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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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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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shoplifting, retail theft, Connecticut criminal defense lawyerSome people steal merchandise from a store because they are unable to afford the item they want or need. Others do so for the thrill, excitement, or adrenaline rush. And then there are those that shoplift for the sake of committing another crime, such as selling the goods in exchange for cash. Whatever the reason behind the act, shoplifting (otherwise known as larceny) is a crime with potentially far-reaching implications for those convicted.

Shoplifting Defined

Although shoplifting might seem like a pretty straightforward charge, it actually covers a large array of potential acts, including:

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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 teen drug use, Stamford juvenile crimes defense lawyerMultiple news headlines these days focus on teenage drug use. With drug reform taking place across the country, specifically the decriminalization of marijuana, growing trends among today’s youth concern many Americans.

Unlike other short-term trends, drug use can cause teens to face steep legal penalties that may affect the rest of their lives. Parents, teachers, and social workers are trying to find the best ways to identify and prevent drug use among teens.

Statistics reveal mixed results when it comes to answering the question about whether or not teens these days are experimenting with illegal drugs more often. The numbers for Connecticut reveal more concerning figures in regard to cigarettes and alcohol than they do for illegal substances, according to the Office of Adolescent Health. Although these controlled substances are more likely to get teens in trouble with their parents than with the law, it still is a cause for concern.

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drug conviction federal student aidIf you are a college student and have applied and received federal grants and loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program, being convicted of a drug-related felony or misdemeanor will leave you ineligible to receive future financial assistance for a certain period of time from the date of your conviction.

How long that ineligibility will last depends on the number of convictions you have and the type of offense you are convicted of. A first offense for possession of drugs will leave you ineligible for one year. If it is your have been convicted for selling illegal drugs and it is your first offense, you will not be able to apply for federal aid for two year.

A second possession conviction will leave you without FAFSA assistance for two years. If you have received two or more convictions of selling drugs, or if this is your third or more conviction for possession, the law says you will not be eligible for federal student aid unless your conviction is overturned or legally ruled to be invalid.

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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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