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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.

consitution-1-300x185Over 28 years of practice in criminal law a lot of clients have told me that they don’t want to participate in a diversionary program because they “don’t want to admit guilt of a crime they didn’t do.” I’m writing this blog article to let people know that applying for a diversionary program is not an admission of guilt and does not mean that you are guilty.  In Connecticut there are a lot of diversionary programs for all sorts of things.  Over the years the main diversionary program – the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program has been joined by an ever expanding list of diversionary programs.  Top Connecticut criminal lawyers will tell you that in most cases it is usually a better idea to use a diversionary program than take your case to trial.  Over the years a lot of my clients have resisted the idea of participating in a diversioary program because they feel that applying for a program is an admission of guilt.  We are going to explore this in greater detail.

>    What is a Diversionary Program?          

The normal progression of a criminal case involves an arraignment, pre-trial negotiations, and a jury or bench trial where a determination of guilt or innocence is made.  This all assumes that a plea bargain is not made where the accused agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced charge or an favorable agreed upon disposition.  In practice 99% of criminal cases in Connecticut are resolved without trials either through diversionary programs or plea bargains. A diversionary program takes a crminal case off the trial path and diverts it into a special program that can result in a dismissal of all charges upon successuful completion of the program.  If you apply for a diversionary program you will never have a trial and no one will ever determine if the charges against you were valid or not.

police-line-1-300x225     Many of my clients are terrified for obvious reasons when they are contacted by the Police and then often try to “talk their way out” of the situation.  My objective in writing this blog post is to give some quick advice on what to do if you are the subject of a police investigation or a road side stop.   Often, the Police have no case they can prove against you, only suspicion and conjecture which is not going to make a case stick in Court.   They use manipulation, scare tactics and coercive methods to induce you to talk and give them admissions which will give them a solid case out of nothing.   DO NOT fall for this trick.    I am going to give you 3 easy to remember and simple rules to follow when dealing with the police that will help you avoid letting your own mouth seal the case against you.  After 27 years of criminal defense I can’t count how many times I have been contacted by someone who is the subject of a police investigation and after I told the police that my client would not cooperate that was the last thing we ever heard about that case.   The reason is because the police never had enough evidence to file for a warrant and were just hoping to bring my client in and get them to make an admission.

Rule #1 – I will not answer any questions.  I want to speak to my lawyer.

Always remember rule #1 – when ever you are confronted by the police no matter what they threaten you with always tell them you want to speak with a lawyer and that you refuse to answer any questions.  Of course you must give them your name and address and ID but that is the end of the conversation.  The 5th amendment provides that no person in a criminal case shall be complelled to be a witness against themselves.  This is a very powerful right.  USE IT!   You have the right to have a lawyer present before you answer any questions (of course we are not going to answer any questions when I get there either).   The police will normally get really stressed out and say stuff like “we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way” when you assert the 5th amendment.  That’s right its going to be hard for the police because you are going to keep your mouth shut and not say anything until you speak with your lawyer first.   I don’t care if the police threaten to tow your car, raise your bond higher, go harder on you, take away your phone, etc. it does not matter.   No matter what they say do not answer any questions.  Just keep saying I want to speak to a lawyer.

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