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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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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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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 lawyerVery often, people who have been arrested and charged with minor crimes in Connecticut might try to navigate the criminal justice system without an attorney, even though they are entitled to one. It can be easy to tell yourself that the charges are minor, that you will be able to manage without paying an attorney - but the odds are overwhelmingly against you managing to talk yourself out of fines and jail time. Enlisting a Connecticut criminal defense attorney is always a better idea.

Trust in Knowledge

While it is possible to represent yourself in a criminal matter, it is emphatically not recommended. You are required to know all the ins and outs of the law, just like any lawyer would, and failure to abide by both law and etiquette can torpedo your case before you even get started. If, for example, you represent yourself and take a plea-bargain, you may find out later on in life that you could have gotten a better deal. It is simply not worth the risk to try and handle a criminal matter on your own.

An experienced criminal defense attorney understands the big and small picture when it comes to the relevant law; they are often privy to potential avenues to get your charges reduced or to seek an alternative sentence to jail time. The average layperson is unaware of many of these options - they do not know, for example, what constitutes a good plea-bargain, or when they might qualify for pretrial diversion as opposed to jail time. Because so many crimes in Connecticut have serious consequences even for a first offense, enlisting an attorney is always a better option.

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CT defense lawyerIt is very common for someone who has been charged with a misdemeanor to treat the whole episode as somehow not particularly serious or important, especially if they have never had any run-in with the law before. However, it is never a good idea to see criminal charges as inconsequential. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, contacting a criminal defense lawyer is the first step you should take.

Misdemeanors May Not Stay Misdemeanors

Connecticut criminal law has a wide range of misdemeanors, from disorderly conduct to prostitution. Class D misdemeanors are the least serious, usually carrying no more than 30 days in jail and a fine of a few hundred dollars. As the class goes up, so do the fines and the jail terms. Class A misdemeanors like prostitution can carry up to one year in jail, and fines of up to $2,000. No misdemeanor sentence will last more than one year, as Connecticut law immediately classifies all crimes with longer sentences as felonies.

While the sentences for misdemeanors are set down in the law, it is important to keep in mind that depending on the situation, a misdemeanor can be augmented or otherwise charged as more severe. For example, if a firearm or other deadly weapon is used during the commission of the misdemeanor, or if the crime is committed against a vulnerable individual (a disabled, elderly, mentally impaired or blind person), it may turn third-degree assault into second or first-degree.

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