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stamford criminal defense lawyerViolations of the law can result in multiple types of consequences. The severity of these consequences will depend on a person’s specific criminal charges and other factors that may play a role in their case. Multiple convictions will usually result in more serious penalties, and in some cases, a person may be subject to laws that detail enhanced penalties for “persistent offenders.” Those facing criminal charges will need to be represented by an experienced attorney who can explain how these laws apply to their case and determine the best defense strategies.

Persistent Offender Laws in Connecticut

Connecticut law defines several categories of persistent offenders, including:

  • Persistent dangerous felony offenders - If a person is convicted of violent crimes such as manslaughter, kidnapping, first- or second-degree robbery, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary with a firearm, or arson, and they had previously been convicted of one of these crimes, they will be sentenced to at least twice the minimum sentence for the offense and a maximum of 40 years in prison. A third conviction will result in being sentenced to at least three times the minimum sentence for the offense.

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Stamford criminal defense lawyerCriminal charges have the potential to change a person’s life forever. Fortunately, the state of Connecticut realizes that many criminal defendants are good people who simply made a mistake. They do not need to be punished; they just need the opportunity to learn from their mistake and live a law-abiding life moving forward. Connecticut offers several diversionary programs that may allow you to avoid a criminal conviction and jail time. If you successfully complete a diversionary program, you avoid going to trial and the charges against you will be dismissed.

Diversionary Programs for Criminal Offenses in Connecticut

During a pretrial diversionary program, an individual who has been accused of a crime must complete certain tasks and/or refrain from certain conduct. If he or she can fulfill the requirements of the program, the charges against him or her will be dropped.

Three of the most common pretrial diversionary programs in Connecticut include:

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Fairfield CT criminal defense lawyerThe United States Constitution gives us important rights and limits the power of the government. One of the most important rights afforded by the Constitution is the right to protection from invasion of privacy by the government. The Fourth Amendment states that people have the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” of personal property. If you or a loved one was charged with drug possessiontheft, or another criminal offense, it is crucial that you understand how your Fourth Amendment rights may influence your case.

When Can Police Search My Vehicle?

Criminal charges for possession of marijuana or other drugs are often a result of police searching a vehicle. The laws protecting citizens against unreasonable search and seizure apply differently to vehicles than they do to other types of property. Police are permitted to search a person’s vehicle without a warrant if:

  • The person gives the officer consent or permission to search the car

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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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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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