Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Lady-Justice--e1581224208144-225x300Getting a DUI is terrifying, and if you have never gotten one before, you probably have many questions on your mind. If you have gotten a first-time DUI charge, it is important to understand what this means by Connecticut law. The good news is that a first-time DUI is not nearly as serious as other DUI cases. Because of this, the repercussions will be much less significant, and defending this case is less difficult. Here is everything you need to know if you have been charged with a first-time DUI.

First-Time DUI Offense in Connecticut

States like Connecticut have strict laws around driving under the influence, which can result in DUI charges. It is important to understand that being under the influence does not just include alcohol. You could be considered driving under the influence if you are taking marijuana, illegal drugs, or prescription medications. Anything inhibiting your driving ability could set you up for a first-time DUI offense. This includes anything that interrupts concentration, your ability to stay awake, or decision-making skills. For first-time DUI convictions, this includes both criminal and administrative penalties. The DMV is alerted if you have been arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence. The DMV will then act by suspending your license if you refuse a chemical test to check for drugs or alcohol or if you fail a chemical test. These tests could include a chemical breath test, blood test, or urine test at the election of the arresting officer.  Most DUI arrests in Connecticut rely upon a breath sample, the least accurate method to measure BAC.


The Law with respect to family related, domestic violence issues. Book of law with a gavel and a Restraining Order.

If you are facing a domestic violence disorderly conduct charge, it can be a very stressful and confusing time. Disorderly conduct is one of Connecticut’s most common domestic violence crimes, but many people are unaware of what this charge entails. If you are facing this, you will want to know how a criminal defense lawyer will defend a domestic disorderly conduct case. This can be broken down into actionable steps that your lawyer will take to prove your innocence, lessen the charges, or dismiss them.

What Is a Domestic Disorderly Conduct Case?

Statistics show that 10% of all criminal arrests made in the US are comprised of DUI arrests. This shows just how common DUIs are all across America. That said, it is important to understand that DUIs will differ everywhere you go. If you live in Connecticut, the DUI process may look a little different than in Ohio. If you have been charged with a DUI in Connecticut, there are important things you will need to understand about what happens afterward. This article will break down every aspect of a DUI case you need to know about. Keep reading to discover about DUI cases and what happens when you get a DUI in Connecticut.

What Classifies as a DUI in Connecticut?

Drugs and alcohol are against the law when operating a vehicle if they impair your driving ability. This is because alcohol and drugs affect your ability to safely focus on the road and operate a vehicle.  In Connecticut, a DUI stands for driving under the influence. You can receive a DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s important to understand that these offenses can be prosecuted without direct evidence. Direct evidence would be the blood alcohol concentration of the person driving or BAC.  This evidence is not always required if the person is obviously impaired. If you are operating a vehicle in Connecticut, this is also considered to be your automatic consent to a BAC test by operation of statute if the police have probable cause to make an arrest for DUI. You are legally intoxicated if the BAC shows .08 or above. This only applies to adults over the age of 21. You are considered intoxicated if your BAC is .02 or higher as a driver under 21.  In some cases, even if you refuse a chemical test, police can claim intoxication based on your condition and actions. There are different tests that they can do without the BAC to determine this, such as a field sobriety test, but it is not always concrete.  A field sobriety test is a subjectively scored test that many sober people will fail and is considered unreliable.  The best Connecticut DUI lawyers will always advise you to refuse a field sobriety test and not answer any police questions about whether or not you were drinking or using drugs.

Lady-Justice--e1581224208144-225x300Donald Trump was formally arraigned in a New York City State courthouse for allegations related to falsifying business records. Usually, under New York law, these charges would all be misdemeanors. However, in this case, the District Attorney is bootstrapping the case to a felony level by claiming that the conspiracy to falsify business records was part of a plan to commit an unspecified felony related to election laws.  I am not taking political sides in this blog.   Whether you are a Trump fan or can’t stand Trump, it is important to consider how the criminal law process is employed in this case.

1. The prosecuting authority has total discretion on whether or not to bring criminal charges 

The district attorney – or in Connecticut – the state’s attorney – has total discretion on whether or not to prosecute a particular case.  Every day in America, the police bring cases and facts to the state’s attorney.  The state’s attorney is totally within their prosecutorial discretion to decide not to expend valuable judicial resources into prosecuting a particular case.   For example, the DA prosecuting Donald Trump in New York City – Alvin Bragg, created a “Day One” memo when he took over as district attorney and stated that his office would no longer prosecute non-violent misdemeanors.  That is within his power as he is the prosecuting authority. The prosecuting authority can utilize scarce judicial resources as it seems fit to prosecute the crimes that the prosecuting authority desires to pursue. It can decline to prosecute any crime it does not want to prosecute.  In Connecticut, it is called a “nolle” when the State’s Attorney declines to exercise its discretion and not prosecute a crime.

Handcuffs-orange-GMB-geo-tagged--300x225Many clients do not understand that an arrest for a DUI will result in two separate proceedings against them.   The first is a criminal case in the Superior Court.   Many first-time offenders may be eligible for the IDIP diversionary program, which can result in the dismissal of the criminal DUI charge.   However, regardless of the outcome in the Superior Court with the DUI allegation, the CT DMV will usually institute a separate administrative procedure to suspend your license. The DMV case is adjudicated in a separate administrative appeal by the DMV, not the court.

DMV Administrative Per Se License Suspensions 

When you are arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer, in most cases, will ask you to perform a chemical test to determine if you are intoxicated.  It is challenging as you must decide quickly whether to take the chemical test.   Since 2014, Connecticut has gone to an all-offender interlock system in which all license suspensions from the DMV are for 45 days, followed by a period when an interlock device must be installed in the vehicle.

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--e1581224208144-225x300Many clients have complained about the lengthy delays between criminal court dates in the Stamford / Norwalk criminal courts.   I will try and explain the reason behind many of these delays.  After COVID caused the closure of Norwalk G.A. #20, all criminal cases from Norwalk were transferred to Stamford G.A. #1. court.  Originally this was a temporary arrangement. However, in late 2022, the Norwalk G.A. #20 court was closed, and the two G.A. courts were merged into one court – G.A. #1 at 123 Hoyt Street, Stamford, CT 06905.

As a result, essentially, two courts are now operating in one courthouse.   They have decided to operate two courtrooms at G.A. #1 – one court for defendants who have no attorney or who have a private attorney and the other for defendants who are represented by a public defender.   As the two separate G.A. courts have now been combined, that means that the caseload at the Stamford court is almost double as it now includes cases from New Cannan, Wilton, Weston, Westport, and Norwalk, all of which were previously held at Norwalk.

Since there is a space limitation on how many individuals can be seated at one time in each courtroom, they have imposed limitations on how many cases can be assigned to a particular date.  This means that typically continuance dates are now 6-8 weeks apart.  Before the merger of the two courts, a normal continuance could be 3-4 weeks.   Since some cases require multiple court appearances to achieve the optimal resolution, it can become frustrating for clients as the case starts to drag on for several months.

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.

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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