially if no property damage, death or injury occurs during the violation. However, the consequences can add up. Some of the more common examples include speeding, reckless driving, failure to stop at a sign or traffic signal, going the wrong way on a one-way street, and following too closely. Some traffic violations carry short jail sentences - for example, reckless driving usually mandates a sentence of up to 30 days for a first offense, and up to one year for a second or beyond.

Different violations carry different penalties, in addition to points being assessed on one’s driver’s license. Reckless driving may carry a jail sentence, for example, but those caught speeding have other options - they can either pay the ticket without contesting it, they may contest it and try to have it dismissed, or they can plead nolo contendere (“no contest”) in some situations. Nolo contendere pleas are when someone does not admit to the traffic violation, but they pay the appropriate fine - and for a first offense, no points are usually issued to the driver.

...

CT defense lawyerVery often, people who have been arrested and charged with minor crimes in Connecticut might try to navigate the criminal justice system without an attorney, even though they are entitled to one. It can be easy to tell yourself that the charges are minor, that you will be able to manage without paying an attorney - but the odds are overwhelmingly against you managing to talk yourself out of fines and jail time. Enlisting a Connecticut criminal defense attorney is always a better idea.

Trust in Knowledge

While it is possible to represent yourself in a criminal matter, it is emphatically not recommended. You are required to know all the ins and outs of the law, just like any lawyer would, and failure to abide by both law and etiquette can torpedo your case before you even get started. If, for example, you represent yourself and take a plea-bargain, you may find out later on in life that you could have gotten a better deal. It is simply not worth the risk to try and handle a criminal matter on your own.

An experienced criminal defense attorney understands the big and small picture when it comes to the relevant law; they are often privy to potential avenues to get your charges reduced or to seek an alternative sentence to jail time. The average layperson is unaware of many of these options - they do not know, for example, what constitutes a good plea-bargain, or when they might qualify for pretrial diversion as opposed to jail time. Because so many crimes in Connecticut have serious consequences even for a first offense, enlisting an attorney is always a better option.

...

CT defense lawyerMany parents are not aware that until their children become adults, they remain responsible for their children’s actions. This can often come as an unwelcome surprise to parents who are surprised out of the blue by police at their door or by bills they did not expect. If you have been advised you may be liable due to your children’s actions, you need to consult an attorney who understands these cases so you can ensure both you and your child’s rights are protected.

Property Damage and Injury

The relevant Connecticut statute is fairly straightforward about the types of offenses for which a parent can incur liability. The key phrase is that a parent is liable when their child “willfully or maliciously” causes damage to any property or injury to any person. It is important to keep in mind that ‘intentional’ has to mean ‘without just cause,’ rather than simply someone choosing to voluntarily act. For example, if a child chooses to act in a way that is almost guaranteed to injure someone, it does not necessarily matter if they had no intention to injure anyone - they still acted in that way.

One specific offense for which parents are often held liable is auto theft by a minor child, especially if they cause damage to the vehicle. In auto theft cases, both parents and minors are often held jointly liable, to ensure that any financial damages are dealt with while the minor child is appropriately handled by the legal system. This is very often the ethos in these types of cases - looking out for the rights of juvenile defendants who may need guidance more than punishment, while still ensuring that injured parties are made whole.

...

b2ap3_thumbnail_shoplift_20191102-040045_1.jpgShoplifting is an all too common crime, but just because it occurs regularly does not mean that law enforcement does not take it seriously. If you have been arrested and charged with shoplifting, you need an experienced attorney on your side to make sure that your rights are protected. Having any kind of charge on your record can cause problems for you later on down the road.

Dollar Amount Matters

Shoplifting falls under Connecticut’s larceny law, in which ‘larceny’ is used as an umbrella term to cover many different theft crimes. Its rough definition is when someone intentionally takes items from a store or other ‘mercantile establishment’ without intending on paying the advertised price for the goods. It can be confusing to some, but if you have been charged with a theft crime, the charge will likely be larceny, even though it is technically a more specific offense.

The value of the goods that are taken usually determines the severity of the charge - there are six different degrees of larceny, with varying degrees of fines and jail time possible. The most common arrests for these types of crimes are the misdemeanor offenses; fourth, fifth and sixth-degree larceny charges do not yield much jail time - less than one year - but the fines can add up, as well as having to comply with any other type of restriction placed on you by the court.

...

CT defense lawyerDrinking and driving is never acceptable under any circumstances and justifiably carries serious consequences, even for first offenders. However, there are ways that a person can make things even worse for themselves when they get caught. Refusing a breathalyzer or other sobriety test is at the top of the list - but at the same time, refusing a breathalyzer is not a crime in Connecticut. Either way, enlisting a Stamford DUI attorney will help you ensure your rights are protected.

A Danger to Others

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, you will be asked to take at least one sobriety test, with a breathalyzer being one that is commonly used in the field. It is not against the law to refuse a breath test in Connecticut (though it is in many other states), If you refuse, state law allows for your drivers’ license to be immediately suspended, generally for up to six months’ time for a first offense, with the length of time rising with each offense and refusal. If you are under the age of 18 and refuse a breathalyzer, the license suspension will be 18 months for a first offense.

This may seem too harsh, but Connecticut sees DUIs as very serious, posing a significant danger to the average person. Failure to take a breath or other sobriety test is seen as a failure to acknowledge the potential hazards of driving under the influence, and public policy (the idea that the state should further the well-being of its citizens) requires that law enforcement act appropriately. Connecticut, like most other states, has ‘implied consent’ laws, which essentially hold that anyone who drives on Connecticut roads consents to chemical testing if arrested for DUI.

...