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Common traffic violations, traffic offenses, Connecticut traffic violations attorneyAlthough every driver is responsible for following traffic laws, it is easy to make a careless mistake and wind up with a ticket. Being inattentive for even a second can cause a person to speed or miss a stop sign.

In most cases, facing a traffic violation is not the end of the world. However, they can come with steep fines, and in some cases, a driver may even lose his or her license. In the most serious cases, offenders may also face jail time. This is why it is so important for drivers to take proactive steps to avoid the most common traffic violations.

Here is a breakdown of the three of most common traffic violations in Connecticut:

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traffic violations, traffic stop, Connecticut Criminal Defense AttorneyTraffic violations can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. Additionally, they are more common than most people may realize. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, traffic stops represent the most common type of interaction between civilians and law enforcement.

Conviction of or pleading guilty to a traffic violation, may result in a financial penalty, license suspension, or even jail time depending on the nature of the offense. Fortunately, a criminal attorney with experience litigating traffic violation cases may be able to get the charges significantly reduced or altogether dropped.

What to Do When Police Pull You Over

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drug crime, criminal justice reform, Stamford Defense AttorneyGovernor Daniel Malloy recently announced his plans to introduce serious changes to the criminal justice system. According to The Register Citizen, Governor Malloy believes Connecticut—and the rest of the United States—has created a justice system that persecutes many unfairly and fails to offer a second chance to those who deserve one.

The proposed measures would involve changes in several key areas including drug crimes. While many are hopeful that the reform will lead to a more effective justice system, criminal offenses are—and will always be—serious matters.

Governor Announces New Goals at College Speech

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sex crimes, teachers, Connecticut Defense LawyerLately, there have been numerous news reports of Connecticut teachers being arrested for sex crimes related to inappropriate contact with students. Such arrests can result in felony charges and prison sentences, in addition to having a serious impact on the lives of all those involved.

A high school teacher, who has since resigned, was recently sentenced to two years in prison for having a sexual relationship with one of his students was recently sentenced to two years in prison. He had been charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault, a felony.  Although the student was over 16 years old, which is the age of consent, Connecticut law considers such actions to be second-degree sexual assault if the perpetrator is a teacher and the victim is a student at the school.

In most cases of inappropriate sexual contact between a teacher and student, the charge is second-degree sexual assault. Other possible charges include risk of injury or impairing the morals of a child, which are also considered felonies.

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Campus Rape, Affirmative Consent, Connecticut Defense AttorneySexual assault on college campuses occurs with alarming frequency. Among the most critical issues of fact in sexual assault cases is whether the alleged victim consented to the sexual activity. A proposed law would change the legal definition of consent in these cases.

Currently, Connecticut law provides that sexual assault in the first degree occurs when a person compels another to engage in sexual intercourse by the use of force, or the threat of use of force, against that person or a third person. As with any criminal charge, sexual assault must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for the accused to be found guilty.

Under the proposed law, the consent standard in sexual assault cases that occur on college campuses in Connecticut would become “affirmative consent.” The proposal is modeled after a recently-enacted California law, and provides that affirmative consent means “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” Failure to protest or resist, and remaining silent, would not constitute affirmative consent.

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violation of restraining order, Stamford criminal defense law firmIf you have been arrested on domestic violence charges, chances are good that you have also had a protective or restraining order issued against you. The courts—and Connecticut lawmakers—take domestic violence charges, protective orders, and restraining orders very seriously, and so should you.

Protective Orders

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch information on domestic violence, a protective order is an order issued in a criminal case and is issued against a defendant after an arrest for family violence. A criminal protective order remains in effect until the underlying criminal case is completed.

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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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Posted on in Sex Crimes

online solicitation in Connecticut, Stamford sex crimes lawyerIf you have ever seen some of the popular crime shows on television today, there are many shows revolving around the theme of internet predators. In fact, with the popularity of social media, the problem is ever growing as younger adults frequently use the Internet and social media in their everyday lives, raising concerns about the potential for predator crimes.

In the state of Connecticut, online solicitation of a minor is defined as using a computer service that is interactive to coerce a person less than 16 years of age. If you know that the person you are talking to is under 16, and you attempt to entice them into prostitution or sexual acts, you can be charged with a criminal offense.

Solicitation of a minor is a class D felony in the state of Connecticut for the first offense. The second is a class C felony, and the third offense is a class B felony. There significant other a special exception that says if the person is less than 13 years of age, you will be charged with a class B felony that is punishable by no less than a 5 year term of imprisonment for the first offense. Any subsequent offense will be 10 years. These sentences cannot be suspended or reduced by the court.

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juveniles handcuffed in court, Stamford criminal defense lawyerFor juveniles who have been arrested on criminal charges, facing a judge can be an intimidating experience. Appearing before a judge while the juvenile is wearing shackles is considered by some to be too traumatizing for many juveniles and sends them the wrong message.

Two Connecticut lawmakers have introduced bills that would limit the circumstances under which juveniles would be kept in shackles in the courtroom. The legislation would create a presumption that shackles will not be used in the courtroom unless ordered by the court. Existing policy states that juveniles are to be shackled while being transferred from a detention center to the courthouse, but a determination is then made as to whether the shackles stay on in the courtroom based on how the juvenile behaved in detention.

However, there is some disagreement as to whether the policy is followed consistently in all cases. It is reported that in some cases, shackles are not removed from the juvenile unless requested by the juvenile’s attorney. This is an instance where it pays to have an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney at your side.

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assault convictions in Connecticut, Stamford criminal lawyerIf you have been charged with the crime of assault in Connecticut, the type of charge will determine the potential penalties you will face. Connecticut law delineates three distinct levels of assault, each of which carries separate penalties.

First degree assault is the most severe level you can be charged with. Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony in Connecticut, carrying penalties of up to 20 years in prison—with a mandatory prison of at least five years—and up to $15,000 in fines if convicted. First degree assault is defined as:

  • Causing serious physical injury with a deadly weapon or other dangerous item, with the intent to cause serious injury.
  • Causing serious permanent disfigurement or destroying or amputating a body part, with the intent to do so.
  • Causing serious physical injury by recklessly engaging in conduct that demonstrates extreme indifference to human life.
  • Causing serious physical injury with two or more other people, with intent to do so.
  • Causing physical injury with a firearm, with intent to do so.

Second degree assault is a Class D felony, with a prison sentence of one to five years and up to $5,000 in fines. If a firearm is used or the person threatens to use a firearm, a sentence of at least one year in prison is required. Second degree assault is defined as:

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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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Connecticut juvenile offenders, criminal defense lawyer in StamfordAccording to a national report, Connecticut is among several states that are trendsetters in matters pertaining to juvenile justice. The report is based on changes to state law that have been enacted during the last decade. This is good news for juvenile offenders who face many risks entering the Connecticut juvenile justice system.

Connecticut, along with Illinois and Mississippi, have increased the age of jurisdiction of juvenile courts to treat older youths as juveniles rather than as adults for purposes of criminal prosecution. As of 2011, 17-year-olds are considered to be juveniles for purposes of criminal law. Before the change, 16- and 17-year-olds were considered to be adults.

Connecticut is also one of ten states that have amended their laws to make it more difficult to transfer juveniles from juvenile court to adult court. The other states are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Transferring youths to the adult court system is a way for states to treat young offenders as adults for purposes of criminal law.

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marijuana DUI, Connecticut drug crimes lawyerThe decriminalization of marijuana is a growing trend nationwide. In Washington and Colorado, marijuana has been legalized, while in almost half the states—including Connecticut—it may be used legally only for medical purposes. However, there may be a darker side to these trends: a recent study shows that the number of marijuana-related automobile fatalities has risen sharply in the last decade. The data suggest that drugged driving may be an increasingly common cause of car accidents.

According to a report by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the presence of non-alcohol drugs in the systems of drivers involved in fatal car crashes has been on the rise and has tripled in the last decade. Using data from the states that routinely test the blood of drivers involved in fatal car accidents, the study reported that in 1999, 4.2 percent of drivers who were killed in automobile crashes tested positive for marijuana; in 2010, that number increased to 12.2 percent. The major increase was shown across all ages and in both genders.

The study also showed that alcohol use was more prevalent than drug use in drivers involved in fatal crashes, but that percentage has stayed relatively stable. The presence of all non-alcohol drugs increased from 16.6 percent in 1999 to 28.3 percent in 2010. This increase may be attributable to the decriminalization of marijuana as well as the national opioid use epidemic. While all states have laws prohibiting impaired driving, the national trend toward permitting at least limited marijuana use may be a factor in the increased number of drugged-driving incidents.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

burden of proof, Casey Anthony, conviction reversed, criminal law case, Fairfield County criminal defense attorney, George Zimmerman, reasonable doubtIn a 2-1 vote, the Third District Court of Appeals recently overturned a guilty verdict in a sexual assault trial, because the judge gave the jury a definition of “reasonable doubt” during deliberations. In response to a question, the judge told the Tazewell County jury that the meaning of “reasonable doubt” was “for you to determine.” The appeals court ruled that this statement constituted a definition, which is prohibited under state law.

In his dissent, Justice Daniel Schmidt argued that the trial judge correctly applied the law, because the definition of “reasonable doubt” is indeed up to the jury’s discretion in a criminal law case.

The defendant had been sentenced to 11 years in prison, and although he remains in jail without bond, his sentence has been suspended pending retrial.

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texting while driving Connecticut, Stamford defense attorneyIt is well known that texting while driving can be as dangerous as drinking and driving, yet today it is a common traffic violation. A Virginia company is developing a new technology that would give the police a device to use to identify when a driver is texting behind the wheel.

In Connecticut, typing, reading, or sending texts while operating a vehicle is prohibited by law. This prohibition applies even if the vehicle is temporarily stopped at a stop sign or light or is stopped due to road conditions or traffic. The fines are $125 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $400 for a third or subsequent offense.

The device can detect the specific radio frequencies that are used when someone is using a cell phone to send text messages. It can distinguish between the frequencies used to send text messages, make phone calls, and transfer data. However, the developer of the technology would have to address certain issues such as determining who was doing the texting when more than one person is in a car.

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Aexpungement in Connecticut, criminal lawyer in Stamford criminal record can make it difficult to get a job or find a place to live. Not only that, a criminal record can make it almost impossible to become a lawyer, doctor, police officer, Sheriff's deputy, or any other position that requires a clean background. An experienced criminal defense attorney can show you how to expunge your criminal past. In many circumstances, the process is largely mechanical.

How Do I Get My Record Expunged?

Connecticut has some very generous erasure laws, as opposed to some other states. In New York, for example, a criminal record can be erased only in very limited circumstances, such as the discovery of exonerating DNA evidence. According to the statute in Connecticut, a person’s felony or misdemeanor record “shall be erased” in the following situations:

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drivers license suspension, Stamford criminal attorneyIn Connecticut, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver’s license for a number of offenses. These can include offenses that are not even related to the operation of a vehicle. Your problems can quickly be compounded if you drive your vehicle while your license is suspended, because you could face criminal misdemeanor charges.

A driver’s license may be suspended for offenses that include, but are not limited to:

  • DUI, including refusal to submit to a blood, breath or urine test;
  • Unpaid tickets;
  • Accumulation of DMV points;
  • Failing to maintain car insurance; and
  • Failing to make court-ordered child support payments by more than 90 days.

The length of time a license is suspended depends on the reason for the suspension, and can be anywhere from 30 days to a period of years. After the suspension period is over, you must reinstate your license before you can legally drive.

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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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lack of DUI evidence, Stamford CT criminal lawyerFacing DUI charges is an extremely frightening experience. Defendants may lose their license, pay steep fines, and even face prison sentences. In cases that involve a fatal car accident, the outcome can affect the rest of a person’s life.

In these instances, it is especially important to consult an experienced criminal attorney who understands how to use the law to a client’s favor. In many cases, charges can be reduced or even dropped. Although no lawyer can guarantee an outcome, professional legal guidance can help a person avoid costly mistakes that may reduce the likelihood of a positive case outcome.

When there is a lack of evidence in a case, or if law enforcement did not follow certain regulations, the prosecution may offer a plea deal. A recently settled case that took place in Stamford exemplifies this fact.

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