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Connecticut defense attorney, Connecticut criminal lawyerIn 2015, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a 7-0 ruling (that is, a unanimous decision) stating that individuals who were convicted before 2011 for possessing less than one-half ounce of marijuana could have their convictions erased. According to the Supreme Court, this is because Connecticut’s legislature approved a measure in 2011 that changed possession of a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor punishable by fines and/or jail time to a violation punishable only by a fine. This had the effect of “decriminalizing” – but not legalizing – possession of small amounts of marijuana. Because of this legislative move, the Connecticut Supreme Court concluded individuals convicted of this offense prior to its decriminalization were entitled to have their prior convictions erased from their criminal records.

This case (State v. Menditto) has implications not only for old possession cases but potentially for other individuals with prior convictions as well.

State v. Menditto – What Did the Court Decide?

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Connecticut defense lawyer, CT drug lawyerLaws surrounding various recreational drugs, such as marijuana, are in a fluid state of change. Changes occur so frequently that even those paying the closest attention may miss a minor alteration. Frequent modifications cause uncertainty among the general populous as to what the current regulations entail. Officers depend on this ambivalence while doing their searches, hoping the unsuspecting individual will offer further information to incriminate themselves of a drug crime. However, officers are also aware that improper protocol opens themselves up for failure in court.

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is enacted most frequently during questions over proper police procedure. In short, its creation protected the people against British King George’s overbearing and excessive invasion into their privacy and furthermore it protects the rights of citizens against unwarranted search, seizure, and even detainment. It helps to understand what the amendment says, which is:

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Connecticut juvenile lawyer, Connecticut defense attorneyWith an increasing amount of pressure on our teens, we see a rise in unusual behavior. Our children face uncertainty upon leaving high school, partly due to fluctuation in job markets as well as climbing education costs. The need for perfection in school and extracurriculars is high to obtain scholarships to pay for education. Not to mention the additional stress for social status and every mistake spread wildly across social media outlets. Many of these stressors may lead to a cry for help or an error to fit in, potentially resulting in criminal accusations, such as theft or other property crimes.

A Learning Curve

A juvenile is an individual under the legal adult age of 18. In Connecticut, anyone under the age of 18 has a proclivity to make mistakes, and many deserve punishment, although not as severe as the adult counterpart. Many consequences for those in this age bracket are designed to teach a lesson rather than remove rights. This theory applies to a certain extent encompassing mostly theft related crimes because in many other situations adult punishments are the only option.

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Stamford traffic violations attorneyNo one wants to get a speeding ticket. The fines, the hassle of often dealing with license points, and the time it takes in the actual moment of incident to deal with law enforcement officials are costly in more ways than one. Driving even five miles over the posted speed limit in any area can result in being pulled over and handed a ticket—but if you are driving far faster than the speed limit, or in a manner that law enforcement determines is dangerous for yourself and other motorists on the road, you may be slapped with a reckless driving charge.

Reckless driving in Connecticut is considered a serious driving offense. Other serious driving offenses include improperly changing lanes, texting while driving, or following too closely. If you receive two serious offenses within three years, your license will be suspended for 60 days. If you receive three serious offenses within the same time period, your license is subject for suspension for 120 days.

Subjective Criteria 

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ignition interlock, DUI, Connecticut DUI defense lawyerBeginning on July 1, 2015, a stricter ignition interlock requirement will be implemented for drivers convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). Under the new law, the Department of Motor Vehicles is authorized to require ignition interlock devices to be installed in the vehicles of first-time DUI offenders.

An ignition interlock device is a small device that measures blood alcohol which is wired into the ignition of a vehicle. The driver must blow into the device before the vehicle may be started, and the vehicle will not start if the driver has a measurable blood alcohol level. Ignition interlock devices are shown to decrease the number of repeat DUI offenses by as much as 67 percent.

The new law impacts penalties imposed for a DUI conviction or for administrative violations of Connecticut’s drunk driving laws. In addition to requiring interlock ignition devices for DUI first offenders, the new law also:

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distracted driving, teen crashes, Connecticut traffic violations lawyerIf you are a teen driver or the parent of a teen driver, you have likely heard many warnings about the dangers of distracted driving, including texting and using a cell phone. A recent study shows that distracted driving is responsible for more teen car crashes than previously thought.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently studied videos taken from vehicle event recorders of almost 1,700 crashes involving teen drivers. These videos showed that distracted driving was a factor in 58 percent of accidents. This is almost four times higher than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s previous estimate that 14 percent of accidents involving teen drivers were caused by distracted driving.

The following is a breakdown of the most frequent types of distractions and the percentage of accidents to which they were linked in the study:

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

heroin in the Stamford suburbs, Stamford criminal lawyerMany people think that drug crime is a problem only in big cities. However, lately the use of heroin and other drugs has been skyrocketing in the suburbs, including affluent communities. Increased drug use brings with it an increase in the number of arrests, hospital visits, and property crimes.

According to a recent article in the Connecticut Post, there has been a threefold increase in opiate addiction cases over the last decade at the Addiction Recovery Center at Greenwich Hospital. In addition, heroin deaths have been recorded by Greenwich Police every year since 2011.

Heroin-related arrests have increased as well. Greenwich Police made twelve heroin seizures in 2013, but the actual number is higher because the presence of heroin was not recorded in several other cases. Drug-related property crimes, including burglaries, items stolen from cars, and even street robberies, have been on the rise. Every year the Greenwich Police see from 80 to 100 residential burglary cases and 20 to 30 business burglary cases. It’s estimated that the vast majority of those cases—up to 95 percent of them—are related to drugs.

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intimidation laws in Connecticut, Stamford criminal law attorneyHate crimes are a sad reality for many Americans. Everyday, people face discrimination due to race, sexual orientation, religion, and a number of other factors. Conversely, some people face unfounded accusations of committing hate crimes, and in Connecticut, these crimes can have serious consequences.

Hate crime laws are in place to prevent prejudice and to punish those who unjustifiably discriminate against people. If you have been the victim of a hate crime, or if a person is accusing you of illegal discrimination, it is important to consult an attorney right away.

How the Law Defines Intimidation

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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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marijuana possession, smoking a joint, Stamford criminal lawyer, Connecticut drug possession lawWhether you already have a criminal record or whether 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. The only individuals approved for marijuana use in Connecticut are those who carry a medical marijuana certificate.

If you are arrested with less than 4 ounces of marijuana, you could be facing a fine of $1,000 and you could even 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 16 years old or younger will have their license suspended for at least 60 days, or in the case they don't yet have a license, receiving it can be delayed up to 150 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.

Some people are under the impression that a marijuana drug charge isn’t a big deal beyond the fine or handful of days in jail. Being convicted, however, can be problematic in the future if you apply for a job. Certain employers have a zero tolerance policy for hiring someone with drug charges in their past, and a simple review of your background check will reveal the truth. In addition, your insurance premiums for your car and homeowner’s policy can increase once the insurance company is aware of your conviction. There are far-reaching consequences to being charged with marijuana possession, and even one charge could have implications well into your future. If you have been charged with marijuana or paraphernalia possession, you should contact an experienced Connecticut drug possession attorney to manage your case. You need someone fighting for you and your future.

Posted on in Drug Charges

drug charges IMAGEA 29-year-old man was charged in late December for allegedly “operating a drug factory out of his Springdale apartment,” according to the Stamford Advocate. Ronald Taranto is facing multiple drug charges after police obtained a search warrant and searched his home, only to find cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and prescription drugs, the Advocate reports. “Taranto was charged with two counts of narcotics possession, possession with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, and operating a drug factory.”

Police were tipped off the Taranto’s activity by neighbors who complained about his behavior. Stamford Police kept an eye on the man’s apartment for several weeks before making the bust. He was charged with intent to sell because police were able to seize “28 bags of powdered cocaine… 16 folds of heroin and 11 film packets of the prescription drug Suboxone—a drug used to treat opioid dependence,” according to the Advocate.

According to Connecticut State Law, the sale of one or more ounces of heroin, methadone or cocaine is a felony and carries and minimum term of five to 20 years in prison. The sentence cannot be suspended unless “the person was under the age of 18” at the time of arrest or the person’s “mental capacity was significantly impaired but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution.”

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