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Stamford criminal defense lawyerThe American criminal justice system is based on the principle that every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who has been charged with the crime is guilty of that crime. If the prosecutor cannot prove the required elements, then the jury must find the accused not guilty.

However, there are some cases where the person arrested for the crime is still acquitted even if the prosecutor was successful in proving their case. In these situations, a criminal defense attorney raises what is legally referred to as an “affirmative defense.”

What Is an Affirmative Defense?

An affirmative defense is one where the accused produces evidence with the goal of negating any criminal liability for the crime for which they have been arrested even if they actually committed the act. Instead of the burden of proof being on the prosecutor to prove that the defendant committed the crime, it is the defendant who must prove that they were justified or had some other excuse for committing the act and therefore should not be punished for it. The prosecutor is not required to disprove this type of defense.

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Stamford criminal defense lawyerThere has been much in the news over the past week or so regarding the Fifth Amendment. According to a statement released from the New York Attorney General’s Office, former President Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment to more than 400 questions during a deposition earlier this month. The AG’s office is conducting a civil investigation into the former president’s business dealings. This has led many people to wonder when a person can invoke the Fifth and what exactly it means to do so.

What Is the Fifth Amendment?

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, added in 1791, creates certain individual rights for both criminal and civil legal proceedings. Under the law, an individual only has to answer for their crimes when “on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.” In these situations, the Fifth can be invoked if one or more of the following circumstances exist:

  • If they are being compelled to answer under a subpoena or other legal process

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Stamford CT criminal defense attorneyPlatforms like GoFundMe provide a way for people to raise money for all different causes, including charities, events, and people who are facing challenging circumstances like serious illnesses and financial disasters. But what happens when someone sets up an online fundraiser that is not legitimate? Can they face criminal charges? According to the FBI, not only are scam fundraisers illegal, but if someone perpetrating a scam fundraiser is caught, he or she will be charged with a federal offense, just like a recent case in New Jersey.

Scam GoFundMe Raises $400,000

This case stemmed from a GoFundMe campaign a New Jersey woman and her then-boyfriend set up in 2017. In a story that went viral nationwide, the woman posted on her social media account that she had run out of gas and gotten stuck on a highway in Philadelphia. According to the woman’s claim, a homeless man saw her and gave her his last $20 for gas. Her post even included a photo of herself with the man. She and her boyfriend then set up the campaign, claiming they wanted to pay it forward by raising money for the homeless man.

The campaign made national headlines, with more than 14,000 people contributing to the campaign. After the platform took their fees, the couple ended up with more than $365,000. But instead of giving the money to its intended recipient, the couple spent it on trips, a BMW, and other high-ticket items. They did give the man who allegedly helped the woman out $75,000, but he filed a civil lawsuit against the couple. That’s when the details of the scam were revealed – the story about running out of gas was not true, but instead was a way to get people to feel sympathetic and donate to the illegitimate GoFundMe.

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connecticut criminal defense lawyer

Originally published: November 8, 2021

Updated: August 4, 2022 

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Fairfield County Criminal Defense LawyerWhen a person is convicted of a crime, the court will hand down the sentence they are required to serve, with the severity of that sentence dependent on the severity of the crime, along with the circumstances of the case.

Once the sentence has been completed, the defendant may believe they have “paid their debt to society” for the crime they have been convicted of, however, if that crime was a felony, there may be collateral consequences that will have an impact on the defendant’s future.

Felony Charges

In Connecticut, there are several classes of felonies a person may be charged with. The class of felony charged will determine the minimum/maximum sentence the defendant will face if convicted:

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