Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

Hartford weapons charges lawyerIn 2012, Connecticut saw one of the worst school shootings in history. Twenty first-grade children and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Since then, there has been a massive overhaul in gun laws in the state of Connecticut, making them more strict than ever. Disobeying gun laws can mean years in prison and hefty fines, which is why it is crucial for anyone facing weapons charges to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.

Types of Weapons and Charges

Connecticut law recognizes four types of firearms. The categories of firearms are as follows:

  • Handguns: Both pistols and revolvers fall under the category of handguns. State law defines a pistol or revolver as a firearm having a barrel less than 12 inches in length. You must have a gun permit to be in legal possession of a handgun, and you must have it on your person at all times when you are carrying a handgun. Not carrying your permit when you are carrying your handgun is an infraction that can result in a fine of $35. If you carry a handgun without acquiring a permit, you will face up to five years in prison (one year is mandatory) and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Long guns: Both rifles and shotguns are referred to as long guns. Technically, you do not have to have a permit to obtain or possess a long gun. You are barred from possessing a long gun if you are a convicted felon, if you were convicted of a serious juvenile offense, if you have a restraining order or protective order against you, if you were adjudicated as a mental defective, or if you were committed to a mental institution. Illegal possession of a long gun has a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Assault weapons: An assault weapon is defined as a selective-fire firearm that is capable of fully automatic, semi-automatic, or burst fire. This includes any parts or combination of parts that convert a firearm into an assault weapon. In Connecticut, it is illegal to sell, trade, or possess an assault weapon. Possession of an assault weapon carries a minimum one year jail sentence.
  • Machine guns: A machine gun is defined as a weapon that can automatically shoot more than one projectile by a single function of the trigger, without reloading. A machine gun is presumed to be used for an offensive or aggressive purpose if the weapon is somewhere that is not owned or rented as a primary residence or business operation by the person who possessed the gun, if it is possessed by an illegal alien, if it is possessed by a person who was convicted of a violent crime, if it is unregistered, or when empty or loaded projectiles are found in the immediate vicinity of the gun. Violating machine gun possession laws will result in a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or 5 to 10 years in prison.

Contact a Hartford, CT Weapons Charges Defense Attorney Today

In recent years, guns have been a hot topic. Now more than ever, state law enforcement officials have cracked down on the illegal and criminal use, possession, and transfer of firearms. If you have been arrested on weapons charges, you could be facing serious and extensive fines and jail time. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you fight any weapons charges you may be facing. Our skilled Connecticut criminal defense lawyer can help you determine the best course of action for your case. 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-217a

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_943.htm#sec_53-202

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Hartford truck accident lawyer driver fatigueThe trucking industry in the United States is alive and well. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there were 33.8 million trucks registered in the U.S. and used for business purposes in 2015. Trucks were responsible for moving 71% of America’s freight by weight and generated nearly $739 billion in gross revenues in 2016. Though it is safe to say that trucks are an integral part of the country’s economic system, they can be quite dangerous, especially if they are involved in a motor vehicle collision, which is not uncommon. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were an estimated 119,000 injury crashes and 4,213 fatal crashes involving trucks in 2016.

The Scope of the Problem

The FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study in 2007 to try to pinpoint certain causes of semi-truck crashes. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study looked at a multitude of different truck crashes over a span of multiple years and determined what they believe to be some of the top causes of truck crashes. According to the study, driver fatigue was estimated to cause around 13 percent of all large truck crashes.

What Causes Driver Fatigue?

Because of the nature of the business, there are several reasons why truck drivers may experience fatigue when they are driving. Commercial truck drivers work long hours and often do not get the breaks that they need to keep themselves and others on the road safe. Truck drivers are also under strict deadlines, which is why some drivers disobey the hours of service rules, which were designed to limit the amount of time a driver is behind the wheel.

Hours of Service Regulations

The hours of service regulations were put into place to ensure that truck drivers do not drive for too long without a break or without sleep. The general rule of thumb is that a driver may not drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. In addition, drivers must take at least eight consecutive hours in their sleeper berth, plus another two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of the two.

These regulations were put into place by the FMCSA to protect the safety of both truck drivers and other drivers on the road. If the truck driver knowingly violated these regulations, both the trucking company and the truck driver could be held responsible if an accident occurs.

Have You or a Loved One Been Hurt in a Truck Accident? A Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we know how dangerous truck accidents can be. Being involved in a truck accident can cause serious injuries such as spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer truck, our skilled Hartford, CT truck accident lawyer can help you fight for compensation for your injuries. Do not delay — call our office today at 860-290-8690 to set up your free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.trucking.org/News_and_Information_Reports_Industry_Data.aspx

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations

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Hartford DUI defense attorney marijuana impairmentThe United States has a long and complicated history with cannabis. Back in colonial times, hemp — which is a non-intoxicating strain of the cannabis plant — was a very important crop for early settlers. Virginia even passed a law in 1619 requiring every farm in the colony to grow hemp. By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed and effectively banned the sale and use of marijuana, though the act was replaced by the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s.

Now that 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, the prevalence of marijuana-related DUI is of concern to lawmakers across the country. In the state of Connecticut, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational marijuana is not legal — yet.

Current Connecticut Marijuana DUI Laws

Like most states, Connecticut’s laws concerning DUI mostly refer to alcohol, but they do mention drugs as well. According to Connecticut law, operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating drug is illegal. Penalties for a drug DUI can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case. For a basic DUI charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, a conviction can get you up to a six-month jail sentence, $500 to $1,000 in fines, and a 45-day driver’s license suspension, with the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed in the driver’s vehicle for one year after the conviction.

Testing for Marijuana Intoxication

While there are laws governing the use of marijuana and other intoxicating drugs while driving a motor vehicle, it is difficult to test for marijuana intoxication. For alcohol, a simple breathalyzer test can determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration within a few seconds, and a person is considered intoxicated if they are above the legal limit of .08%. However, there is currently no certified, simple test that does the same for marijuana, and in Connecticut, there is no specified legal limit for what is considered intoxication by marijuana.

Drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. If the test results do not match up with the level of intoxication the officer believes they have observed, then the officer can request that the driver take a second test, which is either a blood or a urine test. Neither the blood or urine tests are very accurate when it comes to marijuana detection. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is stored in fat cells, meaning a blood test might not be an accurate reading of the THC in a person’s body. Urine tests are not perfect either, as the rate of THC metabolization can vary significantly from person to person. Due to these factors, a prosecutor may be unable to prove that a driver was under the influence of marijuana.

Contact a Knowledgeable Hartford, CT DUI Defense Attorney Today

For many Americans, medical marijuana is a therapeutic way to treat their ailments. While medical cannabis is legal in Connecticut, and the legalization of recreational marijuana is being considered, it is still illegal for citizens to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. If you have been charged with a DUI related to marijuana use, you need the help of a skilled Connecticut marijuana DUI defense lawyer. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you build a strong defense against marijuana DUI charges. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.theday.com/article/20190218/NWS01/190219437

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_248.htm#sec_14-227a

https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-connecticut-recreational-marijuana-bill-20190118-gitfeoypfbfp7dwoixl2qfdhce-story.html

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Hartford child pornography charges defense attorneySex crimes are some of the most serious offenses a person can be charged with. When sex crimes involve children, the situation becomes even more serious, and the penalties can be severe. An arrest, or even an accusation, for crimes related to the possession or distribution of child pornography can follow you for your entire life. If convicted of child pornography charges, you will be required to register as a sex offender in the state of Connecticut, which can make your life even more difficult.

Those who have been accused of crimes related to child pornography will likely be worried about how their life will be affected. Unfortunately, these types of charges can result from seemingly innocuous activities or because of the actions of another person, and an alleged offender will likely wonder how their career, personal relationships, and criminal record will be affected. If you are facing child pornography charges, it is imperative that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Connecticut Child Pornography Charges

In the state of Connecticut, child pornography is defined as any visual depiction that portrays sexually explicit content involving a person under the age of 16, such as a photograph, film, videotape, or computer-generated image. The sexually explicit content can include sexual intercourse, masturbation, or portrayal of the genital areas.

There are a couple of different crimes you could be charged with when it comes to child pornography. These include:

  • Importing child pornography: A person is guilty of importing child pornography if he or she knowingly imports three or more visual depictions of child pornography into the state of Connecticut with the intent to promote child pornography. This is a Class B felony which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.
  • Possession of child pornography (first degree): First-degree child pornography possession occurs when a person possesses 50 or more depictions of child pornography, which can include materials that depict bodily injury to a child, more than one child partaking in sexual acts, or multiple sexual acts by one child. This is a Class B felony which also carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.
  • Possession of child pornography (second degree): This occurs when a person knowingly possesses 20 to 50 depictions of child pornography. This is a Class C felony which carries a sentence of 1 to 10 years in prison.
  • Possession of child pornography (third degree): This occurs when a person knowingly possesses less than 20 depictions of child pornography. This is a Class D felony which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Federal Child Pornography Charges

Like most crimes, child pornography may involve both state charges and federal charges. Federal charges of sexual exploitation of children may apply when a person persuades, entices, or coerces a minor into engaging in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of producing depictions of the conduct, and that person knows the depictions will be transported or transmitted through interstate or foreign commerce. A person convicted of sexual exploitation of children faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison.

Contact a Tenacious Hartford, CT Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

Being accused of child pornography is one of the most serious charges a person can face. If you have been charged with possessing, transmitting, or distributing child pornography, being represented by a knowledgeable Hartford child pornography defense lawyer is the best action you could take. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we understand the gravity of child pornography charges, and we will help you determine your best options for defense while working to protect your rights and your reputation during the entire legal process. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-196c

https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/citizens-guide-us-federal-law-child-pornography

https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/child-pornography

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