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CT defense lawyerWhile in recent months, the possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in Connecticut, it would be a mistake to assume that other drug laws are being similarly relaxed. This is especially true for those who have the intention to sell, and on top of that, those who sell more dangerous substances like heroin or hallucinogenic drugs may face even stiffer penalties. There is a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to Fairfield County drug offenses, and if you have been charged with one, especially with possession with intent to sell (PWITS), you need an attorney who understands the law’s specific nuances.

Intent May Not Matter

While it may seem confusing or counter-intuitive, Connecticut law surrounding possession of drugs versus possession with intent to sell does not make a distinction as to whether someone actually intends to sell the drugs or not. The law is structured in such a way that if you possess a certain amount of a drug, you can be charged with intent to sell it, whether you did have that intent or not. The only time intent actually becomes relevant as to whether or not you will be convicted is at trial - a jury may decide, for example, that you had no intent to sell drugs, and thus you should be found not guilty.

In some cases, you may not even have physical possession of the item you are charged with possessing - this is called constructive possession, and it means that you were able to exercise control over the item, even if it did not technically belong to you. For example, if drugs are found in your bedroom (after a valid search warrant is executed on the premises), you might be charged with possession since it is your room and because no one else can be said to have had control of the item while it was there. Generally, if you have a say in how something is disposed of or sold, you can be said to have constructive possession of it, and this is, in some cases, enough to charge you with possession with intent to sell.

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CT defense lawyerBeing charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is always a serious matter, with no exceptions. One is bad enough, but if you have been stopped a second time, it can have serious implications for your long-term future. Hiring a Connecticut attorney well versed in DUI law is critical, as trying to go through the process alone can be a difficult and frightening experience.

Connecticut Is Strict on DUIs

It is generally the public policy of the state of Connecticut to charge DUI crimes because of the potential danger they pose to the community. A first-time DUI in Connecticut still carries fairly strict penalties, especially if you refuse a chemical test or Breathalyzer (under Connecticut law, anyone who drives on the state’s roads has given their implied consent to administering such a test, and refusal to take it is met with punishment). While the jail time for a first DUI is minimal, the fine can be substantial, and if you refuse the breath test, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least six months, but for as much as one year if there are aggravating factors.

In Connecticut, a DUI is only counted as a second offense if it occurs within 10 years of the first, but if this happens to you, the fines will be higher, more jail time will be required, and the date and requirements for your license to be reinstated are much stricter. While there may be some occasions in which someone is granted a conditional permit if they need to drive to work or school, judges otherwise do not generally relax these requirements, just because drunk driving is so potentially dangerous.

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Posted on in Sex Crimes

CT defense lawyerEspecially in this day and age, with the MeToo movement in full swing and victims of sex crimes feeling more and more able to speak against their abusers, it is critical to separate the guilty from the truly innocent when dealing with such serious crimes. An accusation of a sex crime can ruin someone’s career or reputation, and if you are innocent of such a charge, it is critical to immediately consult an attorney so that you can have the best defense possible. A Stamford sex crimes attorney knows the law and will work hard for you.

Connecticut Law Is Narrowly Defined

Connecticut public policy, in general, is aimed at protecting the family and protecting children in particular. As a result, even relatively minor sex-related crimes may require registering as a sex offender, serving significant jail terms, or both. Sex crimes in Connecticut include not only rape and sexual assault but also lesser crimes that do not necessarily involve physical contact, such as enticing a minor, which is knowingly “persuading or enticing” someone under the age of 16 to engage in any kind of sexual act and is usually done via a computer.

Almost every sex-related crime is a felony, with the exception of acts like prostitution, which is a misdemeanor (and if one is under 18, they may be able to assert the defense of being forced or threatened into the act). Most are Class A and B felonies, which can carry between 20 and 50 years in prison, plus fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, though the specific facts of any given case will be taken into account if it goes to trial. Many defendants choose to plea-bargain if they are charged with sex crimes, but this is not always the best option. Having an attorney with you can help ensure that you receive a fair offer.

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CT defense lawyerAssault can be any incident where physical harm is done to another person. However, there are varying degrees of assault, and if you are charged with the crime, you may be able to plead to a lesser charge or avoid sentencing if you understand its ramifications fully. Having a Stamford assault lawyer helping you can make a big difference.

Different Degrees

Connecticut law divides assault charges into differing degrees, where variables will affect which one you are charged with. Third-degree assault, for example, is a Class A misdemeanor (with or without a weapon). It is punishable by up to a year in prison plus severe fines (usually around $2,000), plus costs. An assault case is more likely to be charged in the third degree if the person had intent to injure or acted recklessly (as opposed to intent to kill or use a weapon to cause permanent injury). The victim (or a third person) must be injured, but not necessarily severely.

Compare this to assault in the first degree. Someone will be charged with first-degree assault if they “intended to harm the person” and their victim was seriously injured or in certain other cases such as using a weapon to cause permanent injury. The sentence will be between 5 and 20 years in prison, as well as fines that can range up to $15,000, depending on the severity of the injuries caused. Generally, each degree of assault has its particular criteria, with only the intent and the actual injury (or lack thereof) being relatively uniform across the board.

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CT defense lawyerUnderage drinking is a problem in the United States. It is easy for young people to glamorize the practice, but in reality, it can lead to legal trouble, injuries, and even deaths, especially among the type of young person who fancies themselves immortal. Because of this, Connecticut has passed what it calls the Social Host Law. Under the law, parents can be held liable for episodes of underage drinking that occur in their house. Yet many parents remain unaware of this until it is too late.

Two Categories

A social hosting offense can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the parents’ role in the events in question. If the parents were present and knowingly, actively provided alcohol to minors, they will generally be charged with a Class E felony - the relevant statute bars anyone from “sell[ing], ship[ping], deliver[ing] or giv[ing]” alcohol to a minor, and a guilty verdict will mean a fine of up to $3,500 and a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months. While a first offense may yield a lesser sentence, banking on this possibility is an extremely bad idea.

By comparison, parents whose house is used for underage drinking with their knowledge (or it is found that they should have known), and/or failing to try to either stop the use of alcohol or break up the party altogether, will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry up to a year in jail as a sentence, even for a first offense. Even more serious consequences can be forthcoming if children under age 16 were present during an underage drinking situation. Many times, people think that a misdemeanor is somehow not a serious offense, and with a social hosting case, this is just not accurate.

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CT defense lawyerCrime evolves right along with law enforcement, utilizing technology and its convenience to commit more offenses. In perhaps the last 30 years, computer-based crimes have become more and more common, creating a need for new laws and different types of enforcement. However, sometimes people with no criminal intent can get caught up in the dragnet. If you have been arrested and charged with a computer crime, you need an experienced Stamford criminal defense attorney to help get you through the process.

Many Different Types

A general computer crime statute exists in Connecticut, covering several possible offenses, including misuse of a computer system, unauthorized access to a computer system, and intentional disruption or denial of computer services. However, computer crimes are somewhat unique in that these are very rarely charged as isolated offenses. They will often be charged in connection with another crime - for example, the use of a computer to harass or threaten another person is still technically a computer crime, despite the fact that harassment can be done without the use of technology.

While the laws surrounding many other offenses also may provide for a civil cause of action, no specific computer crime-related one exists in Connecticut law. If a person believes there may be grounds for a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator, the recommended course of action is to bring suit under the overarching legal theory (for example, if a person was cyberbullied, they would likely bring a civil suit alleging harassment).

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CT  defense lawyerThere are several types of infractions for which your driver’s license may be suspended. This may seem like a blow it would be impossible to recover from, given that the majority of people drive to work, to their obligations, their appointments, and so on. However, it is very possible to get your license reinstated, or in some rare cases, not to lose it in the first place, depending on the type of offense you are convicted of or held liable for.

Unusual Procedure for DUIs

Connecticut has a somewhat unusual procedure for handling alleged driving while intoxicated (DUI) offenses - the criminal case in court, and the administrative license suspension hearing, which is headed by an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is because there are currently more than 20 offenses in Connecticut law which may be punishable by license suspension, and it is more efficient to simply conduct all proceedings of this type through an ALJ. It is possible, if unlikely, to prevail in your court case and still lose your driver’s license, and it is possible, if unlikely, to be convicted of DUI while retaining your license, depending on how each proceeding goes.

Connecticut law provides for a license suspension in connection with the DUI itself, but a refusal to consent to sobriety testing can also be grounds for a suspension. DUI mandates a suspension of at least 1 year for a first-time DUI, going up until a permanent revocation of a driver’s license upon the third offense. Refusal to take sobriety tests will yield different punishments for those under and over 21; for those under adult age, the penalties are between one and five years’ license suspension depending on blood alcohol level, while those over 21 will see suspensions between six months and two years, six months, again dependent on blood alcohol level and number of offenses.

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CT defense lawyerIn Connecticut, larceny, shoplifting, and standard theft are all charged as facets of the same crime, which can confuse and frighten some people. Punishment for these types of offenses usually has to do with the value of the item taken, as well as whether or not any force was used in taking it. Nonetheless, it can still be very intimidating to be accused of any theft crime, and having a Stamford theft lawyer on your side can make it easier to get through the process.

Theft Defined

Connecticut law groups multiple different theft-related crimes under the same statute, up to and including larceny, embezzlement, obtaining property by false pretenses, theft of services (for example, not paying your restaurant bill), shoplifting, conversion, and several others. While this may seem strange, the overarching rationale is that in most cases it matters very little what the crime is called, as long as the relevant criteria have been fulfilled - namely, that property is wrongfully taken, held, or withheld from its owner with the intent that the owner be permanently deprived.

It is within the same line of reasoning that the sentence for most theft crimes has to do with the monetary value of the item stolen. While it can seem unfair or inequitable that sentimental or personal value of a stolen item is not taken into account, it would be far too subjective to do that in court (in other words, an item will have different sentimental value to different people, making a just sentence too hard to create). There are six degrees of larceny charges in Connecticut, ranging from larceny in the sixth degree (punishable by a small fine and up to three months’ imprisonment) to first degree larceny, which is a Class B felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years, and a fine of up to $15,000.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerDrug charges are a very serious matter in Connecticut, especially for younger offenders. If you have been charged with possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug distribution, possession with intent to sell, or any other drug-related crime, it may seem that jail is inevitable, but you are entitled to a good defense from a Norwalk drug crime lawyer before any sentence is handed down.

Penalties Can Be Serious

While Connecticut has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana (under ½ an ounce, generally), this does not mean that marijuana possession for larger amounts is not treated seriously or harshly. Any amount over ½ ounce will still carry a potential penalty of between one and five years in jail, with a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5000, which is the same type of penalty carried by a charge of unlawful possession of prescription drugs. Penalties for possession of stronger drugs, such as crack cocaine or heroin, are very stiff even for a first offense, with up to seven years in jail and a $50,000 fine as possibilities.

Charges such as possession with intent to sell, possession in a restricted area (such as a school zone, housing project or day care center), and distribution/intent to distribute may also be tacked on in your case, and in many instances these largely depend on the amount of the drug you were found to possess. Large amounts will generally get a person charged with intent to sell, simply because most of the time individuals do not keep large amounts for personal use. Because of the relative arbitrariness of these charges, however, it is sometimes possible to plead to a lesser charge or get them dismissed in plea negotiations.

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CT defense lawyerMany parents tend to look past teenage misbehavior as mere pranks, or “boys-will-be-boys” type of hijinks. In reality, young adults can be charged with serious crimes if their behavior warrants it, and the penalties can be severe. If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important that you seek out a Stamford juvenile justice lawyer who is experienced with handling these types of matters.

Juvenile vs. Adult Court

The idea of your child being charged with a crime can be quite distressing to a parent, and it should be taken seriously. However, if your child is charged as a juvenile, it is important to keep in mind that the system is very different than it would be for an adult. Juveniles are not convicted of crimes unless charged as adults; rather, they are ‘adjudicated delinquent.’ Generally, the juvenile system is seen as much more rehabilitative than the punishing adult court system; most offenses are seen as learning opportunities rather than strikes that should haunt a young adult for life.

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CT defense lawyerIn this country, a person is innocent of a crime until they are proven guilty, and they are entitled to a chance to defend themselves from charges. Defendants have rights, and if you have been charged with a crime, you need a Connecticut criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect yours.

Even Innocent People May Need Attorneys

In today’s United States, the criminal justice system can be an intimidating place, especially if you are innocent of the crime you have been charged with. While it is rare to find yourself faced with outright malice from police or prosecutors, it is sadly not uncommon to find an error on their part, which can sometimes put an innocent person in the proverbial crosshairs. Extreme examples have put innocent people behind bars - though none have occurred in Connecticut, there have been hundreds of exonerations of innocent people wrongfully convicted in 37 states since the 1970s.

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CT DUI lawyerDriving while under the influence of any substance is no laughing matter, and if you are caught, you can face serious repercussions. However, it is not necessary that your life be ruined, especially if it is your first offense. A Fairfield DUI attorney may be able to help work out a fair outcome in your case.

Connecticut DUI Facts

In Connecticut, you are considered to be driving under the influence if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.08, though the number is even lower for commercial drivers (0.04), and those under age 21 (0.02). If you are shown to be driving under the influence, you will almost certainly be arrested, booked and read your rights, and will usually be released upon your own recognizance (that is, released upon a promise that you will appear in court later) unless you have caused injury or property damage while driving under the influence. If you cause injury or property damage while driving under the influence, the charges you will face may be greater.

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Posted on in White Collar Crimes

CT defense lawyerYou have probably heard the term “white collar crime,” but you might not know what that term actually means. A white collar crime is generally a nonviolent, financially motivated offense by a business or government professional. The classic example is an employee stealing money from his employer.

In Connecticut, white collar crimes carry stiff penalties. Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been charged with committing any type of white-collar offense.

Types of White Collar Crimes

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IL defense lawyerWere you pulled over for speeding? Did you get a ticket for rolling through a stop sign? Maybe you received a traffic ticket but do not think you deserved it. While very few drivers actually contest traffic tickets in court, it is an option. Here are a few frequently asked questions about fighting a traffic ticket in Connecticut:

Q: How do I plead not guilty to the alleged traffic violation?

A: There are three ways to plead not guilty. You can plead not guilty via a web portal, by phone or by mail. An experienced attorney can walk you through these options and make sure you enter the plea correctly.

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Posted on in Sex Crimes

CT defense lawyerNot every rape allegation is true. But every rape allegation is taken seriously, which is why you need an experienced defense attorney if you are charged with committing rape. The following includes nine things you need to know when facing rape charges in Connecticut:

  • It is rape if you force someone to have sex with you. Both parties must willingly consent in order for sex to be consensual. Consent is always a defense to a rape charge (and to other sexual assault charges);
  • It is called forcible rape if the offender uses a weapon or threatens to use a weapon;
  • Rape is a felony offense punishable by at least 10 years in prison. Offenders face an even longer prison sentence if the victim is under 16 years old. An experienced attorney can explain the potential consequences of the crime you have been charged with;
  • The age of consent in Connecticut is 16 years old. This means that anyone younger than 16 is not legally capable of consenting to sexual relations. You can be charged with statutory rape for having sex with someone who is not old enough to consent under state law. However, the criminality of the offense also depends on how old the alleged perpetrator is;
  • It is illegal to have sex with anyone who is mentally incapable of consenting (because of mental disability, disease or intoxication);
  • It can be rape even if the two parties are married. Spouses cannot force their partners to have sex with them. Consent is required no matter the relationship between the parties;
  • Unfortunately, a rape prosecution often turns into a “she said, he said” routine. It is difficult to prove or disprove rape charges when it is one person’s word against the other. The defense can use communications between the alleged victim and perpetrator (like text messages) to prove consent. Both communications before and after the alleged rape can be relevant. Other useful evidence includes DNA and witness statements;
  • Evidence can be excluded from trial if it is not gathered properly. This could help or hurt your defense, depending on what the particular evidence is. Similarly, the charges against you could be dropped entirely if your rights were violated during the arrest or if the evidence is somehow tainted. An experienced attorney can help protect your legal rights; and
  • A rape conviction can affect your future job prospects and your community life. Most likely you will have to list any felony convictions on job applications and you will be publicly registered as a sex offender.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

Please contact the experienced dedicated Stamford rape defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today if you are charged with committing rape. This is a very serious charge, and you need an experienced to assist you with your case.

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Posted on in Violent Crimes

CT defense lawyerWhen you think of the legal consequences of car accidents, you probably focus on civil lawsuits like personal injury and wrongful death cases. But depending on the circumstances, the person responsible for the accident might also face criminal charges.

A common example is negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.

What Is Negligent Homicide with a Motor Vehicle?

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerTo be convicted of illegal drug possession, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You possessed the drugs;
  • What you possessed is actually an illegal drug; and
  • You were aware of the possession.

There are two ways you can get in trouble for illegal drug possession in Connecticut. The first is if you actually possess the drugs, and the other is if you constructively possess the drugs.

What Is Actual Drug Possession?

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CT DUI lawyerIt is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Connecticut when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher. (If you are an underage driver, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle when your BAC is 0.02 percent or higher).

Under Connecticut’s implied consent law, it is presumed that all drivers have consented to taking a chemical test to determine BAC.

There are three different methods police use to determine a driver’s BAC: breath, blood or urine. Breath tests (using a breathalyzer) are the most common method, but it is up to the arresting police officer to make that call.

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Posted on in Violent Crimes

CT defense lawyerBullying is a serious issue in Connecticut schools. Between 2011-2013, one in six students reported being bullied online, and one in five reported being bullied at school.

Connecticut does not tolerate bullying in schools. Children accused of bullying may face school disciplinary proceedings and, in some cases, criminal charges. Here are a few frequently asked questions about what Connecticut considers bullying and the resulting consequences.

Q: What behaviors are considered bullying in Connecticut schools?

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Posted on in Theft and Property Crimes

CT defense lawyerIn July 2018, Stamford police received reports of two stolen cars in the Ridges neighborhood (the calls were two hours apart). Police apprehended the suspect driving the second car and charged him with reckless driving, driving without a license, and first-degree larceny, among other offenses.

What Is Larceny?

Larceny is a type of property crime. Under Connecticut law, a person commits larceny when “he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds” property from its owner. The accused must have “intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or a third person.”

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