Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

Hartford federal crime defense attorney for money laundering chargesIn many cases, alleged criminal activity that occurs in the United States involves earning money through illegal means. When businesses need to deal with cash, they may take steps to ensure that they can use, move, and store money. In some cases, this can result in accusations of money laundering, which occurs when profits from alleged illegal activity are made to seem legal. A person who is accused of money laundering may face criminal charges under state laws, but also federal laws in some situations.

What Is Money Laundering?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), money laundering is the process in which the true origins of profits earned through criminal acts are concealed, and a person makes it look as though money was earned through legitimate means. There are many ways that money can be laundered. One of the most common methods is to funnel cash through a legitimate business. Money laundering can also be done by “smurfing” or “structuring,” which occurs when a person breaks up large amounts of cash and deposits it into multiple accounts in smaller quantities. Whatever the method of money laundering, it is illegal, and it can result in serious consequences.

Consequences Under Connecticut Law

Connecticut law defines four degrees of money laundering:

  • First-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person exchanges or receives more than $10,000 that was earned through the commission of a felony. In these cases, a person must have intended to conceal that the profits were earned through the illegal sale of controlled substances. This is a Class B felony which can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 20 years.
  • Second-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person intended to conceal that more than $10,000 was gained through a felony crime other than the sale of controlled substances. This is a Class C felony which can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years.
  • Third-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person concealed more than $10,000 with the knowledge that money was derived illegally and that it will aid another person in committing or benefiting from criminal activity. This is a Class D felony which can result in a prison sentence of one to five years.
  • Fourth-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person concealed less than $10,000 that was gained through felonious criminal activity. This is a Class A misdemeanor which can result in a prison sentence of up to one year.

In addition to a prison sentence, a person convicted of money laundering may be fined up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the money that was laundered, whichever is greater. Second or subsequent offenses can result in fines of up to $500,000 or five times the amount of money that was laundered.

Federal Penalties

Money laundering is also a federal crime, and federal charges may apply in cases involving large amounts of money or criminal activity that crosses state lines or international borders. Federal money laundering laws apply to those who commit money laundering, those who aid in money laundering, or those who have knowledge that the money laundering is occurring.

Federal money laundering charges will typically fall into one of two categories:

  • Engaging in a financial transaction involving money or property derived from certain specified criminal activities, including drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, or fraud, is an offense that can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the amount of money that was laundered, as well as civil penalties of $10,000 or the amount of money that was laundered. In these cases, a person must have intended to promote criminal activity, known that their transaction was meant to conceal that money was obtained through illegal activity, or intended to avoid reporting requirements under state or federal laws.
  • Engaging in a monetary transaction of at least $10,000 with the knowledge that the money was obtained through specified illegal activities is an offense that can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of money that was laundered. In these cases, a transaction must have been conducted through a financial institution.

To help address potential money laundering, the IRS requires individuals and businesses to use Form 8300 to report cash transactions in which they receive over $10,000, as well as “suspicious” cash transactions of $10,000 or less. Notably, “cash” includes cashier’s checks, bank drafts, money orders, or traveler’s checks. Failure to meet these reporting requirements can result in steep fines or other penalties.

Contact a Hartford, CT Money Laundering Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with money laundering, you may be facing multiple other charges as well. These charges are taken very seriously by the state of Connecticut and the federal government. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have handled hundreds of criminal defense cases in both Connecticut and federal courts. Our skilled Connecticut white collar crime defense lawyer has the knowledge to help you avoid a conviction or minimize the consequences you may face. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.


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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for deadly weapons chargesThe deadly shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in 2012 shook the country and especially the state of Connecticut. Shortly after the tragedy, the state’s lawmakers enacted several new laws pertaining to firearms, one of which created what is known as the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry. This is a non-public registry, and those who have been convicted of criminal charges involving a deadly weapon are required to submit their personal information to the registry and maintain this registration for five years after their release from prison. While the registry functions similar to the sex offender registry, some are arguing that the registry should not be made public or should not exist at all.

Who Is Required to Register?

The current law states that any person who is convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect for a crime involving a deadly weapon is required to register within 14 days of being released back into the community. Connecticut law defines a deadly weapon as “any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, bill, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.” There are 42 offenses for which convicted offenders must submit their information to the registry, including:

  • Carrying a handgun without a permit
  • Committing murder, assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, or burglary with a firearm
  • Committing a felony crime that involves threatening the use of a firearm
  • Criminal possession of a handgun
  • Theft of a firearm
  • Selling or transferring a handgun to an ineligible person
  • Possession of a sawed-off shotgun or silencer

Should the List Be Made Public?

Many people, including lawmakers, have questioned the effectiveness of the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry. Some say that the list should be made public, just like the sex offender registry, which can be accessed online. Others say that the weapons offender registry is used for police purposes only and would not serve any use to the public, except for vigilantes who might take matters into their own hands. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has opposed making the list public, since releasing this information would create significant privacy concerns for those on the list.

Consult With a Connecticut Weapons Crimes Defense Lawyer

There are a wide variety of charges that may require you to submit your information to the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry in Connecticut. Though you only have to be on the registry for five years, this could pose potential issues, especially if you are concerned about your privacy. If you have been accused of committing a crime with a deadly weapon, you should immediately contact a skilled Hartford criminal defense attorney. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we will do everything in our power to help you avoid a conviction at all costs. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.


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Hartford criminal defense lawyer for weapons chargesSince the establishment of the United States, one of the freedoms inherently given to American citizens is the right to gun ownership. The right to bear arms is one of the many unique characteristics of the U.S., but this “right” is commonly restricted and regulated by state governments. One of the many ways the use and possession of firearms is regulated is by requiring some kind of permit or license to legally purchase and possess a firearm. Each state has its own laws, but Connecticut tends to be more strict with its gun laws than many other states.

Carrying Permits

Anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm in Connecticut must obtain an Eligibility Certificate. This will allow you to buy a gun and transport it to your home or place of business. However, before you can carry a handgun on your person, you must apply for and receive a permit for carrying a pistol or revolver. This permit is broad; Connecticut law does not specify whether the permit applies to open carry or concealed carry, just carrying a pistol in general. If you plan on carrying a handgun in any place other than your home or place of business, you must have a valid pistol permit on your person.

Before receiving a Connecticut State Pistol Permit, you must first apply for and receive a temporary local pistol permit from the chief of police in your town or city. Connecticut is a “may issue” state, which means local law enforcement has the right to decide whether or not a permit can be issued to a person. There are also certain requirements that must be met before a permit will be issued. Connecticut law states that a permit may be issued to a person who:

  • Is at least 21 years old
  • Lives in the jurisdiction they are applying in
  • Has completed the required firearms safety training in a course that is approved by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection
  • Plans to use the handgun for lawful purposes only
  • Has not been convicted of a felony or crimes such as criminally negligent homicide, assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint, riot, or stalking
  • Has not been convicted as a delinquent for a serious juvenile offense
  • Has not been released from custody after being found not guilty of a crime because of a mental disease or defect within the past 20 years
  • Is not subject to a restraining order or protective order
  • Is not subject to a firearms seizure order because of a risk of personal injury to self or others
  • Is not prohibited from possessing a firearm or adjudicated as mentally incompetent under federal law

Penalties for Weapons Law Violations

If you have received a pistol permit but are carrying a handgun without having your permit on your person, you can be fined $35. If you are caught carrying a firearm when you have not had a permit issued to you, you can face Class D felony charges, which can result in one to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. A handgun found in your possession during this type of violation will be forfeited.

Contact a Hartford, CT Gun Crimes Defense Lawyer

Because of the risks of violence, gun crimes are taken very seriously. If you are facing weapons charges in Connecticut, you should immediately talk with a Connecticut criminal defense attorney who has up-to-date knowledge of the state’s ever-changing gun laws. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we take all criminal defense cases very seriously, including those involving weapons charges. We will do everything in our power to protect your Second Amendment rights. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.


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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.


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