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Connecticut custodial interference defense lawyerWhen you are a parent, your child’s health and well-being is always at the top of your list of concerns. You always want to be sure that your child is safe, but you cannot always be there for them, especially if you share your parenting time with your child’s other parent. Custodial disputes between parents do not always end with compliance. In some cases, a parent may try to flee with a child or keep the child from seeing their other parent. In these situations, that parent could be charged with parental kidnapping, which is called “custodial interference” in Connecticut.

Connecticut Custodial Interference Laws

While Connecticut laws do not specifically refer to parental kidnapping, there are, however, laws that are a bit more general, defining the offense of “custodial interference.” There are two degrees of custodial interference under Connecticut law, and these offenses may apply to all relatives of a child who is under the age of 16, rather than just the parents. If neither parent has custody of a child or children, a parent cannot be charged with custodial interference unless the other parent seeks an expedited sole custody order, and this order is granted by the court.

Custodial Interference in the Second Degree

For a parent to be guilty of custodial interference in the second degree, they must have either taken or enticed the child from his or her “lawful custodian” when they had no right to do so, with the intention of keeping the child permanently or for an unknown period of time, or they must have held, kept, or refused to return the child to his or her lawful custodian after the custodian has requested the child’s return.

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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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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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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for vehicular manslaughterIn Connecticut and throughout the United States, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, illegal drugs, or other substances that impair one’s ability to drive safely. An arrest and conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can result in a variety of consequences, including fines, jail time, community service, participation in diversionary programs, and/or the requirement to use an alcohol interlock device in one’s vehicle. However, the penalties can become much more severe if a person was killed in a collision that occurred while you were driving under the influence. While this offense is commonly known as “vehicular homicide,” in Connecticut, it is referred to as “manslaughter with a motor vehicle.”

Second-Degree Manslaughter With a Motor Vehicle

According to Connecticut law, you can be charged with manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle if you are operating a vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and as a result, you cause the death of another person. Manslaughter charges involve a degree of recklessness or negligence. Basic second-degree manslaughter charges require you to have “recklessly caused the death of another person.” The same principle applies to manslaughter with a motor vehicle charges, but in these cases, the element of driving while intoxicated will also be considered.

Penalties for Second-Degree Manslaughter With a Motor Vehicle

Manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle is a Class C felony. Under Connecticut law, Class C felony convictions can result in 1 to 10 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or a combination of both. Because of the intoxication aspect of these charges, a conviction will also result in a mandatory one-year driver’s license suspension and the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed on your vehicle for at least two years following the reinstatement of your driving privileges.

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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for informant testimonyThe United States is a unique country in many ways. When it comes to the U.S. legal system, defendants are given quite a few inherent freedoms that many other countries do not provide. The way the legal system is set up here in our country, law enforcement officials can give individuals clemency for certain crimes in exchange for information. For example, police can choose to let a person walk free if they can offer up information about a crime committed by someone else. Prosecutors have the ability to recommend a lesser sentence or even drop criminal charges altogether if a defendant cooperates. One of the best examples of this is the practice of allowing prison inmates to testify against other inmates in exchange for various benefits.

The Issue With Jailhouse Informants

Recently, the use of jailhouse informants has become a hot topic. This has come in part because of the availability of new DNA testing technology that has helped quite a few people be declared innocent of the crimes they were accused of committing. Many of the people who have been exonerated were convicted because of testimony from jailhouse informants, whose intentions are not always the best. In many cases, informants are offered certain benefits for providing testimony, such as a reduction in their own sentences.

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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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