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Connecticut defense attorneyStamford, Connecticut is less than 40 miles from the New York metropolitan area. It is no secret that New York, like most all major metropolitan areas, is a major market when it comes to the distribution, possession, and consumption of drugs that are illegal under federal and state law. On the distribution side, whether on an organizational or individual level, demand, whether a factor of addiction or recreation or both, creates the market.

For example, cocaine has long been associated, rightly or wrongly, with the “work hard, play hard” characterization of Wall Street. MDMA (the active ingredient in “ecstasy”), on the other hand, has been associated more with young people, portrayed as pleasure-seeking at warehouse “raves.” The list goes on and on: marijuana, LSD, methamphetamine, and more. Whatever the drug, a possession, distribution, or consumption-related charge brought by a Connecticut criminal court is a very serious matter. In such times, a skilled Fairfield County criminal defense attorney will work to protect your legal rights.

A Connecticut Drug Crime Conviction Brings Serious Consequences

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Posted on in Drug Charges

Connecticut defense attorneyIn July, seventeen individuals were charged with federal drug trafficking of both powder and crack cocaine in central Connecticut. Although drug trafficking is also prohibited by state law, the defendants in this case face federal charges as a result of their use of the U.S. mail to transport the substances across state lines. In addition to drug trafficking, the individuals are charged with conspiracy to distribute, and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute. If convicted, the defendants could face a minimum of ten years in prison.

All drug charges should be taken seriously, but federal drug offenses are even more aggressively investigated and prosecuted than their state counterparts, so if you have been accused of federal drug trafficking, it is critical to speak with an experienced Norwalk drug charges attorney who will aggressively represent your interests.

What Qualifies as Drug Trafficking?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Decriminalization.jpgThe debate over the legalization of marijuana is heating up in Connecticut. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle argued at a legislative hearing that the legalization of recreational marijuana would effectively dismantle the illegal market for cannabis. Among other things argued, advocates of legalization laid out several benefits including:

  • Ending unnecessary arrests of people for possession of marijuana;
  • Bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state;
  • Creation of a new job market; and
  • Bolstering of tourism market.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana has already been decriminalized in Connecticut. Advocates of legalization say that not regulating marijuana is tantamount to subsidizing the illegal market that fosters violence and additional criminal behavior. David L. Nathan, a psychiatrist and faculty member at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said, “I’ve seen too many cases of lives ruined by marijuana not by the drug itself, but by a justice system that chooses a sledgehammer to kill a weed.”

If Legalizing Pot Has So Many Benefits, Why Are There Opponents?

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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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Fairfield County drug crimes attorneyWhen you are found to be in possession of marijuana or other drugs, whether you are in a public place or in the company of friends, you may face serious criminal charges from a number of different angles. The consequences can be even more grave when those charges involve distributing, selling to, or employing minors to sell such drugs.

Penalties for Possession

According to Connecticut law, marijuana charges (and other certain controlled substances) are penalized in the following ways:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_drug-cash-syringe-cocaine-crime.jpgIt is not uncommon for us to hear about the latest drug crime statistics and turn our ear in the other direction; the statistics can be alarming, not to mention discouraging. It is easy to become desensitized to the issue or to want to avoid it entirely.

The reality, however, is that drug crime trends shift and change with time all across the nation, including here in the state of Connecticut. Progress has been and continues to be made in the fight against illegal drug activity, and while it will never be eliminated completely, the efforts to combat it do make a difference on a broader spectrum.

Drug Trend Snapshot

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marijuana, decriminalization, Connecticut Criminal Defense LawyerAttitudes across the country are changing when it comes to marijuana and the punishment for marijuana possession, and Connecticut is no exception. According to Connecticut law, the state currently carries fines and criminal penalties for certain levels of possession. Possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana carries a $150 fine for the first offense. Penalties become increasingly harsh with frequency of offense: a second offense can carry up to a $500 penalty. Third-time offenders will have to attend drug education classes, which will be paid for by their own means. The more substance, the higher the penalty as well: if a person has more than a half-ounce but less than 4 ounces of cannabis he or she can face up to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison, or both. These penalties were enacted in 2011, making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil violation instead of a criminal offense, as it had been in previous years.

Even still, in light of legalization in Washington and Colorado and decriminalization of marijuana in many other states, these punishments can seem unduly tough. This is perhaps one reason attitudes in Connecticut are changing toward the necessity of strict penalties for marijuana possession and recreational use.

In recent months, the Connecticut state legislature seems ready to discuss further decriminalization and even possible legalization. Representative Edwin Vargas and Representative Juan Candelaria have both introduced house bills that would replace prohibition of marijuana with restrictive legalization for adult use. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, a recent study out of Quinnipiac University found that the majority of Connecticut voters support legalization of marijuana for adults: 52 percent of all voters supported such a measure, as did 80 percent of voters under the age of 30.

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narcan uses in Connecticut, Stamford drug crimes attorneyIt has become abundantly clear that the abuse of opioids has become an epidemic in Connecticut as well as the nation. While possession of opioids and other controlled substances carries criminal penalties, the use of opioids also subjects the user to the risk of overdose and even death.

Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin as well as a number of prescription medications such as codeine, oxycodone (prescribed as Oxycontin, Percodan, or Percocet) and hydrocodone (prescribed as Vocodin, Lortab, or Norco). An overdose of an illicit drug such as heroin occurs when a person deliberately misuses the drug. An overdose of a prescription medication occurs when a person takes a medication prescribed for someone else. Overdoses of both types occur when a person combines an opioid with alcohol or other medications that depress the user’s heart and breathing rates.

Naloxone—known as Narcan—reverses the effects of opioids and has proven to be a useful tool in reducing opioid overdose deaths. In 2012, a Connecticut law paved the way for prescribers to give Narcan prescriptions to anyone in close contact with an opioid addict. A new law has been enacted this year making Narcan more available for use helping those who overdose on opioids.

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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 charge sentence alternative, Stamford criminal lawyerIf a Connecticut defendant is a substance abuser, there are options available for seeking treatment in addition to or in lieu of being prosecuted and sentenced for a criminal offense. These options include the Drug Intervention Program and the treatment of drug or alcohol dependent offenders instead of prosecution.

The Drug Intervention Program is available to nonviolent, drug-dependent defendants in different types of cases in which substance abuse is a major issue. The goals of the program are to reduce criminal behavior and reduce substance abuse. The program uses treatment, including detoxification, inpatient or outpatient treatment; services such as vocational and educational training; supervision; regular drug testing; and court monitoring over the course of 12 to 15 months. Defendants are required to report to the court regularly and must receive orders, sanctions, and incentives ordered by the judge. Defendants can be referred to the program by the judge, defense counsel, state’s attorneys, or court officers. Successful completion of the program can result in a favorable outcome for the defendant.

Alternatively, if a defendant is dependent on drugs or alcohol the court may order treatment instead of prosecution or incarceration.  It is available for defendants charged with drug sale and possession crimes, but is not available for defendants charged with driving under the influence, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, or a felony. Defendants who have participated in this or a predecessor program twice already cannot participate unless permitted by the court.

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