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CT defense lawyerIn Connecticut, anyone under the age of 17 who is accused of committing a crime will generally be arrested and made to appear before a juvenile court to discuss the case. If your family has never before been involved with the law, this whole process can be a terrible and frightening time. An experienced juvenile justice attorney can help answer any questions and alleviate concerns that you might have so that your child can be certain to have their rights protected during the legal process.

Q: If my child is arrested, do I have any rights during the process?

A: Yes. Parents have a right to be informed about their child’s arrest and are permitted to refuse any interrogation of their children. Arrested juveniles also have a fairly high chance of being released into a parent’s custody unless the alleged offense is very serious (in which case, it will likely be transferred to adult court, where your child will be treated in a similar manner to any other adult offender).

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CT defense lawyerWith the increased nationwide push toward legality for small amounts of marijuana, it can be very easy to assume that possession of marijuana will not lead to any potential criminal consequences. This is, however, not the case - aside from small exceptions, possession of marijuana will wind up leading to fines, possible jail time, and potential social consequences for the future, especially if you are a juvenile. If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, you need to quickly enlist an attorney who has experience with these cases.

Fines and Potential Prison Time

As with most other drug charges, possession of marijuana can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge in Connecticut, depending on how much you are caught with. Generally, possessing amounts between one and four ounces will be charged as a misdemeanor, while amounts four ounces and over will be charged as felonies, carrying the appropriate jail time. A misdemeanor first offense is less likely to result in jail time, especially for younger adults, but you may receive up to one year in jail, plus a $1,000 fine, depending on your specific situation.

Keep in mind that in Connecticut, if you are caught with less than one-half an ounce of marijuana, it is no longer considered a criminal offense; rather it is an infraction, punishable by fines. It does not create a criminal record, in most situations, but it will show up on some background checks in the future, which can cause problems that are much further reaching than any fine. In particular, certain jobs are off-limits to anyone with a history of drug use, as well as some housing opportunities.

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Posted on in Violent Crimes

CT defense lawyerLike in any other state, Connecticut does experience its share of violent crime, though it still occurs less often than one might think. At the same time, when someone is arrested and charged with a violent crime, the pressure is on the prosecution to make certain that the right person is convicted. If you have been arrested and charged with any crime of violence, it is crucial that you seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, as the stakes cannot be higher.

Facing Serious Consequences

A violent crime is any offense involving either bodily injury or the threat of bodily injury, to another person. Some examples, like robbery, can involve the threat of bodily injury being part of committing another criminal offense, but this is not strictly necessary. There is no specific “violent crimes” statute in Connecticut, but many of them are grouped in a similar legal place - in other words, many of them carry the same fines and prison sentences if someone is convicted. Crimes such as assault and battery, kidnapping, domestic violence, murder/manslaughter, sexual assault, and various weapons crimes are just some of the offenses classified as violent in Connecticut.

Violent crimes are generally tried as felonies, and depending on the degree, the resulting jail sentence can be anywhere from 1-10 years for a Class C felony (for example, manslaughter in the second degree), to life without the possibility of parole for a capital felony (murder with special circumstances, such as murder for hire or murder of a child under age 16). While judges do have a degree of discretion in sentencing for many violent crimes, this is not the case for capital felonies, even with Connecticut’s repeal of their death penalty statute in 2012.

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CT defense lawyerThere are a variety of different theft crimes articulated in Connecticut law, but one of the most potentially damaging to its victims is criminal fraud. Fraud is a serious issue that can tar you with the brush of dishonesty for the rest of your life if you are convicted, and if you are charged with a fraud crime, it is crucial that you react appropriately by enlisting an experienced attorney. Fraud crimes are often very specific, and trying to defend yourself alone is not a good idea.

Deceit and Misrepresentation

There are many different crimes that fall under the umbrella of fraud in Connecticut. More specific examples include identity theft, insurance fraud, money laundering, or wire fraud. The central component of these types of crimes is referred to as a fraudulent transaction - one induced by deception or willful misrepresentation, that confers gain on the person who induced it. Generally, if the prosecution can establish that a fraudulent transaction happened and that it happened because of your deception or misrepresentation, it will be able to establish your guilt.

It is important to keep in mind that while most Connecticut crimes are defined by statute (meaning that the legislature has passed laws that specifically lay out a definition and sentence for a crime), general fraud and many other crimes are not. Instead, these crimes are defined by what is called common law. Common law is based on case precedent only, meaning that past cases govern how a court should decide today. This can be a bit confusing for the average person, not least because legal cases are difficult to read, but nonetheless, this is the basis for prosecution for many fraud crimes.

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CT juvenile lawyerWhen a young person is caught damaging property, it can too often signify that something is wrong at home, or at school. However, vandalism is still a crime in Connecticut, and very often, juvenile charges may be brought in order to teach the young person a lesson. Criminal mischief, as Connecticut law refers to vandalism, can remain on your child’s record and cause them problems in the future. Contacting an attorney is a crucial step to deal with these charges.

Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief in Connecticut is defined as causing any kind of physical damage to another person’s property - including, but not limited to vandalism. The more serious degrees require the intent to cause damage, while third and fourth-degree criminal mischief do not, and the actual damage can be as minor as a small scratch or as large as an all-consuming fire. There are several different reasons why these types of offenses happen for both juveniles and adults, including domestic disputes, pranks, or simply out of malice.

A defendant under the age of 18 may be charged either as a juvenile or as an adult. If you are charged as an adult, the degree of the charge will depend on the value of whatever property was damaged. First-degree criminal mischief is most often the charge when the damaged property is worth more than $1,500, while if the property is worth between $250 and $1,499, the charge will be in the second degree. The penalty for first-degree criminal mischief is a sentence of between one and 5 years in prison, plus fines of up to $5,000, while a second-degree conviction will result in a sentence of one year and $2,000 in fines.

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CT defense lawyerA parent’s primary duty is to help their children grow up into responsible citizens, but sometimes, mistakes will be made along the way. If your child commits a civil offense or a crime, the laws of the state of Connecticut will sometimes hold a parent liable for their child’s wrongdoing, especially if that child is under the age of 18. It is crucial to understand what this might mean for you and your child both, and to seek the help of an attorney if you wind up in a situation that you do not understand.

Statutory Causes of Action

The relevant law on parental liability is fairly wide-ranging. It states that a parent or guardian of any minor who “willfully or maliciously” causes property damage or injury to “any person” will be jointly and severally liable with that minor for any damages up to $5,000. In addition, if a minor takes a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission and causes damage, the same liability will apply. The law places responsibility on parents to police their children, so as to avoid liability themselves.

That said, in Connecticut, there is a juvenile court system and a standard court system designed for adults. When those under age 18 are charged with crimes (like, say, stealing a vehicle), they may be charged in one of three ways: (1) as an adult, if the crime is very serious; (2) as a “youthful offender,” in adult court, but with certain juvenile protections; or (3) in juvenile court, if the crime is a first offense or is not violent or particularly severe. Parental liability is only a possibility if the child’s case winds up in juvenile court because in adult court, an offender is treated like an adult. However, avoiding parental liability in such a case might very well be the lesser of two evils.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_assault_20200402-030343_1.jpgAssault crimes in Connecticut are those that involve one person attacking another, either with or without a weapon, with the intent to make contact. Depending on the degree, you do not need to have intended to injure the person you attacked - but the injured person and the state have a right to seek consequences against you nonetheless. If you have been charged with assault, you need an experienced attorney to help protect your rights.

Mandatory Minimums

There are several different levels of assault charges in Connecticut, ranging from assault in the first degree, down to assault in the third degree with a weapon. In addition, assaults on different types of victims may raise or lower the degree of the charges - for example, assaulting a child or an elderly person is considered a more serious crime, due to the more fragile nature of the victim in these cases. This is especially true if the victim’s injuries are severe; the worse the harm suffered, the more likely one is to face serious consequences.

It is worth noting that assault in the first degree is one of the few crimes in Connecticut that carries a mandatory minimum sentence, meaning that if convicted, there will be at least a part of your sentence that cannot be “suspended or reduced by the court” - it must be served, full stop. The lesser degrees of assault do not carry mandatory minimums, except for if a firearm was used in the commission of the act, but they do carry prison time in most situations, to say nothing of the fines and fees you will have to pay.

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CT defense lawyerIt takes particular skill to drive a large truck on Connecticut highways, but a truck driver must also be aware of the regulations surrounding their ability to do so. If a truck receives a weight violation or another type of citation while it is in the state of Connecticut, it is not something that can be ignored. Depending on the specific situation, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney to handle the issue.

Road Maintenance Matters

It may sound like a relatively minor infraction, but too many overweight trucks on Connecticut roads cause demonstrable wear and tear, which can, in turn, cost the state more money to maintain. The fines collected from overweight trucks go a long way toward offsetting any maintenance money, but the state still has a vested interest in ensuring that its roads are not overburdened.

For many years, a citation for driving an overweight truck used to be a mere formality, requiring a simple fine. Nowadays, however, points are accessed on your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) if you are found guilty of the violation, and if too many points accrue, your license will be suspended. It is possible in rare circumstances to obtain a special overweight permit from the Department of Transportation (DoT), but this is very rare, and often requires special restrictions to be placed on the vehicle in order to allow the extra weight.

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CT DUI lawyerDriving while under the influence in Connecticut is a very serious crime, with the potential to cause fatalities and injuries not only to the people involved, but also to pedestrians. If you are charged with one, the consequences will be serious, but a second DUI ups the proverbial stakes, and there will be far fewer chances to try and seek a lesser sentence. An attorney is absolutely crucial at this stage in order to protect your rights.

First vs Second Offense

Driving while under the influence is a crime in Connecticut, with a first offense being a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail plus a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 45 days and your car will be fitted with an ignition interlock device for up to one year. This is all in addition to probation, which has expensive fees that can add up. Depending on your specific situation, you may be able to seek entry into a pretrial diversion program, which can result in your charges being dismissed if you comply with all the required terms.

Even if you do complete a pretrial diversion program and have your first offense effectively erased, a second DUI charge is considered more serious. A second DUI is always a felony charge, carrying a prison term of anywhere between four months and two years, along with a fine of up to $4,000, ignition interlock for three years, license suspension, and probation. With a second DUI, probation will also usually include more requirements, such as community service and alcohol education.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CT defense lawyerAs with any other drug, being charged with possession of marijuana can lead to serious consequences even if you do not wind up serving jail time. A drug conviction on your record can lead to problems in life, especially for juveniles, so if you have been arrested and charged with possession, it is crucial to try and find an experienced attorney who can help you have the best chance possible at proving your innocence.

There Are Still Consequences

While it is true that possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized - if you are stopped with less than one ounce of a “cannabis-like substance,” you will have committed a civil infraction, rather than a crime - this does not apply to amounts over one ounce. If you are stopped with between one and four ounces, this is a misdemeanor charge, but any amount over four ounces is a felony, even on a first offense. Even the lowest level felony can lead to fines of up to $5,000 and up to 10 years in jail.

However, even possessing less than one ounce of marijuana opens one up to potential consequences. A first offense results in a $150 fine, with a second and third costing $500. After two convictions for this type of infraction, the court then has the legal authority to order you into a drug treatment program. This can be a mixed blessing, as you cannot be ordered to jail for civil infractions, but drug treatment and other diversions can cause problems at work or at home.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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