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hartford criminal defense lawyerIn 2021, the state of Connecticut passed a law legalizing the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Under this law, people over the age of 21 may possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, and they are allowed to store up to five ounces in their homes in a locked container. While this has reduced the situations where people may face drug charges related to the possession of marijuana, there are a number of complications that still need to be addressed, including determining when cannabis and cannabis products will be available for purchase in the state. Because the options for legally purchasing marijuana are currently limited, those who sell the drug to others without authorization could potentially face criminal charges for drug distribution.

Complications Affecting the Legal Sale of Marijuana

While medical marijuana is available to purchase from licensed dispensaries by Connecticut residents who have medical cannabis cards, there are not currently any dispensaries or other businesses that have been authorized to sell recreational marijuana. Before retail sales can begin, all businesses involved in the supply chain must obtain the necessary licenses, including growers, testing labs, distributors, and retail stores. Certain capacity levels must also be met to meet the needs of the retail market; the law requires a total of 250,000 square feet of space in the state dedicated to growing and manufacturing cannabis.

The state is currently processing applications for licensing. While existing dispensaries or other businesses that produce marijuana for medical use may be able to convert their licenses to allow for the production and sale of both medical and recreational marijuana, they will need to pay high licensing fees. Retailers must pay fees of $1 million, and producers or manufacturers must pay fees of $3 million. However, these fees may be reduced if a business forms an “equity joint venture” with one or more people who have been disproportionately impacted by drug laws and policies. In these cases, a business must be at least 50 percent owned by one or more people who earn less than three times the median income in the state, and those owners must have lived in a “disproportionately impacted area” for at least five of the last 10 years or for at least nine years before they reached the age of 18.

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hartford criminal defense laywerDefendants in criminal cases often struggle to protect their rights, especially when police officers or other law enforcement officials use threats, lies, and coercion to extract confessions. While most people are aware of their “Miranda rights,” which include the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions or provide information requested by police officers, as well as the right to be represented by an attorney, many people are convinced to waive these rights during an investigation or interrogation. A recent case in New Jersey illustrates how this issue may be handled in certain situations and how those who are accused of committing crimes can protect their rights.

New Jersey Supreme Court Reverses Verdict Based on Defendant’s Right to an Attorney

In the case of State v. Gonzalez, a woman who had worked as a nanny was accused of assaulting a child that was in her care and causing broken bones and other injuries. Prior to being interrogated by police officers, she had signed a waiver of her Miranda rights. During the interrogation, an officer lied to her and claimed that there was video surveillance of her interactions with the child. This led her to confess to abusing the child, and the officer also convinced her to write an apology note to the child’s parents.

During her trial, the defendant attempted to have the confession and apology note suppressed because she had not been allowed to have an attorney represent her during the interrogation. The court denied this request and allowed the evidence to be used during the trial, and the woman was convicted of child endangerment and assault and sentenced to nine years in prison.

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hartford criminal defense lawyerIn recent years, many people have become aware of the opioid crisis that is affecting people throughout the United States. Due to the widespread availability of prescription opioid painkillers, many people have become addicted to these drugs, leading them to turn to illegal sources. To make matters worse, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has become more available, and this drug has led to many overdoses. In addition to risks that may affect a person’s health and well-being, those who use fentanyl or other substances may face drug charges that could lead to serious criminal consequences. 

Counterfeit Drugs Lead to Increased Risks of Overdoses 

Fentanyl is a drug that is synthesized in laboratories, and unlike drugs such as heroin, it can be created using chemicals rather than being harvested from natural sources. Because it is much easier to create and distribute, it is highly profitable for drug trafficking rings. Unfortunately, it is also much more dangerous, and it can be 50 times as potent as heroin. 

Because fentanyl is typically available in pill form, it is often made available to people who are seeking other types of drugs. Counterfeit versions of opioid painkillers such as Percocet or anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax often contain fentanyl, and those who use these drugs may experience dangerous or lethal overdoses. In many cases, teenagers or young adults are able to obtain these drugs by connecting with dealers through social media apps such as Snapchat or TikTok. Deaths caused by drug overdoses have skyrocketed in recent years, and more than 70,000 people were killed by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in 2021.

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hartford criminal defense lawyerDishonesty is an issue that affects nearly every part of people’s lives. People lie for many reasons, and these lies can affect others in a variety of ways. However, there are some people that are expected to behave honestly, including police officers and other officials who are tasked with upholding the law. Unfortunately, law enforcement officials are as prone to dishonesty as everyone, and when they lie or bend the truth, this can have serious consequences for those who are involved in criminal cases. By understanding why police officers lie and the rights that apply to those who are arrested or charged with crimes, a person can protect themselves as they defend against criminal charges.

Types of Lies Told by Police

Deception can take multiple forms. Some lies involve complete deception in which a story is entirely fabricated and contains no truth. However, many lies are incomplete, and they may involve half-truths, exaggerations of facts, or the omission of pertinent information. Police officers may engage in all of these types of lies during the investigation or prosecution of an alleged crime. In fact, officers generally have no requirement to be truthful when questioning or interrogating suspects, and they may engage in dishonesty such as:

  • Claiming that they have evidence showing that a person committed a crime when no such evidence exists.

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hartford drug crime defense lawyerDrug addiction can be a difficult burden to bear, and it can affect both an addict and their loved ones. Unfortunately, many addicts become caught up in the criminal justice system, and they may face drug charges for possession of controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute, or drug trafficking. In addition to or instead of facing criminal charges, some addicts may be forced to undergo treatment meant to help them overcome their addictions. However, some advocates have questioned the effectiveness of these forms of treatment and raised concerns about how “involuntary commitment” laws may violate people’s rights.

Civil Commitment for Drug Addicts

Multiple states have laws that allow a person to be forced to complete rehabilitation or other forms of addiction treatment. This is sometimes seen as a compassionate solution that will ensure that those who may be a threat to themselves or others can take steps to address issues related to addiction and get their lives back on track. Many family members support these programs, and they may believe that they are the only option for a person who has refused to accept help.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that these forms of treatment are often ineffective. While some may benefit from forced rehab, they are usually in the minority, and in most cases, these programs do not result in significant reductions in drug use or drug-related crimes. Some studies have even shown that involuntary treatment programs have led to increases in drug crimes and higher rates of overdoses or other negative outcomes for those who have been required forced to undergo treatment. Many advocates believe that voluntary treatment programs are much more effective, especially when a person is encouraged to work toward achieving life and career goals and receives assistance from family members.

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