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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

Investigation leads to raid and drug-related arrests

Connecticut residents who find themselves abruptly arrested and charged with criminal offenses like drug crimes may often wonder what they should do next or what to expect from the criminal justice system. This is understandable especially for people who have never been arrested before. Even for people who have faced these types of situations before, a subsequent arrest might change things and make the experience or potential penalties different than if no prior conviction had occurred.

For one man arrested recently in Stamford, that is certainly the case. Because this defendant has previously been convicted of a felony, he was not allowed to be in possession of a firearm. During his most recent arrest, he was found to have a weapon. For this reason, he may now be in a position to face the maximum amount of time in prison for violating this law. He is currently in custody in lieu of a $200,000 bond.

Life with an ignition interlock device

If you have been arrested for and charged with a drunk driving offense in Connecticut, it is understandable and reasonable for you to begin learning about some of the penalties associated with a conviction for these types of charges. If you are ultimately convicted of your driving under the influence charge, it is possible that you may be required to use what is called an ignition interlock device. This is essentially a device that is intended to prevent you from driving if you have been drinking.

As explained by Intoxalock, an IID manufacturer, ignition interlock devices are hardwired into your vehicle and essentially control the ignition of your vehicle. There is also a corresponding handheld unit into which you must blow to provide a breath sample before you want to start your vehicle. The unit measures any alcohol content in your breath to determine whether or not you are allowed to start your car. If your breath alcohol content measures below the programmed level, you will be allowed to start your vehicle and drive normally. If not, your ignition will remain locked.

New York says it sees increase in hate crimes

Residents in Connecticut and neighboring areas of the northeast know that people can be charged with crimes for activities considered hateful against certain individuals based upon discriminatory factors. For example, an attack on someone simply because of his or her race or religious beliefs may be considered to be a hate crime. Sometimes these things may be subjective and hard to fully identify but in other cases, it may be more overt.

A recent report released in New York indicated that the city is alleging to be experiencing more hate crimes than in prior years. This comes in the wake of news that other crimes, including other violent crimes, are said to be decreasing.

State looks to crack down on hate crimes

Connecticut residents know that there are strong laws against crimes considered to be hate crimes. These include a variety of actions that are generally violent or threatening and are based upon some type of discrimination or prejudice. The state of Connecticut is looking to institute new legislation around these hate crime offenses.

There are already laws in place in Connecticut surrounding hate crimes but a new bill that has recently passed a legislative committee wants to increase penalties and expand the types of actions that are covered. One of the proposed changes is a mandatory minimum financial penalty for anyone convicted of a hate crime. In the current law, hate crimes based upon a person's gender expression or identity are covered but not gender. The new law seeks to add gender as a factor.

Job seeking after a criminal conviction

Connecticut residents who have been arrested often have to quickly learn the ins and outs of the criminal justice system in order to navigate the defense process. If ultimately convicted of a crime, another concern with longer-term implications can come to the forefront in short order. That concern is how to rebuild life after serving a jail or prison sentence. One of the elements most important to this is getting a job.

CNN Money indicates that manys statistics show that former inmates often have a hard time securing employment once their sentences are over. The New York State Division of Parole data shows that after 30 days post release, a mere 36 percent of those able to work were able to get jobs. Another survey by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights indicates that after five years out of incarceration, two out of three people either had no job at all or were considered to be working in capacities below their potential in some fashion.

Man seeks pardon from New Jersey governor

Connecticut being a relatively small state in terms of its physical size makes it possible for its residents to frequently be in neighboring states. For this reason, understanding the laws in those other states can be helpful and even important when it comes to avoiding or defending against criminal charges when out of Connecticut.

A Pennsylvania man who operates a gun range has been getting a big lesson in the laws of nearby New Jersey. Last summer as he was en route to New York, he was stopped by police near the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City allegedly because of a crack in his windshield. Upon being stopped, officers discovered that the man had several weapons in his vehicle. While this may not have been a problem in Pennsylvania, the fact that the shotgun, handguns and rifle were not locked in a secure case or trunk was a problem in New Jersey.

Types of restraining and protective orders

If you are confused about the different types of restraining and protective orders in domestic violence cases in Connecticut, you are not alone. There are different types but with similar names. Understanding how they are unique is important for anyone who may be the subject of one of these orders.

As explained by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, two restraining orders may be issued by family court judges. One of these is the ex parte restraining order. This can be issued relatively quickly and takes effect immediately. Its duration of effect is limited to a maximum of 14 days but it may be in effect for even fewer days if a hearing happens sooner. Once a hearing has taken place, a restraining order after a hearing may be put into effect. This will have the ability to be in effect for six months. After this time, a new motion must be filed if the restraint is still desired.

Man charged with drug crimes after traffic stop

Drivers in Connecticut should know that law enforcement officials cannot simply pull them over and randomly search their vehicles without just cause. This cause to stop a motorist might take many forms such as the violation of a traffic law like speeding or failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian. Once stopped, there must be further cause established before a person's vehicle may be searched.

One man from Bridgeport experienced this alleged sequence of events in Westport recently. Reports indicate that a Westport police officer witnessed the man driving in a slow manner that seemed a bit unusual and therefore suspicious. Additionally, it is said that he did not come to a full stop at an intersection with a flashing red light. For these reasons, the man was pulled over by the officer.

Understanding the eye field sobriety test

If you have been arrested in Connecticut and charged with an impaired driving offense, you may have been asked to take some tests before you were placed under arrest. explains that the reason for this testing is not to prove that you are intoxicated or even to prove an exact level of intoxication. Instead, field sobriety tests are designed to give officers enough evidence to support them arresting you for suspected intoxication while driving. 

In two of the tests, your ability to perform multiple actions at one time will be evaluated. In the third test, a natural and involuntary reflex of your eye will be evaluated. This test is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This involves an officer moving an item in front of your eyes from one side to the other. It should be held about a foot away from your face. As the item is moved, you should track its movement with your eyes. You are not allowed to move your head while doing so.

What is the one-leg stand field sobriety test?

In a previous post, the walk-and-turn field sobriety test was reviewed. However, that is not the only test you may be asked to take if a law enforcement officer in Connecticut suspects you may be impaired by alcohol while driving. explains that a second test also evaluates your ability to balance, follow instructions and execute multiple tasks simultaneously. This is called the one-leg stand test.

As the name implies, this test requires you to balance on one leg. The other leg must be lifted so that your foot remains parallel to the ground, roughly six inches off the ground. If you are wearing a shoe with a heel, you may have the option to take your shoes off although that may not be your preference if it is very cold, rainy, icy or snowy out. Even if dry, some road surfaces may not be comfortable to stand let alone balance on without shoes.

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