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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 federal drug charges defense attorneyFor years now, many lawmakers have agreed that the United States criminal justice system has needed major reforms. Many bills intended to address this issue have been introduced in the past few years, but most have fallen on deaf ears in Congress and have not made their way to the President’s desk. This all changed in December 2018 when President Trump signed the FIRST STEP Act into law. The FIRST STEP Act is one of the first major changes to sentencing for federal drug crimes and is intended to help reduce the prison population. It will also help those who are newly convicted with drug crimes.

Reforms Made By the FIRST STEP Act

The FIRST STEP Act pushes the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to assess the risks and needs for every offender when they are sentenced. Then, the BOP will attempt to reduce the rate of reoffending through individualized and evidence-based plans, which will be offered to all inmates. Programs that could be a part of these plans may include substance abuse treatment, mental health care, anger-management courses, job training, educational support, and even faith-based initiatives.

Another reform made by the Act is intended to help inmates transition back into their communities. The Act allows inmates to serve a portion of the end of their imprisonment in a halfway house or in-home confinement. This allows inmates to successfully transition back into normal life and lowers their chances of reoffending. The BOP will perform the risks and needs assessment more frequently during this time to make sure the services the inmate needs are there.

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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 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 DUI defense attorney marijuana impairmentThe United States has a long and complicated history with cannabis. Back in colonial times, hemp -- which is a non-intoxicating strain of the cannabis plant -- was a very important crop for early settlers. Virginia even passed a law in 1619 requiring every farm in the colony to grow hemp. By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed and effectively banned the sale and use of marijuana, though the act was replaced by the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s.

Now that 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, the prevalence of marijuana-related DUI is of concern to lawmakers across the country. In the state of Connecticut, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational marijuana is not legal -- yet.

Current Connecticut Marijuana DUI Laws

Like most states, Connecticut’s laws concerning DUI mostly refer to alcohol, but they do mention drugs as well. According to Connecticut law, operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating drug is illegal. Penalties for a drug DUI can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case. For a basic DUI charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, a conviction can get you up to a six-month jail sentence, $500 to $1,000 in fines, and a 45-day driver’s license suspension, with the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed in the driver’s vehicle for one year after the conviction.

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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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