Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

Hartford gun crime defense attorneyFirearms have been a part of American history for as long as the United States has been a country. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically gives American people the right to own firearms, but with the invention of new weapon technologies, more laws are being enacted each year. Gun owners should be sure to understand how changing laws will affect them in order to avoid facing weapons charges.

The latest gun safety law was passed in both the Connecticut Senate and House of Representatives this past month. The bill, dubbed “Ethan’s Law,” was named in memory of Ethan Song, a 15-year-old Guilford boy who accidentally shot himself to death with a firearm that was easily accessible while at a friend’s house

Bill Calls for Gun Storage Changes

The biggest change to Connecticut’s firearm laws is the way that firearms must be stored. Prior to the passage of Ethan’s Law, the criminal liability a person had when a child accessed their firearms only applied if the firearm was loaded, and the child was able to gain access to the weapon. Under the new bill, a person must keep firearms in a securely locked box or in another secure manner if a minor under the age of 18 is likely to gain access to the firearm — regardless of whether or not the firearm is loaded.

Changes Concerning Firearm Storage in Vehicles

Another bill that was recently passed in the Senate deals with the way handguns are stored when they are inside motor vehicles. The bill prohibits the storage of handguns in unattended motor vehicles unless they are stored in the trunk, a locked safe, or a locked glove box. The bill makes a first offense a Class A misdemeanor that carries possible penalties of up to one year in prison, up to $2,000 in fines, or both. A second or subsequent offense is a Class D felony, which carries penalties of up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, or both.

Restrictions Placed on “Ghost Guns”

Another bill prohibits “ghost guns,” or firearms that can be made through the assembly of untraceable parts, unless a unique serial number is obtained from the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and engraved onto the firearm. The bill also aims to regulate 3D printed firearms. The bill would prohibit any firearm made from polymer plastic to be made, unless it can be detected by walk-through metal detectors after the grips, stocks, and magazines have been removed from the firearm.

A Knowledgeable Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney Can Answer Your Questions

The state of Connecticut and many other states are taking steps that are intended to ensure that all firearms are handled and treated in a safe manner. If you are facing any type of criminal charges related to the ownership or use of a firearm, a skilled Hartford, CT weapons charges defense lawyer is your best bet for a successful outcome. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have been providing clients with trusted legal advice and representation for more than 20 years. Contact our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/amd/H/pdf/2019HB-07219-R00HA-AMD.pdf

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/FC/pdf/2019HB-07218-R000429-FC.PDF

https://ctmirror.org/2019/05/23/ethans-law-wins-final-passage-in-senate/

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/BA/pdf/2019HB-07223-R01-BA.pdf

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Hartford, CT criminal law attorney bailMost people have a basic understanding of how the criminal process works: you are charged with a crime, you must appear in court, a judge or jury determines whether or not you are guilty, and if you are convicted, you serve your sentence. But what happens before any of that even begins? Before you can appear in court to address criminal charges, you will have to attend a pretrial release hearing. During this hearing, a judge will determine whether or not to release you before your trial and whether there should be any conditions on your release. Typically, this is where bail comes in to play.

What Is Pretrial Detention?

The term pretrial detention refers to the period of time that a person is incarcerated before they attend their trial. At the pretrial release hearing, the judge will set bail, which is a monetary amount that you must pay before you can be released. In Connecticut, there are two different types of bail:

  1. A person may pay the amount of bail in cash. This amount will be returned to the accused as long as they return to court for their trial; otherwise, the money is forfeited.
  2. If a person is unable to afford the full amount of bail, they may have a bail bondsman post bail for them. They will be required to pay a surety bond to the bail bondsman, which is typically 10% of the amount of bail. Bail bondsmen can be used in state crimes, but they cannot be used by those who are arrested for a federal crime.

The Issues With the Current Bail and Pretrial Detention System

Between 1970 and 2015, there was a 433% increase in the average number of people in pretrial detention throughout the United States. Bail is one of the biggest reasons for this increase. The average amount of bail for a felony charge ranges from $10,000 to $12,000. Since many people cannot afford to pay this amount, they end up spending weeks or even months in jail while waiting for their trial to take place.

Many opponents of the current bail and pretrial detention system believe that it puts an unnecessary strain on the prison system, and it disproportionately affects disadvantaged populations, like women and people of color. Studies have also found that there is not very much evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of bail for ensuring that alleged offenders appear in court. In addition, the elimination of cash bail is some jurisdictions has not significantly affected court appearance rates.

Proposed Connecticut Bail Reform

Currently, the Rules Committee of the Superior Court of Connecticut is considering a proposal that aims to help low-income defendants avoid being held in pretrial detention during their criminal cases. Under the proposal, defendants with bail of $20,000 or less would be allowed to put up 10% of the amount in cash. The amount posted would be returned when the case was completed, but if the defendant did not show up to court, they would be required to pay the entire amount.

A Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Provide You With Options

At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can answer any and all questions you may have and work with you to determine your best options for defense. Our experienced Hartford criminal defense attorney will work with you to protect your rights and help you achieve a positive outcome to your case. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 860-290-8690.

Sources:

https://www.vox.com/2019/5/7/18527237/pretrial-detention-jail-bail-reform-vera-institute-report

http://www.hamiltonproject.org/assets/files/BailFineReform_EA_121818_6PM.pdf

https://www.middletownpress.com/middletown/article/Bail-reform-would-help-poor-CT-defendants-hurt-13850682.php

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Hartford bike accident attorney dooring injuryIn recent years, biking has become a popular form of transportation for many Americans who live in urban areas. Not only does it provide an easier and sometimes faster way to get from place to place, but it also offers great health benefits. According to Statista, there were 47.5 million cyclists in the United States in 2017. While this form of transportation has become popular, it has also proved to be dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were around 840 bicyclists who died in traffic accidents in 2016. One of the most common types of bicycle accidents that occurs in urban areas is what is called “dooring.”

What Is a Dooring Accident?

Dooring accidents occur when the occupant of a motor vehicle suddenly opens the door of the vehicle in a bicyclist’s lane of travel, causing the cyclist to collide with the door. Most of the time, dooring accidents occur purely out of the negligence of the motor vehicle driver or passenger — he or she simply did not look around their vehicle before they opened the door. Dooring accidents are hard to predict and harder to prevent, because they rely solely on motor vehicle occupants to pay closer attention to those who may be on the streets, bike lanes, and sidewalks around them.

Possible Injuries From Dooring Accidents

In many cases, a dooring accident simply results in some scrapes, cuts, or bruises. In other situations, however, dooring can result in much more serious injuries that could have a major impact on the bicyclist’s life. Depending on the cyclist’s speed, they may be seriously harmed by a fall to the pavement. In some cases, a bicyclist can be thrown from their bike and into moving traffic, and serious or fatal injuries are likely to occur if they are struck by a vehicle.

Some examples of serious injuries that could result from a dooring accident include:

  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries
  • Facial fractures
  • Dental damage
  • Soft tissue tears

Contact a Connecticut Bicycle Accident Lawyer for More Information

Getting into any kind of bike accident can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Dooring accidents may seem trivial, but they can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries to unsuspecting bicyclists. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a bicycle accident, you should contact a Hartford, CT personal injury attorney immediately. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you determine whether or not you have a case and how to best proceed. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.dutchreach.org/dooring-problem-prevalence/

https://www.bikeleague.org/content/bike-law-u-dooring

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812507

https://www.statista.com/topics/1686/cycling/

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Hartford sex crimes defense attorney sex offender registrySex crimes are some of the most serious crimes you can be charged with in the United States. If you are convicted of certain sexual offenses, you could be required to register as a sex offender in the state where you reside. Sex offender registries are available for the public to access, meaning anyone can see your information on the registry website, including your address and the offense you were convicted of. This can make it hard for those who have been convicted of a sex crime to find a job or a place to live, which is why the state of Connecticut is currently considering changes to the state sex offender registry.

Major Changes to Registry

There are a couple of major changes to the Connecticut sex offender registry that have been proposed in SB 1113. If the bill becomes law, a new sex offender registry board would be created. The board would determine the length of time a person will remain in the registry by examining each person’s risk of re-offending based on information provided by probation and parole officials. The goal would be to make decisions based on the person’s risk, rather than the actual offense they allegedly committed.

The bill would also create two different sex offender registries — one that is much like the current one and available to the public, and one that is only available to law enforcement. The public registry would contain information about high-risk offenders, while low-risk offenders would be placed in the private registry.

Currently, sex offenders are placed on the registry either for 10 years or for life. The proposed bill would create three different time periods that could be assigned to an offender — 10 years, 20 years, or for life. The bill would also only require low-risk offenders to verify their address once per year, rather than the current requirement of four times per year. High-risk offenders would still be required to verify their address four times per year.

Do Not Wait — Call a Connecticut Sex Crime Defense Lawyer Today

Being a convicted sex offender can affect your entire life. Currently in the state of Connecticut, if you are convicted of certain offenses, you could be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years or for life. If you have been charged with a sex crime, you need immediate representation from a skilled Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you determine the best defense strategy and work to minimize the consequences you may face. Take the first step today and call us at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20190415_bill_to_modify_sex_offender_registry_advances/

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=SB01113&which_year=2019

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