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Recent Blog Posts

Update: When Can Traffic Violations Lead to a License Suspension in Connecticut?

 Posted on January 12,2023 in Traffic Violations

Originally published: July 28, 2021 -- Updated: January 12, 2023

Update: It is almost inevitable that a driver will be stopped by a police officer at some point in their driving lifetime for some type of traffic infraction. Unfortunately, if a driver has a history of receiving traffic violations, they may begin to accumulate points on their driving record and these points can eventually lead to the suspension of driving privileges, as explained below.

There have been changes to two of the items listed below – failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians and seat belt use – that recently went into effect in Connecticut that every driver should be aware of.

New Pedestrian Safety Law

Under the new law, Public Act No. 21-28, pedestrians are now able to just step on the curb of a crosswalk and give drivers a hand signal to let them know they want to cross the street. Drivers are now required to yield the right of way to a pedestrian who is in any portion of a crosswalk – including just having an object the pedestrian is using (i.e., cane, wheelchair, leashed dog) enter the crosswalk. Prior to this change, a driver was required to stop if the pedestrian was physically in the crosswalk.

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Defending Against a BAC Result

 Posted on January 05,2023 in Driving Under the Influence

Stamford, CT DUI attorneyOne of the important aspects of a drunk driving charge is the results of a breathalyzer test. These breath testing devices are small, hand-held devices that law enforcement uses to measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the person taking the test. The BAC is the percentage of ethanol or ethyl alcohol in the person’s blood. For example, if a person has a BAC of 0.08 percent, that means that for every 800 parts of blood, there is one part of alcohol. Under Connecticut law, a person is considered legally intoxicated if their BAC measures 0.08 percent or above.

Although law enforcement deems these devices critical to their case against someone with a DUI charge, many people do not realize just how unreliable these tests actually are and how easy it is for test results to be thrown off if certain factors exist.

Types of Breath Tests

There are three major types of breath tests that a police officer may use during a DUI stop. All three measure the BAC present in the individual’s lungs; however, each device does it in a different manner:

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Facing Hate Crimes Charges in Connecticut

 Posted on December 31,2022 in Criminal Defense

Stamford, CT criminal defense lawyerAlong with several other laws that will go into effect January 1, 2023, is the requirement of the Hate Crimes Investigative Unit within the Connecticut State Police. The unit was established in October 2021; however, Public Act 22-9 codifies the requirement of the unit into law. The Hate Crimes Investigative Unit investigates crimes involving race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, and disability.

Hate Crimes in Connecticut

There is no doubt that incidents of hate crimes have increased in the United States and that rate continues to rise. According to FBI statistics, in 2020 (the most recent year of data released), there were more than 8,000 hate crime incidents committed against 11,000 individuals. This was an increase of just under 1,000 incidents from the year before.

Here in Connecticut, there were 102 hate crimes reported to law enforcement, according to the FBI’s data. The motivation behind the crimes was broken down to the following:

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How Do Connecticut Plea Bargains Work?

 Posted on December 27,2022 in Criminal Defense

Stamford, CT criminal defense attorneyMany people are under the impression – largely due to television shows and movies – that when a person is charged with a crime, the resolution of the case involves a trial and jury verdict. The reality, however, is that the majority of criminal cases in the United States do not end in trial. According to national statistics, less than 5 percent of criminal cases actually make it to trial. The majority of case resolutions involve plea bargains.

What Is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the crime they are charged with in exchange for lesser charges and/or a shorter sentence. The two sides negotiate to come to this agreement.

Why Do People Enter into Pleas Bargains?

There are a number of reasons why plea bargains occur. Oftentimes, both sides are aware of the strengths and weaknesses in the cases and the defense attorney realizes that given the evidence, a plea bargain is in the defendant’s best interest.

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My Condo Association Is Threatening Foreclosure. Is This Legal in Connecticut?

 Posted on December 15,2022 in Real Estate Law

Stamford, CT real estate attorneyWhen a person purchases a condominium or townhouse, there is usually an association that is responsible for the maintenance of the common areas of the condo or townhouse development. Along with the condo owner’s personal financial obligations for the unit, there are also financial obligations for the expenses that come with the upkeep and maintenance of these common areas. All owners are responsible for contributing condo fees that go towards paying these expenses.

Each association also creates its own bylaws – rules and regulations about what is required, what is allowed, and what is not allowed. These rules apply to all condo owners. Included in the bylaws is how much fines will be for any violations of these rules.

If a condo owner fails to pay their fees, fines, or any assessments, can the association take steps to have the owner evicted from the property? The answer to that question in Connecticut is yes.

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Connecticut Prepares to Clear Thousands of Low-Level Cannabis Convictions 

 Posted on December 08,2022 in Criminal Defense

Stamford, CT criminal defense lawyerIn less than four weeks, approximately 44,000 people convicted in Connecticut of cannabis possession will have their criminal records either fully or partially cleared automatically, according to an announcement by Governor Ned Lamont. This new state policy is part of the 2021 law the state passed that regulated the adult use of cannabis. In his announcement, the governor stressed that this new policy is being implemented to ensure that these low-level cannabis convictions will no longer hamper a person’s ability to find employment, pursue an education, and find housing.  

Automatic Erasure

On January 1, 2023, anyone who was convicted for possession of under four ounces of cannabis between January 1, 2000, and September 30, 2015, will automatically have those convictions erased from their records.

If a person was convicted for possession of under four ounces of cannabis prior to January 1, 2000, or between October 1, 2015, and June 30, 2021, they will need to file a petition with the court in order to have the conviction erased.

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Is Relief for Homebuyers On the Horizon?

 Posted on November 29,2022 in Real Estate Law

Stamford, CT real estate lawyerJust a few months ago, many pundits in the real estate industry forecasted that the real estate market showed no signs of slowing down. While the past few years have been extremely beneficial for sellers, it has been particularly difficult for homebuyers. In many cases, a home would be under contract within days of it going on the market, often after an intense bidding war and a final sale price far exceeding the original asking price.

But new reports seem to indicate that homebuyers may finally be seeing a slight light at the end of the tunnel. Results recently released by the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancies and Homeownership survey reveal that the number of vacant homes is increasing, especially here in Connecticut.

Vacant Houses

When a house on the market has been sitting vacant for a few months, that is a good sign for a potential homebuyer that the seller may be open to negotiation. The current real estate boom that started around the time of the COVID pandemic has left little opportunity for any type of bargaining with sellers. The national homeowner vacancy rate was at .08 percent for the first half of the year. This is the lowest that rate has been in the 66 years the Census Bureau began collecting this information.

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What Is Swatting and What Are the Consequences in Connecticut?

 Posted on November 21,2022 in Criminal Defense

 Stamford, CT juvenile criminal defense lawyerAlong with the ever-increasing incidents of school shootings in this country, there is also the alarming increase in the number of swatting incidents that occur. Swatting is the term used to describe incidents where someone makes a false report to emergency services in an effort to send a large number of law enforcement to a certain location.

Almost every week since the beginning of the school year, law enforcement has rushed to at least one school somewhere in the U.S. because of false reports of an armed person on school grounds or other threats of violence. Federal law enforcement is actively working to determine if these incidents are being coordinated by the same party or parties or all separate incidents.

Swatting in Connecticut

According to the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), there have been dozens of swatting incidents in more than 30 states since the school year began. Several of these incidents have taken place right here in Connecticut. On Friday, October 21, there were false reports sent to authorities for multiple school locations.

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What to Do at a DUI Checkpoint in Connecticut

 Posted on November 14,2022 in Driving Under the Influence

Stamford, CT DUI defense lawyerNovember’s arrival means that the winter holidays are just around the corner. Holidays usually mean get-togethers with family and friends, holiday parties, and socializing. It also means that police departments across the state will be out in full force, cracking down on drunk drivers.

One tool available to law enforcement is the sobriety checkpoint. This is where police put up a barricade in the road so that drivers will have to stop and engage with officers for a few minutes. If an officer suspects a driver has been drinking, he or she can request the driver submit to a breathalyzer test, field sobriety tests, or other testing to determine if their blood alcohol concentration is over 0.08 percent, the legal limit in Connecticut.

Are Sobriety Checkpoints Legal?

Some drivers question whether or not police have the legal right to conduct sobriety checkpoints. This question was answered in 1990 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Michigan v. Sitz where the court ruled that sobriety checkpoints did not violate the Fourth Amendment against illegal search and seizures. In 1996, the Connecticut Appellate Court ruled these checkpoints are permissible under the law.

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Connecticut’s Point System and How It Can Result in Loss of License

 Posted on November 07,2022 in Traffic Violations

Stamford, CT moving violation lawyerWhile most people associate a suspended or revoked driver’s license with a drunk driving conviction, there are many reasons why the state of Connecticut could take away your driving privileges. While a DUI is the most common reason for loss of license, you can also have your license suspended or revoked for not paying court fines or not paying child support. You can also lose your license if you accumulate too many points on your driving record. Any moving violation that you are convicted of will add points to your driving record. This is why you should always contact a Stamford traffic attorney when you receive a traffic citation.

Connecticut Points System

Connecticut has put in place a points system that applies to all drivers. There are a certain number of points assigned to different driving violations. Typically, the more serious the violation, the higher the number of points the violation carries. 

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