Recent Blog Posts

Proposed Bill Aims to Change Connecticut Sex Offender Registry System

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Sex Crime Charges

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.

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“Dooring” Can Lead to Serious Bicycle Accident Injuries

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Personal Injury

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.

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Understanding Pretrial Detention and the Role of Bail in Criminal Cases

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Criminal Law

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:

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Connecticut Passes Three New Bills Concerning Firearm Laws

 Posted on December 00,0000 in New Law

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.

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Connecticut Passes Bill to Increase Prosecutorial Transparency

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Criminal Law

Hartford defense attorney criminal justice system

For years, advocates have claimed that the criminal justice system in the United States is unjust toward certain groups of people. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one in three black men and one in six Latino men can expect to be incarcerated in their lifetimes, compared to only one in 17 white men. A majority of the country agrees that the U.S. criminal justice system needs to be reformed. One of the main ways of doing this is through the actions of prosecutors, who play a crucial role in the criminal justice process.

Bill Passes in Both CT House and Senate

A bill was recently passed in both the Connecticut Senate and House of Representatives that will require more transparency when it comes to Connecticut prosecutors in the criminal justice system. The bill, which was passed with a rare unanimous vote in both the House and Senate, will require the state to create a public website to publish information such as demographic information about defendants that prosecutors do and do not prosecute, in addition to information about prosecutors’ actions on charging, diversionary programs, plea deals, and sentencing.

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Can I Recover Damages for My Family Member’s Wrongful Death?

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Wrongful Death

Hartford personal injury lawyer wrongful death

Losing a loved one is never easy. The grief process can be a difficult one, but it can be especially painful if your loved one died because of the negligence of another person. The sudden death of a family member can wreak havoc on the family’s emotions, and also their finances. Funerals are much more expensive than many people believe -- the average cost of a funeral is around $10,000. Fortunately, the state of Connecticut provides ways for family members to recover compensation for the damages and costs associated with a wrongful death. The time right after the death of your loved one is critical -- the sooner you act, the better.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

In the state of Connecticut, a wrongful death claim is defined as a claim “for injuries resulting in death.” The claim itself is similar to that of a personal injury lawsuit -- you are claiming that someone else acted in a negligent manner, which caused the injuries which led to your loved one’s untimely death. Typically, a wrongful death claim must be submitted within two years of the date of death.

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New Connecticut Law on Statute of Limitations in Sexual Misconduct Cases

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Sexual Assault

Hartford sex crime defense attorney

In the wake of the viral “Me Too” movement that swept across social media in recent years, many state and local jurisdictions have taken a second look at their current sexual assault laws to determine whether changes should be made. Connecticut is the latest state to pass legislation concerning sexual misconduct laws. The Connecticut legislature recently voted to pass a bill that would make a number of changes to state law, including extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault charges.

Disagreement Among House Members

Though the bill passed unanimously in the Senate, the vote in the House was not as one-sided. The bill passed by a vote of 121-23, with those 23 naysayers expressing worries about the changes to the law. One member suggested that a person’s memories are not always accurate as time goes on, and a longer statute of limitations could mean that a person may be accused of sex crimes based on untrustworthy testimony. Another member was concerned with the bill’s possible interference with the constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial. Proponents of the bill have stated that lengthening the statute of limitations helps the victims but does not detract from the rights of the accused, because the burden of proof will remain the same.

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Connecticut Bills May Provide Protections for Undocumented Immigrants

 Posted on December 00,0000 in New Law

Connecticut criminal defense lawyer for immigrationFor years, illegal and undocumented immigration has been a point of contention in American politics. Many people have argued over the rights that undocumented immigrants should or should not have. In 2013, Connecticut passed what is known as the Trust Act, which elaborated on how and when local law enforcement officials can assist federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents when they request help completing deportations. Recently, Connecticut passed two new bills, each amending the Trust Act to provide further protections to undocumented immigrants. For immigrants who are facing criminal charges, it is important to understand how these changes to the law will affect their rights.

Exceptions for Civil Detainers at Forefront of Debate

A civil detainer is an order from immigration officials requesting local law enforcement to comply with ICE to detain an immigrant. Civil detainers are orders that have not been reviewed by a U.S. District Court judge or magistrate or a Connecticut Superior Court judge, meaning they carry no legal obligation for a law enforcement official to arrest someone. The Trust Act of 2013 prohibited law enforcement officials from arresting or detaining immigrants solely based on a civil detainer -- with the exception of seven different situations. These situations included if the immigrant had been convicted of a felony, if they are subject to a final order of deportation, or if they present a risk to public safety.

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Can I Be Tried for the Same Crime in Both Federal and State Courts?

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Criminal Law

shutterstock_557897101Most people are familiar with the term “double jeopardy,” or they have probably at least heard of the concept. Protection against double jeopardy is written into the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that “no person shall...be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…” Basically, this provides U.S. citizens with protection against being tried more than once for the same crime. This issue typically arises when a person allegedly commits a criminal offense in more than one state or jurisdiction. Recently, the Supreme Court dealt with this issue by looking at whether or not those facing criminal charges could be tried for the same crime in both state and federal courts.

Recent Supreme Court Case Upholds Precedent

The case that made it to the Supreme Court dealt with a man who is currently a federal prison inmate. The Alabama man appealed to the Supreme Court after he was charged on both the state and federal level for possessing a gun after a previous felony robbery conviction. On the state level, he was sentenced to one year in prison. When tried for the same crime on the federal level, he was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, a sentence that was to run concurrently with the other sentence.

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Connecticut Bond Criteria Changed by Superior Court Judges

 Posted on December 00,0000 in Uncategorized

Hartford CT criminal defense lawyer bail reformFor the past couple of years, increased focus has been placed on the criminal justice system and making it more fair for everyone. One of the facets of the system that has received increased scrutiny lately is the bail and bond system. Proponents of change say the current bail system is unfairly biased in favor of wealthier individuals, since they have the ability to post bail or bond without issue. Because of this, a committee of Connecticut Superior Court judges has been considering whether or not to implement new rules and criteria for posting bond, which would make it easier for low-income individuals to remain outside of jail during their criminal trials. The committee recently voted unanimously to implement new rules for posting bond.

Low-Income Defendants are Permitted to Post Only a Percentage of Bond

A new rule was recently approved by the committee of Superior Court judges that would allow defendants who are considered to be low income to post 10 percent of their bond in cash, as long as the bond amount is $20,000 or less. This amount would then be returned to the defendant at the conclusion of the case. The committee stated that this new rule would allow low-income defendants to keep their money, rather than using a bail bondsman, who typically charges a 10 percent fee. The 10 percent cash bond would be given to the court or the police department in exchange for letting the defendant out of jail during the course of the case. The cash bond is a promise that the defendant will show up at future court proceedings; if the defendant skips out on future proceedings, the bond is forfeited, and the defendant will be responsible for paying the remaining 90 percent.

Opposition to the New Rule

In 2017, a law was passed that allowed defendants to post 10 percent of a bond that was less than $20,000 -- as long as a judge allowed it. Because of the requirement for judge approval, the 10 percent cash option was used in very few cases. Under the new rule, the 10 percent cash option will be more widely available. Opponents to the new rule say the state’s bond industry will lose around half of their business because of the changes. Bondsmen not only put up the amount needed, but they also ensure the person returns to court and will go looking for the defendant if they do try to skip out on court hearings.

A Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney Can Answer Your Questions

If you have been charged with a crime, you know how much of a financial strain it can put on you and your family. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can provide you with quality legal representation and help you understand your best options for defense against criminal charges. Let our skilled Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyer work with you to achieve a positive outcome. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

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