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Fairfield CT criminal defense attorneyLaw enforcement is a vital part of a productive and peaceful society. However, many people have expressed concerns over the use of excessive force by police officers in recent years. Although the issue of police brutality has been a fiercely discussed topic for decades, events that have occurred in the past several years have made the issue more relevant than ever. In an effort to increase police accountability and prevent the misuse of police authority, Connecticut House Bill 6004 was passed in 2020. Many of the elements of the new law have already gone into effect; however, some provisions only went into effect as of January 1, 2021. If you or a loved one has been affected by police brutality or was accused of a crime, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help.

Police Held to High Standards Regarding Equality and Use of Force

In response to concerns about police actions across the country, Connecticut has passed a massive police accountability law addressing many key issues. One component of the law that recently went into effect is a requirement regarding police badges and name tags. Police officers are now required to attach their name tags and badges to the outermost layer of their uniform unless they are in an undercover operation. Other elements that recently went into effect require police officers to serve minority communities and report the steps taken to recruit diverse police officers.

Mandatory Mental Health Assessments

Another major component of the new law that went into effect the first of this year is the mental health evaluation requirement. As a condition of employment or continued employment, officers will be required to undergo a behavioral health assessment conducted by a certified psychiatrist or psychologist with experience treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Officers must undergo the assessment every five years at a minimum. The new law also gives the police chief the authority to require additional mental health evaluations if necessary.

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Fairfield CT sex crime defense attorneyMost experts agree that a person’s brain is not fully developed until about age 25. Because children’s brains are still developing and they have not had the life experience needed to make informed choices about sex, children cannot consent to sexual activities by law. However, the “age of consent,” or age at which a person is considered old enough to consent to sex, varies from state to state. The relationship between the child and the person with whom they have a sexual relationship also affects the legality of the relationship. If you or a loved one has been accused of having sexual relations with someone under the age of consent, you may be arrested and charged with a sex crime.

Sexual Activity With Someone Under the Age of Consent

The age of consent in Connecticut is 16. This means that anyone aged 15 or below is unable to consent to sex in the eyes of the law. Any sexual activity between an adult and someone under 16 may lead to criminal charges and potential jail time. However, there are exceptions to this law. If a child is over age 13 and he or she has a sexual relationship with someone less than four years older than him or her, this may not be considered a crime. For example, a 17-year-old who has a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old is not breaking the law unless there are other unlawful factors such as the use of force. This so-called “Romeo and Juliet” exception exists to protect teenagers from criminal prosecution for having consensual sexual relationships with other teenagers. There are also situations in which having sexual relations with someone over the age of consent may be in violation of Connecticut law. For example, if a person over age 20 in a position of authority such as a coach or teacher has sex with someone under 18, he or she may be charged with statutory rape.

Statutory Rape Laws in Connecticut

Sexual activity between a child under age 13 and a person three or more years older than the child is considered first-degree sexual assault in Connecticut. This Class A felony offense is punishable by fines up to $20,000 and up to 25 years in prison. Sex between a child aged 13 to 15 and someone at least four years older than the child is considered second-degree sexual assault. This is a Class B felony punishable by a maximum fine of $15,000 and up to 20 years’ imprisonment. Non-penetrative sexual activity between a child under 13 and someone more than two years older than the child is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. In addition to fines, imprisonment, and other criminal consequences, individuals convicted of sex crimes against children will also need to register as sex offenders.

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Connecticut DUI defense attorneyIf you have recently been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, your mind may be racing with questions. You may wonder, “Will I lose my license?” or “Will I go to jail?” You may also worry about how a DUI conviction could affect your employment or educational opportunities. If you have been charged with DUI, the first thing you should do is educate yourself about your rights as a criminal defendant. One of the most important rights you have is the right to consult with a qualified attorney. Your attorney can help you build a strong defense against the charges, help you qualify for a diversion program, and represent your best interests through the proceedings.

Charges Do Not Mean Conviction

If you were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, you may still have the opportunity to avoid conviction. If the arresting officers did not have probable cause to conduct a traffic stop, the breathalyzer or other blood alcohol content (BAC) tests were inaccurate, or there were other problems with the DUI arrest, you may avoid conviction. You may also be able to participate in a pretrial diversion program. Typically, these programs require participants to participate in drug or alcohol treatment or counseling of some kind. If you complete the program, you could have your charges dismissed entirely.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction

If you are convicted of DUI for the first time, you face up to $1,000 in fines, up to 6 months in jail, a maximum of 100 hours of community service, and suspension of your driver’s license. To regain your ability to drive, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on each of your vehicles. This device requires you to blow into the mouthpiece to start your car. If any alcohol is detected on your breath, your vehicle will not start.

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Connecticut pretrial diversion program defense attorneyIf you or a loved one was arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you may be unsure of what will happen next. Will you or your loved one be sentenced to jail? Will a conviction prevent you or your loved one from working, going to school, or finding suitable housing? Fortunately, many criminal defendants qualify for a pretrial diversion program. These programs can help a defendant avoid jail time and a permanent criminal record.

Focusing on Rehabilitation, Not Punishment

Connecticut courts recognize that many individuals charged and convicted of crimes are good people who made a mistake. If you were charged with a criminal offense but the offense was not a particularly violent crime or a sex crime, you may be able to participate in a program designed to “rehabilitate” you and prevent you from reoffending. Often, these programs involve mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, educational classes, vocational training, community service, drug testing, and meeting with a probation officer. If you are able to participate in and complete a diversion program, your criminal record may be expunged.

Diversion Programs Available in Connecticut

There are many different types of pretrial diversion programs in Connecticut, including:

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Fairfield CT juvenile defense attorneyTeenagers sometimes make impulsive decisions that land them in legal trouble. If your son or daughter has been charged with a criminal offense, you may be very concerned about the consequences he or she will face. Minors are typically tried in juvenile court. Unlike adult court, juvenile courtrooms are closed to the public and juvenile records are sealed. In most cases, a juvenile offender may eventually petition to have his or her criminal record erased. Incarceration sentences are also typically shorter for juveniles than they are for adults, and juveniles are held in a juvenile detention center instead of an adult correctional facility. However, there are many cases in which a juvenile may be tried as an adult and subject to adult consequences.

Connecticut Laws Regarding Juvenile Offenses

If your child is at least 14 years old and has been charged with a Class A or Class B felony offense, he or she will be tried as an adult. Crimes such as kidnapping, arson, sexual assault, homicide, and armed robbery typically result in a teenaged offender being transferred to the adult criminal system. However, a teenager who is subject to the adult criminal system also has the same Constitutional rights as an adult criminal defendant. He or she has the right to remain silent, consult with an attorney, decline police questioning, and more.

For other offenses, whether or not a juvenile is tried as an adult is often up to the juvenile prosecutor’s discretion. If your child was accused of selling or manufacturing drugs, assault with a weapon, vehicular homicide, certain weapons violations, or another felony offense, it is possible that he or she may be treated as an adult during criminal proceedings. Some of the factors that prosecutors consider when deciding whether or not to try a youth as an adult include:

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Norwalk CT criminal defense lawyerIf you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for theft, DUI, drug possession, assault, or any other offense, you may be lost and unsure of what to do. A criminal defense lawyer can provide the legal support and guidance you need during this confusing and overwhelming experience. Regardless of the type or severity of the crime you have been accused of, you have a constitutional right to legal assistance and representation from an attorney. If you are like many people, you may understand your right to an attorney, but do not know exactly how a criminal defense lawyer can help you. Read on to learn about the many ways in which a lawyer can assist you during a criminal proceeding.

Ways A Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives criminal defendants the right to legal counsel. There are many ways that a lawyer can help you if you have been accused of a crime, including:

  • Explaining your charges and how to fight these charges. Connecticut law is complex. You may not know exactly what it is you have even been accused of, let alone how to fight these criminal charges. Your attorney can help you understand the charges you are facing and help you formulate a strategy for defending yourself against the accusations.
  • Ensuring your rights are protected. Criminal defendants have certain rights by law. You have the right to be informed of your charges, to avoid self-incrimination, to argue against accusers and witnesses, and more. A lawyer can help you understand your rights as a criminal defendant and ensure that these rights are not violated.
  • Investigating your case and finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. The prosecution must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. Your lawyer can investigate the case and find any inconsistencies, flaws, or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you and use these weaknesses to your advantage.
  • Representing you during the trial. During your trial, your lawyer can examine witnesses that attest to your innocence, cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses, and present arguments and evidence to the court.
  • Advocating for you during sentencing. If you are convicted by the court or choose to accept a plea bargain, your lawyer can help during your sentencing. He or she can argue on your behalf for alternatives to incarceration or a reduced sentence.

Contact a Norwalk Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a crime, contact Connecticut criminal defense attorney Daniel P. Weiner for help building a strong defense. Do not allow police to interrogate you without your attorney present. Call The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today at 203-348-5846 for a free, confidential consultation.

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Norwalk CT DUI defense attorneyIt is against the law in Connecticut to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more, and doing so can result in criminal charges of driving under the influence (DUI). First-time DUI offenders in Connecticut may be penalized by up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines, along with the suspension of their driver’s license and the required installation of an ignition interlock device if they wish to regain driving privileges. If you have already been convicted of DUI within the past ten years and you have been charged with drunk driving for the second time, you may face even harsher penalties.

Penalties for a Second DUI Offense in Connecticut

Connecticut takes DUI offenses very seriously, and a second DUI conviction within ten years is punished differently from a first-time DUI. If you are convicted of a second DUI, you face jail time of up to two years, and unlike a first-time DUI, a second DUI results in a mandatory jail sentence of 120 days. It is possible that a second-time DUI offender may be released from jail before the 120 days are up, but some duration of jail time is likely. You will also be required to perform 100 hours of community service. The administrative penalties for a second DUI conviction include a driver’s license suspension of three years. After 45 days, you may be eligible to regain your driving privileges if you install an ignition interlock device.

How Can I Fight a Second DUI?

The consequences of a second DUI conviction in Connecticut are severe. If you or a loved one has been arrested for drunk driving and you have previously been convicted of DUI, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer right away. Remember, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and decline police questioning until your lawyer is present. Your attorney can help you develop a strong defense against your charges, and if you end up being convicted of DUI, your lawyer can help you take steps to reduce the penalties as much as possible.

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Fairfield County domestic violence defense lawyerBeing blamed for something you did not do can be infuriating, especially if the act you are accused of involves violence against a family or household member. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you may be unsure of how to handle the situation. Should you confront the abuser and try to defend yourself, or stay silent? Should you comply with a restraining order that was founded on lies, or fight it? If you have been accused of stalking, harassment, assault, or another crime related to domestic abuse, you could be facing significant criminal penalties. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for help as soon as possible.

Never Confront the Person Who Accused You

When someone says something about you that is not true, it is only natural to want to set the record straight. However, if you have been accused of domestic violence, confronting the accuser may make your situation much worse. He or she may use even a nonviolent confrontation as an excuse to make further allegations of violence or threats. Do not call, text, visit, or otherwise communicate with the person who has accused you. Instead, reach out to a defense attorney with experience handling false claims of domestic violence to receive personalized guidance.

Comply With Any Restraining Orders or Protective Orders

A criminal order of protection is a court order that is issued against someone who has been arrested for family violence. Civil restraining orders, on the other hand, may be issued even if the subject has not been arrested or charged with a crime. In Connecticut, an individual can request a civil restraining order via an “ex parte” hearing. This is a hearing in which the petitioner, or person requesting protection, explains his or her reasons for requesting the restraining order, but the subject of the order is not present to defend himself or herself. Protection orders and restraining orders may prohibit you from communicating with the alleged victim or coming within a certain distance of him or her. They may also order you to move out of your own home, stay away from your children, or surrender your firearms.

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Fairfield traffic ticket defense attorneyMost adults have received at least one or two traffic citations in their lifetime. They may have driven above the speed limit, run a red light, or failed to stop fully at a stop sign. While traffic violations are typically considered minor offenses, the consequences can be significant. Penalties for traffic infractions may include stiff fines, and, if you have accumulated too many demerit points, suspension of your driver’s license. If you have recently been issued a traffic ticket, you may wonder what your options are for challenging the ticket, or if it is in your best interests to contest the ticket by pleading not guilty.

Is My Ticket Worth Fighting?

Many people do not realize that they have the option to contest a traffic ticket. Others understand that this option is available but assume that the time and energy needed to challenge the traffic violation is simply not worth it. If you are questioning whether or not to plead not guilty to your traffic violation, consider the following:

  • Did you actually commit the offense that you have been accused of?
  • Do you have any evidence you can use to prove your innocence?
  • Will paying the fine cause you considerable financial stress?
  • Will the ticket lead to a significant increase in your car insurance payment?
  • Are you facing suspension of your driver’s license?

If you did not commit the traffic infraction, the ticket will create a significant financial burden, or you are facing license suspension or other significant consequences, it may be a good idea to contest the ticket.

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Fairfield County marijuana possession lawyerLaws prohibiting the consumption and sale of marijuana are changing rapidly across the country. However, this does not mean that the substance is not subject to strict regulations. In Connecticut, marijuana has been decriminalized. Possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana is punishable by a modest fine, and, if the offender is under age 21, a 60-day suspension of his or her driver’s license. However, possession of larger amounts of marijuana, transportation of the drug across state lines, or driving under the influence of marijuana can result in serious criminal consequences, including jail time.

Marijuana Possession May Be a Misdemeanor or Felony Offense

If you are caught with more than a half-ounce of marijuana, you face a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. However, you may be able to avoid jail time by participating in a pretrial diversion program. With this option, you may be required to undergo drug treatment, mental health counseling, community service, and/or ongoing drug testing.

If you possessed a significant quantity of marijuana, the prosecution may argue that you intended to sell the illegal drug. Selling marijuana or possessing it with intent to sell is a felony offense in Connecticut. If you are convicted of possession with intent to sell, you may face a prison sentence of up to seven years and a $25,000 fine. Possession of more than one kilogram of marijuana is punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison.

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Posted on in Juvenile Crimes

CT defense lawyerIf your child commits a crime while they are under the age of 17, the offense will generally be handled in juvenile court, which is focused far more on rehabilitation than on punishment. However, sometimes the offense will not be serious enough to be sent to adult court, but serious enough to warrant further supervision. In these cases, the answer is usually to remand the juvenile to detention. This is less common than it used to be, but it will happen in some cases, and if it does, it is important for both you and your child to understand your rights in this situation.

15 Days Max - Usually

Most situations in which a minor is arrested in Connecticut will end in their being released to their parents with a promise to appear in juvenile court in days or weeks. However, if the child has committed a more serious offense, authorities have the option of sending them to juvenile detention until the next business day, when arraignment will usually happen. Unlike in adult court, bail is not required in juvenile court, and minors may not post bail of their own accord, so very often a minor will remain in the detention center until their arraignment.

In all but the rarest cases, the maximum amount of time a juvenile can remain in detention is 15 days. The only time this will be extended is if the juvenile has committed a serious juvenile offense (SJO), which is a crime which may (and frequently must) merit transferring the case to adult court. The list of SJOs include approximately 50 felonies, such as murder, sexual assault, and first-degree robbery, and kidnapping. If your child has been charged with an SJO, the likelihood of them remaining in juvenile detention is quite high even if the case remains in the juvenile court system.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_DUI_20201016-020939_1.jpgAnyone who drives a motor vehicle with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Connecticut. An elevated BAC is defined as 0.08 percent for adults and 0.02 percent for drivers under the age of 21. If convicted of drunk driving, an individual faces an immediate administrative driver’s license suspension and a possible jail sentence of up to 6 months. If the offender’s BAC was significantly above the legal limit, he or she has previously been convicted of DUI, or there are other aggravating factors, the penalties associated with DUI are much more severe. If you or a loved one have been charged with DUI, read on to learn about the legal defenses that may be used to avoid conviction.

Defending Against a Connecticut DUI

To secure a conviction for DUI, prosecutors must prove that a driver’s alcohol consumption led him or her to be intoxicated and therefore unable to operate a vehicle safely. DUI defenses typically fall under one of two categories:

The Evidence Used to Charge The Driver Was Inadequate or Flawed: There are several chemical tests that are used to determine an individual’s blood alcohol content. The most common is a breath alcohol content test such as a Breathalyzer. Blood tests and urine tests may also be used. If the results of these tests are inaccurate, the driver’s true BAC is unknown. A Breathalyzer or other chemical BAC test may yield inaccurate results because the testing instrument was not calibrated correctly or was somehow damaged. BAC test results may also be inaccurate if the police officer or healthcare worker administrating the test administers it incorrectly. Clerical errors such as mislabeled or mixed up test results may also lead to inaccurate results.

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CT real estate lawyerBuying a home is too important for you to finalize the purchase without inspecting the home first. Finding major problems with your new home after you have moved in may force you to pay for expensive repairs or leave you stuck in a flawed home. Most real estate contracts include a home inspection contingency clause, which gives the prospective buyer the right to hire a professional home inspector and to cancel the contract if the inspection report concerns them. The buyer should at least be aware of the problems so they can be factored into the selling price. Here are six parts of a home inspection where problems can arise:

  • Foundation and Basement: A weak foundation can threaten the stability of the home. Signs of foundation problems may include cracks in the foundation or moisture in the basement, The foundation problem could be something that can be repaired or may be caused by the land the house was built on.
  • Roof and Attic: Missing tiles or dark spots could be a sign of a weak spot or leak in the roof. Even if the roof is not currently leaking, it may not be long before the weak spots become leaks unless they are repaired. The extent of the existing damage may determine whether the roof needs to be reshingled or replaced.
  • Electricity: An outdated electrical system can be dangerous and expensive to repair because it will require tearing into walls. Signs of a weak electrical system may include light switches that do not work and insufficient power for operating appliances.
  • Plumbing: An old or weak plumbing system can also be an expensive fix and cause extensive water damage if not addressed. Signs may include leaks and poor water pressure.
  • Drainage: Gutters and downspouts should be attached and directing water away from the home. A poor drainage system can cause water damage to multiple areas of the house.
  • HVAC: Proper heating and cooling are more than issues of comfort. An inefficient HVAC system can raise the cost of your energy bill.

Contact a Fairfield County Residential Real Estate Attorney

Finding major damage or needed repairs during a home inspection should affect your final decision on purchasing the home and what price you are willing to pay for it. A Stamford residential real estate lawyer at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can advise you during your real estate transaction and make sure your contract protects you. Schedule a free consultation by calling 203-348-5846.

 

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CT DUI lawyerDrunk driving is an offense taken very seriously by Illinois courts. If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), you face an immediate administrative driver’s license suspension. If convicted, you face further criminal consequences including possible jail time. Losing your license after a DUI can make it nearly impossible for you to get to and from work, transport your children, or perform everyday tasks. Fortunately, you may be able to regain your driving privileges by participating in a driving relief program and installing a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle.

How Do Illinois BAIIDs Work?

A breath alcohol interlock device is a device that measures the amount of alcohol on someone’s breath and uses that information to calculate his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). Similar to a breathalyzer, a test subject uses a BAIID by blowing into the device’s mouthpiece. If the device detects a BAC that is above 0.025 percent, the ignition will not engage and the vehicle will not start. BAIIDs are also equipped with a camera that takes a photograph of the test subject. This ensures that the person providing the breath sample is the person for whom the device is intended. There is no way to “cheat” a BAIID. Mints, gum, candy, mouthwash, or other rumored tactics cannot allow an inebriated driver to start his or her car once the BAIID is installed. Furthermore, misusing a BAIID may lead to a lengthened driver’s license suspension period and additional criminal consequences.

BAIIDs Are Required for a Monitoring Device Permit or Restricted Driving Permit

If you have been convicted of a first-time DUI, you may be able to regain your driving privileges through a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). As a condition of this permit, you will need to have a BAIID installed in any vehicle you plan on driving. Driving a vehicle that does not have a BAIID installed in it once you have received a MDDP is against the law. If you have been charged or convicted of a second or subsequent DUI, you may be able to restore limited driving privileges through a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP). To obtain an RDP, you will need to prove that a hardship exists, participate in a professional drug and alcohol evaluation, attend a hearing, and have a BAIID installed in your vehicle.

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CT real estate lawyerIf you are thinking about selling your home, you may be exploring your various options. While many people choose to utilize the expertise of a real estate agent, it is possible to sell your home on your own. “For sale by owner” or FSBO sales come with advantages as well as disadvantages. Selling your home without a real estate agent’s assistance is a significant undertaking that will require a great deal of your time and energy. Consequently, it is important to be fully educated about the FSBO process before embarking on this endeavor.

Will I Save Money By Selling My House on My Own?

By now you probably already know that real estate agents make their living by taking a commission from home sale proceeds. Many individuals look into FSBO sales because they do not want an agent’s commission to be deducted from their sale profit. While selling your home on your own does eliminate this particular cost, there is no guarantee that an FSBO sale will save you money on the whole. In fact, it is possible that the profit you will make from the sale will be even less than it would have been if you did work with a real estate agent. Selling your property for too little is one of the most common pitfalls that FSBO sellers fall victim to.

Consider the Amount of Control and Responsibility You Want to Take On

Some people want to be as involved in the home selling process as much as possible. Others are too busy with their family or career to take on a great deal of home-selling responsibilities. If you sell the home on your own, you will maintain complete control over the sale. You will choose the listing price and details as well as the marketing strategy. You may also need to negotiate with experienced real estate agents and prepare your home for showings. You will need to evaluate your own desires and abilities to know if an FSBO sale is right for you.

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CT defense lawyerBeing accused of sexual assault may come as a shock, especially if you believe the accusation to be partly or completely fabricated. You may have never had sexual relations with your accuser or have believed that your encounter was consensual. Though prosecutors have the burden of proving your guilt, the mere accusation can be enough to tarnish your reputation and throw your life into turmoil. You need to fight back against false sexual assault charges and can help your defense by taking the following actions when you have been accused:

  • Find a Good Defense Lawyer: Whenever you face criminal charges, your first step should be to contact a criminal defense lawyer. What you say and do following your arrest can become evidence in a criminal trial. A criminal defense lawyer will speak on your behalf and make sure that you are treated fairly by the law.
  • Be Honest with Your Lawyer: A person accused of sexual assault may be uncomfortable discussing the history of their interaction with the accuser. It may be that they were involved in an extra-marital affair or a relationship that would have professional consequences. Your defense attorney needs to know exactly what happened between you and the accuser, even if you are embarrassed to admit it.
  • Figure Out Your Timeline: Your defense will rely on your version of the events leading up to and during the alleged assault. Depending on how long ago the alleged assault occurred, it may be difficult to recall all of the details. You need to come up with a timeline of events as you can best remember and stay consistent with that story.
  • Identify Your Evidence: Evidence in a sexual assault case often comes down to “he said, she said,” but there can be tangible evidence that backs up your testimony. Text messages, emails, and phone calls can show whether your relationship was consensual and may contradict your accuser’s testimony. If you deny having been with the person at the time of the alleged assault, a witness could testify as to your whereabouts at that time.
  • Stay Calm: Perceptions about your character may determine whether a court will believe your testimony in a sexual assault case. It is important that you refrain from public outbursts or verbal attacks against your accuser, including staying silent on social media about the case. Aggressive and emotional behavior leaves an impression on the court that you are the type of person they could imagine committing a sexual assault.

Contact a Fairfield County Criminal Defense Lawyer

It is possible to quash a false sexual assault charge against you with the right legal representation. A Stamford criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can put you in the best position to win your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 203-348-5846.

 

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CT real estate lawyerConnecticut families, like the rest of the country, have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals have had their work hours significantly reduced while others were laid off permanently. Parents have had to find alternative childcare or were forced to stay home from work to watch their children. The financial implications of this virus continue to be wide-reaching. Fortunately, the federal government has taken steps to alleviate at least some of the financial stress caused by the lockdowns. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced extended suspensions on real estate owned (REO) evictions and single-family foreclosures.

Financial Relief for Homeowners

The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the financial resources of millions of families throughout the United States and across the globe. Many Americans have spent sleepless nights worrying about being unable to pay their bills and losing their homes due to foreclosure. Some even feared homelessness. In response to the significant financial harm caused by the pandemic and associated lockdowns, both state and federal government agencies have instituted changes designed to provide financial relief.

Extended Suspension of Foreclosures and Evictions

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared a cessation on single-family home foreclosures. The Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA) followed suit shortly afterward and ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to temporarily freeze foreclosures. These moratoriums were originally set to expire at the end of August. Fortunately, the FHFA has extended the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums until December 31, 2020. The foreclosure suspension only applies to single-family mortgages that are backed by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company. The real estate owned eviction moratorium applies to Enterprise-acquired properties that were obtained through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions. This extension is expected to protect more than 28 million homeowners from foreclosure and eviction.

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IL defense attorneyGiven the recent scarcity of traffic on Connecticut roads, it is perhaps understandable that Connecticut police have been issuing more speeding tickets in recent months, as less traffic usually means more chances to speed. That said, it is never a good idea to speed, even if you believe that no one is watching. The ensuing ticket may seem inconsequential, but its future ramifications can be very serious.

Speeding Leads to More Fatalities

Despite the significant decrease in traffic on Connecticut’s roads, statistics from the National Safety Council point to a major increase in road traffic fatalities for the state in 2020, with the state seeing a 42 percent jump in fatalities per miles driven between March 2019 and March 2020. Overall, the auto accident death rate is approximately 2 percent higher in 2020 than it was in 2018 or 2019, which reverses the downward trend in those years. Anecdotal evidence abounds to suggest that a major proportion of those being injured and dying on state roads are speeding or otherwise driving in a reckless manner.

Even if you are not driving recklessly, you can still exceed the speed limit and receive a ticket for the offense. Connecticut law has specific speed limits - 55 mph on most roads, and 65 mph on highways - but the relevant statute also bars driving “at such a rate of speed” so that they “endanger the life” of any occupant of the car. If a passenger can make a reasonable case that they believed their life was in danger while being a passenger in your vehicle, while you were driving, you may wind up being ticketed, if not arrested and charged.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerConnecticut law on drug possession and trafficking establishes crimes that are committed when a person holds or sells illegal drugs (or legal drugs obtained illegally). However, there is another type of drug-related crime that is commonly charged, referred to as possession of drug paraphernalia. If you have been charged with this, either on its own or on top of a drug possession charge, it is crucial to understand that it can sometimes be treated as a relatively minor infraction, but in some cases, can lead to additional fines and even jail time.

Hard to Define

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a fairly common offense, with Connecticut law on the subject following the same patterns as are seen in other jurisdictions. The relevant statute holds that it is illegal to either use drug paraphernalia, or to possess it with the intent to use. The definition of drug paraphernalia, however, is extremely wide, covering seemingly every possible manner in which an item can be used to use, sell, or handle drugs - meaning that if you are arrested for drug possession, you may very well face a paraphernalia charge if anything even remotely related to drugs can be found in the near area or in your possession.

In order to establish your guilt in this particular crime, State’s Attorneys must prove that you had actual or constructive possession (essentially, either possession or control over the item) and that you knew what the item was and/or knew its purpose. So, for example, if you are asked to hold onto a water pipe for a friend, but do not know what it is, or know what it is used for, you cannot be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia because you had no intent to do so.

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CT real estate lawyerAre you on the hunt for a house to call home? For first time home buyers, the purchasing process can seem overwhelming and you may be so excited to finally own a home that you jump the gun. When you make an offer on a house, you will complete lots of paperwork that includes the terms of your offer. It is always advisable to work with a real estate attorney while drafting these documents to properly outline your offer and avoid paying more than necessary. Connecticut does not require homebuyers to hire a real estate attorney, but their expertise can keep you from falling victim to unnoticed contingencies included in the seller’s proposal.

Financial Details

It is unlikely that you will forget to include your payment offer on the home while drafting your offer contract; however, this is hardly the only financial consideration that must be done in the purchasing process. Be sure to do your research on the interest rate environment since you will likely have to take out a mortgage to finance your home. It is imperative that you list an interest rate that is affordable in the long term. Any loans that you may need to take out for the purchase of the home should also be listed.

Closing Costs

Just because you are purchasing the home does not necessarily mean that you should be solely responsible for all of the closing costs. If you want the seller to pay a portion of these costs, known as a seller assist, this must be included in your offer agreement. Closing costs are not normally included in the property price, meaning the total cost of the sale will be higher than the price tag cost. It is fairly common for sellers to assist with the closing costs, and even more so if the homebuyer offers a higher purchase price contingent upon the seller’s assistance with the closing costs.

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