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stamford criminal defense lawyerViolations of the law can result in multiple types of consequences. The severity of these consequences will depend on a person’s specific criminal charges and other factors that may play a role in their case. Multiple convictions will usually result in more serious penalties, and in some cases, a person may be subject to laws that detail enhanced penalties for “persistent offenders.” Those facing criminal charges will need to be represented by an experienced attorney who can explain how these laws apply to their case and determine the best defense strategies.

Persistent Offender Laws in Connecticut

Connecticut law defines several categories of persistent offenders, including:

  • Persistent dangerous felony offenders - If a person is convicted of violent crimes such as manslaughter, kidnapping, first- or second-degree robbery, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary with a firearm, or arson, and they had previously been convicted of one of these crimes, they will be sentenced to at least twice the minimum sentence for the offense and a maximum of 40 years in prison. A third conviction will result in being sentenced to at least three times the minimum sentence for the offense.

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Connecticut juvenile defense attorneyIn recent decades, more and more attention has been given to bullying in schools. Teasing, psychological torment, cyberbullying through social media, and other forms of bullying often escalate into physical altercations. In many cases, it is hard to know which individual started a fight at school. Altercations can develop in a matter of seconds and teachers do not always see the circumstances that led up to a child being involved in a fight. If your son or daughter has been arrested and accused of school violence or bullying, it is important to learn about your child’s legal rights and options.

Understand Your Child’s Rights Under the Law

Your child has most of the same basic rights as an adult after being arrested. This includes the right to avoid self-incrimination and remain silent. Anything your child says to the police can be used against them. A child also has the right to contact their parent or guardian after being arrested. When you can talk to your child, encourage them to assert their rights and decline police questioning.

Learn About the Connecticut Pretrial School Violence Prevention Program

As a parent, you are probably worried that your child’s arrest will negatively affect their future. Fortunately, there may be a way to get your child’s charges dismissed. If your child has been accused of physically harming another child or threatening physical violence, they may qualify for the Connecticut Pretrial School Violence Prevention Program. This program aims to educate youth offenders instead of punishing them. To qualify for the program, the student and their parents or guardians must swear that they do not possess drugs, firearms, dangerous weapons, or other illicit materials. The student must also consent to extending the statute of limitations for the case. The program lasts one year and involves group counseling and lessons in anger management and conflict resolution. If the student finishes the program, the charges against them are dismissed and their record is sealed. This means that the record will not be visible to the general public.

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Stamford CT juvenile defense attorneyAs a parent, it can be extremely disheartening to watch your child make bad decisions. This is especially true if your child makes a mistake that leads to criminal charges. If your son or daughter has been convicted of drug possession, driving under the influence of alcohol, assault, theft, or another offense, you may worry about how this will affect the rest of their life. You may worry about your child being labeled a criminal for something that they did when they were very young. Fortunately, you may be able to get your child’s record expunged.

Expungement and Sealing of a Juvenile Record

Juvenile criminal cases are handled differently depending on the severity of the crime, the juvenile’s age, and other factors. If your child’s case was decided in juvenile court, they are a “juvenile offender” or “juvenile delinquent.” This is not the same as being convicted of a crime in the way that adult offenders are convicted of a crime. Juvenile offenses or “delinquencies” may be expunged if:

  • The juvenile is 18 years old or older.

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Stamford criminal defense lawyerCriminal charges have the potential to change a person’s life forever. Fortunately, the state of Connecticut realizes that many criminal defendants are good people who simply made a mistake. They do not need to be punished; they just need the opportunity to learn from their mistake and live a law-abiding life moving forward. Connecticut offers several diversionary programs that may allow you to avoid a criminal conviction and jail time. If you successfully complete a diversionary program, you avoid going to trial and the charges against you will be dismissed.

Diversionary Programs for Criminal Offenses in Connecticut

During a pretrial diversionary program, an individual who has been accused of a crime must complete certain tasks and/or refrain from certain conduct. If he or she can fulfill the requirements of the program, the charges against him or her will be dropped.

Three of the most common pretrial diversionary programs in Connecticut include:

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Fairfield CT criminal defense lawyerThe United States Constitution gives us important rights and limits the power of the government. One of the most important rights afforded by the Constitution is the right to protection from invasion of privacy by the government. The Fourth Amendment states that people have the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” of personal property. If you or a loved one was charged with drug possessiontheft, or another criminal offense, it is crucial that you understand how your Fourth Amendment rights may influence your case.

When Can Police Search My Vehicle?

Criminal charges for possession of marijuana or other drugs are often a result of police searching a vehicle. The laws protecting citizens against unreasonable search and seizure apply differently to vehicles than they do to other types of property. Police are permitted to search a person’s vehicle without a warrant if:

  • The person gives the officer consent or permission to search the car

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Norwalk CT underage DUI defense lawyerAs it is in every state, it is illegal to drive in Connecticut while impaired by alcohol. For adults, the standard often used to determine if a motorist is impaired according to the law is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. However, the same rules do not apply to drivers under 21 years of age. For underage drivers, it is unlawful to drive with a BAC greater than 0.02. Even just a single drink may elevate a young person’s BAC to a level that makes it illegal to drive. If your child has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), it is important to educate yourself about the consequences he or she faces as well as the rights of underage criminal defendants in Connecticut.

Criminal and Administrative Proceedings for Underage DUI in Connecticut

There are two categories of penalties DUI offenders face in Connecticut. Administrative penalties include an immediate 6-month driver’s license suspension. If the underage offender has previously been arrested and charged with DUI, the license suspension period is increased to one year. If the driver is under 18 years old, the police may seize the driver’s license upon arrest and have their car towed.

A first-time underage DUI offender faces criminal penalties including a jail sentence of up to six months, up to $1,000 in fines, and probation. The offender may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle he or she plans to drive after the suspension period is up.

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Connecticut pretrial diversion program defense attorneyIf you or a loved one was arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you may be unsure of what will happen next. Will you or your loved one be sentenced to jail? Will a conviction prevent you or your loved one from working, going to school, or finding suitable housing? Fortunately, many criminal defendants qualify for a pretrial diversion program. These programs can help a defendant avoid jail time and a permanent criminal record.

Focusing on Rehabilitation, Not Punishment

Connecticut courts recognize that many individuals charged and convicted of crimes are good people who made a mistake. If you were charged with a criminal offense but the offense was not a particularly violent crime or a sex crime, you may be able to participate in a program designed to “rehabilitate” you and prevent you from reoffending. Often, these programs involve mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, educational classes, vocational training, community service, drug testing, and meeting with a probation officer. If you are able to participate in and complete a diversion program, your criminal record may be expunged.

Diversion Programs Available in Connecticut

There are many different types of pretrial diversion programs in Connecticut, including:

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Fairfield CT juvenile defense attorneyTeenagers sometimes make impulsive decisions that land them in legal trouble. If your son or daughter has been charged with a criminal offense, you may be very concerned about the consequences he or she will face. Minors are typically tried in juvenile court. Unlike adult court, juvenile courtrooms are closed to the public and juvenile records are sealed. In most cases, a juvenile offender may eventually petition to have his or her criminal record erased. Incarceration sentences are also typically shorter for juveniles than they are for adults, and juveniles are held in a juvenile detention center instead of an adult correctional facility. However, there are many cases in which a juvenile may be tried as an adult and subject to adult consequences.

Connecticut Laws Regarding Juvenile Offenses

If your child is at least 14 years old and has been charged with a Class A or Class B felony offense, he or she will be tried as an adult. Crimes such as kidnapping, arson, sexual assault, homicide, and armed robbery typically result in a teenaged offender being transferred to the adult criminal system. However, a teenager who is subject to the adult criminal system also has the same Constitutional rights as an adult criminal defendant. He or she has the right to remain silent, consult with an attorney, decline police questioning, and more.

For other offenses, whether or not a juvenile is tried as an adult is often up to the juvenile prosecutor’s discretion. If your child was accused of selling or manufacturing drugs, assault with a weapon, vehicular homicide, certain weapons violations, or another felony offense, it is possible that he or she may be treated as an adult during criminal proceedings. Some of the factors that prosecutors consider when deciding whether or not to try a youth as an adult include:

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CT DUI lawyerDrunk driving is an offense taken very seriously by Illinois courts. If you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), you face an immediate administrative driver’s license suspension. If convicted, you face further criminal consequences including possible jail time. Losing your license after a DUI can make it nearly impossible for you to get to and from work, transport your children, or perform everyday tasks. Fortunately, you may be able to regain your driving privileges by participating in a driving relief program and installing a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle.

How Do Illinois BAIIDs Work?

A breath alcohol interlock device is a device that measures the amount of alcohol on someone’s breath and uses that information to calculate his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). Similar to a breathalyzer, a test subject uses a BAIID by blowing into the device’s mouthpiece. If the device detects a BAC that is above 0.025 percent, the ignition will not engage and the vehicle will not start. BAIIDs are also equipped with a camera that takes a photograph of the test subject. This ensures that the person providing the breath sample is the person for whom the device is intended. There is no way to “cheat” a BAIID. Mints, gum, candy, mouthwash, or other rumored tactics cannot allow an inebriated driver to start his or her car once the BAIID is installed. Furthermore, misusing a BAIID may lead to a lengthened driver’s license suspension period and additional criminal consequences.

BAIIDs Are Required for a Monitoring Device Permit or Restricted Driving Permit

If you have been convicted of a first-time DUI, you may be able to regain your driving privileges through a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). As a condition of this permit, you will need to have a BAIID installed in any vehicle you plan on driving. Driving a vehicle that does not have a BAIID installed in it once you have received a MDDP is against the law. If you have been charged or convicted of a second or subsequent DUI, you may be able to restore limited driving privileges through a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP). To obtain an RDP, you will need to prove that a hardship exists, participate in a professional drug and alcohol evaluation, attend a hearing, and have a BAIID installed in your vehicle.

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CT DUI lawyerDriving while under the influence in Connecticut is a very serious crime, with the potential to cause fatalities and injuries not only to the people involved, but also to pedestrians. If you are charged with one, the consequences will be serious, but a second DUI ups the proverbial stakes, and there will be far fewer chances to try and seek a lesser sentence. An attorney is absolutely crucial at this stage in order to protect your rights.

First vs Second Offense

Driving while under the influence is a crime in Connecticut, with a first offense being a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail plus a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 45 days and your car will be fitted with an ignition interlock device for up to one year. This is all in addition to probation, which has expensive fees that can add up. Depending on your specific situation, you may be able to seek entry into a pretrial diversion program, which can result in your charges being dismissed if you comply with all the required terms.

Even if you do complete a pretrial diversion program and have your first offense effectively erased, a second DUI charge is considered more serious. A second DUI is always a felony charge, carrying a prison term of anywhere between four months and two years, along with a fine of up to $4,000, ignition interlock for three years, license suspension, and probation. With a second DUI, probation will also usually include more requirements, such as community service and alcohol education.

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Posted on in Juvenile Crimes

CT defense lawyerToo many people see petty crime or mischief offenses as part of growing up, especially for young boys and men. However, it is still important not to overlook the potential consequences of committing a crime, and in some cases, the crime may be serious enough to be removed to adult court, with all the attendant consequences. Having an experienced juvenile justice attorney on your side can help smooth out the process while still preserving your child’s rights.

Juvenile Court: More Rehabilitative Than Punitive

In juvenile court, there are two broad categories of offenses that a young person may be charged with: delinquent acts, or serious juvenile offenses. Delinquent acts are defined as the violation of a federal or state law (with exceptions) by a juvenile. Essentially, if the act in question is not defined as a serious juvenile offense, it will generally qualify as a delinquent act. Serious juvenile offenses, by comparison, are specifically laid out in the relevant statute, and if the prosecutor thinks it necessary, allow your child’s case to be removed to adult court.

In most cases where a juvenile is arrested, Connecticut’s justice system has the stated aim of trying to rehabilitate them, rather than solely punish them for their choices. Their young age and (in most cases) lack of life experience are seen as mitigating factors, to some degree, and especially in cases of non-violent crime, many juvenile offenders are offered alternative options to a jail sentence, such as diversion programs or community service.

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CT defense lawyerMost people think that white collar crime is the province of Wall Street and the wealthy; in reality, white collar crime is the name used for a wide variety of crimes that do not involve violence, but do involve cheating or lying. It is a serious charge to lay at someone’s door, and if you have been accused of such conduct, it is imperative to have an experienced attorney on your side who understands this type of law.

An Ever-Changing Term

Because historically, the ‘white collar’ has been used to denote a richer and ostensibly less violent class of people, but also the hallmark of professionals such as lawyers and accountants, the term ‘white collar crime’ has been used to describe any crime involving dishonesty or fraud. Examples to be found in the Connecticut General Statutes include (but are not limited to) fraud (more specifically mail fraud, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, and the like), embezzlement, money laundering, bribery, identity theft, forgery, tax evasion, creating or passing counterfeit bills, and many more.

In recent years, the term has evolved yet again to include more ‘new’ crimes, such as those requiring technology to commit. Cyber crimes fall under the realm of white collar crime, even though they can at times be violent - for example, stalking can turn violent if the behavior is not stopped or the alleged perpetrator is not arrested. It is important to keep this umbrella term in mind, even if it is inexact, because sometimes judges, in particular, may try to make ‘examples’ out of ‘white collar criminals.’

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Posted on in White Collar Crimes

CT defense lawyerYou have probably heard the term “white collar crime,” but you might not know what that term actually means. A white collar crime is generally a nonviolent, financially motivated offense by a business or government professional. The classic example is an employee stealing money from his employer.

In Connecticut, white collar crimes carry stiff penalties. Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been charged with committing any type of white-collar offense.

Types of White Collar Crimes

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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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CT defense attorneyA Connecticut drug possession, sale, or distribution conviction may have ramifications beyond jail, fines, mandatory rehab and counseling, and community service. There is also reputational damage, the social stigma of your name being associated with drug use, and if you have children, potential loss of child custody. Each one of the detriments is only magnified if you face a second, third, or subsequent drug conviction.

With regard to child custody, state family court judges are vested with substantial discretion to issue child custody orders so long as they are “in the best interests of the child.” If you have a criminal history, it will likely factor into matters of custody if the judge feels that the child has been or will be put at risk of violence, abuse, neglect, or endangerment. With the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of your child at stake, it is imperative that you retain experienced criminal defense counsel if you have been charged with a drug crime in Connecticut.

Opiate-Related Drug Charges Are On the Rise

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Posted on in Juvenile Crimes

Connecticut defense lawyerWhen a juvenile is charged with a crime in Connecticut, the young person will either require juvenile court defense in the state’s juvenile justice system or criminal defense in one the state’s (adult) courts. The difference from one scenario to the other may be pronounced. This is because, with regard to adults, who are presumed to have reached the age of maturity and thusly be fully contemplating intentions, actions, and consequences, the same cannot be said as concerns juveniles. Here, the words “age of maturity” loom large.

Prior to this age (eighteen in the state of Connecticut), juveniles are presumed to still be in a process of cognitive and emotional development, not yet fully contemplating and regulating intentions, actions and thus not deserving of consequences parallel to those meted out in the adult court system. For adults, a governing theory is often that of “retribution,” which is concerning with conduct deterrence through punishment, and with restoring the balance between the individual and society by imposing damages for breaches in the social contract.

For juveniles, however, retribution alone is neither appropriate nor consummate with society’s interests. The state, both in a capital “S” sense (the nation) and a lowercase “s” sense (Connecticut) has an interest in producing productive, moral citizens who will contribute to the greater good rather than function as a drain on economic resources. As such, the juvenile justice system may offer corrective outcomes where the adult court system will simply punish.

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Connecticut defense lawyerIn the month of March, law enforcement are on the lookout for drivers running afoul of the state’s alcohol-related driving laws on the way home from watching events like the Academy Awards and the NCAA basketball tournament. With the Oscars running time at four hours, and March Madness running from before noon until midnight in its opening week, there is an increased risk for individuals consuming alcoholic beverages to exceed the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level for driving. For this reason, it is very important to understand what BAC is, how it works, how easily the legal limit can be exceeded, and the penalties for driving with an impressible BAC. Driving in the state of Connecticut is a privilege – one that can be taken away on a temporary or permanent basis following a DWI conviction. Knowing the law and your legal rights when it comes to driving and alcohol is a must.

The Law Makes Presumptions About Impairment Irrespective Of Subjectivity

The charge of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Connecticut may be leveled irrespective of whether you feel that you were personally experiencing any alcohol-induced impairment while driving. You do not need to be feeling drunk to be in danger of being charged with DWI if you get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. This is because the relevant metric under state law is Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). BAC reflects the percentage of alcohol in the blood and is typically measured by breathalyzer – a law enforcement administered device to breathe into and thereby provided a BAC reading.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

Connecticut defense lawyerFentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is 50 to 100 more powerful than morphine, is now firmly on the radar of state and federal law enforcement. This drug has become a scourge, ushering in an addiction crisis like the country has never seen before, killing tens of thousands, and ensnaring many more in its grip.

Perversely, where there is a blight of addiction, there is also an economic orbit. Thus, as scores grapple with the ill effects of fentanyl addiction, there is much activity directed at illicitly importing, distributing, and selling the deadly drug in both Connecticut and of the nation at large. For those charged with the possession or distribution of fentanyl, serious criminal penalties may be imposed upon conviction. In confronting such charges, the experience of a Fairfield County criminal defense attorney is essential.

Fentanyl to Be a Schedule 1 Drug Under Federal Law

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Posted on in Sex Crimes

Connecticut defense lawyerOur nation is in the midst of a movement against sexual assault, misconduct, and rape. Allegations, admissions, and denials are taking place in the highest halls of politics, media, and entertainment, as well as in the most common corridors of daily life.

In some instances, an allegation may be made strictly in the court of public opinion (e.g. via social media), but still so powerful effect in the form of reputational damage. In other instances, allegations may be formally made in civil or criminal court. With regard to criminal charges for rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct, the accusations must be confronted in court, as the law requires.

Punishments and reputational damage following a conviction may be severe and include a prison sentence. If you have been charged with a sex crime in the state of Connecticut, it is critical that you obtain competent and diligent legal representation.

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Connecticut defense attorneyWith school out of session on account of winter break and snow on the ground, actions that start out as mere mischief may get out of hand and rise to the level of torts and crimes. While it may seem inconsistent with the wintertime and holiday spirit, hitting someone with a snowball can bring serious consequences if injuries are sustained. The same is true for sledding-related horseplay that devolves into fist fighting. You may be charged with the crime of assault or battery, or sued in civil court for money damages. If you have been charged with assault or battery in Connecticut, you need an experienced Norwalk criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights.

Defining Assault and Battery in Connecticut

In the general, common law sense, battery is a harmful or offensive contact. In Connecticut, more specifically, battery is the “willful application of force with the intent to cause bodily injury or offensive contact.” Assault, in the most basic sense, attempted battery. Specifically, under state law, assault is “attempted battery or the intent to cause another reasonable apprehension or contact.” In these two definitions, one can infer the importance of 1) intent and 2) whether or not contact actually occurs. Even if you have been unsuccessful in making contact, or merely intend to make another human being believe that you intend to make contact (but do not make contact), you may still be properly charged with assault in Connecticut.

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