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Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut domestic violence attorneyBoth gun ownership and domestic violence are taboo subjects. The treatment of women and the Second Amendment are both at the forefront of debate, especially in election years. Even though we will have a new president and there will likely be plenty of legislative changes, one significant change has already taken place before the early election process began. On October 1, 2016, a law regarding domestic violence and gun ownership altered the previous status quo.

Prohibitions for Convicted Abusers

The previous restrictions are still intact in regards to gun control and those with severe or violent crimes. The prohibitions pertain to both possession and purchase of weapons by those who have been convicted of a violent misdemeanor, regardless of the relationship between the accused and the victim. Crimes that would preclude anyone not being eligible for gun ownership include:

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juvenile crime, Stamford criminal defense attorneyAlthough the number of youths charged with crimes has been on the decline, statistics show that the juvenile justice system still processed more than one million teens and children for crimes in 2014. Their charges, which range from simple drug violations and vandalism to murder, often carry hefty penalties, particularly in more conservative, heavy-handed states. When paired with poor rehabilitation programs, the probability of recidivism increases exponentially. All of this makes one thing very clear: something must change if we hope to save our youth.

How America’s Juvenile Justice System Is Failing Its Youth

Experts have long argued that youths in the juvenile justice system are treated unfairly, especially when their lack of maturity is taken into account. Some states – Connecticut, for example – have responded accordingly and managed to improve conditions and shift the focus to rehabilitation rather than punishment. But others fail miserably and, despite research and scientific studies, fail to recognize that young people are less likely to be able to self-regulate and make sound decisions.

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bail reform, Governor Malloy, Stamford Criminal Defense Attorney Suggested overhauls on the prison system are sweeping the nation, with some proposing reforms to sentencing and others suggesting changes in parole options. In Connecticut, Governor Dannel P. Malloy is taking a different approach by calling for a change to the state’s bail system for charged but not convicted prisoners.

Connecticut Already Ahead of the Curve

While many states have only just started to consider reform for nonviolent offenders, Governor Malloy has already passed a Second Chance initiative. Designed to reduce penalties for many drug offenders, the bill is aimed at successfully reintegrating nonviolent offenders back into society where they can potentially become productive workers. But the Governor is not satisfied just yet; to truly make an impact on the state’s economic state, he wants to change the bail system for prisoners awaiting sentencing.

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shaken baby syndrome, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyA case that Stamford police are calling one of the most grim they can remember has ended with a manslaughter plea, according to the Stamford Advocate. A man arrested for the homicide and sexual assault of an infant pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a child, and is scheduled to be sentenced to 14 years in prison with six years of parole. The baby was a victim of shaken baby syndrome, in which brain damage, retinal damage, and bone fractures can be caused by violent shaking, especially when an infant’s head is whipped back and forth or from side to side.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a diagnosis that first made national news in 1997, when a British au pair was tried for the murder of a Massachusetts infant. As far back as that, a determined group of skeptics started research, unwilling to believe that a human was truly capable of shaking a baby to death.

They looked to establish, that for an infant to die, he or she would also have had to be injured by a blow to the head. An SBS diagnosis does not require an outward manifestation of injury, making it an easy charge to prove. Additionally, researchers have found, in the intervening years, that other causes can produce the same symptoms of SBS, meaning that at least some percentage of people convicted for SBS could be going to jail for a murder that did not actually occur.

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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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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.

child in a hot car, misdemeanor, felony, criminal defense lawyer, Connecticut criminal attorneyThe summer of 2014 has seen a rash of cases involving parents or caregivers leaving children in hot cars. According to the Connecticut State Police, last year there were 44 vehicle heat-related deaths of children in the U.S., and more than 500 such deaths across the country since 1998.  As of early July, 15 children have died in hot cars across the U.S. This includes cases of children playing in unlocked cars or trunks as well as parents or caregivers leaving children unattended inside a closed vehicle. One of the most troubling aspects of this problem is that these deaths are completely preventable.

During the hot summer months, the temperature in a closed vehicle can reach triple digits—and levels that can cause serious injury or even death—in a matter of minutes. High humidity levels can cut that time in half.

According to WTNH, leaving a child unsupervised in a hot car can lead to criminal charges for the responsible person, which will be determined by the police after conducting an investigation. If the child is not injured and there is no danger of injury or risk to the child’s health, the charge would likely be the charge of Leaving a Child Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle, which is a misdemeanor.  If the child has become lethargic or the child’s health is in danger, the child is injured and the charge will likely be Risk of Injury to a Minor, a felony. If a person purposely locks a child in a hot car to die, the charge will be murder, which is a felony.

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search warrant, your rights, cell phone, Connecticut criminal defense lawyerGenerally, if a person is arrested, the police can search the person’s body and immediate surroundings without first getting a warrant. But according to The Hartford Courant, the U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that police officers may not search an arrested person’s cell phone without first obtaining a warrant. The difference, the Court said, is that modern cell phones contain such a vast amount of data that they deserve greater protection than other items such as wallets, purses, and address books. The Court noted that there are exceptions for some emergency situations when a warrantless cell phone search is permitted.

The Court’s ruling recognizes the fact that 90 percent of Americans have cell phones, which have become a part of the fabric of daily life. Today’s cell phones contain a digital record of just about every aspect of our lives. Having a cell phone means having a camera, video player, Rolodex, calendar, tape recorder, library, diary, album, television, map, and newspaper all rolled up into one.

The cases—one from Massachusetts and one from California—arose when police officers searched the phones of arrested suspects without first obtaining a warrant. Law enforcement officials argued the importance of protecting police officers and preventing the destruction of evidence.  They also argued that cell phones can be used by criminals to coordinate and communicate, and can provide incriminating evidence that may not be available elsewhere. The defendants in the two cases, who were backed by civil liberties groups and the news media, argued that their convictions should be overturned because their cell phones should not have been searched without a warrant. The Court sided with the defendants, and held that police must get a warrant before searching a suspect’s cell phone.

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trucking violation, commercial driver's license, CDL, Stamford criminal defense lawyerIf you are a truck driver, you know all too well that there are very specific rules and regulations that you need to follow in order to remain licensed. Some of the regulations that must be observed pertain to the weight of your load, the accuracy of your logbook, equipment, traffic rules, and keeping your license in good standing. If you have been charged with a trucking violation, you need legal advice immediately.

Some of the things that you can get ticketed for include:

  • Overweight – there are regulations for total weight of the haul as well as per axle;
  • Weighing stations – you must stop at each weight station as appropriate;
  • Equipment – you must have good tires, lights, mud flaps, etc. and they must be in good condition;
  • Logbook violations – your books must be up to date, factual, and accurate;
  • Traffic violations – general traffic offenses such as speeding, texting while driving, etc. also apply to truck drivers;
  • Licensing issues – driving on a suspended or revoked license;
  • DUI or DWI – the blood alcohol limit for a CDL licensed driver is .04, half of the limit for other drivers.

Anyone who drives professionally, such as truck drivers, bus drivers, trailer drivers, and drivers of passenger vans and buses, will have to hold a valid CDL, or commercial driver’s license.

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knockout game, Connecticut law, Connecticut criminal defense lawyerConnecticut legislators are looking to make the knockout game an official crime statewide. The “game” refers to a situation in which a victim is hit over the head without any provocation, the goal of which is for the victim to lose consciousness. If passed, the bill would treat accused individuals in a manner similar to those facing assault charges.

The legislation would institute the crime as a Class D felony and a mandatory minimum two-year sentences. Those aged 16 and 17 would be transferred to the adult system if accused of participating. While the attacks are rare, legislators believe that stipulating this as a crime will help to cut down on the racial overtones that have played out in past attacks.

Some representatives are opposed to law, arguing that there are not enough details that 16 or 17 year olds are engaged in the game in Connecticut and that the act simply does not happen enough to warrant statewide handling of the situation. Law enforcement agencies vary with regard to their reporting, so it’s difficult to get accurate data about how many victims have suffered.

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computer crime, white collar crime, identity theft, Connecticut crime, If you have been charged with a computer crime in the state of Connecticut, you need legal representation that will work hard to represent your rights. Having a criminal record and facing the possible consequences of a computer crime conviction can be serious, so you need a lawyer who is familiar with criminal defense and experienced in the law.

There are several different forms of legal violations regarding computers in Connecticut. The following is a basic overview of Connecticut computer crime laws.

The first type refers to unauthorized access to a computer system, which refers to individuals who access either a computer or a network without proper authority to do so.

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