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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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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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CT defense lawyerBreach of the peace is a crime that sounds antiquated as if no one has been charged with it in decades. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is a common crime even today, and people are charged with it for something they may see as inconsequential - for example, playing one’s music too loud, or using obscene language in public. If you are charged with breach of the peace, you must try to understand the charge against you and contact an attorney who can help to ensure your rights are protected.

What Is A Breach?

Breach of the peace in Connecticut can encompass a lot of different actions, from aggressive or threatening behavior to making threats against a person or their property, to committing assault or battery. (Note that assault and battery are two different causes of action - assault is committed when someone is put in imminent, reasonable fear for their own safety, while the battery is the actual physical contact that perpetuates that fear.)

Generally, you have a chance to be charged with a breach of the peace if you are engaged in behavior that may potentially pose a threat to public safety or to the “peace” of the neighborhood. The relevant law discusses the “intent to cause inconvenience” or alarm, or “recklessly creating a risk” and causing a “public and hazardous or physically offensive” condition. Intent and the degree of hazard in the situation you are involved in will make a difference.

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CT criminal lawyerWhen someone is convicted of a crime, they experience both direct and collateral consequences. The direct consequences may be a fine or jail time, but the collateral consequences in some cases are arguably worse. If you are a non-citizen and are convicted of certain crimes, one of the collateral consequences may be that you become deportable under U.S. law. Having an attorney on your side who understands this is crucial if you want to avoid potentially avoidable life-changing events.

Two Types Of Deportable Offenses

Many people believe that receiving a U.S. visa or a long-term status like permanent resident essentially gives someone a free pass - that once they have achieved that status, it cannot be taken away. In reality, a visa holder or a green card holder can have their status revoked if they are convicted of certain crimes. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will take the conviction as proof that they are either a danger to the community, or have exhibited such poor moral character that they cannot be considered an asset to the country.

There are two types of criminal convictions that can render you either deportable or inadmissible (that is, your entry into the country was retroactively deemed invalid). The first category is called crimes of moral turpitude. Moral turpitude is a legal concept that has no real precise definition but is generally described as “an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity” that would shock the conscience of the public with its outrageousness. The second type of conviction is called an aggravated felony, which tends to encompass most violent crimes - but keep in mind that the offense you are convicted of does not actually have to be aggravated, nor a felony under criminal law, to qualify as deportable.

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