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Fairfield County criminal defense attorneyWith or without any direct evidence of a person's BAC (blood alcohol concentration), Connecticut police have the right to prosecute when a driver is found to be impaired by drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle. The state of Connecticut considers this a criminal offense and takes the prosecution of such offenses very seriously, beginning with the automatic suspension of one’s driver’s license. 

The moment you are arrested for OUI, you are escorted to the police station and your vehicle must be towed at your expense. There are two ways you can lose your license following an OUI arrest in the state of Connecticut: by failing or refusing a chemical alcohol test or through court conviction.

What Happens to My Driving Privileges Under Connecticut Law?

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money laundering, Stamford Criminal Defense AttorneyThe idea of money laundering can seem like a very complex crime left mostly to the mafia or executives of high-powered companies. It does not seem like a crime that would be one commonly perpetrated by everyday people or workers. In fact, money laundering encompasses several different types of financial crimes, which are often committed by everyday citizens. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for investigating allegations of money laundering, though cases are prosecuted in the judicial district in which the defendant was accused of the crime.

Hidden Revenue Streams

The obvious type of money laundering is when large organizations, usually criminal in nature, hide profits from unsavory businesses, such as the drug trade, prostitution, or the black market for stolen goods. This money is often hidden in offshore accounts or in assets such as expensive cars and property.

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racial disparity, police violence, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyAlthough efforts have been made to decrease the police-related racial disparities, new information indicates they are still present. In fact, according to the Associated Press, preliminary data indicates that officers fired stun guns at blacks and Hispanics suspects at a rate higher than white suspects last year. Officers are warning citizens not to be overly alarmed at the information because differences between departments and cities can make it difficult to compare percentages, but experts say they are still concerned.

Stun Gun Risks

For the most part, stun guns cause only minor injuries, including the need for removal of the prongs that deliver the shock. However, Amnesty International reports that at least 540 people in the United States have died after being shocked by a stun gun between the years 2001 and 2012. In Connecticut, 17 people have died since 2005, and 12 of them were minorities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut now says. So, while this is, overall, a very small percentage, the information does indicate a very real risk of stun gun death, particularly among minorities.  

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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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death penalty, Stamford Criminal Defense AttorneyOlder than America itself (significantly older, really), the death penalty has always been largely supported by U.S. citizens. However, there is evidence that suggests that the tides may be shifting. In fact, if recent changes to state laws and a poll conducted by Gallup and the Pew Research Center are any indication, capital punishment may eventually become a thing of the past.

Support for the Death Penalty at Nearly a 40-Year Low

Support for the death penalty in the United States reached its peak in the 1980s and ‘90s. It now sits somewhere between 56 and 61 percent, according to the 2015 study. While still considered to be the majority, this number marks a steady and continuous decline since the peak period. And, according to the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, this number also places support for the death penalty at nearly a 40-year low.

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holiday, DUI, Connecticut DUI defense attorneyThe holiday season is a busy time, with families getting together, going out to dinner after a long day of shopping, and spending time with friends at the local pub, restaurant, or bar. Police officers are busier, too, stopping drivers they believe may be intoxicated. In fact, it appears they are putting some extra manpower into catching more DUI drivers this holiday season.

Thanksgiving Marked Beginning of Efforts

For officers, the arrests begin Thanksgiving Day and continue on through the New Year; this year was no exception. According to a press release from the State Police, they made nine DUI arrests, as well as another 393 for speeding on the very first day of the effort. They also issued 56 tickets for seatbelt violations and another 894 tickets for moving violations that included unsafe lane changes, following too closely, using cell phone while driving, texting, and failure to signal.

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Posted on in Hate Crimes

hate crime, Connecticut law, Stamford criminal defense attorneyWhen one is accused or charged with a hate crime, in many cases, it becomes a case handled by the Bureau of Federal Investigation (FBI). Hate crimes can vary in severity, meaning that any crime from murder to petty vandalism can be considered as such.

What is a Hate Crime?

Any crime committed with an element of bias, against a person or a property associated with a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation can be considered a hate crime. To hate someone or a group of people is not, by any means, a crime, and is protected by the freedom of speech and other civil liberties laid out in the Bill of Rights. Yet when crime is motivated by this hate, it becomes a serious crime and, in many cases, felony. While not all hate crimes will be considered a federal offense and thus investigated by the FBI, very often the federal government does divert federal resources for the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

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juvenile, juvenile crime, Connecticut Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen your teen faces charges for illegal actions, a million thoughts can race through your mind. You may wonder how these charges could affect your child’s future, and you likely have questions about effective defense strategies.

Juvenile criminal charges can severely compromise a teen’s opportunities, which is why it is critical that parents consult a juvenile criminal attorney for advice. A lawyer can assess the case and attempt to devise a strong defense strategy that reduces penalties or potentially convinces the court to drop the charges.

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, anyone under the age of 18 who has broken a federal or state law will normally be tried for a delinquent act—not for a criminal offense. It is important to keep in mind, however, that there are exceptions to this rule depending on the severity of the crime, especially in regard to major felonies.

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domestic violence, domestic abuse, Stamford Criminal Defense AttorneyFacing domestic violence charges is a serious matter. If convicted, defendants may have a criminal record and a potential jail sentence.

Connecticut’s domestic violence laws do not discriminate based on gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, or immigration status, according to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. If you face domestic violence charges, it is important that you know your rights and consult an attorney with experience handling cases like yours.

Definition of Family Violence

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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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underage drinking, consequences, Stamford criminal defense attorneySpring has finally arrived in Connecticut, and that means that the school year will be winding down soon. For high school students – especially seniors – the end of the school year brings with it exciting events. If you have teenagers, they have probably begun making plans for proms, class trips, award banquets, and other activities. It is not uncommon, however, for underage drinking to occur, and the consequences of such drinking can be serious for not only teens, but also for their parents.

In Connecticut, the legal drinking age was raised to 21-years-old in 1985– and has remained there ever since. According to Connecticut General Statute Sec. 30-89, minors are not allowed to possess alcohol, whether in a public road or street; or a private or public place. The fine for violating the law can be up to $500.

It is also illegal for a minor to purchase alcohol, even if the establishment does not request legal proof of age, such as a driver’s license. And if a minor is carded, and provides a false identification, they can be fined anywhere from $200 up to $500 and be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.

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property crimes, home invasion, Connecticut Criminal Defense AttorneyBurglary and home invasion crimes are reported with seemingly increasing frequency. These are serious crimes, and someone who is charged with burglary may also be charged with the related crimes of robbery and larceny. If the person charged with burglary is a juvenile, it could signal the beginning of more serious criminal involvement.

Home invasion is the most serious of the burglary-type offenses, and is a Class A felony. It occurs when a person enters an occupied dwelling with the intent to commit a crime and either:

  • He or another person commits a felony against the occupant; or
  • He is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon or dangerous item.

Burglaries are divided into three types based on the circumstances of the crime. The crime of third degree burglary occurs when a person breaks into a building and enters it with the intent to commit a crime. It is second degree burglary if the building is a dwelling, and the occupant is present in the dwelling at the time. For first degree burglary, a person enters a building with the intent to commit a crime and:

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drug crime, criminal justice reform, Stamford Defense AttorneyGovernor Daniel Malloy recently announced his plans to introduce serious changes to the criminal justice system. According to The Register Citizen, Governor Malloy believes Connecticut—and the rest of the United States—has created a justice system that persecutes many unfairly and fails to offer a second chance to those who deserve one.

The proposed measures would involve changes in several key areas including drug crimes. While many are hopeful that the reform will lead to a more effective justice system, criminal offenses are—and will always be—serious matters.

Governor Announces New Goals at College Speech

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Posted on in Sex Crimes

online solicitation in Connecticut, Stamford sex crimes lawyerIf you have ever seen some of the popular crime shows on television today, there are many shows revolving around the theme of internet predators. In fact, with the popularity of social media, the problem is ever growing as younger adults frequently use the Internet and social media in their everyday lives, raising concerns about the potential for predator crimes.

In the state of Connecticut, online solicitation of a minor is defined as using a computer service that is interactive to coerce a person less than 16 years of age. If you know that the person you are talking to is under 16, and you attempt to entice them into prostitution or sexual acts, you can be charged with a criminal offense.

Solicitation of a minor is a class D felony in the state of Connecticut for the first offense. The second is a class C felony, and the third offense is a class B felony. There significant other a special exception that says if the person is less than 13 years of age, you will be charged with a class B felony that is punishable by no less than a 5 year term of imprisonment for the first offense. Any subsequent offense will be 10 years. These sentences cannot be suspended or reduced by the court.

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narcan uses in Connecticut, Stamford drug crimes attorneyIt has become abundantly clear that the abuse of opioids has become an epidemic in Connecticut as well as the nation. While possession of opioids and other controlled substances carries criminal penalties, the use of opioids also subjects the user to the risk of overdose and even death.

Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin as well as a number of prescription medications such as codeine, oxycodone (prescribed as Oxycontin, Percodan, or Percocet) and hydrocodone (prescribed as Vocodin, Lortab, or Norco). An overdose of an illicit drug such as heroin occurs when a person deliberately misuses the drug. An overdose of a prescription medication occurs when a person takes a medication prescribed for someone else. Overdoses of both types occur when a person combines an opioid with alcohol or other medications that depress the user’s heart and breathing rates.

Naloxone—known as Narcan—reverses the effects of opioids and has proven to be a useful tool in reducing opioid overdose deaths. In 2012, a Connecticut law paved the way for prescribers to give Narcan prescriptions to anyone in close contact with an opioid addict. A new law has been enacted this year making Narcan more available for use helping those who overdose on opioids.

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lack of DUI evidence, Stamford CT criminal lawyerFacing DUI charges is an extremely frightening experience. Defendants may lose their license, pay steep fines, and even face prison sentences. In cases that involve a fatal car accident, the outcome can affect the rest of a person’s life.

In these instances, it is especially important to consult an experienced criminal attorney who understands how to use the law to a client’s favor. In many cases, charges can be reduced or even dropped. Although no lawyer can guarantee an outcome, professional legal guidance can help a person avoid costly mistakes that may reduce the likelihood of a positive case outcome.

When there is a lack of evidence in a case, or if law enforcement did not follow certain regulations, the prosecution may offer a plea deal. A recently settled case that took place in Stamford exemplifies this fact.

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drug charge sentence alternative, Stamford criminal lawyerIf a Connecticut defendant is a substance abuser, there are options available for seeking treatment in addition to or in lieu of being prosecuted and sentenced for a criminal offense. These options include the Drug Intervention Program and the treatment of drug or alcohol dependent offenders instead of prosecution.

The Drug Intervention Program is available to nonviolent, drug-dependent defendants in different types of cases in which substance abuse is a major issue. The goals of the program are to reduce criminal behavior and reduce substance abuse. The program uses treatment, including detoxification, inpatient or outpatient treatment; services such as vocational and educational training; supervision; regular drug testing; and court monitoring over the course of 12 to 15 months. Defendants are required to report to the court regularly and must receive orders, sanctions, and incentives ordered by the judge. Defendants can be referred to the program by the judge, defense counsel, state’s attorneys, or court officers. Successful completion of the program can result in a favorable outcome for the defendant.

Alternatively, if a defendant is dependent on drugs or alcohol the court may order treatment instead of prosecution or incarceration.  It is available for defendants charged with drug sale and possession crimes, but is not available for defendants charged with driving under the influence, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, or a felony. Defendants who have participated in this or a predecessor program twice already cannot participate unless permitted by the court.

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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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drug conviction federal student aidIf you are a college student and have applied and received federal grants and loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program, being convicted of a drug-related felony or misdemeanor will leave you ineligible to receive future financial assistance for a certain period of time from the date of your conviction.

How long that ineligibility will last depends on the number of convictions you have and the type of offense you are convicted of. A first offense for possession of drugs will leave you ineligible for one year. If it is your have been convicted for selling illegal drugs and it is your first offense, you will not be able to apply for federal aid for two year.

A second possession conviction will leave you without FAFSA assistance for two years. If you have received two or more convictions of selling drugs, or if this is your third or more conviction for possession, the law says you will not be eligible for federal student aid unless your conviction is overturned or legally ruled to be invalid.

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