Hartford criminal law attorney police interrogationIf you are arrested because you are suspected of committing a crime, there are certain procedures that must be followed. Before police can begin to interrogate you or ask you questions, they are required to read you your rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. These rights, known as Miranda Rights, include your right to remain silent or not incriminate yourself, your right to an attorney (or if you cannot afford an attorney, your right to have an attorney appointed for you at no cost), and your right to have your attorney present before you answer any questions.

Protecting the Constitutional rights of citizens has always been of great importance to both the federal government and individual state governments. Because of this, supreme courts often hear cases that assert that people were wrongly convicted of a crime because their Constitutional rights were violated. This is exactly the case in a recent appeals case heard by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The Right to an Attorney During Interrogation

Earlier this month, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on State v. Purcell, a case concerning a man arrested on sexual assault charges who was denied counsel after he made repeated, though indirect, statements about having an attorney present. The man was convicted of three counts of risk of injury to a child and received a sentence of 16 years in prison, suspended after 9 years, plus 10 years of probation. The man appealed the conviction, but the appellate court upheld the decision.

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Hartford sexual assault defense attorney minor victimSex crimes are some of the most serious and harshly punished crimes there are. Even just being accused of a sex crime can have a negative and long-lasting impact on your life. The state of Connecticut does not take kindly to those who are convicted of being a sex offender, and consequences can be even more severe for those who are convicted of a sex offense involving a minor child. If you are convicted of a sex crime in Connecticut, you could a face long prison sentence, extremely expensive fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.

Types of Sex Offenses Upon a Minor

In Connecticut, sex offenses are broken down into degrees. Though all sex offenses are extremely serious, first-degree sexual assault is the most harshly punished, and fourth-degree sexual assault is one of the lesser offenses. When it comes to sexual offenses involving victims who are minors, the same laws apply as if the victim was an adult, but the charges automatically become much more serious, and the consequences become more harsh.

In Connecticut, a minor is defined as a person under the age of 16. However, if the alleged perpetrator of sexual assault is in a supervisory position over the alleged victim, such as a coach or teacher, they can be charged with sexual assault of a minor, even if the alleged victim is 18 years old. In addition, anyone charged with Sexual Assault of a Minor will automatically be charged with Risk of Injury to a Minor under Connecticut General Statute 53-21.

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Hartford, CT sexual assault defense attorneyOne of the most notorious and discussed news stories about sexual violence on a college campus in recent years is that of Brock Turner, a Stanford University student who was charged with sexual assault in 2016. Though Turner was convicted, he only ended up receiving a sentence of six months in jail, and he only actually served three of those months. This case sparked a great deal of conversation about how sexual assault charges are handled and the potential punishments that college students and others may face in these situations.

Connecticut Laws on Sexual Assault

There are several different degrees of sexual assault that a person can be charged with in Connecticut, and they all carry different consequences. Sexual assault charges in Connecticut are as follows:

  • First-Degree Sexual Assault: This occurs when a person engages in sexual intercourse with another person by using force or the threat of force. This is a Class B felony, meaning there is a possible sentence of at least 10 years in prison. A prison sentence can be suspended, but the perpetrator must serve at least two years.
  • Aggravated First-Degree Sexual Assault: This occurs when a person commits first-degree sexual assault and uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, intends to hurt the victim, displays indifference to human life, or is aided by two or more people. This is a Class B felony, which means the person will be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. A prison sentence can be suspended or reduced, but the perpetrator must serve at least five years.
  • Second-Degree Sexual Assault: This encompasses a range of different offenses, but one of the most common ways a college student may commit second-degree sexual assault is by engaging in sexual intercourse with a person who is helpless or cannot consent to the intercourse. This is a Class C felony and can result in a sentence of 1 to 10 years in prison. At least nine months of the sentence cannot be suspended or reduced.
  • Third-Degree Sexual Assault: This occurs when a person engages in sexual contact (rather than sexual intercourse) with another person through the use of force. This is a Class D felony and can result in one to five years in prison.
  • Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault: This occurs when a person commits sexual contact with a person who is helpless or cannot consent to the contact. This can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.

Other Consequences

Jail time is not the only consequence that comes with a sexual assault conviction or accusation. A person convicted of these charges will also face hefty fines that can range up to $20,000. College students also have other things they should be worried about if they are accused of sexual assault. Many college campuses have adopted zero tolerance policies for sexual violence. A conviction or accusation can result in suspension or expulsion from one’s school, a loss of a scholarship, or other consequences. A sexual assault conviction will also jeopardize a person’s ability to receive student loans and other financial aid, and it can hurt one’s chances of finding a job after college.

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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.

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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.

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