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Posted on in Drug Charges

Connecticut defense attorneyIn Connecticut, marijuana possession is unlawful and can result in fines and even jail time. Fortunately, there are a variety of defenses that can be raised to counter these types of charges, so if you live in Norwalk and have been arrested for or formally charged with possession of marijuana or another drug, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can explain your legal options.

Possession of Less Than Half Ounce

The severity of a marijuana possession charge depends on how much of the drug was found on the defendant’s person and whether he or she has a prior criminal record. For instance, those who are arrested with less than half an ounce of marijuana will only be charged a $150 fine for a first offense, while the fine for a subsequent offense increases to between $200 and $500. Third-time violators must pay for, attend, and complete a drug education class. Those who are under the age of 21 years old will also have their driver’s license suspended for two months.

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Connecticut defense attorneyLast month, a recently enacted law went into effect that, with a few exceptions, will prevent judges from setting money bail for certain low-level misdemeanor offenses. The new law is expected to significantly reduce the state’s pretrial prison population and cut state spending, while keeping non-violent offenders out of jail until their trials. If you were recently charged with a crime or have questions about how the new law could affect you, you should contact a Fairfield criminal defense lawyer who can address your concerns and advise you on your next steps.

An Act Concerning Pretrial Justice Reform

Last month, Governor Malloy signed the first of a series of laws intended to reform the state’s pretrial justice system. The new law, which was supported by both chambers is based partly on input provided by the Connecticut Sentencing Commission and the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union. The law went into effect on July 1st and makes the following significant changes to state law:

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Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut DUI lawyerFor many families utilizing the school system whether it be at a college or a preschool level, each year is more prominently separated by the academic year and vacation times. While school is in session, there is a schedule to which to adhere, which demands most of the daylight hours during the shorter days. During the summer the days are much longer, and routine has a tendency of being pushed by the wayside. It is also interesting to note that crime levels rise during the months in which students are out of school. One crime that is no exception is driving under the influence (DUI).

The Spike Is Not a Myth

If you obtain your information from individuals on the street, you hear different answers for any topic asked. The same holds true for the spike in crime. According to the annual National Crime Victimization Survey, Criminal charges spike as much as 12 percent during the warmer summer months. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most unsafe month in which to drive on the road is August when it comes to traffic-related fatalities. Consider these statistics:

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Posted on in Driving Under the Influence

Norwalk DUI attorney, Connecticut DUI law, license suspension, DUI offense, DUI chargesThose who are convicted of driving under the influence in Connecticut face serious penalties, including jail time, hefty fines, and the suspension or revocation of their driver’s license.

Convictions can also go on a person’s criminal record, which can have far-reaching consequences, and make it difficult to secure employment or find housing.

To ensure that you receive the best possible defense, you should speak with an experienced Norwalk DUI attorney who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.

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Stamford criminal defense attorney, firearms law, Connecticut traffic laws, Connecticut DUI law, underage driversLate last year, the Connecticut Legislature passed a new bill that substantially changes the state’s previous treatment of carrying a firearm while intoxicated. To learn more about these changes, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can address your questions and concerns.

Current Law

Before the amendments were enacted, someone who was arrested with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .10 or higher and who was carrying a loaded firearm could be charged with a misdemeanor. However, since the first of the year, BAC levels have been decreased to align with the traffic laws regarding driving under the influence. This means that residents can now be charged with carrying a firearm while intoxicated if their firearm is loaded and they have a BAC of .08 or higher. For those under the age of 21 years old, the threshold is even lower—just .02. This change was also enacted to bring the law into alignment with traffic laws regarding underage drivers.

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Connecticut defense attorney, Connecticut criminal lawyerIn 2015, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a 7-0 ruling (that is, a unanimous decision) stating that individuals who were convicted before 2011 for possessing less than one-half ounce of marijuana could have their convictions erased. According to the Supreme Court, this is because Connecticut’s legislature approved a measure in 2011 that changed possession of a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor punishable by fines and/or jail time to a violation punishable only by a fine. This had the effect of “decriminalizing” – but not legalizing – possession of small amounts of marijuana. Because of this legislative move, the Connecticut Supreme Court concluded individuals convicted of this offense prior to its decriminalization were entitled to have their prior convictions erased from their criminal records.

This case (State v. Menditto) has implications not only for old possession cases but potentially for other individuals with prior convictions as well.

State v. Menditto – What Did the Court Decide?

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Connecticut defense attorney, Connecticut criminal lawyerLast month, Connecticut lawmakers passed a bill that makes the state’s hate crime law one of the strongest in the nation. Under the new law, defendants who are convicted of committing a hate crime face up to ten years in prison, $10,000 fine, and extensive community service, so if you or a loved one were recently arrested for a hate crime, it is critical to speak with an experienced Stamford criminal defense attorney who can help you formulate a defense.

Current Law

Under current law, it is a crime to carry out or threaten to carry out any act that is committed with malice and the intent to intimidate or harass a group of people because of their race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

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Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut criminal lawyerRaising our children correctly is difficult, to say the least. There is no universal blueprint dictating all the right choices and decisions parents should make while raising their children. The reality is that being a parent is fraught with many tough decisions. For example, when our kids grow into their teenage years and start experimenting with alcohol. Most parents understand the danger of alcohol especially when it comes to a minor. But a tough decision must be made, it is nearly impossible to control every decision your teenage child will make, but what can you do to reduce the potential for them to get themselves into trouble?

Supervised Underage Drinking

Many parents when faced with the choice of not knowing what their teens are doing, if they are safe, or even worse, getting behind the wheel after drinking or with someone who has, will consider allowing their teens to drink at home. Parent's believe that at least the teens are supervised, a parent can ensure that no one gets behind the wheel of a car and the peace of mind that comes with knowing where their teenage children are on a weekend night.

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Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut DUI attorneyDriving a vehicle while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is a serious offense that can lead to various criminal charges under Connecticut law. In addition, if a driver causes an accident, and another person dies as a result of the accident, the driver could face even more serious charges. A DUI that ends with the death of another can lead to the driver being charged with vehicular manslaughter or lesser charges such as misconduct with a motor vehicle, negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, and reckless driving. Generally, when someone dies in a DUI accident, the driver will face prison time.

Vehicular Manslaughter in Connecticut

In Connecticut, a driver is guilty of vehicular manslaughter, which is considered second degree manslaughter, if while driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both, the driver causes the death of another person due to the effect of the alcohol or drugs. Most cases of vehicular manslaughter are considered involuntary. This means that the manslaughter was unintentional. This may seem counter-intuitive because the driver’s drinking may have been intentional, but unintentional in this context is a legal term. It basically means that the driver was driving in a reckless or unintentional manner, for example by speeding or running a red light, leading to the accident.

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Posted on in Violent Crimes

Connecticut weapons lawyer, Connecticut defense attorneyGun ownership and the laws surrounding it create an ideologically-charged legal landscape that gun owners need to be aware of. This is especially important for people who have been convicted of a felony, which automatically renders them incapable of legally owning a firearm. The law in question is the Connecticut General Statute § 53a-217 , which is titled Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Ammunition, or Electronic Defense Weapon. The statute makes a felon's possession of a firearm a class C felony, which comes with serious consequences like fines and jail time.

Owning a Firearm with a Felony Record

The Connecticut statute makes it a class C felony for a person who was convicted of a felony to own a gun, ammunition, or and “electronic defense weapon.” While the first two items are fairly self-explanatory, an electronic defense weapon has a special definition under the law. They are weapons that send out an electric pulse that immobilizes someone, but cannot kill or seriously injure them. Examples of such weapons include Tasers and stun guns.

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Connecticut DUI lawyer, Connecticut defense attorneyDriving under the influence of any intoxicating substance is against the law in Connecticut. A drugged driving charge will likely include any punishment applicable in the case of a normal DUI penalties — drivers will be charged with driving under the influence. Any prior conviction of DUI, whether the prior charge was for drugs or alcohol, will be considered as a previous offense of DUI and the driver will likely face more severe punishments as such.

While DUI laws pertaining to alcohol prohibit any person from driving if he or she has a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more, there is no threshold standard for the amount of drugs that a person must have in his or her body to be charged with drugged driving. Any amount of drugs in the person’s system means that he or she is eligible to be charged with DUI. Prosecutors need only prove that the driver’s physical or mental processes were at the time affected by the substance and affecting his or her ability to control and operate a vehicle.

Although Connecticut does not have blood tests that it administers in the event of suspected drugged driving, the laws circumscribing the offense are the same as those involving alcohol. Any time a person gets behind the wheel in Connecticut, he or she is operating under the law of implied consent. This means that he or she submits to any required testing if requested by law enforcement. If the person refuses, the officer can immediately revoke and take possession of a person’s driver’s license — even before the case goes to court. A person is legally allowed the opportunity to call an attorney, however, before he or she submits to testing. This is particularly important. If you are pulled over and asked to take a blood, breath, or urine test for suspected drugged driving, it is a good idea to first contact an attorney. The earlier you involve a professional in the situation, the more likely it is that the incident will be resolved without long-lasting implications.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut criminal attorneyFacing a criminal allegation can be a terrifying ordeal. There are many moving parts to a criminal case, and it can be daunting for a person who is being charged with a crime to understand everything that is happening. Depending on the circumstances of your case it may be in your best interest to enter into a plea deal. The kind of plea deal and the terms of your plea deal with be ferreted out by a skilled and experienced Stamford, Connecticut, criminal defense attorney.

Types of Plea Deals

Most people consider a plea deal to be a one size fits all type of agreement. However, in Connecticut, more than one kind of plea deal exists. Each type of plea deal has unique characteristics. The types of plea deals available include:

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Connecticut defense lawyer, Connecticut criminal lawyerThere have been bullies as long as there have been schools. Many states across the nation are passing zero-tolerance policies to try and address the problem of bullying at school. With the dawn of the technological age and explosion of social media, a new style of bullying is emerging with the legal community struggling to keep up.

What Is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying, is when an individual uses a computer network to harass another person. Under Connecticut law, it is classified as a Class C misdemeanor if you use an electronic communication to:

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Connecticut juvenile lawyer, Connecticut defense attorneyThere has been a sweeping legislative wave of criminal law reform taking place all over the nation. Prison populations across the country have exploded to untenable levels, absolutely eviscerating various state budgets and causing entire generations of otherwise productive individuals to become lifelong offenders. This problem is magnified in juvenile criminal law. In 2016, there were 496 juveniles sentenced to an order of detention. Many of those sentenced were sentenced for nonviolent offenses that would be charged with a misdemeanor if they were prosecuted in adult court.

Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

The school to prison pipeline is a phrase used to describe an increasing trend of students being subjected to criminalized discipline and winding up in the criminal justice system before they are even able to finish high school. Advocates of juvenile criminal justice reform have long argued that criminalized discipline is counterproductive to the best interest of our youth. Take for example the Deputy Director of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Lara Herscovitch, who argued, “We feel strongly that far too often arrests are used in place of regular student discipline.”

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Connecticut white collar crime attorney, Connecticut defense lawyerWhite collar crime is a broad legal term that encompasses many different areas of criminal law. Generally, there are two major ways of defining what a white-collar crime is:

  • Crimes committed by individuals who come from affluent socioeconomic environments, or crimes committed by people who through the nature of their job have been put in positions of financial trust.
  • Crimes committed involving an economic offense, often nonviolent, and usually incorporate a theft or fraud.

Are the Penalties for White Collar Crime More Severe?

That is a question for your Norwalk Connecticut white collar defense attorney. The penalty Is nearly entirely dependent on the crime in question. Most penalties carry a large monetary fine because of the nature of a white-collar offense. Types of white collar crimes include but are not limited to:

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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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Conneticut defense lawyer, Connecticut drug crimes attorneyNews stories are limitless around the country about law enforcement cracking down on drug crimes. This crackdown goes all the way to the top with President Trump announcing his intentions to be “ruthless” in his determination to put an end to drug trafficking. The issue with so-called ruthless behavior is it results in hoards of innocent individuals facing false accusations of breaking the law. Federal, state, and local law enforcement utilize all of their resources building cases. Anyone accused should remember that charges do not mean a conviction and the government has the burden of proving guilt. When the circumstances were right, the following defenses have worked for defendants. Remember, these defenses are not for all circumstances and consulting an attorney is advisable to create a strategy for your unique situation.

A Case of Being at the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time.

Drug trafficking typically involves large groups of people or organizations. When arrests are made, many innocent individuals get tied up in the arrest due to the association. We all know that just because we associate with someone does not mean we have their same behavior. With alibis and proof of no affiliation with the crime, this defense may be possible for your case.

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Connecticut sex crimes attorney, Connecticut defense lawyerConnecticut recently passed a sex consent law that changes the consent that a partner must give in order for the encounter to be considered consensual on college campuses. If a party claims that the sex act was not consensual, rape or sexual assault charges can be brought. The new law, which went into effect last year, requires both parties to consent by saying “yes” or other affirmative signal. It should be noted that this is only the standard for college campuses (both public and private) and not sexual assaults that are alleged to take place elsewhere in the state. This new standard is what will be used at college disciplinary hearings. It will not change what must be proven in a court of law.

The Old Standard

Formerly, sexual assault campaigns highlighted the phrase “no means no.” However, sexual assault advocates believed that requiring the victim to prove that he or she said no ends up blaming the victim for the assault. By requiring that parties give affirmative consent, advocates of the law say the victim’s behavior will become less of a focus.

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Posted on in Traffic Violations

Connecticut defense attorney, Connecticut criminal lawyerA lot goes into attaining and maintaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Of course, there are the rigorous education and examinations in addition to medical and background qualifications just to earn the licensure, but your work is incomplete. It is imperative that you follow through with multiple requirements to remain in good standing to maintain your licensure as well as avoid traffic violations. In addition to an impeccable driving record, you must also retain proper records to avoid losing the license.

What Records are Necessary for Employers?

Requirements for CDL regulations are controlled federally by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Each state can vary through the application process but must maintain the standards and regulations set forth at the federal level. Each document has a required retention period of three years or more. By law, CDL employers must retain the following records for each employee and have them available upon request within 48 hours:

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Connecticut DUI lawyer, Connecticut defense lawyerIf you have recently gotten your first DUI in Connecticut, you likely have many questions and you need to act quickly in order to get the optimal results in your case. Depending on the facts of your case, it is usually helpful to retain a DUI attorney as soon as possible.

There are two different “cases” within a DUI charge. One is administrative where your driver’s license is at stake. The other is criminal, which will affect your criminal record. For most first offense DUIs, the charges are considered to be misdemeanors.

The Administrative Case

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