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Fairfield traffic ticket defense attorneyMost adults have received at least one or two traffic citations in their lifetime. They may have driven above the speed limit, run a red light, or failed to stop fully at a stop sign. While traffic violations are typically considered minor offenses, the consequences can be significant. Penalties for traffic infractions may include stiff fines, and, if you have accumulated too many demerit points, suspension of your driver’s license. If you have recently been issued a traffic ticket, you may wonder what your options are for challenging the ticket, or if it is in your best interests to contest the ticket by pleading not guilty.

Is My Ticket Worth Fighting?

Many people do not realize that they have the option to contest a traffic ticket. Others understand that this option is available but assume that the time and energy needed to challenge the traffic violation is simply not worth it. If you are questioning whether or not to plead not guilty to your traffic violation, consider the following:

  • Did you actually commit the offense that you have been accused of?
  • Do you have any evidence you can use to prove your innocence?
  • Will paying the fine cause you considerable financial stress?
  • Will the ticket lead to a significant increase in your car insurance payment?
  • Are you facing suspension of your driver’s license?

If you did not commit the traffic infraction, the ticket will create a significant financial burden, or you are facing license suspension or other significant consequences, it may be a good idea to contest the ticket.

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CT defense lawyerThere are several legitimate medical uses for drugs that are otherwise considered dangerous and illegal to possess - for example, opioids and other painkillers. However, they do not always stay in the right hands, or if they do, sometimes they can be used to excess. If you have been charged with illegal use of prescription drugs in Connecticut, having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference in your case.

Drug Crimes Can Carry Serious Sentences

Prescription drugs are covered under Connecticut’s possession and trafficking statutes, and even for a first offense, the consequences can be strict. In addition, Connecticut has specific regulations prohibiting subsidiary offenses like doctor shopping (going to multiple doctors for controlled substances without disclosing that fact to any of the doctors) or obtaining prescription drugs by fraud, which carry their own sentences in addition to any possession charge that you may face.

Most crimes related to drugs are considered felonies in Connecticut, simply because of the potential harm to the individual and society. This means that even a first offense can carry prison time, from one year to 25 in extreme cases. In addition, possession need not always be physical; constructive possession (when you, for all intents and purposes, had control over the drugs) is often enough, and many defendants are unaware of possibilities like these.

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CT defense lawyerVery often, people who have been arrested and charged with minor crimes in Connecticut might try to navigate the criminal justice system without an attorney, even though they are entitled to one. It can be easy to tell yourself that the charges are minor, that you will be able to manage without paying an attorney - but the odds are overwhelmingly against you managing to talk yourself out of fines and jail time. Enlisting a Connecticut criminal defense attorney is always a better idea.

Trust in Knowledge

While it is possible to represent yourself in a criminal matter, it is emphatically not recommended. You are required to know all the ins and outs of the law, just like any lawyer would, and failure to abide by both law and etiquette can torpedo your case before you even get started. If, for example, you represent yourself and take a plea-bargain, you may find out later on in life that you could have gotten a better deal. It is simply not worth the risk to try and handle a criminal matter on your own.

An experienced criminal defense attorney understands the big and small picture when it comes to the relevant law; they are often privy to potential avenues to get your charges reduced or to seek an alternative sentence to jail time. The average layperson is unaware of many of these options - they do not know, for example, what constitutes a good plea-bargain, or when they might qualify for pretrial diversion as opposed to jail time. Because so many crimes in Connecticut have serious consequences even for a first offense, enlisting an attorney is always a better option.

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CT defense lawyerIt is very common for someone who has been charged with a misdemeanor to treat the whole episode as somehow not particularly serious or important, especially if they have never had any run-in with the law before. However, it is never a good idea to see criminal charges as inconsequential. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, contacting a criminal defense lawyer is the first step you should take.

Misdemeanors May Not Stay Misdemeanors

Connecticut criminal law has a wide range of misdemeanors, from disorderly conduct to prostitution. Class D misdemeanors are the least serious, usually carrying no more than 30 days in jail and a fine of a few hundred dollars. As the class goes up, so do the fines and the jail terms. Class A misdemeanors like prostitution can carry up to one year in jail, and fines of up to $2,000. No misdemeanor sentence will last more than one year, as Connecticut law immediately classifies all crimes with longer sentences as felonies.

While the sentences for misdemeanors are set down in the law, it is important to keep in mind that depending on the situation, a misdemeanor can be augmented or otherwise charged as more severe. For example, if a firearm or other deadly weapon is used during the commission of the misdemeanor, or if the crime is committed against a vulnerable individual (a disabled, elderly, mentally impaired or blind person), it may turn third-degree assault into second or first-degree.

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Posted on in Juvenile Crimes

CT defense lawyerWhen a juvenile commits a crime in Connecticut, there are two possible ways the case can be classified. Depending on several factors, including the nature of the offense, a juvenile can either be classified as a juvenile defendant, or as a youthful offender. While these two designations might seem interchangeable, they are not, and it is critical to understand the difference.

Juvenile Defendants

Juvenile defendants are, as one might expect, juveniles - people under the age of 18 who have committed an offense that the prosecutor determines should be prosecuted in juvenile court. They are referred to as juvenile delinquents, rather than defendants; Connecticut’s juvenile courts are much more focused on rehabilitation, especially for first offenders, as opposed to the adult court system that is focused more on punishment. The nature of the offense usually determines whether someone under 18 will be charged as a juvenile or as an adult.

Juvenile defendants are also more likely to be granted a non-judicial outcome in their case, meaning probation or pretrial diversion as opposed to a conviction and sentence. This may seem not harsh enough, for a young person who has allegedly committed a crime, but nonjudicial outcomes are not generally available for those who commit serious offenses. With nonviolent misdemeanors and violations, the state of Connecticut has decided to help young offenders learn rather than punish immediately.

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No driver wants to see those blue flashing lights pop up in their rearview mirror. Traffic stops are always stressful. Being pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving is especially nerve-racking. At this time, you need to know how to protect your rights during the traffic stop and beyond. Notably, if you were arrested for a DUI in Stamford, CT, it is imperative that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Your driving privileges, your freedom, and your reputation could all be on the line. You are entitled to strong legal representation.

Do Not Try to Talk Your Way Out of a DUI

At a traffic stop, you should always remain polite and you should cooperate with the reasonable requests of the responding law enforcement officers. That being said, defendants have a legal right to remain silent. You are not required to answer any invasive questions. If you are suspected of a DUI, you should use this right. One of the biggest mistakes you can make at a drunk driving stop is trying to talk your way out of an arrest. You are far more likely to talk your way into an arrest or to inadvertently provide statements that will be used in a future prosecution.

Know the Rules on Field Sobriety Testing

As explained by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the state has an implied consent law on the books. Drivers in Connecticut have pre-consented to chemical alcohol tests — such as blood tests and breath tests. The failure to submit to one types of chemical tests could result in a DUI refusal charge. However, drivers have not consented to perform other, less reliable field sobriety types of tests. You are not legally required to do the walk-and-turn, one-leg-stand, or to recite the alphabet backwards.

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CT defense lawyerViolence is never the answer, but everyone makes mistakes, and everyone needs to defend themselves. If you have been involved in an incident where you used force, or threatened to use force, to cause bodily injury to another person, you can be charged with a crime of violence in Connecticut. Regardless of which specific crime you are charged with, it can derail your life plans significantly if you are convicted, so if there are mitigating circumstances, or if you simply want to ensure that your side of the story is told, it is a good idea to consult a Stamford violent crimes attorney to discuss your case.

Hard to Navigate the System

The National Registry of Exonerations lists almost 2,400 exonerations of wrongly convicted men and women that have occurred since 1989, with Connecticut having granted 25 in that time. While law enforcement tries to do its job well in order to ensure our streets are safe, it is true that sometimes, personnel will cut corners - perhaps pushing witnesses to exaggerate; perhaps inappropriate or illegal searches, or other actions. They will try to search for confessions and easy convictions that simply may not be there for the taking. It is not unheard of for law enforcement to allow violations of defendants’ constitutional rights in the hope that they will implicate themselves.

None of this is fair, and without an attorney, the chances are higher that you may be wrongfully convicted of a crime you did not commit, or receive a harsher sentence than might be warranted under state or federal laws. Even if you did harm or kill someone, you are still entitled to a fair trial and to a competent defense, and in some situations, you are less likely to get one without an experienced attorney on your side.

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CT defense lawyerDomestic violence charges are always serious, no matter how they originate, and very often, making them stick can be critical for your safety. However, if you are unjustly accused, this same seriousness means that the accusation will follow you, even if it is disproven later on. Either way, it is imperative to enlist a dedicated Fairfield County domestic violence lawyer to ensure that your interests are represented.

Penalties Are Harsh

Connecticut defines domestic violence (DV) or family violence as an “incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury, or assault,” or an “act of threatened violence” that would encompass any of these categories. It is important, however, to keep in mind that state law explicitly does not include verbal abuse unless it encompasses “present danger” or likelihood that physical violence will occur, which is markedly different than DV laws in other states. The law also clearly states who is meant to be covered by these laws - not only spouses, but former spouses, parents, other blood relatives or those related by marriage who live in the same household, people in a dating relationship, or people who have a child together (regardless of whether or not they live in the same house).

Connecticut does not charge people with family violence, per se; rather, they will charge the person with the underlying offense, such as rape, stalking, or assault with a deadly weapon. Then, if the person is convicted, a notation is entered before sentencing that the crime involved family violence. This can affect sentence length, parole recommendations, and several other factors. While this means that no one in Connecticut is convicted ‘of domestic violence’ per se, it does not mean that the notation is not visible to those who might investigate or do background checks later in life.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

CT defense lawyerTo be convicted of illegal drug possession, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • You possessed the drugs;
  • What you possessed is actually an illegal drug; and
  • You were aware of the possession.

There are two ways you can get in trouble for illegal drug possession in Connecticut. The first is if you actually possess the drugs, and the other is if you constructively possess the drugs.

What Is Actual Drug Possession?

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