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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 Real Estate AttorneyEven after more than a year of the residential real estate market soaring, it is still moving at a booming rate. Recently released spring residential real estate statistics show that properties continue to sell as quickly as they are listed on the market and bidding wars are still taking place. Given this pace – and the legalities that can be involved – it is important that anyone who is in the market to purchase a home should have a skilled Fairfield County real estate attorney representing them.

Spring Housing Numbers

The strong demand for residential homes continues to make it a seller’s market, with the average list-to-sale price ratio at 103.1, despite slowly increasing interest rates. 

According to statewide data, houses are still moving quickly off the market. In some Connecticut towns, fifty percent of the houses that sold in the month of May went under contract within five days of being listed. In some areas, contracts were signed within two days of the listing.

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Stamford, CT Retail Theft Defense AttorneySome people think of shoplifting as a petty crime, usually committed by teens on a dare from their friends. However, the reality is that shoplifting – also referred to as retail theft – is a serious charge that could result in significant penalties if the person charged is convicted.

If you have been charged with retail theft, you need a skilled Stamford defense attorney advocating for you.

Shoplifting Charges

Under Connecticut law, there are two different ways a person can be charged with shoplifting. They have either taken merchandise from the store without paying for it or they have switched the tags or packaging of one item with the tags or packaging of another item that has a lower price.

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Stamford, CT Sex Crimes LawyerThe state of Connecticut takes the crimes of rape and sexual assaults very seriously. The penalties for convictions are harsh, often resulting in jail time and the requirement to register with the state’s sex offender registry. The impact on an accused’s future can be dire. If you have been accused of sexual assault, you need an aggressive Stamford defense attorney aggressively fighting for you against these charges.

How Does Connecticut Define Rape?

Under Connecticut law, there are several acts that can result in a charge of sexual assault in the first degree. These acts include:

  • Forces an individual to engage in sexual interforce by using force or the threat of using force against that individual or against a third party. If the victim is under the age of 16, the charge is elevated to a class A felony which can result in sentencing enhancement.

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Fairfield County Criminal Defense LawyerThe recent rise in catalytic converter thefts has hit just about every state in the country, including right here in Connecticut. Examples of just how serious a problem it has become over the past few months include thefts of catalytic converters off of more than a dozen Easter Seal vans in Waterville and 18 school buses in Plainville. In May, a man in Milford needed 300 stitches after a confrontation with a man who was using a Sawzall to cut off a catalytic converter from a parked vehicle.

In response to these and other incidents, lawmakers passed a new law that went into effect July 1, implementing stringent restrictions on who motor vehicle recyclers can purchase these parts from and how those sales must be documented.

Thefts Soar

According to statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of catalytic converter thefts skyrocketed from 3,400 in 2019 to 14,400 in 2020, a more than 400 percent increase in one year – those numbers continue to soar.

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Fairfield County, CT Real Estate Law AttorneyOne of the surprising trends to occur during the COVID-19 pandemic – and one that has continued long beyond it – is how competitive the residential real estate market has become. It is not an uncommon sight for a “under contract” sign to go up within days of the “for sale” sign being put out. It is also not unusual for a bidding war to take place, with potential buyers offering even more than what the asking price of the home is. There is no doubt that this period has been a seller’s market, however, this can sometimes mean that a buyer is willing to waive certain contingencies in order to seal the deal. But this can turn out to be an expensive mistake.

Waiving Contingencies

When a seller agrees to a potential buyer’s offer, they will sign an Offers to Purchase contract. This contract covers the purchase price agreed upon by both parties, as well as other terms. One of the most critical terms is the amount of time the seller has to accept the buyer’s offer. This contract also often has contingencies that allow either party to cancel the contract without legal liability.

One of the most common contingencies a buyer usually includes is the home inspection. If the home inspection reveals any major issues, this contingency allows the buyer to pull out of the contract and get their deposit back. This gives the buyer time to make sure that there are no issues with the structure, electrical, plumbing, or other potentially expensive or dangerous issues before they sign the Purchase and Sales Agreement.

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Fairfield County Drug Crimes AttorneyAccording to national statistics, there are more than two million people who are incarcerated in the United States. Many of those who are being held are in the criminal justice system because of substance abuse issues. In fact, according to FBI statistics, the majority of arrests are for some type of drug abuse violations, and one out of five people are being held for drug-related crimes.

Crime and Addiction

The statistics on drug addiction and its link to criminal offenses are overwhelming. In a report by the U.S. Bureau of Justice, it is estimated that more than 20 percent of all people who are being held in prisons and jails are there because the committed crimes in their attempt to get drugs. This comes to approximately a half million people who are incarcerated because of their drug addictions.

Mental Illness Defense

Drug addiction or dependency is a recognized mental illness that leads to a change in the addicted person’s brain, causing a shift in the normal prioritization of needs and desires. Not only is the addict in risk of dying from a possible overdose, but – as the above statistics show – they risk facing criminal charges and incarceration in their quest to obtain these substances.

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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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Fairfield County Hate Crime Defense AttorneyLast month, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act 22-9, a new law that – among other things – will ensure the ability of the Connecticut State Police’s Hate Crime Investigative Unit will have the tools the unit needs to continue its work. The unit was originally established in October 2021 but was never codified into law.

Along with codifying the unit into law, the law also requires the state to develop a reporting system and best practices, and a model of the investigation policy that law enforcement should use when investigating hate crimes. The law also places time requirements which state that law enforcement has to report hate crimes to the CSP Hate Crimes Investigative Unit, and designates the head of the unit to sit on the State-Wide Hate Crimes Advisory Council.

Hate Crime Investigative Unit

The Hate Crime Investigative Unit is responsible for investigating crimes that are based on bias or bigotry against people based on the following:

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Stamford, CT Real Estate Lien AttorneyWhen someone applies for a mortgage to purchase a home, one of the requirements the mortgage company has is that there be no issues regarding the deed to the property. In order to ensure this, the mortgage company (or the buyer) will hire a title company to do a title search to confirm the legal ownership and to make sure there are no liens on the property.

Liens are legal claims or rights that are placed on a property by a creditor. The lien gives the creditor stake in the property if the property is sold. The problem for the property owner, however, is the property cannot be sold unless the lien is lifted.

While some liens are expected and accepted – such as the lien a mortgage company places on the property when they grant a mortgage – there are other liens that are not acceptable. The following is an overview of the different types of liens that could be found in a title search.

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Stamford, CT Criminal Defense AttorneySeveral years ago, a well-known NFL football player was arrested for child abuse because he used a tree branch as a switch to discipline his then four-year-old son. The man claimed he never intended to abuse or harm his son and was only disciplining him in the same manner his parents disciplined him when he was a child. But prosecutors said that by using a tree branch and hitting his son multiple times, the player’s actions went beyond mere discipline and were abusive. The case caused a national debate about what type of acts crosses the line between discipline and abuse.

Player Charged

According to prosecutors in the above case, the boy suffered bruises and cuts all over his body. The player was charged with felony child abuse. He eventually pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault and received two years’ probation, a fine of $4,000, and was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service. He was also suspended from the NFL for one year. Four years later, in an interview, the player admitted to sometimes using a belt to discipline the boy.

Connecticut Law on Child Discipline

In Connecticut, while there is a statute that addresses child abuse, there is no definitive law that addresses parents and corporal punishment. The current law can be subjective.  What one parent may believe to be “reasonable” discipline, another parent may find abhorrent. This means it can be up to a judge or jury to decide if a parent is facing child abuse charges using what the parent felt were reasonable methods.

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Fairfield County Appeals LawyerWhen a person is convicted of a crime, there may be grounds to have that conviction overturned. This can happen if there were errors made during the original trial and they are granted an appeal. If you have been convicted, contact a criminal defense attorney to find out if your case may be eligible for the appeal process.

Filing an Appeal

There are several ways a convicted person can appeal a court’s verdict. The defendant can file a motion to request the trial judge overturn the jury’s guilty verdict and enter a new verdict of not guilty. This is referred to as judgement notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV).

The defendant can also file a motion for a new trial. This motion requests the court declare the original trail a mistrial and to schedule a new trial.

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Fairfield County Criminal Defense LawyerReckless driving can be defined as the act of operating a vehicle in a manner that shows a wanton or willful disregard for the safety and well-being of any person or property. When a person is charged with reckless driving, it is because the police officer believes that not only did the driver choose to operate their vehicle in a dangerous manner, but they did also so despite the dangerous risks that behavior created.

In Connecticut, reckless driving is charged as a misdemeanor, not as a traffic violation. This means that the driver will be arrested and the case will be handled in the criminal court system. It also means that a conviction will become part of the driver’s criminal record.

What Are the Most Common Types of Reckless Driving Violations?

While there are a myriad of behaviors that fall into this category, some of the more common acts that can result in reckless driving charges:

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Stamford Real Estate Law AttorneyOne of the most significant financial transactions that a person makes in their lifetime involves the sale or purchase of a home. Because of the all the legalities – and money – involved, anyone who is buying or selling a home should consult with a qualified real estate lawyer who will look out for their best interest and walk them throughout the process. Your lawyer will make sure that your interests are protected as they help guide the transaction as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

Signing Real Estate Contracts

Whether you are purchasing a home or selling a home, at some point you in this process, you will be asked by the real estate agent you are dealing with to sign a contract. This contract will stipulate either what your obligations are as the buyer or what they are as the seller.

No matter what side of the sale you are on, make sure you consult with a and attorney who specializes in residential real estate law to ensure that the contract serves your best interest. Some of the issues the attorney will evaluate is how long the contract is in place and what type of commission the agent will earn. Your attorney can be with you from the initial offer of the home all the way to the day of closing, making sure you understand all of your rights, as well as what your obligations are.

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Fairfield County Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen a person is charged with a crime, they will either be convicted of the crime, found not guilty, make a plea agreement with the prosecutor, or the charges will be dropped with no further action.

For those individuals who end up having that conviction on their record, there can be serious ramifications that could have a detrimental impact on their future. In certain situations, the person may be able to have the incident stricken from their criminal record. In Connecticut, this is referred to as an expungement or absolute pardon.

Automatic Expungement of a Criminal Record

A popular misconception is that a criminal record only comes into existence upon a conviction, when in reality, a person who has been arrested but not convicted, or arrested and charged but found not guilty, also has a criminal record.

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fairfield county assault defense lawyerIt is not uncommon to turn on the news and hear a report about an incident of workplace violence or reports of toxic work environments that have led to lawsuits and more. No matter what position a person holds in a company, acting out at work can not only result in termination but could also leave you facing criminal charges. If you have been charged with assault or other workplace violence, contact a Stamford defense attorney right away.

Criminal Charges Due to Workplace Threats or Acts of Violence

According to national statistics, more than 20,000 workers in private business industry were victims of nonfatal workplace violence in 2020. Many of these victims required days away from work. More than 20 percent of these victims required a month or more off from work while they recovered from their injuries.

When you think of workplace violence, you may envision tragic and terrifying situations that grab national headlines, such as when a disgruntled worker opens fire on other employees. While these scenarios do occur with alarming regularity, there are other types of job-related violence that occur on a smaller, more frequently scale.

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 stamford domestic violence defense attorneyUnfortunately, arguments between spouses can escalate into threats and acts of physical violence. Depending on the circumstances and statements from witnesses and/or the alleged victim, a spouse in this situation could end up facing serious criminal charges. What many people may not realize is that just the threat of physical violence – even if none occurred – can be charged as domestic violence under Connecticut law.

Domestic Violence Charges in Connecticut

Under Connecticut law, it is considered domestic or family violence is a person threatens, stalks, or physically assaults a member of their household, family, or someone they have dated. This includes:

  • A spouse or former spouse

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fairfield county real estate lawyerThere is no doubt that the real estate market in Connecticut and across the country has been booming over the past year or so. With so many homeowners putting up “for sale” signs on their front lawns, many people are quickly making the move to upgrade from where they currently reside. A lot of these buyers find themselves making offers on a new home before their current home has sold in order not to lose their chance at the new home. Homebuyers who are in this situation can have a “home sale contingency” clause added to their purchase and sale agreement. This clause voids the agreement for the sale of the new home in the event the buyer is unable to sell their current one.

Types of Home Sale Contingencies

There are two types of home sale contingencies clauses, sale and settlement contingency or settlement contingency.

A sale and settlement contingency is one used in the event the buyer has not yet received an offer to sell their home. By using this clause, the seller is still allowed to keep actively marketing their home, however, the clause creates the stipulation that if the seller receives another offer on the home, the buyer has a specific window of time to remove the sale and settlement contingency. If the buyer is unable to remove the contingency, the agreement is void and the seller returns whatever deposit the buyer had put down on the property.

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stamford drug crimes defense lawyerThe last thing you want to be thinking about when you are in the presence of someone overdosing from drugs is the consequences of calling 911. You may be afraid that if the paramedics arrive, the police will be following close behind, and explaining your role in the situation might be difficult. Whether or not you have something to hide, weighing the possible death of another human being versus the possibility of facing criminal charges is an unenviable position. Fortunately, if this happens in Connecticut, you may be covered under the state’s Good Samaritan Law.

What Is the Good Samaritan Law?

As of 2021, 47 states and the District of Columbia had enacted Good Samaritan laws that protect both people calling on behalf of others and people calling for help for their own behalf in drug overdose situations.

This protection is part of a law that outlines the punishment for possession of various narcotic substances. The laws hold that the punishment is not applicable to someone:

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