Connecticut criminal defense attorney for probation or parole violationIf you are convicted of criminal charges, you could be sentenced to probation,  and depending on the circumstances of your situation, probation may be sentenced in lieu of jail time, or you may be subject to a period of probation after a jail sentence has been completed. While probation may not seem as serious as jail time, , it should not be taken lightly. The same type of seriousness applies if you have been released from your jail sentence early and are on parole. There are certain rules that you must abide by when you are on probation or parole. Violating any of the rules of your probation or parole can result in further consequences, including facing additional jail time or being required to serve the remainder of your jail sentence.

Conditions of Probation and Parole

If you are sentenced to probation, you will be placed under the supervision of the Connecticut Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division. If you are released on parole, you will be under the supervision of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. Normal parole will allow you to be released from prison early if certain conditions are met. In some cases, you may be sentenced to a period of special parole, which must be completed following the completion of a jail sentence. Special parole may be imposed for any criminal offenses other than drug charges.

If you are released from prison on parole, or if you are sentenced to probation or special parole, there are certain rules that you must follow. The court can require offenders to:

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East Hartford criminal defense attorney DNA evidenceHome DNA tests have been gaining popularity in recent years. Some of the biggest players in the home DNA test industry, Ancestry and 23andMe, aim to help people understand their DNA better, from their genealogical roots to their carrier status for certain diseases and their predisposition for certain traits. This technology has allowed people to connect in a way that they never imagined before, but it has also opened the doors for certain ethical considerations, such as whether or not law enforcement officials should be able to access DNA information when investigating those suspected of criminal charges.

Golden State Killer Was Caught Through DNA Use

For decades, the Golden State Killer eluded law enforcement and was able to rape and murder dozens of people. In 2018, law enforcement officials were finally able to charge the man for committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders across California, thanks to help from an online genealogy database, GEDmatch. Using DNA that was recovered from crime scenes throughout the years, they were able to locate distant relatives of the Golden State Killer and eventually ended up at his front door.

Ancestry and 23andMe Say No to Law Enforcement Use

Though data from GEDmatch was used to crack the Golden State Killer case, this service does not offer kits for performing genetic tests. Instead, it allows its users to upload data about their DNA which was obtained through at-home tests from other companies, including Ancestry and 23andMe. GEDmatch allows its users to opt in or out of allowing law enforcement to use their data. However, it was found that when a police officer obtained a warrant to search the site’s database, more than a million profiles of people who had chosen not to be visible to police were in fact included in the search.

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East Hartford family violence defense attorneyDomestic violence is a serious social issue that has received increased attention in recent years. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million people become victims of some form of domestic violence each year in the United States. Because of these harrowing statistics, an increased focus has been placed on prosecuting domestic violence offenders. While this is a valiant effort by lawmakers and law enforcement officials, those who face accusations of domestic violence can have a difficult time proving their innocence and dealing with the effects that these charges can have on their relationships, family life, and reputation. If you have been accused of domestic violence, there are a few things you should do to help your situation.

Connecticut Domestic Violence Laws

In Connecticut, domestic violence is referred to as “family violence.” Connecticut statutes define family violence as any act between family or household members that results in physical injury or creates reasonable fear that physical injury will occur. Family and household members can include:

  • People who are related by blood
  • People who are married or used to be married
  • Roommates or former roommates
  • People who are currently dating or used to date
  • People who have a child in common

The state of Connecticut does not charge domestic violence as an offense separate from other criminal charges. Rather, a violent crime that is perpetrated against a family or household member can be denoted as a family violence offense. An alleged offender will be subject to the sentencing guidelines for the specific crime they are charged with, such as:

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Hartford criminal defense lawyer for digital evidenceTechnology is a common and often unavoidable presence in today’s world. Think about your own life; how often do you use your cell phone? What do you use your cell phone for? If you have ever used apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps to get from place to place, your location has been recorded. Even if you delete phone calls or text message conversations from your phone, the records of these conversations still exist. When it comes to criminal cases, technology has become a commonly-used source of evidence.

Cell Phones and Types of Evidence

Almost everything you do on your cell phone is recorded and stored. Information about any calls you make, any text messages you send, and any apps you use can all be accessed on your cell phone, even if you have attempted to delete those records. There are many different types of cell phone data that can be used in criminal cases, including:

  • History from your internet browser
  • Email messages (when they were sent, who they were sent to, and their content)
  • Call records, such as who you called and when
  • Text messages, what they contained, and who they were sent to
  • GPS and cell tower information, which can be used to attempt to determine the location of the phone

Defendants Often Have Trouble Retrieving Evidence

The United States criminal justice system was founded on the belief that those accused of committing a crime have certain rights. For example, the prosecution has the burden of proof in criminal cases, and prosecutors are required by law to reveal all evidence that they have against the defendant. Though these protections exist, defendants and their attorneys are often still at a disadvantage.

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East Hartford criminal defense lawyer for illegal searchesMany of the laws in the United States were written hundreds of years ago, when the most advanced forms of technology available were bifocal eyeglasses and steamboats. In today’s world, where everything is at your fingertips in the form of a handheld device, the application of these laws can become tricky. In recent years, people have argued that their Fourth Amendment rights have been overstepped at U.S. border checkpoints. Millions of people travel in and out of the United States on a daily basis, and they may be subject to electronic device searches, whether they are U.S. citizens or not. The question is, are these searches legal?

Civil Liberties Advocates Argue for More Privacy

In recent years, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have been searching more and more electronic devices at U.S. borders. In 2015, there were an estimated 8,500 searches conducted on electronic devices at the border. In 2018, there were 33,000 searches conducted, which is a three-fold increase. Many civil liberties advocates, most notably the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have argued that these searches are often done for no apparent reason and violate the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Privacy Advocates

In 2017, a lawsuit was filed against CBP by 11 people (10 of whom are U.S. citizens and one who is a lawful permanent resident) alleging that their electronic devices were taken by CBP, and their personal data was searched for no apparent reason. Recently, a federal judge in Boston ruled that CBP agents cannot take travelers’ electronic devices and conduct suspicionless searches. The U.S. has long asserted that it does not need to issue warrants to search devices at the border, but this judge has concluded that CBP agents must have reasonable suspicion and be able to point to specific facts to justify the search before a search is conducted.

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