Blog

Se Habla Español

Call Today for a Free Consultation

203-348-5846

24 Hoyt Street, Stamford, CT 06905

Recent blog posts

Posted on in Sex Crimes

CT defense lawyerBeing the victim of a sex crime is one of the most devastating events that can happen to a person. However, being accused of a sex crime that you did not commit can be a terrifying process that can essentially ruin lives. If you are in that position, it is absolutely critical to engage an experienced Stamford sex crimes defense attorney who understands the stakes of your situation.

Different Degrees

Sex crimes in Connecticut run the gamut from Class B misdemeanors to Class A felonies, and they can require varying degrees of intent. Generally, the degree charged will be higher the more evidence of force is present. For example, if someone engages in a sexual act with someone who is legally ineligible to consent, but without force, they will likely be charged with sexual assault in the fourth degree, but if they engage in sex while using force, they will be charged with third-degree assault, or possibly rape, which is sexual assault in the first degree.

Other crimes that are classified as sex crimes include prostitution, pandering, any kind of obscenity with a minor such as child pornography, and any other crime that can be shown to be sexual in nature. Sentences will vary depending on whether or not any penetrative contact happened, and also if there was any type of aggravating factor, such as a weapon or if the crime was committed against a vulnerable person such as a child or an elderly person.

...

CT defense lawyerThere are several different reasons why a driver in Connecticut may have their driver’s license suspended, but it is never easy to get it back on your own. Most of the time, certain requirements must be met before your license can be reinstated, and it is easy to make a mistake or become confused if you try to manage the issue without experienced legal help. You need a dedicated attorney to help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Many Different Reasons for Suspension

License suspension or revocation is a consequence for conviction of several crimes in Connecticut. Most of the time, it is seen as a consequence serious enough to deter all but the most determined and criminal minds; the average person will be so inconvenienced by having no license that at least, in theory, they will think twice before offending again. Examples of violations or crimes that can result in license suspension include:

  • Four or more speeding convictions within a two-year period
  • Possession of alcohol in a vehicle by a minor
  • Possession of a fake ID
  • Failure to complete car seat classes or other retraining classes where they have been mandated
  • Reckless driving
  • Accumulation of points on your driver’s license
  • Driving under the influence as a minor
  • Vehicular homicide

The requirements to have your license reinstated will differ depending on the reason it was suspended, but it will require jumping through some hoops, so to speak, to get to that point.

...

<pCT defense lawyerWhile Connecticut is known for having decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana at a relatively early point in time, many tend to forget that the state’s law on possession of harder drugs is just as severe as that of any other. Drugs like cocaine and heroin are in a different medical classification group than marijuana, and the effect of possession and use on the public good is far worse. If you have been caught with harder drugs than marijuana, you definitely need to contact an experienced attorney to help you.

Possession and Intent to Distribute

Connecticut law recognizes two types of drug possession crimes - simple possession, and possession with intent to distribute. While intent to distribute is a crime carrying a long jail term, simple possession of hard drugs is still seen as a serious offense even if there is no intent to sell visible. This is because hard drugs have been documented to cause not acute harm not only to users, but to those around them as well. This idea of wanting to protect society, in general, is referred to as public policy, and drug offenses are often referred to as public policy crimes.

State law bars possession of any “narcotic, hallucinogenic or other controlled substance,” unless the person can produce a valid prescription for the substance from a doctor. If someone is caught with these drugs, the penalties can be quite severe because of the public policy considerations - for example, possession of heroin, even as a first offense, can lead to a jail term of up to seven years, plus a $50,000 fine. This is true even of simple possession - the rationale is that the state’s interests in ensuring the health and well-being of its citizens (as much as possible) warrants severe consequences for anyone bringing drugs into the community.

...

CT defense lawyerIt is very common for someone who has been charged with a misdemeanor to treat the whole episode as somehow not particularly serious or important, especially if they have never had any run-in with the law before. However, it is never a good idea to see criminal charges as inconsequential. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, contacting a criminal defense lawyer is the first step you should take.

Misdemeanors May Not Stay Misdemeanors

Connecticut criminal law has a wide range of misdemeanors, from disorderly conduct to prostitution. Class D misdemeanors are the least serious, usually carrying no more than 30 days in jail and a fine of a few hundred dollars. As the class goes up, so do the fines and the jail terms. Class A misdemeanors like prostitution can carry up to one year in jail, and fines of up to $2,000. No misdemeanor sentence will last more than one year, as Connecticut law immediately classifies all crimes with longer sentences as felonies.

While the sentences for misdemeanors are set down in the law, it is important to keep in mind that depending on the situation, a misdemeanor can be augmented or otherwise charged as more severe. For example, if a firearm or other deadly weapon is used during the commission of the misdemeanor, or if the crime is committed against a vulnerable individual (a disabled, elderly, mentally impaired or blind person), it may turn third-degree assault into second or first-degree.

...

CT juvenile defense lawyerManson Youth Institute in Cheshire, Connecticut, is a prison for young offenders who have allegedly committed a crime serious enough to wind up in the state’s adult court system. As of July 2019, there were only 43 young boys confined at Manson. This represents a significant change from the historical numbers - in July 2016, 76 were registered, and the number has been dropping for years. If your child is arrested and charged with a crime, you should be aware that the Connecticut penal system has been undergoing changes in the way young defendants are handled.

A General Downward Trend

In the 2007-2008 fiscal year, approximately 1,491 young people under the age of 18 were confined at Manson. That number decreased by approximately 92 percent over the next decade, with 2018’s final figure being 105. This is a hugely positive trend, but there are multiple reasons for the drop in juvenile inmate numbers that may or may not still apply in your child’s case. There are still many cases in which a prosecutor will determine that Manson or a similar secure environment is the best place for your child.

One significant change that came to pass in the decade between the figures is that Connecticut raised the age of adult criminal responsibility (except in cases of serious violent crime like murder or sexual assault) from 16 to 18. Sixteen-year-olds were added back into the juvenile justice system in 2010, and 17-year olds were added back in 2012. This means that 16 and 17-year olds that commit crimes that do not immediately merit transfer to the adult system are more likely to be charged as juveniles.

...

CT defense lawyerIn 2011, Connecticut’s then-governor signed legislation decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, reducing the sentence from incarceration to a fine, between $150-$500 per offense. However, too many people hear this and assume that this means no consequences for possession at all. In reality, being charged with possession of any drug is still a serious offense that requires an experienced legal professional to manage.

Infractions vs. Crimes

Decriminalized offenses are still considered infractions, which means that consequences still attach. While these offenses do not carry a penalty of incarceration, they do still carry fines, and can still cause serious problems in the future, since a possession conviction as an adult will generally remain on a person’s criminal record. Also, after your second conviction for this infraction, you can be ordered into a drug treatment program by the court.

It may seem a good idea to simply pay a ticket for possession of marijuana, but in reality, it causes far more trouble than it alleviates in the short-term. Admitting your guilt means that the offense remains on your record, where it can be visible to future employers, loan officers, and others in positions of authority. In most situations, it is best to try and fight the charge, so you can potentially duck that blemish on your record.

...

CT DUI attorneyThere is never any excuse for driving while under the influence of alcohol or another substance. However, there is a difference between a person who makes a mistake and a person who constantly acts recklessly, without regard for anyone else. Getting your first DUI in Connecticut can be terrifying, especially if it is an isolated incident rather than the next step in a pattern of behavior. An experienced DUI attorney can help guide you through what can be an intimidating process.

Connecticut Statistics Are Steady

Statistics show that the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Connecticut has risen in recent years, with 38 percent of traffic deaths being alcohol-related in 2016, rising to 43 percent in 2017, even though the overall fatality rate actually dropped. Nationwide, approximately 29 percent of all road deaths were alcohol-related, which is a historic low (at least since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been recording such statistics), so Connecticut’s rate is slightly higher. Connecticut does have a high death rate in such accidents, however, especially among those aged 21-34.

Regardless of age, Connecticut recognizes driving under the influence as a crime and takes even first offenses very seriously. Law enforcement officers can arrest and charge with DUI even if a driver refuses a blood alcohol test, though to refuse the test is highly discouraged (if you refuse a blood alcohol test in the field, your license may be suspended for up to 1 year, even for a first offense). You may wind up in jail for a night or longer, but either way, most first-time offenders find negotiating the process alone almost impossible.

...

CT defense lawyerCountless numbers of children are bullied at school every year, which in turn can play a major role in a host of physical and mental health problems. However, most of the time, bullying does not rise to the level of crime. In the situations where it does, your child will need an attorney who understands the complexities of juvenile law, and who knows how best to ensure that their rights are protected.

Bullying Can Be Serious

Statistics indicate that only around 20 percent of middle and high school students reported being bullied, but almost half of all students in another study reported being bullied at least once within the preceding month. As high as 30 percent of middle school students (aged 11-14, roughly) reported being physically bullied, with examples of pushing, hitting, or slapping being given. Approximately 24 percent reported being on the receiving end of sexual comments or gestures.

Bullying can have devastating consequences, primarily for the victim, but also for the bully. Multiple studies show increased risk for ‘poor school adjustment,’ anxiety, depression, sleep issues and focus problems for victims. Many studies also show that the risk of increased suicidal ideation can occur in both the bully and the bullied. Intervention is critical to safeguard both young people, and hopefully to place the bully on a better path. Sometimes, however, this may not occur until a crime has been committed, and in that case, the consequences must be faced.

...

CT defense lawyerMost people tend to write off traffic tickets as inconsequential mistakes that can be dealt with at some later time. However, they can add up and cause serious problems for drivers, especially if you rely on your vehicle to get you to work. Calling a Fairfield County traffic ticket attorney can help eliminate the problem smoothly and efficiently.

Do Not Automatically Plead Guilty

In Connecticut, there are moving violations, and then there are what the law calls motor vehicle crimes. The latter is going to be more serious, and these include offenses like speeding, hit-and-run, failure to obey a stop sign or traffic signal, or driving with a suspended license. It is possible for you to plead guilty to these types of offenses, or to fight them with a Stamford traffic ticket lawyer. While some may advise you to just plead guilty and get the matter over and done with, an experienced attorney will usually advise against it. A guilty plea will net you both points on your Connecticut drivers’ license, and points with your insurer, which can cause your rate to go through the proverbial roof.

DMV points in particular - the points on your driver’s license - can wind up being very expensive in the long run. Connecticut law assigns between one and five points for every infraction - for example, failing to signal properly adds one point to your license while following too closely will add three. If you have 10 total points on your license at any point, it will automatically be suspended for 30 days. If you have another situation where you have 10 total points on your license within the next five years, your license will then be suspended for up to two years.

...

Posted on in White Collar Crimes

CT defense attorneyAs technology advances, so, unfortunately, does the gamut of crimes that can be committed with it. Cybercrimes are a broad category of offenses that encompasses generally anything involving a third party’s computer, and while many are considered white-collar crimes, some of them can be the first steps toward violence. If you have been charged with a computer crime in Connecticut, you should expect it to be taken very seriously.

The Law Is Broad

Connecticut law governing computer crime is very specific on some counts and very vague on others. The relevant statute lists several broad categories of computer crime, as well as the specific criteria to use when attempting to charge someone with any of these crimes. Despite this, the application of Connecticut’s laws can seem counterintuitive at times, especially when dealing with crimes that involve malice or threat.

For example, someone who commits the crime of cyberstalking or cyberbullying would most likely be charged under Connecticut’s harassment laws, rather than under the specific computer crime laws, even though both the computer and the underlying conduct are key factors in the charge. Computer crimes have specific criteria, and often cyberstalking cases do not rise to that level. Still, it can get confusing to try and discern how you might be prosecuted if you try to handle the issue alone.

...

Posted on in Juvenile Crimes

CT defense lawyerWhen a juvenile commits a crime in Connecticut, there are two possible ways the case can be classified. Depending on several factors, including the nature of the offense, a juvenile can either be classified as a juvenile defendant, or as a youthful offender. While these two designations might seem interchangeable, they are not, and it is critical to understand the difference.

Juvenile Defendants

Juvenile defendants are, as one might expect, juveniles - people under the age of 18 who have committed an offense that the prosecutor determines should be prosecuted in juvenile court. They are referred to as juvenile delinquents, rather than defendants; Connecticut’s juvenile courts are much more focused on rehabilitation, especially for first offenders, as opposed to the adult court system that is focused more on punishment. The nature of the offense usually determines whether someone under 18 will be charged as a juvenile or as an adult.

Juvenile defendants are also more likely to be granted a non-judicial outcome in their case, meaning probation or pretrial diversion as opposed to a conviction and sentence. This may seem not harsh enough, for a young person who has allegedly committed a crime, but nonjudicial outcomes are not generally available for those who commit serious offenses. With nonviolent misdemeanors and violations, the state of Connecticut has decided to help young offenders learn rather than punish immediately.

...

CT defense lawyerThere are many different degrees of criminal assault, each with its own set of criteria that must be proven at trial. However, this can be quite confusing for someone who has been charged with assault, because you may not be aware of what the prosecution has to prove and what it does not. Having a good understanding of the case against you is an important way that you can keep a realistic picture of your chances in court.

Assault Charges Are Very Specific

Connecticut recognizes numerous specific degrees of assault charges, understanding that arguments and fights that get out of hand are quite different from an intentional and malicious attack. Intent is a major factor in determining what degree to charge someone with, but it is not the only factor - others include whether or not a weapon was used, the level of harm caused, and the identity of the victim (penalties will be stiffer, for example, if the victim is an elderly or disabled person).

It is important to keep in mind that factors about each defendant do not tend to affect the choice of charge; rather, if someone is convicted, it will be taken into account for sentencing purposes. Obviously, your aim is to avoid conviction and sentencing in the first place, but it is still a good idea to be aware of what the factors are that go into charges. The charge will reflect the overall event: if you caused minor injury to someone with your hands versus, say, attacking them with a knife or firearm.

...

CT defense lawyerNormally, when someone is arrested and charged with a criminal offense, the only way to end that process is either with an acquittal, a conviction, or a plea-bargain. There is another way that your trial can end, though you do not necessarily get to choose it. It is called taking a “nolle prosequi” or “nolle prosse,” and it will not necessarily be offered to you, so if it is, you need to understand exactly what is being offered before consenting.

Not a Dismissal

A nolle prosequi or nolle prosse, sometimes shortened to just a “nolle,” is a legal term that means “unwilling to prosecute” in Latin. It essentially serves as an implicit admission that the charges against a person cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt because if they could, the prosecutor would want to move forward with the case in all but the rarest situations. In most cases, a nolle prosse will result in the charged person being given probation or otherwise ordered to refrain from any kind of lawbreaking for a certain period of time.

Many are under the misapprehension that a nolle is the same as a dismissal, and in reality, there are very important distinctions. A dismissal means that the charges were dropped with no strings attached, and no further required interaction with the court or police. A nolle, at least in Connecticut, means that your arrest records will not be erased until 13 months have passed without you running afoul of the law. The law actually gives the prosecutor the right to reopen the case and re-prosecute at their sole discretion - in other words, you are still on the proverbial hook until 13 months have passed. (Reopening is rare, but not unheard of.)

...

Posted on in Juvenile Crimes

CT defense lawyerToo many people see petty crime or mischief offenses as part of growing up, especially for young boys and men. However, it is still important not to overlook the potential consequences of committing a crime, and in some cases, the crime may be serious enough to be removed to adult court, with all the attendant consequences. Having an experienced juvenile justice attorney on your side can help smooth out the process while still preserving your child’s rights.

Juvenile Court: More Rehabilitative Than Punitive

In juvenile court, there are two broad categories of offenses that a young person may be charged with: delinquent acts, or serious juvenile offenses. Delinquent acts are defined as the violation of a federal or state law (with exceptions) by a juvenile. Essentially, if the act in question is not defined as a serious juvenile offense, it will generally qualify as a delinquent act. Serious juvenile offenses, by comparison, are specifically laid out in the relevant statute, and if the prosecutor thinks it necessary, allow your child’s case to be removed to adult court.

In most cases where a juvenile is arrested, Connecticut’s justice system has the stated aim of trying to rehabilitate them, rather than solely punish them for their choices. Their young age and (in most cases) lack of life experience are seen as mitigating factors, to some degree, and especially in cases of non-violent crime, many juvenile offenders are offered alternative options to a jail sentence, such as diversion programs or community service.

...

CT defense lawyerDomestic violence is a crime that justifiably carries quite a lot of social stigma, in addition to the potentially serious criminal penalties. However, it is very easy for a disagreement to spiral out of control, or for a word or gesture to be misunderstood. If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is critical that your side of the story be told. Enlisting an experienced Connecticut domestic violence attorney can ensure your rights are protected.

Connecticut Definition Is Expansive

Historically domestic violence or family violence was a charge confined to violence between spouses or involving a parent and child. However, Connecticut law explicitly includes multiple categories of relationships as falling under this law, including spouses and former spouses, “persons related by blood or marriage,” roommates, co-parents (whether or not they live together or have been married), and people in dating relationships. The intent is simply to protect as many people as possible.

The law does specifically exclude acts by parents intended to discipline minor children unless those acts constitute abuse. Also, verbal abuse does not count as domestic violence unless there is “present danger” and the “likelihood” that physical violence will occur. This can be a very difficult thing to interpret, and because domestic violence is such a serious crime, very often peace officers may err on the side of caution and arrest a person to hedge their bets, so to speak, or because they feel they have to arrest someone.

...

CT defense lawyerThe category of theft crimes covers quite a lot of legal real estate, but across the board, it is reasonable to say that none of the offenses under that umbrella should ever be taken lightly. Theft charges and convictions can reflect on your general character, and can actively harm future prospects for things like renting a home or getting a new job. If you have been charged with shoplifting or any other kind of theft crime in Connecticut, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help with your case.

Multiple Theft Crimes

In some states, simple theft is a different crime from, for example, receiving stolen property or shoplifting. In Connecticut, they are all grouped under the ‘umbrella’ of larceny, which in turn is defined as wrongfully “tak[ing], obtain[ing], or withhold[ing]” property from a person with the intent to deprive them of it or to take it for yourself. The different theft crimes have different criteria, but if you are charged with, for example, embezzlement, the actual charge will be larceny in the first, second, or third degree.

Other examples of Connecticut theft crimes include:

...

CT defense lawyerViolent crime does happen in Connecticut, contrary to the beliefs of many people, with the state rate roughly mirroring the national numbers. However, what many do not understand is that not all violent crime is the result of unbridled malice or evil actions. If you have been charged with a violent crime like assault and battery or murder, you have the right to a good defense, and you have the right to seek legal help that can ensure you have your fair day in court.

Remain Silent

If you have been held in connection with a violent crime, it is imperative to exercise your right to remain silent whenever possible. Many people in such a position may say something off the cuff or not understand their rights when they are read (or, in rare cases, their rights may not be read to them), and anything they say can be used against them in court, just as every Miranda warning one sees on television makes clear. Do not give law enforcement any opportunity to misunderstand or use your own words against you.

It is important to keep in mind that you do not even need to wait for formal charges before retaining an attorney. The criminal justice system can be quite complex and it is easy to make errors in procedure that can cost you - having an experienced attorney on your side can ensure your rights are protected, as very often, prosecutors and police may try to cut procedural corners in trying to secure an arrest and conviction. Sometimes this is unintentional, and sometimes it is not, but either way, you have the right to have someone on your side sticking up for your rights.

...

CT DUI lawyerDriving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is seen as one of the most reckless and dangerous crimes one can commit without having the malicious intent to harm anyone. The penalties, even for a first-time offender, can be quite serious. However, if you are caught driving under the influence again in Connecticut, the penalties are even more serious and no leniency will be granted to you as a repeat offender. If you have been charged with a second or third DUI, you need an attorney well versed in these types of cases to stand up for your rights.

A Second DUI Is a Felony

In Connecticut, the 10-year period after you are convicted of DUI is the key to keeping your criminal record clear. A first DUI is often charged as a misdemeanor if no one has been injured or killed, and as such, the person may be eligible for pretrial diversion programs and other rehabilitative options instead of having to serve a prison sentence. If you are convicted of a second DUI within 10 years of the first, you will automatically be charged as a felony, regardless of whether the DUI caused injury, death, property damage, or no damage at all.

A second DUI in 10 years being charged as a felony means that no pretrial diversion is available; if you are sentenced to prison at trial, you must serve that prison sentence. Connecticut law allows a sentence of between 45 and 730 days (two years) for any DUI beyond the first offense, as well as fines of up to $4,000 and a driver’s license suspension for up to three years, depending on the specific nature of your actions.

...

CT defense lawyerSex crimes are among the most serious and potentially damaging allegations that can be levied against a person, and even if they are untrue, the stigma can remain for years after your name is legally cleared. If you have been charged with a sex crime in Connecticut, you need an attorney who understands the law in these high-pressure situations, and who will give you the best chance to clear your name if the accusations are untrue.

Four Different Charges

Connecticut law recognizes four different degrees of sexual assault, as opposed to delineating different charges for rape, sexual assault, statutory rape, and other sex-related crimes. It is also possible to add an ‘aggravating’ factor, such as the use of a weapon, the help of accomplices who are present, or the display of “extreme indifference to human life.” It is possible to charge someone with both aggravated and non-aggravated sexual assault in the same degree, though one can only be convicted of one or the other.

It is important to understand that being accused of a lesser degree of sexual misconduct does not mean that the charge should not be taken extremely seriously. While first and second-degree sexual assaults are felonies carrying up to life and 40 years’ prison sentence respectively, even a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge of sexual assault carries a penalty of up to one year in jail. This is on top of any fines and required registry as a sex offender.

...

CT defense lawyerAllegations of bias or bigotry are very serious and becoming increasingly not tolerated in this day and age. Many states, including Connecticut, have instituted significant penalties that can be added onto a sentence if it can be proven that the underlying crime was committed with intent to harm or threaten a member of a minority group. If you find yourself charged with a hate crime on top of another charge, it is a very serious charge that cannot be ignored.

Two Crimes

To charge someone with a hate crime in Connecticut, it must be alleged that they either committed assault, vandalism (or another property crime), or harassment, for the express purpose of targeting a person based on their immutable characteristics. There are three degrees of “intimidation based on bigotry or bias,” as hate crimes are officially known in Connecticut, and in order for someone to be found guilty of any of them, the prosecution must show both that the underlying crime and the bigotry or bias are present.

So, for example, if you are charged with assault after attacking someone, and there is reason to believe that you did so based on their race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, the prosecution would have to prove both that you actually did commit the crime of assault, and that you did so against that particular person because of one or more of those characteristics. If the prosecutor cannot prove that you had the intent to attack that particular person out of hate or malice, you cannot be convicted of a hate crime.

...