Recent blog posts

Hartford criminal defense attorney for DUI chargesOver a million Americans are arrested each year for alcohol-impaired driving. Though each state has its own procedures for performing DUI arrests and prosecutions, most arrests follow a similar process. First, a person is pulled over, and the officer may perform a variety of field sobriety tests. Then, the officer may ask a driver to blow into a portable device to get a preliminary reading of their breath-alcohol concentration, and the results of this test will be used to determine whether to make an arrest. Following an arrest, the driver will be transported to the police station, where he or she will be asked to submit to a “more accurate” breath test. However, recent investigations have found that these tests are often not so accurate after all.

Why We Should Question the Tests

The fates of many DUI cases are often sealed with the breath test. Portable breath tests, like the ones used on the roadside by police officers, are usually not admissible in court, but results from the machines that are used at the police station can be used as evidence. If the machine returns a breath-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, a person may face a conviction for DUI. Further, many people are pressured into submitting to these tests because penalties exist if testing is refused. In Connecticut, a person who refuses to submit to a chemical test faces a one-year driver’s license suspension with the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed on any vehicle they drive during the suspension period.

Machines Are Often Found to Be Inaccurate But Are Used Anyways

In an investigation conducted by a small consulting company and reported by the New York Times, the Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer machine has been found to have many errors, even though it is still being used by many states’ police departments, including in Connecticut. The report written by the company stated that the machine was simple and only relied on two sensors that could detect the presence of alcohol. It also stated that the machine largely relied on proper calibration to produce reliable and accurate results and that a calculation error within the machine could round up some results.

...

Connecticut distracted driving car accident attorneyDistracted driving is one of the most serious problems plaguing today’s roads. It is so easy, especially with the popularity and availability of cell phones and other handheld devices, for drivers to pay attention to something other than the road, putting themselves and everyone else around them in danger. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 3,200 people killed in car accidents involving a distracted driver in 2017. The NHTSA also estimates that more than 420,000 people are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers every year. These injuries can range from superficial scrapes or bruises to severe injuries, such as whiplash or traumatic brain injuries.

What Is Distracted Driving?

There are a couple of definitions people use when they talk about distracted driving. In general, the NHTSA defines distracted driving as something that diverts a driver’s attention from the task of safely operating their vehicle. This can be literally any type of distraction, from a child in the back seat to a cell phone.

Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the collective term used for multiple types of activities that cause a driver to take their attention from the road. There are three different types of distractions that can affect drivers:

...

East Hartford criminal defense lawyer for juvenile chargesThe juvenile justice system has always functioned differently than the adult criminal justice system -- and for good reason. Since the creation of the first juvenile justice court in Illinois at the end of the 19th century, it has been known that youth who come into contact with the criminal justice system have different needs than adults who find themselves in trouble. All states have a separate criminal justice system for juveniles, though in recent years, an increased focus has been placed on reducing the number of juveniles who come into contact with the criminal justice system. In an effort to follow suit, Connecticut recently passed a law to make certain juvenile trials are more private.

Reduced Charges Can Be Transferred Back to Juvenile Court

The new law, Public Act 19-187, changes quite a few things concerning the juvenile justice system. Existing laws state that the juvenile court is required to automatically transfer a case involving a child who is at least 15 years old to adult court if the case involves murder, a Class A felony or certain Class B felonies. If a juvenile is charged with any other type of felony, it is up to the court’s discretion to transfer the case or not.

The Act allows a case that was transferred to adult court to be transferred back to juvenile court if the charges were reduced to charges that would have been discretionary. Before the transfer can take place, however, it must be proven that the transfer was done for a good reason, and the transfer must be completed before the defendant pleads guilty.

...

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.

...

East Hartford criminal defense lawyer for state and federal chargesThe United States Constitution gives citizens dozens of rights that are indicative of the spirit and history of the country, such as the right to free speech, the right to peacefully protest, and the right to bear arms. These rights are contained in the first ten Amendments, called the Bill of Rights, and they are constantly being analyzed in different contexts by scholars, lawmakers, and the members of the U.S. Supreme Court. One of these rights is the protection against double jeopardy, or being tried for the same crime more than once. This has been an issue that has wedged its way into the Supreme Court more than once and that has held precedent for many years.

Understanding Dual Sovereignty and Double Jeopardy

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains a variety of protections and rights given to citizens concerning criminal trials. One of these protections is from what is known as “double jeopardy” or being tried for the same crime twice. Originally, the Fifth Amendment was only meant to apply to the federal government, but over the years, the Supreme Court has ruled that it also applies to state governments.

The issue that the Supreme Court has faced again and again is whether or not a person can be tried for the same instance of a crime in both state and federal courts. For many years, the Supreme Court has upheld that a person can, in fact, be tried in both state and federal courts for the same instance of a crime because the state government and federal government are technically two different jurisdictions or “sovereigns.” This is known as the dual sovereignty doctrine.

...
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.

Facebook   Twitter   Our Blog