Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorneyIn recent weeks, tensions have been escalating in the United States between the country’s police force and its citizens, specifically among minority groups. There has always been a backlash against the tactics used by police, with many stating that the weapons and procedures used are too harsh and acts of brutality are too often aimed toward minorities and people of color. A recent instance where an Atlanta police officer fatally shot a black man, Rayshard Brooks, after the man grabbed a taser from the officer has reignited public concern over tasers and stun guns and their effectiveness as law enforcement tools.

In Connecticut, stun guns and tasers are referred to as electronic defense weapons and are actually classified as “dangerous weapons.” This also means that they are subject to certain rules and restrictions, as well as Connecticut residents who choose to own them. Similar to gun regulations, permits are required for anyone seeking to legally own a taser or stun gun. Anyone who does not comply with the state’s dangerous weapons laws faces criminal charges and consequences.

What Is an Electronic Defense Weapon?

A stun gun or electronic defense weapon is a device that was created to temporarily immobilize its targets. Stun guns have been used by law enforcement officers for decades, especially in situations in which suspects have been difficult or uncooperative. A stun gun has the ability to deliver 50,000 volts of electricity to a person, which courses through his or her body. When the weapon is used directly on a person, it typically only causes pain, similar to a shock. When the weapon is used and the probes are discharged, the voltage causes temporary paralysis, pain, and in some cases, death.

Can I Carry a Taser in Connecticut?

The state of Connecticut classifies stun guns, tasers, and other electronic defense weapons as “dangerous or deadly weapons.” Most people are not permitted to carry an electronic defense weapon on themselves in public or in their vehicles. For those who wish to own a stun gun, they must obtain a dangerous weapon permit from their local area. State-wide permits do not exist, and thus, the deadly weapons must remain within the local area that the permit was issued. These permits allow taser owners to keep the devices in their place of business or home, but they cannot be carried on the owner.

Since it is impossible to never carry your taser from one place to another, Connecticut legislation includes a few exceptions for deadly weapon owners. If someone is moving from one residence to another, they are able to carry the taser while in the moving process. They can also not be charged if they are carrying the stun gun from their home to a repair shop to keep the weapon in working order.

Violating Connecticut’s dangerous weapons laws can result in serious consequences. If you are caught carrying an electronic defense weapon on your person, you face a Class E felony, which carries a possible fine of up to $3,000, up to three years in prison, or a combination of both. If you are caught carrying or transporting an electronic defense weapon in your vehicle, you face a Class D felony, which carries a possible fine of up to $1,000, up to five years in prison, or a combination of both.

Police officers also face stiff restrictions and are only permitted to carry electronic defense weapons on their persons and in their vehicles when they are working and performing official duties.

Contact a Hartford, CT Weapons Charges Defense Lawyer

When it comes to electronic defense weapons, Connecticut’s laws are rather strict. Carrying a taser or stun gun in Connecticut could lead to serious criminal charges that may result in expensive fines or even jail time. If you have been charged with a dangerous weapons violation for carrying a taser or stun gun, you should speak with a knowledgeable East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have been providing much-needed legal counsel to clients throughout Connecticut for more than 20 years. Call us today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/article/police-tasers.html

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_943.htm#sec_53-206

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_529.htm#sec_29-38

https://www.stun-gun-defense-products.com/buy-stun-gun/connecticut-stun-gun-laws.html

 

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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorneySince the 1990s, many states across the country have legalized marijuana for medical use, but it was not until just a few years ago that recreational marijuana was legalized. In 2012, Colorado and Washington state became the first two states to legalize the recreational sale, possession, and use of recreational marijuana. Since then, there have been nine other states that have legalized recreational marijuana; however, it still remains illegal on the federal level. One of the biggest oppositions to fully legalizing marijuana is the fear that legalization will increase crime. However, just the opposite is one of the reasons people want to legalize it; they think it will reduce crime.

Studies Show Crime Rates Are Either Unaffected or Decreased

According to the Reason Foundation, studies have been conducted in various states that have legalized recreational marijuana to determine what effect, if any, the legalization has had on the crime rate. In Washington state, the number of adults over the age of 21 who were arrested for marijuana possession fell by 98 percent, while the number of those under the age of 21 convicted of possession fell by 50 percent. In Colorado, the number of cases of illegal marijuana cultivation, distribution, and possession fell by 85 percent. Other states such as Alaska and Oregon have seen similar situations.

The Reason Foundation also states that jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana for medical uses have also seen a decrease in the number of opioid overdoses. Other studies have found that property crime has not increased as some people feared it would. In fact, property crime actually fell in neighborhoods in Colorado that opened marijuana dispensaries.

Traffic Crimes and DUI

Another concern that people have when it comes to legalizing marijuana is how it will affect the rate of traffic crimes and DUI in those states. The Reason Foundation reports that in general, the number of drivers who tested positive for THC in states with legalized marijuana has increased, but that it has not been a clear picture of how many of those drivers are actually impaired. Unlike alcohol, there is not yet a way to determine how impaired a person is from THC because THC is not processed the same by everyone’s body. However, three studies have found that traffic fatalities have declined in some states for crashes involving medical marijuana.

Contact a Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney

In the state of Connecticut, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational marijuana is not. Even though low-level possession charges are handled similarly to traffic tickets, you can still face serious consequences for certain marijuana or other drug-related charges. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you form a strong defense for any type of drug charge that you may be facing. Call our knowledgeable Hartford, CT drug crimes defense lawyers today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://reason.org/wp-content/uploads/does-legalizing-marijuana-reduce-crime.pdf

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-the-numbers-show-about-the-impact-of-legalizing-marijuana-2019-04-09

https://cannabisoffers.net/blog/marijuana-criminal-statistics/

 

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East Hartford criminal defense attorney jury trialRacism is not an issue that is new to our country — this has been a very problematic issue in the United States for the entirety of the country’s 244-year existence. Even before the country was established, the slave trade was alive and well. By 1865, however, slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and made owning a human being illegal. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s brought about the next biggest racial change in the country — segregation was ended. Now, in recent years, we have seen a new movement emerging, one that was ignited by multiple unjustified killings of black men by police officers. This new movement has been dubbed the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and is a call for racial equality, especially within our criminal justice system.

Understanding Systemic Racism

When you use the term systemic racism, people often incorrectly interpret that as meaning that all of the people involved in the criminal justice system are racist. In actuality, systemic racism refers to the policies and procedures that produce results that seem to disproportionately punish people of color more often than people who are white. Many of the elements contained within modern-day law enforcement were introduced and kept on permanently during the Jim Crow era.

Over the years, hundreds of studies have been conducted on the outcomes of the current criminal justice system to determine if the system really is punishing people of color more frequently. Many, if not most, studies have produced data that is hard to argue with. In nearly all areas, such as arrests, traffic violations, prison populations, and even the death penalty, people of color are disproportionally affected.

  • Profiling: Racial profiling is something that is rampant in the criminal justice system. Even if it may not be a conscious decision, it still happens. Multiple studies have recorded arrests and have come to the conclusion that people of color are disproportionately arrested, pulled over, or subject to vehicle and/or body searches more than white people in the same situations. For example, one study conducted in Connecticut in 2017 found that while racial disparity had narrowed in recent years, black drivers were still more likely to be searched after traffic stops for cell phone, seat belt, license, or registration violations.

  • Prison Population: People of color also make up a disproportionate section of the prison population. Data from the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission states that blacks are eight times more likely to be incarcerated than white people, with Hispanics being about five times more likely. The Pew Research Center has compiled information on prison populations across the United States. According to their research, blacks made up around 12 percent of the U.S. population, yet they accounted for nearly 33 percent of the nation’s prison population. In comparison, whites make up about 64 percent of the general population, yet they only make up around 30 percent of the prison population.

Contact a Hartford, CT Criminal Defense Attorney

Systemic racism is a difficult issue and something that cannot be solved overnight. It will take years of change on the legal, procedural, and social levels to truly abolish systemic racism. If you believe you have been unjustly treated by police officers or you have been the target of an arrest because of your race or ethnicity, you should speak with a knowledgeable East Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyer. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we will utilize our vast legal experience to help you resolve your situation. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.

 

Source:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/opinions/systemic-racism-police-evidence-criminal-justice-system/

 

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Hartford computer crimes defense lawyerDuring your daily routine, you come into contact with a wide variety of computers and electronic devices. These may include cell phones, smart appliances, AI digital assistants, vehicles, home security systems, and much more. Computers play a huge role in our daily lives, and they often contain secure and personal information that is meant to be private. To address privacy concerns and ensure that sensitive data remains secure, there are laws in place that protect this information and punish those who commit computer crimes, or “hacking.” In Connecticut, computer crimes are addressed in the state’s criminal statutes, and there are a variety of actions and situations that could result in these types of charges.

What Constitutes Computer Crime?

According to the Connecticut criminal statute, there are five ways you can be charged with computer crime. Computer crime occurs when a person:

  • Accesses or causes to be accessed a computer system for which he or she has no authorization to access;
  • Accesses or otherwise uses a computer system for the purpose of gaining unauthorized computer services;
  • Intentionally or recklessly disrupts or denies computer services to an authorized user of a computer system;
  • Misuses computer system information through actions such as copying confidential data, deleting or damaging computer system data, or receiving or retaining data obtained through unauthorized access; or
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroys, tampers with, takes, alters, damages, or otherwise ruins any equipment used in a computer system.

Degrees of Computer Crime

Computer crimes are grouped into five different degrees based on the value of the property or computer services that were allegedly damaged or stolen. Fifth-degree computer crimes involving damages or theft of less than $500 will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. The charges for higher-value property or services, with the most serious offense being first-degree computer crimes involving damages of theft of more than $10,000. This is a Class B felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Our Knowledgeable Connecticut Computer Crime Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you have been charged with a computer crime, you may be facing either misdemeanor or felony charges, and a conviction could result in serious consequences that can affect you for the rest of your life. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have experience representing clients facing allegations of multiple different types of computer crimes. If you are accused of committing one of these offenses, contact our Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney today. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 860-290-8690.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-250

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-35a

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