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Fairfield County criminal defense lawyerWhen it comes to your driving record, your wallet, and your safety, certain traffic violations can either mean minor inconveniences or major consequences for you as a driver. By avoiding the following driving behaviors, you can help keep the roads safer, keep your driving record clear, and hang on to that extra cash in your pocket.

Driving With a Suspended License or No License at All

If you are 18 years old or older and you receive two or more tickets for driving without a valid driver’s license, the next repercussion you will face is a mandatory driving privilege suspension that lasts for a period of 90 days. You are required to serve the full term of the suspension before you are eligible for license restoration. The same standards apply if you are found to be driving with a suspended license; you are not permitted to drive a motor vehicle until your privileges are restored and any applicable fees have been paid.

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Fairfield County criminal defense attorneyWith or without any direct evidence of a person's BAC (blood alcohol concentration), Connecticut police have the right to prosecute when a driver is found to be impaired by drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle. The state of Connecticut considers this a criminal offense and takes the prosecution of such offenses very seriously, beginning with the automatic suspension of one’s driver’s license. 

The moment you are arrested for OUI, you are escorted to the police station and your vehicle must be towed at your expense. There are two ways you can lose your license following an OUI arrest in the state of Connecticut: by failing or refusing a chemical alcohol test or through court conviction.

What Happens to My Driving Privileges Under Connecticut Law?

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Stamford criminal defense attorneyReputations can be completely devastated simply by the mere mention of a sexual offense charge. When a child is included, lives and families can be ripped apart just by a simple accusation. When someone is convicted of such a crime, the impact has the potential to wreak so much havoc that the person convicted is unable to recover. It is imperative to find the best possible defense for yourself as doing so can be life altering. What are the potential defenses for a charge of online solicitation of a minor?

What the Charge Entails

It is important to understand that anything involving a crime facilitated by a computer or other device is governed by laws that are ever-changing. The rate at which technology is advancing presents a legal struggle for the law to address this fairly new realm of crime. In Connecticut, solicitation is known as “enticement”. Connecticut General Statutes provide that “a person is guilty of enticing a minor when such person uses an interactive computer service to knowingly persuade, induce, entice or coerce any person under sixteen years of age to engage in prostitution or sexual activity for which the actor may be charged with a criminal offense.”

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Fairfield County juvenile defense attorneyIt is very common for parents of children facing a juvenile offense to feel overwhelmed following the initial accusation. Is your child really guilty? How could they have committed such a crime? Who will be responsible financially, and how long or how severe will the punishment be? Juvenile crime cases can affect a child’s future in countless ways, especially when they occur during or around graduation time, during college, or before a big life transition. Jobs, career paths, and even college plans can all be impacted as a result of a juvenile offense.

Common Juvenile Criminal Offenses

The state of Connecticut sees young offenders get involved with everything from drug, theft, and assault crimes to more serious and dangerous crimes, such as murder and sex crimes. Some common juvenile criminal offenses that require proper legal representation include:

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Fairfield County criminal defense lawyerOften when we think of traffic violations, we think of hefty fines, arrests, and various crash statistics. While it is true that all these things typically accompany traffic violations, another area that is impacted by these incidents is the driver’s record. No matter how minor or major your violation might seem, the repercussions do not always end with a simple ticket and a fine.

Depending on the circumstances that surround your violation, you might face a serious hit to your driving record--consequences that can follow you long-term and affect everything from your car insurance rates to your privileges on the open road.

Point Assessments and Your Driving Record

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Stamford criminal defense attorneyInternet-based business fraud and theft in the state of Connecticut is a multi-faceted crime that has far-reaching consequences for everyone involved. Computer and internet crimes can include everything from identity, credit card, check, and wire fraud to healthcare theft and Medicare scams. Crime rates for these types of offenses continue to grow as our technological abilities continue to advance. Offenders are continually developing new, creative strategies and evolving in their schemes to reflect the current trends and stay one step ahead of authorities.

Types of Internet Fraud

Internet fraud varies and covers a wide range of areas, including but no limited to:

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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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Connecticut juvenile defense attorneyIf you have been charged in connection with a crime or criminally sentenced, it can have far-reaching effects for the rest of your life. It may be more difficult to find work, or to participate in particular activities (going to certain areas, seeing certain people). If you are convicted of a felony, you may even be stripped of basic civil rights—convicted felons are barred from voting in 12 states. In Connecticut, a convicted felon who has been committed to the state correctional system and is residing in the correctional institution facility or community residence, he or she cannot vote. This person may be able to restore his or her voting rights, but whether he or she is able to do so is determinate upon the conviction and the specifics of the case surrounding it. Despite these long-lasting effects that can wreak havoc on a person’s life, if you are convicted of a crime as a juvenile, it can be even more devastating.

Risks for Young Offenders

A juvenile sentenced to a correctional institution will not be able to grow or participate in society traditionally. This loss of community and normal interaction during formative years can have emotional and social effects that outweigh even the institutional barriers posed by such convictions. The severity of the alleged crime matters especially in the case of juvenile offenders. The worse the crime, the more likely it is that the alleged offender will be tried as an adult and thus face longer sentences, higher fines, and/or time in a facility not specifically designed for juvenile offenders. 

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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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OUI, DUI, Connecticut DUI defense lawyerChances are you have heard about the alarming OUI (operating under the influence) statistics across the state and the nation, and you might even know someone personally who has been involved with a DUI crime at one point or another. The statistics and the stories you hear at work, in your neighborhood, and around your community are plentiful for a reason: driving under the influence is, sadly, a common crime. The fact that it is so common does not make it acceptable, though; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious criminal offense and is treated as such by Connecticut State law.

How the Offense Is Determined

The state of Connecticut considers driving to be a privilege that one must earn and keep. The state’s Implied Consent Law says that any driver who operates a vehicle is considered to automatically give their consent for alcohol testing the moment they get behind the wheel. In short, if you drive, you are technically--by law--agreeing to be tested for alcohol consumption, should you be pulled over. The state retains its right to prosecute with or without direct evidence of your BAC level. This prosecution is determined by your ability to drive. If you are found to be impaired and your driving ability is affected, the state has the right to prosecute.

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Posted on in Drug Charges

drug crimes, school zone, Connecticut drug crimes defense lawyerLike any drug charge, at either the federal or state level, facing a drug charge in Connecticut can be devastating and have long-term effects that extend into multiple areas of a person’s life for years to come. Until very recently, however, the state had some of the most draconian drug laws in the country, eased only last year. The recently relaxed laws pertain to small possession charges of marijuana, and equalize punishment and criminal severity of cocaine and crack cocaine—for decades, crack cocaine was a much more severe charge resulting in higher fines and longer jail time. The bill included the stipulation that all felony drug possession charges would be reduced to Class A misdemeanors. It also expanded parole laws, allowing for a prisoner to be considered for release on parole after an evaluation but before having a proper hearing, providing that he or she was not convicted of a violent crime and is not familiar with the victim of the crime (ie: a person convicted of domestic violence or spousal battery would not be eligible for early release without a proper hearing).

Drug-Free School Zones

Another bombshell provision in the drug laws provided by this bill—“An Act Concerning a Second Chance Society”—reduced the scope of the crime regarding drug possession within 1,500 feet of a school or day care center to the possession of drugs on the grounds, instead. The law also reduced the penalty of possession near a school or day care to a Class E felony. Drug-free zone laws were first introduced in 1970, a full decade-plus before President Reagan officially used the term “War on Drugs,” though this law is certainly considered a major cornerstone of those concerted efforts. The idea was to protect children, or to shield them, from increased drug activity in these so-called drug-free zones, and included not only schools but also public parks. Anyone caught dealing or using drugs in such a zone faced significantly more severe punishments, both monetarily and regarding prison time.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_financial-fraud-affinity-scam-white-collar-crime.jpgThere are many types of money fraud that affect a wide variety of professions, places of work, and institutions. After the financial downturn of 2008 and front-page scandals involving prominent bankers engaged in fraudulent activity—particularly Bernie Madoff, who orchestrated a $65 billion Ponzi scheme that has since been categorized as the largest Ponzi scheme in American history—one may think that the rate of financial fraud would be decreasing. On the contrary, incidents of financial fraud continue to plague the U.S. business system, in some areas at an even higher rate than before the financial downturn and epic scams like Madoff. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission reports that there was a 62 percent increase in financial fraud claims between 2011 and 2012, with just over 1.5 million people filing such claims. Not all of these are so-called “affinity” scams, such as Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Some are much more personal, involving incidents such as one in which a person willingly hands over a personal check to a fraudulent cause.

Understanding Affinity Fraud

An affinity fraud is an investment scam that targets members of one specific subset of the population. Quite often, victims of such fraud are those involved in a religious group, for example, or an elderly community. In the most severe instances of affinity fraud, the perpetrator may actually pretend to be a part of this group. These types of scams can be particularly devastating because they erode trust and human relationships as well as bank accounts. Punishment for this type of fraud can be equally as devastating. In instances in which a person impersonated another, or alleged to have qualifications he or she in fact did not, may carry additional charges of fraud unrelated to money.

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juvenile crime, Stamford criminal defense attorneyAlthough the number of youths charged with crimes has been on the decline, statistics show that the juvenile justice system still processed more than one million teens and children for crimes in 2014. Their charges, which range from simple drug violations and vandalism to murder, often carry hefty penalties, particularly in more conservative, heavy-handed states. When paired with poor rehabilitation programs, the probability of recidivism increases exponentially. All of this makes one thing very clear: something must change if we hope to save our youth.

How America’s Juvenile Justice System Is Failing Its Youth

Experts have long argued that youths in the juvenile justice system are treated unfairly, especially when their lack of maturity is taken into account. Some states – Connecticut, for example – have responded accordingly and managed to improve conditions and shift the focus to rehabilitation rather than punishment. But others fail miserably and, despite research and scientific studies, fail to recognize that young people are less likely to be able to self-regulate and make sound decisions.

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forgery, counterfeiting, Fairfield County criminal defense attorneyThe crime of forgery may refer to large operations in which a person purposefully lies about the origin of a high-end luxury good in order to sell it at supposed market value. It may, in this case, bring to mind images of people hawking forged goods on the street corner or in discount stores. However, it may also refer to any instance in which a person signs another person’s name, such as for a package delivery, or accepting someone else’s mail.

Yet it is not just the act of selling a forged product or pretending to be someone else in order to sign for him that is considered under law to be an act of forgery—any step in the counterfeiting process is subject to criminal punishment. This includes the manufacture of any analog or digital images, impressions of tools, or possessing such tools for counterfeiting purposes, no matter where in the world a person is at the time of the crime. That is, it is technically against the law for any person outside of the United States to manufacture, deal, or possess any counterfeit security of the United States—however ambitious this is to enforce on the ground.

Forged Certificates and Written Instruments

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property crime, Stamford criminal defense attorneyViolent crime has seen a marked decrease in the past decades, leading many U.S. citizens to feel more secure than ever before. Just as violent crimes—such as rape, murder, and assault—have decreased in recent years, the rate of property crime has as well. Despite a national economic climate that some would say leads to a higher rate of non-violent property crime, over the five-year period between 2006 and 2010, there was more than a 12 percent drop in property crime. The 2010 rate of property crime (how many incidents per number of 100,000 residents) was about 2,9400—a marked decrease from 3,660 in 2001 and 3,350 in 2006.

There are several types of property theft as defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. These include (but are not limited to): burglary, larceny, theft, and motor vehicle theft. Burglary is the forcible breaking and entering to an unauthorized location, and usually involves charges of theft as well. Motor vehicle theft is the stealing of a car or other type of motor vehicle. Larceny is the unlawful taking of property—other than a motor vehicle—without force. That is, pickpocketing or shoplifting would be considered larceny. A charge may be increased to grand larceny depending on the value of the stolen items.

Beginning in the 1990s and continuing today, increased incarceration rates seemingly have deterred many from committing non-violent property crimes. Other reports attribute the decline in this type of crime to more effective law enforcement. And yet many statisticians say that, while these types of crime have continued to decrease while incarceration rates increase, the correlation is not so simple. The aging population may influence this as well, as may the fact that the number of police on the street continues to grow. Some reports note that the increased incarceration rates only accounted for 6 percent of the property crime decline in the 1990s, and only 1 percent in the 2000s. There is also the issue that some statisticians are drawing conclusions by making a comparison between two disparate cities or communities, leading to a simplistic or incomplete analysis.

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false rape allegations, Stamford criminal defense attorneyIf you are accused of rape or forcible sexual assault, it is an allegation that has the potential to stay with you forever, even if you are acquitted of the actual crime. This is especially true for young people in universities, because of the sensitive nature of alleged sexual assault in public or private institutions.

Growing Concerns

Due to several recent highly-publicized crimes in which university officials did not necessarily respond to allegations of rape with the fullest severity required by law, some colleges have attempted to go the other way, meaning that allegations of rape are treated more seriously than ever before. This is good for legitimate victims, but it can also mean that false accusations are not investigated to the fullest and dismissed as such. Often, the accused is not given a fair chance in court or campus society. While it may be particularly difficult to disprove allegations of rape on campus, this is an issue that affects all accusations of sexual assault.

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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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threats, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyWith more than 160 school shootings since 2013 – 52 of which occurred in 2015 alone – lawmakers are looking for a way to deter further violent acts and threats. This is the goal behind their latest proposed bill. If passed, it would increase penalties for those found guilty of even simply making a threat against any school, including preschools, primary schools, high schools, and higher education schools.

Recent “Wave” of Threats Prompted New Bill

According to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Stamford Democratic Representative William Tong, several bomb threats have recently been made against schools throughout the state of Connecticut. All prompted complete evacuations, causing needless panic among students, staff, and police. Senator Tony Hwang of Fairfield, also in support of the bill, says the threats have gone above and beyond simple childhood pranks.

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money laundering, Stamford Criminal Defense AttorneyThe idea of money laundering can seem like a very complex crime left mostly to the mafia or executives of high-powered companies. It does not seem like a crime that would be one commonly perpetrated by everyday people or workers. In fact, money laundering encompasses several different types of financial crimes, which are often committed by everyday citizens. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for investigating allegations of money laundering, though cases are prosecuted in the judicial district in which the defendant was accused of the crime.

Hidden Revenue Streams

The obvious type of money laundering is when large organizations, usually criminal in nature, hide profits from unsavory businesses, such as the drug trade, prostitution, or the black market for stolen goods. This money is often hidden in offshore accounts or in assets such as expensive cars and property.

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vehicular manslaughter, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyDetermining the most common causes of death in the world is a challenge, one that varies wildly depending on the reporting agency, year, and country. Yet vehicular manslaughter is one that consistently makes the lists year after year, even as other major health crises are addressed and subverted.

Vehicular manslaughter is defined as the unintentional murder of someone while behind the wheel of a car, usually caused by reckless driving or gross negligence. Driving over the speed limit may be considered gross negligence, and thus the vehicular manslaughter charge could be treated as a misdemeanor. Conversely, if the person behind the wheel was drunk at the time of accident in which someone was killed, the charge will likely be a felony because the circumstance in which the person was driving was illegal from the beginning.

In Connecticut, a vehicular manslaughter conviction automatically carries a one-year license suspension and a two-year period in which the person must use an ignition interlock device in his or her car. A large percentage of vehicular manslaughter cases are the result of drunk driving. In Connecticut, this is considered second degree manslaughter, and carries the punishment of a Class C felony, punishable by one to ten years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 191 second degree manslaughter convictions of this nature in the state.

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