Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

Hartford drunk driving accident lawyerIn all states, it is illegal to drive or operate a vehicle when you are intoxicated or your blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than 0.08. Unfortunately, that does not mean that everyone refrains from doing so. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, there were around 8,390 DUI cases that were recorded in the state in 2018. It is well known that driving while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous and puts both you and everyone else on the road at risk. Alcohol-related car accidents can result in serious injuries to others and damage to their property. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you have options for obtaining compensation. These include:

Suing the Driver

The first thing you could do is to attempt to obtain compensation from the driver or the person who caused the accident. In Connecticut, you can demonstrate fault for an accident by showing that the driver was acting negligently when the collisions occurred. If a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, this is usually sufficient to prove negligence.

Suing the Establishment

Another option for receiving compensation is to pursue a claim under the Connecticut Dram Shop Act. This is a law that allows a victim of a drunk driver to hold the establishment from which the alcohol was sold responsible for the accident. To pursue a claim under the Dram Shop Act, you must be able to prove that the establishment sold alcohol to the driver when he or she was already intoxicated and that the intoxication of the driver was the proximate cause of the accident in which you were injured.

There are limitations to the Dram Shop Act, however. You are only permitted to recover up to $250,000 in a suit under the Act. You also have specific time limits in which you can recover under Dram Shop liability. You are required to notify the owner of the establishment that you plan to pursue a claim within 120 days of the incident or within 180 days for incidents that resulted in a person’s wrongful death or incapacitation.

Speak With a Hartford, CT Car Accident Attorney Today

Any car accident can be serious, but alcohol-related car accidents are likely to be even more serious and damaging than others. If you have been in an accident with a person who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, get in touch with the Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. Our skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer has years of experience assisting clients in pursuing compensation for injuries caused by other people’s negligence. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 860-290-8690.

Sources:

https://www.jud.ct.gov/statistics/DUI/DUIOutcomes_2019.pdf

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_545.htm#sec_30-102

https://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/Civil/Civil.pdf

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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for sex crimesIn 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which required all states to establish and implement some sort of sex offender registration program. Since then, many amendments and additions have been made to laws pertaining to sex offender registration, including the creation of a national online sex-offender registry that is accessible to the general public. While this has been touted as a way to increase public safety, sex offender registries can have severe consequences on the lives of those who are required to register.

When Is a Person Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Connecticut?

Each state is allowed to use its own discretion when it comes to the sex offender registry, and states can choose which offenses require offenders to register if they are found guilty. The state of Connecticut has certain requirements for those who must be included on the sex offender registry and how long they must register. In Connecticut, you are required to register as a sex offender in the following cases:

  • You have been convicted of a sexual act or crime against a minor. Registration lasts for at least 10 years, though subsequent convictions require registration for life.
  • You were convicted of a non-violent sexual offense. In these cases, registration also lasts for 10 years and typically requires lifetime registration for subsequent offenses.
  • You were convicted of a sexually-violent crime. Lifetime registration as a sex offender is non-negotiable in these cases.
  • A court finds that a felony was committed for a sexual purpose. In these cases, a person will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
  • You were convicted of risk of injury to a minor involving contact with the intimate parts of a child under the age of 16. In these cases, the court will have discretion as to whether to require sex offender registration.

Effects of Sex Offender Registration

Being convicted of a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender can mean your life will be forever changed. When you register as a sex offender, your personal information, including your name, age, address, and the nature of your conviction(s), are all available to be viewed by the general public. This means that your friends and family can see this information, as well as your neighbors, employers, or anyone else who goes looking. Registration as a sex offender can also result in the following consequences:

  • Not being able to live in certain places. In many cases, being a registered sex offender means you will be denied housing by certain landlords, or you may not be allowed to live in certain neighborhoods.
  • Difficulty finding employment. It is not uncommon for employers to run background checks before they hire an employee. Some companies have specific policies in place that prevent the hiring of anyone convicted of a felony. Other places of employment, such as schools, daycares, and healthcare facilities, may require that you pass a background check looking for crimes against children or sex crimes.
  • Negative perception in your community. Because information on the sex offender registry is public, anyone can see it. Though they are not permitted to commit crimes against you, you may find that people have prejudices or biases toward you because of your status.
  • Having to re-register or update your personal information periodically. Failing to update your registration information when moving to a new home, obtaining a new job, or at the required intervals could result in non-compliance charges and additional penalties.

Contact Our Hartford, CT Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

If you are convicted of a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender, the consequences can follow you for much longer than the length of your criminal sentence. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we know all too well the effects of sex offender registration and how difficult your life can become as a result. If you are facing accusations of sexual offenses, you should immediately speak with a Connecticut sex crimes defense lawyer. We can provide you with a dedicated defense, and we will work to minimize the potential consequences to your criminal record and your life as a whole. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_969.htm

https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/rethinking-sex-offender-registries

http://ctsentencingcommission.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Sex_Offender_Report_December_2017.pdf

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_939.htm#sec_53-21

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Hartford federal crime defense attorney for money laundering chargesIn many cases, alleged criminal activity that occurs in the United States involves earning money through illegal means. When businesses need to deal with cash, they may take steps to ensure that they can use, move, and store money. In some cases, this can result in accusations of money laundering, which occurs when profits from alleged illegal activity are made to seem legal. A person who is accused of money laundering may face criminal charges under state laws, but also federal laws in some situations.

What Is Money Laundering?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), money laundering is the process in which the true origins of profits earned through criminal acts are concealed, and a person makes it look as though money was earned through legitimate means. There are many ways that money can be laundered. One of the most common methods is to funnel cash through a legitimate business. Money laundering can also be done by “smurfing” or “structuring,” which occurs when a person breaks up large amounts of cash and deposits it into multiple accounts in smaller quantities. Whatever the method of money laundering, it is illegal, and it can result in serious consequences.

Consequences Under Connecticut Law

Connecticut law defines four degrees of money laundering:

  • First-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person exchanges or receives more than $10,000 that was earned through the commission of a felony. In these cases, a person must have intended to conceal that the profits were earned through the illegal sale of controlled substances. This is a Class B felony which can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 20 years.
  • Second-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person intended to conceal that more than $10,000 was gained through a felony crime other than the sale of controlled substances. This is a Class C felony which can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years.
  • Third-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person concealed more than $10,000 with the knowledge that money was derived illegally and that it will aid another person in committing or benefiting from criminal activity. This is a Class D felony which can result in a prison sentence of one to five years.
  • Fourth-degree money laundering – This charge applies if a person concealed less than $10,000 that was gained through felonious criminal activity. This is a Class A misdemeanor which can result in a prison sentence of up to one year.

In addition to a prison sentence, a person convicted of money laundering may be fined up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the money that was laundered, whichever is greater. Second or subsequent offenses can result in fines of up to $500,000 or five times the amount of money that was laundered.

Federal Penalties

Money laundering is also a federal crime, and federal charges may apply in cases involving large amounts of money or criminal activity that crosses state lines or international borders. Federal money laundering laws apply to those who commit money laundering, those who aid in money laundering, or those who have knowledge that the money laundering is occurring.

Federal money laundering charges will typically fall into one of two categories:

  • Engaging in a financial transaction involving money or property derived from certain specified criminal activities, including drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, or fraud, is an offense that can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the amount of money that was laundered, as well as civil penalties of $10,000 or the amount of money that was laundered. In these cases, a person must have intended to promote criminal activity, known that their transaction was meant to conceal that money was obtained through illegal activity, or intended to avoid reporting requirements under state or federal laws.
  • Engaging in a monetary transaction of at least $10,000 with the knowledge that the money was obtained through specified illegal activities is an offense that can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of money that was laundered. In these cases, a transaction must have been conducted through a financial institution.

To help address potential money laundering, the IRS requires individuals and businesses to use Form 8300 to report cash transactions in which they receive over $10,000, as well as “suspicious” cash transactions of $10,000 or less. Notably, “cash” includes cashier’s checks, bank drafts, money orders, or traveler’s checks. Failure to meet these reporting requirements can result in steep fines or other penalties.

Contact a Hartford, CT Money Laundering Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with money laundering, you may be facing multiple other charges as well. These charges are taken very seriously by the state of Connecticut and the federal government. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have handled hundreds of criminal defense cases in both Connecticut and federal courts. Our skilled Connecticut white collar crime defense lawyer has the knowledge to help you avoid a conviction or minimize the consequences you may face. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-275

https://www.cga.ct.gov/PS99/rpt%5Colr%5Chtm/99-R-0319.htm

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime#Money-Laundering

https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual-2101-money-laundering-overview

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/cash-payment-report-helps-government-combat-money-laundering

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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for deadly weapons chargesThe deadly shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in 2012 shook the country and especially the state of Connecticut. Shortly after the tragedy, the state’s lawmakers enacted several new laws pertaining to firearms, one of which created what is known as the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry. This is a non-public registry, and those who have been convicted of criminal charges involving a deadly weapon are required to submit their personal information to the registry and maintain this registration for five years after their release from prison. While the registry functions similar to the sex offender registry, some are arguing that the registry should not be made public or should not exist at all.

Who Is Required to Register?

The current law states that any person who is convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect for a crime involving a deadly weapon is required to register within 14 days of being released back into the community. Connecticut law defines a deadly weapon as “any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, bill, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.” There are 42 offenses for which convicted offenders must submit their information to the registry, including:

  • Carrying a handgun without a permit
  • Committing murder, assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, or burglary with a firearm
  • Committing a felony crime that involves threatening the use of a firearm
  • Criminal possession of a handgun
  • Theft of a firearm
  • Selling or transferring a handgun to an ineligible person
  • Possession of a sawed-off shotgun or silencer

Should the List Be Made Public?

Many people, including lawmakers, have questioned the effectiveness of the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry. Some say that the list should be made public, just like the sex offender registry, which can be accessed online. Others say that the weapons offender registry is used for police purposes only and would not serve any use to the public, except for vigilantes who might take matters into their own hands. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has opposed making the list public, since releasing this information would create significant privacy concerns for those on the list.

Consult With a Connecticut Weapons Crimes Defense Lawyer

There are a wide variety of charges that may require you to submit your information to the Deadly Weapon Offender Registry in Connecticut. Though you only have to be on the registry for five years, this could pose potential issues, especially if you are concerned about your privacy. If you have been accused of committing a crime with a deadly weapon, you should immediately contact a skilled Hartford criminal defense attorney. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we will do everything in our power to help you avoid a conviction at all costs. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.middletownpress.com/news/article/Dan-Haar-Weapon-offender-registry-shouldn-t-15009816.php

https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-xpm-2013-04-06-hc-lender-column-weapons-registry-0407-20130406-story.html

https://lawcenter.giffords.org/registration-in-connecticut/

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