b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2087573356_20220519-170428_1.jpgMinors who are charged with crimes and involved in juvenile delinquency proceedings or criminal cases in adult courts may face multiple types of consequences. In addition to criminal penalties, such as being placed in juvenile detention, paying fines or restitution, performing community service, and serving a sentence of probation, a person may face a number of other consequences. A criminal record can limit a person’s future job prospects, their ability to pursue an education or find housing, and multiple other areas of their life. Unfortunately, the mistakes made by a young person could follow them for the rest of their life.

Criminal justice advocates believe that juvenile offenders deserve the chance to put criminal offenses behind them as they move forward into adulthood. Multiple scientific studies have shown that when people are in their teens and early twenties, their brains are still developing, and they may not fully be able to understand the consequences of their actions or have the ability to control impulses. Because of this, minors who are charged or convicted of crimes will be likely to outgrow this behavior and avoid criminal activity in the future. However, a criminal record can make it difficult to do so. To address this issue, advocates are calling for changes to laws to ensure that juvenile criminal records can be expunged or kept confidential.

How Connecticut Law Addresses Juvenile Records

The laws that address criminal records for juvenile offenders differ significantly from state to state. Some states provide for the automatic expungement of criminal records after a minor reaches adulthood, while others require juveniles to apply for expungement. Fortunately for those who live in Connecticut, the state’s laws provide minors with protection and help ensure that they can receive the fresh start they deserve once they have served their sentences.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1029053185.jpgThere are a variety of situations where a person may be accused of committing crimes involving theft or misappropriation of money. Many of these cases fall under the category of white-collar crimes, which typically involve the theft or misuse of people’s financial information or other actions in which a person obtains money fraudulently. White-collar criminal cases will often involve accusations of wire fraud, and in some situations, a person may face federal charges. According to the FBI, instances of wire fraud have increased significantly over the past few years. Those who are accused of these types of crimes will need to understand the nature of an offense and the potential penalties they may face if they are convicted.

What Is Wire Fraud?

Fraud includes any actions in which a person obtains money or property through false pretenses. When these actions involve the use of electronic communications, including phones or internet services, they may be considered wire fraud. Because wire fraud will often involve messages or other forms of communication that are transmitted across multiple states, these offenses may be prosecuted at the federal level.

Examples of wire fraud include:

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connecticut criminal defense lawyerDefendants in criminal cases will often struggle to determine how they can protect their rights, respond to accusations by police officers and prosecutors, and resolve these matters in a way that will allow them to avoid being convicted or reduce their potential consequences. While all defendants may experience difficulties as they determine how to defend against criminal charges, minorities are likely to face more serious charges and consequences. A recent report that showed how Connecticut’s legal system is biased against minorities demonstrates the importance of working with an experienced attorney to defend against criminal charges.

Criminal Case Dispositions for Minorities in 2020

The Connecticut legislature has required prosecutors to collect demographic information about defendants and provide annual reports on the dispositions of criminal cases. The report for 2020 showed that while the total number of criminal cases decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the same types of disparities continued to affect minorities as in previous years. Findings of the report included:

  • While white people make up 67 percent of Connecticut's population, they only accounted for 46 percent of the dispositions in criminal cases. 11 percent of people in Connecticut are Black, but Black defendants accounted for 28 percent of criminal dispositions. Hispanic people make up 17 percent of the state’s population, but they accounted for 23 percent of criminal dispositions.

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Connecticut Criminal Defense LawyerHigh-speed car chases can be exciting in movies or TV shows, but when they take place in the real world, they are likely to cause serious injuries or deaths. When police officers choose to chase a vehicle, they often put multiple people at risk, including innocent bystanders such as pedestrians and people in other vehicles. While officers may pursue a person for a variety of reasons, often claiming that doing so is necessary to protect public safety, most police chases involve minor traffic violations rather than serious criminal charges

Injuries and Deaths in Police Chases

Determining the actual number of people who have been injured or killed because of police chases is somewhat difficult. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the primary source of data regarding traffic-related deaths. However, reports to the NHTSA by police departments do not always state that deaths occurred in a police chase, and records may not indicate whether a person who was killed was a participant in a chase or an innocent bystander. Determining the number of people injured is even more difficult since the NHTSA only tracks fatal accidents.

By analyzing data from the past several decades, researchers have estimated that an average of 323 people are killed each year in police chases, and innocent bystanders account for 27 percent of these deaths. While the actual number of injuries suffered in police chases is unknown, it is estimated that as many as 7,400 people per year are injured. Minorities are disproportionately affected, with Black people being three times more likely to be killed in police chases as either suspects or bystanders.

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Hartford criminal defense lawyerThe actions of police officers in criminal cases have come under scrutiny in recent years. In many cases, criminal charges are based on evidence uncovered during police searches. While search warrants are usually required before police officers can search a person’s home or property, there are some situations where police have claimed that they are allowed to conduct searches without obtaining a warrant. Some recent rulings by the Supreme Court have limited the types of warrantless searches that police can perform, and this may affect the types of evidence that can be used against those who are facing criminal charges.

Warrantless Searches and Community Caretaking

In May 2021, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Caniglia v. Strom, in which a Rhode Island man’s weapons were confiscated by police officers. Following an argument between the man and his wife, police were asked to perform a wellness check, and they informed the man that if he agreed to a mental health evaluation, his legally obtained weapons would not be confiscated. However, while the man was receiving the evaluation, the officers entered his home and took his weapons, claiming that this was done for “safekeeping.”

The key issue in this case involved whether the officers were allowed to enter and search the man’s home without a warrant because they were performing “community caretaking” functions. In the past, police have been able to receive exceptions to the Fourth Amendment requirement to obtain a search warrant in cases where they were performing these types of functions. However, advocates for civil liberties have stated that “community caretaking” has not been well-defined, and even though this exception was originally meant to allow police to search a vehicle that had been impounded, it has been used in a wide variety of situations to justify searches of people’s homes.

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