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connecticut injury lawyerEveryone should be able to use the road safely, whether they are inside a motor vehicle, on foot, or using other forms of transportation. In recent years, the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians has been a concern due to an increase in the number of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. The state of Connecticut has attempted to address this issue by passing a new law that is meant to provide additional protection for people who are crossing the street or riding bicycles or other forms of transportation near parked vehicles. This law went into effect on October 1, 2021.

New Requirements for Yielding to Pedestrians

Connecticut drivers are required to yield to pedestrians who are crossing the road at a crosswalk. Previously, this requirement applied once a pedestrian had stepped off of a curb or entered a crosswalk. Under the new law, a pedestrian is considered to be crossing the road if they are within any portion of a crosswalk, if they have stepped to the edge of a curb and indicated their intent to cross the road by raising their hand or arm, or if they move any part of their body or an extension of their body into a crosswalk. An extension of a pedestrian’s body may include a cane, crutch, wheelchair, bicycle, stroller, or cart, as well as a dog that is on a leash or using a harness.

Drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are crossing in crosswalks, including slowing down or stopping as necessary to ensure that a person can cross the road safely. If a vehicle has stopped to grant the right of way to pedestrians, any vehicles approaching from the rear are prohibited from passing the vehicle that is stopped.

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hartford sex crime defense lawyerPeople who are convicted of criminal charges often struggle to reintegrate into society after they have served their sentences. This is especially true for those who are convicted of sexual assault or other sex crimes. In these cases, a person may be required to become a registered sex offender, and they will be placed in a public database that includes their photo and description, their address, and details about their offense. Registered sex offenders may have trouble finding employment and housing, and they may experience other issues that affect their reputation and personal relationships. To address this issue, the Connecticut Sentencing Commission is looking to create legislation that may allow some offenders to be removed from the sex offender registry.

Potential Changes to the Sex Offender Registry

The Connecticut Sentencing Commission is an independent agency that researches and reviews the state’s criminal justice system and makes recommendations about potential reforms. The Commission’s Collateral Consequences subcommittee has been looking into the issue of the state’s sex offender registry, and it is hoping to create a proposal for legislation that may affect some offenders who face consequences due to being listed in the registry.

Connecticut residents who are convicted of sexual offenses may be required to register as sex offenders for 10 years or for life. Lifetime registration is required for people convicted of crimes involving sexual violence, and it may also apply to those who are convicted of other sexual offenses for a second time. Currently, the state does not allow people with the requirement to register for life to be removed from the registry.

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hartford defense lawyerThe first few months of the school year are sometimes referred to as the “red zone” for sexual assaults on college campuses. More than 50 percent of campus sexual assaults occur during this time. There are a variety of reasons why more assaults may occur at the beginning of the school year, including the common use of alcohol by students as they enjoy living away from their parents’ homes. In 2021, this is an issue that may not only affect first-year students but also others who were unable to attend college in person over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why Students May Commit Sexual Assault Without Realizing it

Attitudes about consent have changed in recent years. In the past, sexual assault prevention efforts were often focused on what victims could do to prevent being assaulted, such as being aware of their alcohol use, avoiding provocative outfits, or ensuring that a friend is close by. However, advocates have begun to focus on preventing assaults by ensuring that people obtain consent before engaging in sexual conduct. 

However, even with these changing attitudes, some students may engage in behavior that may be considered assault without realizing it. In many cases, this is due to a culture that treats sex as something that is too embarrassing to discuss while presuming that men are meant to be sexually aggressive and that women have the responsibility to decide whether to engage in sexual activity. Without the proper education regarding appropriate behavior and attitudes toward sex, students may follow their instincts or bow to peer pressure, leading to situations where one person may pressure another into sex, commit unwanted touching or groping, or engage in sexual conduct with a person who is unable to provide consent.

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hartford criminal defense lawyerAdvocates for criminal justice reform have called attention to a number of practices by police officers and prosecutors that can result in suspects being wrongfully convicted of criminal charges. The approach that is often taken by police officers when interrogating suspects is one issue that has affected people in many cases. Officers are allowed to lie to suspects and use other deceptive practices during interrogations, and this has led many people to be convicted based on false confessions. Fortunately, some states are beginning to pass laws meant to protect suspects from these techniques.

New Laws Prevent Police From Lying When Interrogating Minors

Since a Supreme Court ruling in 1969, police officers have been legally allowed to lie to suspects during interrogations. This ruling was based on a case where police officers had lied to a suspect, stating that someone else had confessed and implicated him in a crime. The court found that the fact that the officers had lied was not sufficient to make the suspect’s voluntary confession inadmissible. Unfortunately, this opened the door for all manner of deceptive practices by police officers.

Police officers will often approach an interrogation with the presumption that a suspect is guilty, and they will use any practices they feel are necessary to elicit a confession. In many cases, police will lie to suspects about the evidence against a person, falsely claim that other people have made statements implicating them, or imply that a suspect will receive leniency if they cooperate. Interrogations may last for several hours, and officers will attempt to wear down a suspect to the point that they make a false confession simply to get out of the situation. According to the Innocence Project, around 30 percent of cases where people are exonerated after being wrongfully convicted involve false confessions.

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connecticut criminal defense lawyerIn Connecticut and many other states, people who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or related offenses such as vehicular manslaughter are required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle. This device requires a driver to give a breath sample, and it will prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a certain level. These devices can be inconvenient for drivers, but many people believe that they are necessary to ensure that drivers who have violated drunk driving laws in the past will protect others’ safety. However, a new law may require that similar devices be used in many more vehicles, even for drivers with a clean driving record.

Infrastructure Bill Contains Provisions for Drunk Driving Monitoring Systems in New Vehicles

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is currently being considered in the U.S. Congress, includes provisions that would require all passenger vehicles manufactured after 2027 to be equipped with “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology.” This is one of several types of automotive safety technology that the bill would mandate, and others include automatic braking and crash avoidance systems and systems meant to prevent leaving children unattended in hot cars.

There are several concerns about how drunk driving prevention technology would work in practice. Unlike the IIDs that are required to be used by those who have been convicted of DUI, the technology mandated in the bill would be passive, meaning that it would monitor a person’s BAC and performance without the need for the driver to take any additional actions. Some detection systems that are currently being developed monitor alcohol levels in a driver’s breath by measuring the air in a vehicle’s cabin, while others use touch sensors to measure blood alcohol levels when a driver presses a button to start the vehicle. While these devices may work in theory, it remains to be seen whether they will reliably prevent drunk driving or whether they may lead to false positives that would prevent a person from driving a vehicle even when sober.

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