East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney cell phone evidence

In today’s world, our cell phones have become a normal and natural part of our lives. Even just 20 years ago, most people did not own a mobile phone, and the ones who did own them had phones that were nowhere near as powerful as the ones we have today. Smartphones are convenient for many everyday tasks, but they also pose valid privacy concerns for users because of data collection from nearly every app on your device. In some cases, this data may even be used to arrest, charge, or even convict you of a crime in Connecticut.

How Is My Data Being Collected?

Many cell phone users’ personal data is being collected, stored, and sold off without their knowledge. You may wonder how this might happen -- the apps on your phone, in fact, are responsible for most of this data collection. Data trackers are hidden and embedded into many apps that are readily available on the App Store and Google Play. These trackers collect all kinds of information and personal data about you, sell it, and transmit it to various third parties, who are often advertisers. However, advertisers are not the only ones interested in personal data. Recently, it was discovered that location data was being sold to law enforcement to help detain undocumented immigrants. 

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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

The entire country has seen changes like never before due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly every aspect of life has been affected by this public health crisis -- even the criminal justice system. Across the country, court systems have been operating with the bare minimum staff in only a handful of open courthouses. However, even with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, some municipalities are planning to or have already begun to reopen. The state of Connecticut is one such municipality that has begun to reopen courthouses.

Barriers to Reopening

Reopening courthouses in the midst of a pandemic pose a challenge for the criminal justice system. COVID-19 is a virus that is mainly spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when you talk, sneeze, and cough. Being in close contact with people, which is closer than six feet apart from another person, increases the chances of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. In criminal matters, close contact with other people is often unavoidable. The accused are often subject to pre-trial detention in close quarters. Judges, lawyers, jury members, and other court staff, in addition to the accused, are subject to confined rooms with poor ventilation for most of the day, during which many people speak for extended periods of time.

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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.

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Connecticut quarantine violation lawyer coronavirus COVID-19The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is increasing by the day, and some states have started to take more serious measures to prevent the spread of the infection. A majority of the states in the country have some sort of quarantine or stay-at-home order that prohibits people from leaving their homes except for work or travel that is deemed “essential.” In an unprecedented development, some states have even begun to implement coronavirus checkpoints to screen travelers as they come in and out of the state. Those who are planning to travel should be sure to understand their rights and be aware of the potential criminal consequences they could face for a violation.

Checkpoints Intend to Stop Spread of Coronavirus

Some states are stopping all vehicles that have out-of-state license plates and requiring them and their passengers to sign a form promising that they will self-quarantine for 14 days. Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas are also requiring travelers to provide an address where they will quarantine and a warning that they could be subject to an unannounced follow-up visit from public health officials at any time. Those who violate the quarantine requirements could face fines or even criminal charges.

States are still allowing travelers to enter and have not denied anyone entrance, though some smaller communities have. The Florida Keys and the Outer Banks in North Carolina have begun to deny non-residents entry into their communities. Everyone who tries to get into these communities is asked for their ID. Unless they have a local address or other proof of residency, they are denied entry.

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Hartford criminal defense lawyer coronavirus COVID-19The United States has quickly become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases surpassing even China, the country where the virus originated. As of April 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were more than 600,000 cases in the U.S., with more than 24,000 related deaths. Because of the ability of the virus to spread so rapidly, states have been doing what they can to curb the spread. Recently, more individuals have become concerned with the prison population and how states are taking measures to protect inmates.

Problems With Prisons and COVID-19

The CDC has issued certain guidelines for people to follow to decrease their risk of contracting COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. These guidelines include social distancing, meaning keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others, wearing cloth masks to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading, and frequent and thorough hand washing with warm water and soap. In prison, many of these guidelines are impossible to adhere to. Because of this, the number of inmates and correctional workers who have tested positive for the virus is increasing. In Connecticut, there are currently 166 inmates and 104 staff members who have tested positive for the virus.

Connecticut Still Has No Official Plans for Inmate Release

In light of this, the state of Connecticut has still not released an official plan for inmate release. However, some inmates have been released from custody, according to information from Rollin Cook, the Department of Corrections commissioner. Cook stated that the inmate population in Connecticut has dipped below 12,000, the first time it has done so in 25 years. He also stated that the releases have not been mass releases, but releases have been limited to inmates who are elderly or have medical conditions that cause them to be considered high risk.

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Logo Image 50 Founders Plaza
East Hartford, CT 06108
Phone: 860-290-8690
Fax: 860-290-8697
We are available by appointment during evening and weekend hours, if necessary.

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