Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Stamford-City-Hal-GMB--300x225Shoplifting is a Misdemeanor in Connecticut 

Many clients who contact our office about a shoplifting arrest do not think that it is an “arrest” because, in most cases, the police do not put handcuffs on you and bring you to the police station.    Rather, most of the time, the police will issue you a misdemeanor summons and complaint ticket.  Because these summonses resemble traffic tickets, many people erroneously assume that the fact they were issued a black book ticket means that they were not arrested.  On the contrary, a shoplifting charge is usually larceny in the 6th degree, a criminal offense.  The difference between larceny in the 6th C.G.S. 53a-125b and larceny in the 5th degree C.G.S. 53a-125a depends on the value of the items alleged to have been stolen. Larceny in the 6th degree covers alleged thefts up to $500 larceny in the 5th-degree covers thefts over $500 to a maximum of $1,000.    These are both considered crimes of moral turpitude as they relate to the honesty and trustworthiness of an individual.  As such, it is important when charged with shoplifting to contact the best  Stamford criminal attorney to explore the best way to get your case resolved without obtaining a criminal record for shoplifting.

In some situations, a good criminal defense attorney can convince the State’s Attorney to nolle or drop the charge based upon mitigating circumstances.  In other cases, it may be necessary to use a diversionary program such as the accelerated rehabilitation program.   The best course of action is to review the circumstances of your case with an experienced attorney to plan the best approach to resolving your case.

Lady-Justice--e1581224208144-225x300COVID has created a lot of disruptions in normal day to day life.   The Judicial Branch has also been struggling with trying to balance the need to achieve the speedy and just administration of criminal cases along with limiting the size of crowds in the court to reduce the potential for the spread of COVID.  Many defendants want to get their cases over quickly as having a case pending can affect job searches, immigration matters and is generally a significant stress factor.   COVID has created a lot of delays in the criminal justice system in 2020 and this trend looks to continue into 2021. This has lead to many cases being continued multiple times and many clients being frustrated with not being able to resolve their pending criminal matter in a timely manner.

It should be noted that the criminal court system has been functioning at some level continuously throughout the COVID pandemic.  At first, during the months of April and May, only domestic violence arraignments and priority one business matters were being heard.  In late June the scope of matters handled was expanded to include all types of pending criminal cases.   (It should be noted that the DMV is proceeding with virtual hearings on administrative per se license suspension appeals in DUI cases). The Judicial Branch has also been facilitating remote virtual judicial pre-trials which have been very useful to help resolve more complex cases.

Batch File Designation Assignment 

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On April 17, 2020, Governor Lamont signed Executive Order 7BB which required the use of cloth face coverings in public when close contact is unavoidable starting April 20, 2020.  The order remains in effect as of this writing.  Anyone watching the news or venturing out into the public will note that the mask issue is highly divisive.  People are gathering in state capitals all over the nation to protest stay at home orders and similar mask restrictions.

There are been many violent confrontations in retail stores when shoppers attempted to enter without maks throughout the United States, including one case where a security guard was shot by someone who was not wearing a mask and who refused to leave.  The issue of having to wear a mask is a highly emotional and volatile issue.

People Should Wear a Mask to Protect Others 

Handcuffs-orange-GMB-geo-tagged--300x225Covid-19 has resulted in significant shifts in mobility.  People are working at home, bars and restaurants are closed and social gatherings are canceled for the time being.   Law enforcement has also focused on having minimal contact with the general public and prioritized important cases involving violence. As a result, traffic enforcement stops are down 95% and DUI arrests are also down significantly across the state. Domestic violence reports are up significantly as well as residential and commercial burglary and theft.

Although our courts remain closed, our office remains open and we are here to help you if you have any legal questions.   We expect that the criminal courts will reopen sometime in June although, perhaps using virtual technology if we are lucky.

Arrests for Violation of Public Health Emergency – C.G.S. § 19a-131a 

court-300x225As the criminal court closure has extended now for over 6 weeks, and with no end in sight many clients who have pending diversionary programs are being adversely impacted.  Given the tight job market, having a pending criminal case could make finding a new job more difficult or impossible.  Also, many clients may have to renew green cards or have other immigration situations which may be adversely affected. In this blog, I am going to give some guidance for what our clients and others can do about the situation.

Courts Have Been Closed Since March 20 

Connecticut criminal courts have been closed since March 20 with no firm date or plan to re-open the Courts yet confirmed. (Courts have been handling only arrangements).  Clients who have pending cases and are enrolled in diversionary programs which as the accelerated rehabilitation program, family violence education program, and pretrial alcohol education program and others may have already passed their originally assigned termination dates for these programs when the charges could have been dismissed.  Because the courts are closed there is no one to verify that you have successfully completed the requirements of the program and no judge to enter an order dismissing your charges.

We are seeing COVID-19 related domestic violence arrests from clients who are under a lot of stress and pressure and stuck at home in close quarters with each other. In this blog, I am going to examine this situation and give some suggestions on how to manage the problem.

COVID-19 is with us for the foreseeable future. It represents an existential threat to our health. It will likely lead to severe economic disruptions and perhaps the most significant financial crisis of our lifetimes. There is more than enough stress to go around. On top of this, people are getting fired and laid off from work left and right due to the orders to close down our state economies to slow down the transmission of the virus. There are a lot of changes here going on at once and a lot of worrying about external stress factors beyond our control. If you combine all of this stress with people being locked into their homes, it seems inevitable that tensions are going to rise to a boiling point.

Everyone is going through the same stressful situation. While you and your family members may have differing opinions about the level of social distancing needed to protect your family and other important matters, it is essential to resolve any disputes in a calm, peaceful and non-violent manner. If you feel like you are ready to explode because you can’t take the stress, I would suggest that you go out for a long walk and meditate about something else. Perhaps it will be a better time to discuss the issue the following day.

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In this blog, we are going to review five things that people should know about pretrial diversionary programs in Connecticut.

If you have been arrested for a serious motor vehicle offense or crime in Connecticut, one option is to plead not guilty and take your case to trial. Going to trial has many disadvantages as trials are very costly, and the results are never guaranteed no matter how strong a case you have. The other option is to accept a plea bargain, which many clients don’t want to do, especially if they are not guilty.

Diversionary programs are a way to resolve your case without going to trial and obtain a dismissal of the charges against you. In some situations, using a diversionary program is the ideal way to resolve your criminal charges. Diversionary programs are commonly used in Connecticut. We have a multitude of diversionary programs available for various circumstances. If you have been arrested for any crime or serious motor vehicle offense, you should consult with an experienced Connecticut criminal defense lawyer to review all of your options.

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A lot of clients think that a disorderly conduct arrest is not that serious.  In this blog, I am going to share five important things you should know if you have been arrested for disorderly conduct in Connecticut.

In Connecticut, disorderly conduct C.G.S. § 53a-182 is one of the most common arrests.   A lot of disorderly conduct arrests occur as a result of domestic violence cases because the police are required to make an arrest anytime someone calls 911 and they find probable cause that a crime has occurred.  Disorderly conduct is a catch-all statute that covers a wide range of behavior and gives the police officer a lot of discretion on when to apply the statute to make an arrest. Any arrest for domestic violence should be taken very seriously. While disorderly conduct is a relatively minor Class C misdemeanor a conviction can have serious ramifications for your future.

1. Even Though The Police Did Not Take You Down to the Police Station it is Still an “Arrest” 

Domestic-Violence-new-Photo-300x200-300x200In this blog, I am going to give you five things to do if you have been arrested for a domestic violence crime in Connecticut. Domestic violence arrests are more common than any other kind of arrest. This is because there is a mandatory arrest statute for all domestic violence crimes that require the police to make an arrest when they find probable cause that a domestic violence crime has occurred. There are a lot of very effective ways to defend domestic violence allegations. It is essential from the moment that you are arrested not to make the situation worse. Here are five things you can do to help improve your situation.

  1. Be Prepared For Your Next Day Arraignment in Court 

In every domestic violence case, there is a mandatory next day arrangement where orders of protection will issue against you. At this court date, you will have your first meeting with the office of family relations, and they will make a recommendation about the order of protection. The big question is what kind of order will be entered by the court. If you live in the same home with the victim or have minor children in common, these orders of protection can be of huge importance. It would be best if you never went into court without consulting with an attorney first. While sometimes it may be challenging to find an attorney on such short notice, you should at least have a consultation with an attorney and review your options for the arraignment. Too many domestic violence clients wind up getting arrested and then amble into court the next morning and hope for the best. This is not the best practice. It is advised that you seek legal counsel and prepare for your meeting with the office of family relations and arraignment.

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Everyone in Connecticut including the author is outraged about the death of Jennifer Dulos.  For those who may have been living under a rock for the last year, Jennifer was in the midst of a “high conflict” divorce case in Stamford Superior Court last May when she disappeared.  Her estranged husband Fotis Dulos was later charged with her murder and he committed suicide while awaiting trial on bond.  I have written extensively on how the Dulos case has had a profound effect on pending domestic violence cases throughout Connecticut.

The Dulos family had no prior arrest history and apparently there was nothing to give the court any reliable indication that a violent murder would occur.  As a result, other courts have become more cautious about resolving pending domestic violence cases.

We live in a reactionary society.  Jennifer Dulus was the number one most searched term on google in the state of Connecticut in 2019. The circus is just getting started with the trial of the co-conspirators of Fotis Dulos still looming this case will be in the spotlight of the media for months to come.  People are upset and outraged that the court system let Jennifer down and they are looking for someone to blame.   It’s strange that they can’t just accept the fact that the family court divorce system is overloaded and that a homicidal maniac like Fotis Dulos just happened to snap under the financial pressure he was facing.

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