Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

Connecticut criminal defense lawyer for pardonsAccording to statistics from the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles, there were 1,857 applications for pardons in 2018. Of those applications, only 983 were deemed eligible for pardon, and of those deemed eligible, only around 77 percent were actually granted. Lingering records from previous criminal cases can cause difficulty in many areas of life, including making it harder for a person to find a job or get housing. Because of this, a bill was introduced in the Connecticut legislature last year to help make the process a little easier for those who wish to expunge their criminal records. The bill failed to pass during the last legislative session, but Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont plans to reintroduce it in the upcoming session.

Proposed Bill Would Make it Easier to Get a Pardon

People who have criminal records face barriers to housing, employment, and education, even if years have passed after their sentences have been completed, and they have not had any more offenses. Because of this, Gov. Lamont will be pushing for legislation that would create a process to clear criminal records automatically.

The bill that was introduced last year proposed creating a system for automatic pardons and expungement of criminal records three years after a misdemeanor sentence had been served and five years after a felony sentence had been served. That bill faced backlash about what crimes would be eligible for automatic pardons, with lawmakers expressing concern about those convicted of violent crimes and crimes of a sexual nature. The newer version of the bill has addressed these concerns by barring those convicted of sex crimes or offenses related to domestic violence from receiving an automatic pardon.

Current Connecticut Pardon Procedures

The current procedure to receive a pardon and expunge criminal records is a lengthy and confusing one. First, a person must determine whether they are eligible for a pardon. An Absolute Pardon can be granted if three years have passed since the disposition of a misdemeanor conviction, or five years have passed since the disposition of a felony conviction. An applicant must not have any pending charges or be on supervision, and if any subsequent criminal charges have been “nolled” (meaning they were dropped by a prosecutor), at least 13 months must have passed since the disposition of that case.

Those who are eligible may submit an application for an Absolute Pardon to the Board of Pardons and Parole. This application will require a person to provide detailed information about previous convictions, offer explanations for why a pardon is needed, and obtain character references from at least three people, only one of whom can be a family member. To ensure that all requirements are met when applying for a pardon, it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in completing the pardon and expungement process.

A Hartford, CT Pardon Lawyer Can Help

In many cases, people who have been convicted of a crime and have served their sentence do not reoffend. Yet, the presence of their criminal record makes it difficult for them to turn their lives around. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we believe that everyone has the right to a second chance. Our knowledgeable Connecticut criminal record expungement attorney can help you navigate the long and confusing pardon process and clear your criminal record. To get started, call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://ctmirror.org/2020/01/08/lamont-to-introduce-clean-slate-legislation-in-next-session/

https://portal.ct.gov/BOPP/Research-and-Development-Division/Statistics/Statistics

https://portal.ct.gov/BOPP/Pardon-Division/Pardon/Pardon-FAQs

Posted in Criminal Defense, Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment | Edit

East Hartford personal injury attorney for motorcycle collisionsMore than a few Americans enjoy the thrill of riding a motorcycle. According to the latest information from the Federal Highway Administration, there were more than 8.4 million motorcycles registered in the United States in 2014. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were nearly 5,000 motorcyclist deaths in 2018, a disproportionate number of fatalities when compared to passenger vehicles. When a motorcyclist gets into an accident with another motor vehicle, they are commonly the ones who suffer serious injuries because of the lack of protection that their vehicles offer. Road rash, broken bones, brain injuries, or nerve and spinal cord injuries are common after a motorcycle accident. If you have been in a motorcycle collision, a Connecticut personal injury attorney can help determine if you are entitled to compensation.

Who Is At Fault?

One of the first things to address following a motorcycle accident is determining who was at fault for the collision. In some cases, it can be difficult to establish fault, while in others, responsibility for an accident is clear cut. Determining fault is important, since it will allow you to seek compensation for injuries and damages that occurred due to the negligence of another driver.

When pursuing a civil lawsuit, you will have the burden of proof, meaning you must provide sufficient evidence that the other party was negligent and that this negligence was responsible for causing your damages. In Connecticut, there are a variety of ways in which a driver can be shown to be negligent, including:

  • Reckless driving
  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Traveling too fast for conditions on the road
  • Improper passing
  • Illegal turns
  • Failure to use headlights
  • Failing to maintain a reasonable distance from another vehicle

Comparative Negligence in Connecticut

The state of Connecticut uses what is known as a comparative negligence system. This means that a plaintiff can seek compensation from another party even if the plaintiff was partially to blame for the accident. As long as you are not more than 50 percent responsible, you can still pursue damages, although the amount of the damages you can recover will be reduced by your own percentage of fault.

For example, consider this situation: you were speeding a few miles over the speed limit when a vehicle ran a red light at an intersection and collided with you. You filed a lawsuit against the other driver, and it was determined that you were 10 percent at fault, while the other driver was 90 percent at fault. While you can still recover compensation, your award will be reduced by 10 percent. That is, if you suffered damages of $50,000, you will receive $45,000.

Contact a Hartford, CT Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney

Motorcycle accidents can vary in severity, but it is not uncommon for a motorcyclist to be seriously injured or killed in a collision. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should call a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we understand how a serious injury can not only result in pain and suffering but can also have long-lasting financial effects. Our firm will take an aggressive approach to recovering compensation for your injuries, and in the event that your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, we can also help you pursue a wrongful death claim. To schedule a free consultation to determine the best course of action for your case, call our office today at 860-290-8690.

Sources:

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2014/mv1.cfm

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812826

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_925.htm#sec_52-572h

https://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/Civil/Civil.pdf

Posted in Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment | Edit

Connecticut criminal defense attorney for probation or parole violationIf you are convicted of criminal charges, you could be sentenced to probation,  and depending on the circumstances of your situation, probation may be sentenced in lieu of jail time, or you may be subject to a period of probation after a jail sentence has been completed. While probation may not seem as serious as jail time, , it should not be taken lightly. The same type of seriousness applies if you have been released from your jail sentence early and are on parole. There are certain rules that you must abide by when you are on probation or parole. Violating any of the rules of your probation or parole can result in further consequences, including facing additional jail time or being required to serve the remainder of your jail sentence.

Conditions of Probation and Parole

If you are sentenced to probation, you will be placed under the supervision of the Connecticut Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division. If you are released on parole, you will be under the supervision of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. Normal parole will allow you to be released from prison early if certain conditions are met. In some cases, you may be sentenced to a period of special parole, which must be completed following the completion of a jail sentence. Special parole may be imposed for any criminal offenses other than drug charges.

If you are released from prison on parole, or if you are sentenced to probation or special parole, there are certain rules that you must follow. The court can require offenders to:

  • Maintain employment or pursue a course of study or vocational training
  • Undergo medical or psychiatric treatment (sex offenders may be subject to special conditions, including sex offender treatment)
  • Support dependents and meet other family obligations
  • Pay restitution to victims of the crime
  • Refrain from committing any federal or state crime
  • Reside in a residential community center or halfway house
  • Be subject to electronic monitoring
  • Perform community service
  • Satisfy any other condition that is directly related to rehabilitation

What Happens After a Probation or Parole Violation?

If you are suspected to have violated any condition of your probation, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Once you have been arrested and informed of the violations you are accused of committing, you have the right to a hearing in front of a judge within 120 days after your arrest. Technically, this hearing is not a criminal trial, so you do not have many of the same rights afforded to you as you would in a criminal trial. It is crucial that an attorney attend the hearing with you, because the standard of evidence is lower than in a criminal trial. This means that the state only needs to have a preponderance of evidence showing that you violated your probation.

If you are suspected to have violated any conditions of your parole, you will be taken back into custody by your parole officer, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles will hold a hearing to decide the consequences. It is also highly recommended to have representation from an attorney at this hearing.

If the court finds that you have violated the terms of your probation or parole, there are a few things that could happen. According to Connecticut law, the court can:

  • Continue your sentence of probation or parole
  • Modify or make the terms of your probation or parole to be more strict
  • Extend your period of probation or parole
  • Revoke your term of probation or parole and order jail time

A Hartford, CT Probation Violation Defense Attorney Can Help

If you have been arrested for violating the terms of your probation or parole, you need to talk with a skilled Connecticut parole violation defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you are convicted of violating your probation or parole, you could face jail time or other punishments. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we will do our best to help you protect your freedom and minimize the criminal consequences you may face. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-32

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_961.htm#sec_54-125e

Posted in Criminal Defense, Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment | Edit

East Hartford criminal defense attorney DNA evidenceHome DNA tests have been gaining popularity in recent years. Some of the biggest players in the home DNA test industry, Ancestry and 23andMe, aim to help people understand their DNA better, from their genealogical roots to their carrier status for certain diseases and their predisposition for certain traits. This technology has allowed people to connect in a way that they never imagined before, but it has also opened the doors for certain ethical considerations, such as whether or not law enforcement officials should be able to access DNA information when investigating those suspected of criminal charges.

Golden State Killer Was Caught Through DNA Use

For decades, the Golden State Killer eluded law enforcement and was able to rape and murder dozens of people. In 2018, law enforcement officials were finally able to charge the man for committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders across California, thanks to help from an online genealogy database, GEDmatch. Using DNA that was recovered from crime scenes throughout the years, they were able to locate distant relatives of the Golden State Killer and eventually ended up at his front door.

Ancestry and 23andMe Say No to Law Enforcement Use

Though data from GEDmatch was used to crack the Golden State Killer case, this service does not offer kits for performing genetic tests. Instead, it allows its users to upload data about their DNA which was obtained through at-home tests from other companies, including Ancestry and 23andMe. GEDmatch allows its users to opt in or out of allowing law enforcement to use their data. However, it was found that when a police officer obtained a warrant to search the site’s database, more than a million profiles of people who had chosen not to be visible to police were in fact included in the search.

 

Companies like Ancestry and 23andMe have been under pressure to allow law enforcement officials to access their DNA databases. Researchers have found that allowing access to these databases would essentially allow officials to identify nearly all 300 million Americans through data provided by various family members, which is why law enforcement officials are pushing for access. Currently, both Ancestry and 23andMe require a court order for access to their database, and access has not yet been granted to any official.

Have You Been Accused of a Crime? Our Hartford, CT Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Here for You

In the era of social media, location tracking, and at-home DNA tests, flying under the radar is nearly a thing of the past. Though law enforcement officials currently cannot access your DNA from many of these services without your consent, there is a possibility that they could be able to do so in the future. To ensure that you understand your rights regarding how your personal data can be used in a criminal case, you should consult with an experienced lawyer. If you are facing criminal charges, the skilled Connecticut criminal defense attorney at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC can ensure that your rights are protected and provide you with the defense you need. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today at 860-290-8690.

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/22/science/dna-testing-kit-present.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/26/us/golden-state-killer.html

Posted in Criminal Law | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment | Edit