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weapons, Stamford criminal defense attorneyThe rate of violent crimes has continued to decrease nationwide, though widely publicized events and acts of domestic terrorism—such as mass shootings—continue to rise. As this trend moves into the new year, the national conversation has moved again to gun control, an issue that promises to be of grave importance as we move closer to the 2016 presidential election. There are several restrictions already in place in the state of Connecticut regarding the possession, sale, and use of firearms, the violation of which can result in serious punishment, jail time, and even a mark on one’s permanent record.

The Connecticut state legislature requires that anyone buying or otherwise acquiring a gun in the state must obtain them and follow the proper legal authorization procedure to do so. This includes anyone interested in purchasing a gun at a gun show, online from a friend, or even if one is borrowing a firearm from a family member. The person selling the gun—even if this is a private exchange between two people who know each other—must have proper permits to sell firearms. Failure to do so could result in fines or jail time or both.

In the wake of the tragedies at the end of 2015 in which firearms played a central role, so does the dialogue revolving around the restriction of gun sales and ownership. In the state of Connecticut, there have long been restrictions in place regarding who may own or possess a gun. These include:

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Posted on in Assault and Battery

police, assault of an officer, Stamford criminal defense attorneyIn the wake of several headline-making events this year involving police brutality and allegations of systemic issues of bias by police departments, the issue of assaults perpetrated against police have somewhat taken a backseat in media coverage. This does not mean that they are not still happening, or that the issue is not a major one for most police departments across the country. In 2014, more than 48,000 police officers nationwide were assaulted, and of these more than 28 percent sustained injuries. This is a rate of officer assaults of nine per 100 sworn police officers.

Dangerous Interactions

The majority of assaults against police are perpetrated when a person is out of control, either on drugs or drunk or angry. This can happen in a heated emotional or tense situation when the police are called to handle someone who is posing a danger to himself or people around him. When the situation escalates to violence, police officers are sometimes caught in the middle and assaulted, either accidentally or on purpose. Whether the assault against an officer was intended or not does not matter in the eyes of the law.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

university, campus crime, Connecticut Criminal Defense AttorneyA lot has been in the news lately about crimes on college campuses, especially those dealing with sexual assault and rape. The recent Rolling Stone article about rape on the University of Virginia campus—that was later shown to be in large part manufactured and incorrectly reported by Rolling Stone—may serve to belie just how serious and honest the vast majority of these crimes are.

According to the Washington Post, the number of victims who come forward to report sexual assault or forcible sexual offenses on college campuses have continued to increase in recent years. This could be in part due to the encouragement of university officials that students come forward to report such incidences, rather than to sweep them under the rug. In 2012, it was reported that Penn State University had the nation’s highest number of reports of forcible sex offenses on campus at a staggering 56 incidents in one school year.

Despite stories of these widely publicized criminal incidents, sexual assault is not the most common crime experienced or perpetrated on university campuses. Instead, the most commonly reported criminal offense on college campuses in recent years was burglary. In 2011, there were 6,712 burglaries reported on college campuses. It should be kept in mind that these statistics are only for incidents that actually occurred on the campus. As such, they do not include incidents experienced by college students off campus in a nearby apartment complex or the like.

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marijuana, decriminalization, Connecticut Criminal Defense LawyerAttitudes across the country are changing when it comes to marijuana and the punishment for marijuana possession, and Connecticut is no exception. According to Connecticut law, the state currently carries fines and criminal penalties for certain levels of possession. Possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana carries a $150 fine for the first offense. Penalties become increasingly harsh with frequency of offense: a second offense can carry up to a $500 penalty. Third-time offenders will have to attend drug education classes, which will be paid for by their own means. The more substance, the higher the penalty as well: if a person has more than a half-ounce but less than 4 ounces of cannabis he or she can face up to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison, or both. These penalties were enacted in 2011, making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil violation instead of a criminal offense, as it had been in previous years.

Even still, in light of legalization in Washington and Colorado and decriminalization of marijuana in many other states, these punishments can seem unduly tough. This is perhaps one reason attitudes in Connecticut are changing toward the necessity of strict penalties for marijuana possession and recreational use.

In recent months, the Connecticut state legislature seems ready to discuss further decriminalization and even possible legalization. Representative Edwin Vargas and Representative Juan Candelaria have both introduced house bills that would replace prohibition of marijuana with restrictive legalization for adult use. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, a recent study out of Quinnipiac University found that the majority of Connecticut voters support legalization of marijuana for adults: 52 percent of all voters supported such a measure, as did 80 percent of voters under the age of 30.

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statutory rape, sexual assault, Stamford Criminal Defense LawyerSex crimes are pretty black and white when it comes down to it. Yet there are some cases in which the crime—and the punishment—can fall into a rather gray area, and statutory rape is among these. Somewhat surprisingly, most states do not refer specifically to statutory rape, but instead designate such a crime as sexual assault or sexual abuse. Assault and abuse are blanket terms used to designate or identify such prohibited activity. Regardless of semantics, statutory rape is a sexual crime against a person who is not of age, based on the premise that until a person reaches a certain age, sexual contact with that person is illegal, regardless of consent. In most states, including Connecticut, the age of legal consent is 16 years old.

The punishment in Connecticut for statutory rape is steep—from 10 to 25 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years if the victim is between the age of 10 and 16. A convicted individual will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison if the victim is less than 10 years old.

The US Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that the vast majority of statutory rape victims (up to 95 percent) are female, but regardless of gender, almost 60 percent of all statutory rape victims were aged 14 or 15. Thirty percent of statutory rape offenders were boyfriends or girlfriends, meaning that the chance of consent was actually likely—even if the consenter did not have the legal ability to do so. An estimated sixty percent of all statutory rape offenders were acquaintances.

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violation of restraining order, Stamford criminal defense law firmIf you have been arrested on domestic violence charges, chances are good that you have also had a protective or restraining order issued against you. The courts—and Connecticut lawmakers—take domestic violence charges, protective orders, and restraining orders very seriously, and so should you.

Protective Orders

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch information on domestic violence, a protective order is an order issued in a criminal case and is issued against a defendant after an arrest for family violence. A criminal protective order remains in effect until the underlying criminal case is completed.

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Juvenile CrimePrior to 2012, Connecticut was one of only three states in the U.S. that treated teens aged 16 and 17 as adults under criminal law. As a result, 16- and 17-year-olds were prosecuted under the adult justice system and were sentenced to adult prisons with no special rehabilitative services designed for adolescents. However, as a result of juvenile justice reform, legislation raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction for 16-year-olds on January 1, 2010, and for 17-year-olds on July 2, 2012.

Despite fears that these changes would cause the juvenile justice system to be overwhelmed and that the crime rate would increase dramatically, neither have happened. In fact, the crime rate in Connecticut for 2013 has decreased for the second straight year. The increase in the age of adult prosecution could be a contributing factor. Fewer teens are being incarcerated in adult prisons and commit more serious crimes after their release.

Those under 18 can still be prosecuted as adults for certain crimes. These include serious felonies such as murder, rape, or armed robbery, and will result in a mandatory transfer of the case to the adult justice system. In the case of other, less serious felonies such as drug dealing, vehicular homicide, aggravated assault, and weapons charges, a hearing will be held to determine whether the case will be prosecuted in adult or juvenile court.

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distracted drivingAccording to a recent Harris Poll, adult drivers are engaging in risky behavior, including texting and talking on cell phones, even though they know it is dangerous. Distracted driving can result in traffic violations that not only subject you to stiff fines, depending on the number of offenses you have, but can also lead to crashes resulting in vehicle damage, injury, and even death.

Texting and Driving

The poll questioned over 2,000 adults between May 27 and 29, 2014. While over 90 percent agreed that sending and reading texts while driving is dangerous, 45 percent admit to reading text messages, and 37 percent say they have sent text messages while driving. Thirty-six percent of drivers with smart phones or tablets report using the devices to look information up while driving.

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Connecticut juvenile crimeAccording to the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, arrests of juveniles—those under 18 years of age at the time of the incident—comprised 10 percent of all arrests in Connecticut in 2012. That is almost 12,000 arrests of juveniles.  In Connecticut, a person is considered a juvenile if he or she was under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, and is referred to the Juvenile Matters Court. Of those juveniles arrested in 2012:

  • 3,427 were 17 years old;
  • 2,694 were 16 years old;
  • 2,308 were 15 years old;
  • 2,618 were 13-14 years old;
  • 713 were 10-12 years old; and
  • 64 were under 10 years old.

The most common charges for which juveniles were arrested in 2012 are as follows:

  • Simple assault: 27 percent. Simple assaults are those that do not result in serious injury and do not qualify as aggravated assault.
  • Disorderly conduct: 17 percent. Disorderly conduct disturbs the peace or shocks the community or sense of morality.
  • Larceny: 15 percent. Larceny is theft, the unlawful taking of someone else’s property.
  • Drug abuse violations: seven percent. These violations include unlawful possession, sale, use, and growing or making drugs.
  • Vandalism: four percent. Vandalism is defined as willful or malicious destruction or defacing of property without the owner’s consent.
  • Burglary: four percent. Burglary is unlawfully entering a building to commit a theft.
  • Aggravated assault: three percent. Aggravated assault is more serious than simple assault and is done to inflict severe bodily harm upon another person, often with a weapon.
  • Robbery: two percent. Robbery is taking or attempting to take something from another person using force or the threat of force, or by causing fear.

These figures represent the most serious charge for the arrest, and do not include charges that account for fewer than two percent of juvenile arrests.

If your child was arrested as a juvenile, you need the guidance of an experienced Connecticut criminal law attorney to help your family through this difficult time.

social host law connecticutEveryone knows minors under 21 years old who are found to possess alcohol can face criminal penalties, but many people are not aware parents and other adults can also face criminal penalties for permitting underage drinking on their property. The so-called Connecticut “Social Host Law” was first enacted in 2006 and strengthened in 2012, providing fewer loopholes and stricter penalties.

The law that was amended, Section 30-89a of the Connecticut Statutes, prohibits anyone owning or controlling a residence or other private property from knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, permitting a minor to possess alcohol at the residence or other private property. Those individuals are also required by the law to make reasonable efforts to stop the possession of alcohol by a minor. A person who violates the Social Host Law can be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor, for which the penalties are up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

As written, any adult, including a parent, family member, or friend, can be held responsible under the law. The underage drinking does not have to occur in the home; it can occur anywhere on a person’s property. The adult does not have to furnish the alcohol to the minors in order to be held liable for underage drinking. The adult can also be held responsible even if not present when the underage drinking occurs.

The Connecticut Social Host Law, as strengthened in 2012, makes it difficult for homeowners to avoid triggering the law if underage drinking occurs in their home or on their property. It’s also unclear what “reasonable efforts” are required under the statute to stop a minor from possessing alcohol. If you have been charged with a violation of the Social Host Law, contact an experienced Connecticut criminal lawyer to help you through the daunting process.

juvenile crime, juvenile delinquent, adult criminal, criminal justice system, Stamford criminal defense lawyerAs a parent, finding out that your child has been arrested can be extremely stressful. If this happens in your family it is important to understand the juvenile judicial process.

In Connecticut, a juvenile is considered delinquent if he or she is under the age of 18 when breaking, or attempting to break, the law. The law can be a state, federal, county, or municipal law. In many cases, the same statutes apply to both adults and juveniles. However, the procedure by which adult and juvenile cases are handled is often different.

The first point of contact in most cases is with a police officer. Depending on the alleged offense, the officer has the discretion to decide how he or she will handle the minor child. The officer can decide to:

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Stamford DUI, DUI lawyer, Connecticut DUI defense lawyer, DUI defense attorneyIf you are pulled over and accused of DUI in Connecticut, you should know the state’s implied consent law. The law mandates that you consent to a urine, blood, or breath test if you have been arrested for a DUI. If the officer arresting you has probable cause, then you give your consent to having this test done.

The officer chooses which test is to be done, but it must be given within two hours of when you were actually driving a vehicle. Without penalty, you can refuse the blood test if you wish, meaning that the officer can choose from one of the remaining test. The officer must also inform you of your constitutional rights when you are arrested and explain that your license may be suspended if you refuse to take a test.

If you refuse to take the test, that information can be used against you in court. An officer doesn’t have the responsibility to explain that you can contact your attorney prior to taking a test, which you might want to consider doing so that you are aware of all your rights at that time.

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ignition interlock, DUI, Connecticut criminal law, Connecticut criminal defense lawyer, DUI defense attorneyThere are serious repercussions for those convicted of a DUI in Connecticut. Fines may include prison terms, fines, and license suspensions. Under state law, offenders aged 21 or older will have a minimum license suspension of 45 days. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

First time offenders may be eligible to drive after their suspension period ends, but only with an ignition interlock-equipped vehicle. First time offenders will drive with an ignition interlock device for a period of one year, and second time offenders will drive with an ignition interlock device for three years. Second time offenders are only allowed to drive to school, work, an alcohol or drug treatment program, or the ignition interlock service center in the first year of the interlock period.

If you have been convicted of a DUI for the third time, the DMV is required to revoke your license. A driver might be eligible to get his or her license restored after a period of a few years, but this agreement requires compliance with lifelong interlock device driving.

One of the most important parts of your case is determining that evidence is admissible. The standard of evidence in these cases depends on whether or not the driver was injured. A driver must have been given a reasonable opportunity to contact an attorney before taking the blood alcohol test. The test results must have been mailed or personally delivered to the driver by the next business day, and the test must have been administered by a police officer or under a police officer’s discretion. Test types can include blood, breath, or urine, and the test equipment must be accurate. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact a Connecticut criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are represented.

bullying, criminal law, Connecticut bullying law, cyber bullying Connecticut lawyerThe national media focus on bullying in schools has led to legislation across the country, and the same holds true in Connecticut, where a law was signed in 2011. If your child has been charged with a crime related to bullying, you need to contact an attorney immediately.

In Connecticut, 25 percent of high school students report being bullied on school property. Across America, more than 900,000 students report being bullied online. In Connecticut, there are specific rules about how a school has to handle a bullying investigation. School staff must have streamlined procedures for bullying reporting and it must be investigated when any claim is made.

Since more and more schools are adopting zero-tolerance policies on any allegation of bullying, children that are accused may face immediate school-related consequences in addition to criminal charges. A bullying accusation can continue to follow a child for years.

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marijuana possession, smoking a joint, Stamford criminal lawyer, Connecticut drug possession lawWhether you already have a criminal record or whether a marijuana drug possession charge is your first offense, you should take your case seriously and hire a criminal attorney. In Connecticut, there are several different types of charges you might be facing if you are caught with marijuana. The only individuals approved for marijuana use in Connecticut are those who carry a medical marijuana certificate.

If you are arrested with less than 4 ounces of marijuana, you could be facing a fine of $1,000 and you could even be sentenced to up to a year in jail. Any case involving higher quantities of marijuana can have more severe consequences.

Even young adults can face penalties if caught with marijuana: for possession of less than 5 ounces or possession of drug paraphernalia related to less than 5 ounces of marijuana, a juvenile 16 years old or younger will have their license suspended for at least 60 days, or in the case they don't yet have a license, receiving it can be delayed up to 150 days. Youth aged 17-21 will face fines and driver’s license suspension as well. Juveniles may also need to attend drug counseling and complete a certain number of community service hours.

Some people are under the impression that a marijuana drug charge isn’t a big deal beyond the fine or handful of days in jail. Being convicted, however, can be problematic in the future if you apply for a job. Certain employers have a zero tolerance policy for hiring someone with drug charges in their past, and a simple review of your background check will reveal the truth. In addition, your insurance premiums for your car and homeowner’s policy can increase once the insurance company is aware of your conviction. There are far-reaching consequences to being charged with marijuana possession, and even one charge could have implications well into your future. If you have been charged with marijuana or paraphernalia possession, you should contact an experienced Connecticut drug possession attorney to manage your case. You need someone fighting for you and your future.

Posted on in Sex Crimes

sextingHenry Moy, 23, of Norwalk was charged in late January by Stamford police with “risk of injury to a child, use of computer to entice a child and employing a minor in an obscene performance,” according to New Canaan News Online. Moy allegedly enticed a young girl to “take lewd photos of herself and send them to him,” police told New Canaan News, while he was working part time as a lifeguard in a New Canaan YMCA. Moy also works as a trainer at a Stamford gym. He was “released after posting a $100,000 court appearance bond.” He is expected to appear in court later in February in connection with the allegations.

Lt. Dedrich Hohn told the New Canaan News that the girl’s father made the initial complaint to police, after finding his daughter’s cellphone “and saw sexually charged texts and videos that she allegedly sent to her gym coach.” Lt. Hohn said that the ones her father found were only a fraction of the hundreds of texts the girl had sent to Moy. Moy was called into the station on a ruse and police subsequently confiscated his cellphone. “If police find any of those pictures,” New Canaan News reports, “Moy can be additionally charged with possession of child pornography.” The detective said that in the texts it is readily apparent that Moy was encouraging the young girl to send him the explicit photos and videos.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2012 “at least 13 states introduced bills or resolutions aimed at sexting.”  The Connecticut State Police report that one in five teens admit to either having sent or received a “sext” message. “Sexting may result in several felony charges if you are sending images of children under the age of 16,” the Connecticut State Police Department reports.

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Connecticut criminal attorney, phone fraud, telemarketing, white collar crime, Stamford white collar crime lawyer, fraud defense attorney, telemarketing fraudThis past February, a number of Connecticut residents reported being victimized by a new form of phone fraud. Residents received a call and were informed that a family member had been involved in an accident. They were then asked to fork over money or risk their family member being held hostage. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy alerted the FBI about capturing data from these alleged phone calls in an effort to reduce fraudulent activity.

If caught, individuals involved in this type of activity could be accused of phone and telemarketing fraud, which is any scheme where a criminal communicates with a victim over the telephone. More often than not, fraudulent phone calls target the poor, immigrants, and elderly individuals. Also not all phone fraud involves demands for ransom.

However, fraudulent calls can be tied to telemarketing activity. Unfortunately it is often difficult to determine the difference between telemarketing fraud and legitimate telemarketing activities, thus making it hard to charge the individuals involved. Victims often find it  difficult to distinguish between a reputable telemarketer and a scam artist. However, if caught, violators of the law could be prosecuted under the U.S. Code for Telemarketing Fraud.

If you have been accused of participating in telemarketing or phone fraud, take your case seri ously. A criminal record could influence your future for years to come. It is in your best interest to retain legal counsel that is knowledgeable in criminal defense and phone fraud, so that your rights are represented. An increasing focus on fraudulent activity often gives law enforcement and elected officials the motivation to zealously pursue charges of phone and telemarketing fraud. Retaining an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected from start to finish and that all possible evidence and facts are explored in your case. Do not make the mistake of failing to take your case seriously. Contact a Connecticut a fraud defense attorney today.

stamford criminal lawyerIf your child is convicted in a case where another person suffered bodily injury or property damage, you could be held liable for the financial losses that occurred as a result of this incident. These cases can be complex, and if you want to be sure that your rights are protected, as a parent you should hire a Stamford criminal attorney sooner rather than later to discuss your case.

Connecticut law has provisions that allow for parental financial liability as a result of willful criminal acts of children. Parents could be held financially responsible for up to $5,000 in losses. The parental liability statute tends to be on the other party’s side in a case like this, since it’s often not necessary to provide proof that the parent was negligent. A criminal conviction involving the child where losses occurred is generally enough to provide the grounds for a parental liability case.

Parental liability can be brought into cases where parents were aware of a “dangerous tendency” within the child. For example, the parents of a child who had previously expressed an interest in fire or damaged property in the home as a result of fire could be held liable for damages and injuries that resulted from an incident with fire elsewhere. If a child damages (willfully and maliciously) property or takes a motor vehicle without the permission of the owner and damages it, a parent can be held severally and jointly liable in the case and have to pay financial losses to the other party.

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