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CT defense lawyerIn this country, a person is innocent of a crime until they are proven guilty, and they are entitled to a chance to defend themselves from charges. Defendants have rights, and if you have been charged with a crime, you need a Connecticut criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect yours.

Even Innocent People May Need Attorneys

In today’s United States, the criminal justice system can be an intimidating place, especially if you are innocent of the crime you have been charged with. While it is rare to find yourself faced with outright malice from police or prosecutors, it is sadly not uncommon to find an error on their part, which can sometimes put an innocent person in the proverbial crosshairs. Extreme examples have put innocent people behind bars - though none have occurred in Connecticut, there have been hundreds of exonerations of innocent people wrongfully convicted in 37 states since the 1970s.

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CT defense lawyerNorwalk police recently arrested a 35-year-old man in possession of 4,700 bags of heroin, cocaine, and $50,000 in cash. He is being held on a $2 million bond. The man was the subject of an extensive investigation into heroin sales in Norwalk.

Bond vs. Bail

Most people who are charged with committing a crime may be able to post bail or obtain a bond to get out of jail while they are awaiting trial. The terms “bond” and “bail” are often used interchangeably, but they actually have slightly different meanings.

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Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut criminal lawyerRaising our children correctly is difficult, to say the least. There is no universal blueprint dictating all the right choices and decisions parents should make while raising their children. The reality is that being a parent is fraught with many tough decisions. For example, when our kids grow into their teenage years and start experimenting with alcohol. Most parents understand the danger of alcohol especially when it comes to a minor. But a tough decision must be made, it is nearly impossible to control every decision your teenage child will make, but what can you do to reduce the potential for them to get themselves into trouble?

Supervised Underage Drinking

Many parents when faced with the choice of not knowing what their teens are doing, if they are safe, or even worse, getting behind the wheel after drinking or with someone who has, will consider allowing their teens to drink at home. Parent's believe that at least the teens are supervised, a parent can ensure that no one gets behind the wheel of a car and the peace of mind that comes with knowing where their teenage children are on a weekend night.

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Connecticut juvenile defense attorneyIf you have been charged in connection with a crime or criminally sentenced, it can have far-reaching effects for the rest of your life. It may be more difficult to find work, or to participate in particular activities (going to certain areas, seeing certain people). If you are convicted of a felony, you may even be stripped of basic civil rights—convicted felons are barred from voting in 12 states. In Connecticut, a convicted felon who has been committed to the state correctional system and is residing in the correctional institution facility or community residence, he or she cannot vote. This person may be able to restore his or her voting rights, but whether he or she is able to do so is determinate upon the conviction and the specifics of the case surrounding it. Despite these long-lasting effects that can wreak havoc on a person’s life, if you are convicted of a crime as a juvenile, it can be even more devastating.

Risks for Young Offenders

A juvenile sentenced to a correctional institution will not be able to grow or participate in society traditionally. This loss of community and normal interaction during formative years can have emotional and social effects that outweigh even the institutional barriers posed by such convictions. The severity of the alleged crime matters especially in the case of juvenile offenders. The worse the crime, the more likely it is that the alleged offender will be tried as an adult and thus face longer sentences, higher fines, and/or time in a facility not specifically designed for juvenile offenders. 

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threatening emojis, Stamford criminal defense attorneyEmojis and emoticons – little symbols used to communicate on mobile devices and on the Internet – have become a language all their own. This is especially true for millennials and the up-and-coming generation, many of whom have yet to even hear the word puberty, let alone actually reach it. With this new picture-speak, there comes an entire array of challenges, some of which may extend into the justice system - so much so that some may be wondering if they really could face criminal charges just for using them.

The Language of Emoji and Emoticon

Like words, emojis and emoticons are used to communicate. But, unlike words, which are usually pretty straightforward in their meaning, the cartoonish symbols could mean almost anything. Take, for example, a seemingly harmless wink: in one conversation, it could be interpreted as flirtatious or ironic; in another, it could be intended as an actual threat. Unfortunately, because the inferred meanings are different from one person to the next--and often even from one conversation to the next with the same person--police officers, judges, and juries have no reliable way to tell the difference between the two.

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disabilities, hate crime, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyHate crimes are largely considered those perpetrated against certain groups or individuals, motivated by the victim's religion, race, or sexual orientation. Indeed, the most widely-publicized incidents labeled as hate crimes are those in which a person is distinctly vocal about his or her disdain for a certain group of people and its beliefs, creeds, or private activities. Yet hate crimes can also be perpetrated against groups of people with disabilities, whether they are primarily physical. mental, or emotional in nature. In fact, studies show that people with learning disabilities are more vulnerable than others to experience bullying, harassment or to be victims of hate crime. In 2007, for example, 79 of the total hate crimes reported nationwide were committed against people with disabilities, a marked increase from the 44 hate crimes against people with disabilities that were reported in 2003.

Historically Few Protections

This group of people includes any person who has mental or emotional issues, including but not limited to: development delays, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other mental impairments. For much of the 20th century, people with disabilities were often marginalized from so-called “normal” society, and there were no laws specifically forbidding discrimination against them. The Americans with Disabilities Act, the nation’s first civil rights law prohibiting the discrimination of people with disabilities in the workplace, public accommodations, and public services, was not passed until 1990. It may be little wonder, then, that the rate of hate crimes perpetrated against this particular group continues to be an issue.

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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 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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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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Connecticut criminal statutes, Connecticut defense attorney, CT criminal lawyer,Most Americans make an honest effort to follow the laws and encourage others to do the same. However, people sometimes make mistakes that can lead to either misdemeanor or felony charges.

No matter what type of charges you face, the advice of a criminal defense attorney may prove invaluable. Even misdemeanor offenses can remain on your record, which can compromise your employment opportunities and ability to acquire grants for school.

Many people understand that felonies are typically more serious than misdemeanors. Unfortunately, this has led to the misconception that misdemeanor charges are not a big deal. This article will explain why it is important to have a solid legal defense if you are facing misdemeanor charges.

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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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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Probation RulesIn Connecticut, if you are convicted of a crime or a motor vehicle offense, a judge can sentence you to probation as part of your sentence. The probation can begin immediately after you are sentenced, or, if incarceration is part of your sentence, probation will begin immediately after your release. The length of time you will be on probation is up to the judge’s discretion, based on the crime you were convicted of.

Once your probation begins, you will be assigned a probation officer. If you are beginning your probation upon release from prison, you should contact your probation officer immediately. The officer will assign you a day and time you are required to report to him or her. It is imperative to report as you have been told. Failure to do so could result in the officer issuing a violation and having your case returned to court, where you could possibly be sent back to prison.

When you report, bring a photo ID with you, proof of residence, such as a lease or utility bill, pay stubs from your employer, proof of any treatment, restitution or any other requirements you are required to fulfill.

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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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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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child pornographyAn East Haven man was among 18 suspects arrested in a statewide targeted child pornography investigation. Detectives working for the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes unit combined forces with the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Sex Offenders Unit to conduct the arrest warrant sweep on March 27th.

For the 18 arrested individuals, the state has the responsibility to prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to find the defendants guilty of their charges:

  • Possession is the first component of a child pornography charge, which includes any picture, videotape, computer-generated image, or other visual depiction of a person under the age of 16;
  • The state must demonstrate that the defendant knowingly possessed child pornography;
  • The state must identify how many depictions of child pornography the defendant had, broken into categories or one or more, fewer than twenty, more than twenty but fewer than fifty, and fifty or more. This can include multiple copies of the same media.

If you have been charged with child pornography, any number of depictions can lead to a serious conviction. An arrested individual might raise an affirmative defense, under which he or she admits violation of Possessing or Transmitting Child Pornography by Minor instead of Possessing Child Pornography. While still a criminal offense, the former carries less serious penalties.

Your first stop after being charged should be to contact a criminal defense attorney. Only an experienced attorney will understand the state’s preparation for a child pornography case. Since it’s so vital that the state prove each of the three elements above, you need someone on your side fighting for your rights and ensuring that your side of the story is told, too. Do not underestimate the influence of a child pornography charge. If you have been accused, contact a Connecticut sex crimes attorney today.

marijuana, drug possession, drug charges, criminal charges, Stamford drug charges, criminal defense lawyerWhether you already have a criminal record, or 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 and you are not protected under Connecticut medical marijuana laws.

If you are arrested with less than 4 ounces of marijuana, you could be facing a fine of $1,000 and, you could 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 under the age of 16 will have their license suspended for at least 60 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.

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kidnapping charges, lawyer, attorney, criminal defense, ConnecticutA 23-year-old Bridgeport man was arrested and is now facing charges after allegedly attempting to kidnap his estranged girlfriend, according to WTNH News 8. “Police say the victim was in the parking lot [of a Food Bazaar] with several friends when Vega approached and showed a gun,” WTNH reports. “The victim was forced into Vega’s car and he drove off towards I-95 southbound.”

Police suspect that Vega was headed toward the Bronx when he was apprehended. The woman in the car was freed immediately upon Vega’s arrest. According to WTNH, “she was treated for undisclosed injuries suffered during the ordeal. Police say Vega kidnapped her because she was trying to end a 7-year relationship that was abusive.” In addition to the kidnapping charges, Vega is likely also facing gun charges, as officers found an illegal gun in his car at the time of his arrest.

According to TruTV.com, if Vega hadn’t been apprehended, he wouldn’t have been alone in his crime. “An astounding 2,300 Americans are reported missing every day,” TruTV.com reports, “including both adults and children.” Only a very small percentage of these “are stereotypical abductions or kidnappings by a stranger.” The large majority of these are child abductions perpetrated by someone whom the child knows.

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