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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

Scientific evidence may lead to false convictions

In many criminal cases, forensic science is used to either prove or disprove information involving the crime. According to the Innocence Project, more than 350 cases have been overturned by the court because DNA evidence proved that the person was innocent of committing a crime. Of those 350, nearly 45 percent involved misapplication of forensic science.

The problem lies in the fact that not all scientific methods used to process evidence have been validated as providing accurate and reliable results. For instance, there is not sufficient research that shoeprint analysis is a valid method, as it may not provide consistent results. Furthermore, methods that have been validated may be misread, contaminated or processed erroneously to provide inaccurate results as well. For example, DNA evidence could produce false positives. This bad data can be used in criminal court and may lead to the conviction of an innocent person.

What is a certificate of employability?

If you have been charged and convicted of domestic violence, you may have trouble passing a criminal background check to get a job. This can have far-reaching effects on your life as many employers require a clean criminal background before they will hire you. Luckily, in Connecticut, you have the option of getting a Certificate of Employability.

According to the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles, a Certificate of Employability can help ensure your domestic violence conviction does not stop you from being employed. It makes it illegal for an employer to deny hiring you based on your conviction alone. With many employers making job offers that are conditional upon your background check, this can really help you to avoid being told you cannot be hired due to your conviction.

How a DUI conviction can impact your life

When a resident of Connecticut faces a DUI charge, it's important for them to understand that the consequences of being convicted can be much larger than it first seems. Many people who are convicted of DUI-related charges find their lives changing in ways they never anticipated.

First are the immediate, short-term consequences, which FindLaw covers. They remind everyone that DUI sentencing is usually severe, regardless of what sort of DUI charge a person faces. The consequences will often involve jail time and expensive fees or fines. A person's vehicle may be impounded. Their license could be suspended or even revoked, depending on the severity of the DUI charge. A convicted person may be required to wear alcohol monitoring bracelets. They may have an ignition lock installed in their car. Finally, they may be required to attend a rehabilitation program.

Does a dismissed charge show on my record?

Finding a job, applying for a loan: there are plenty of times when someone might have to run a background check on you. You are not alone in worrying about lost opportunities — that a potential employer might pass you over, that a bank may decide not to invest in you, and so on. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the question of whether traces of your dismissed charge might still remain on your record.

Your situation would likely be even more complicated were you arrested for an OUI in Connecticut subsequently had your charge dismissed. While dismissal is not uncommon due to the state's education and forgiveness programs, and while there are statutes to protect your rights and your reputation in these cases, the fact remains that related items could still appear on a background check in certain situations.

What are the consequences of an OUI?

There are both short- and long-term consequences you might face if you were arrested for an OUI in Connecticut. These would depend largely on the time of day or week you were arrested, the situation of your arrest and future legal results of your case. The number of previous arrests you had would also probably factor into the eventual outcome.

One of the most important things would be not to panic. Your actions, and those of the police officers with whom you interact, would likely form the basis of the negotiations and legal proceedings to come. 

Dealing with false accusations of abuse

Sometimes, people go too far. Even if your marriage were to experience problems — differences of opinion about living arrangements, financial trouble or child-rearing disagreements, for example — there would be no excuse for your partner to use false accusations of domestic abuse to settle the argument. At the offices of Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law, we are proud to defend our Connecticut clients — and the reputation of the legal system, by extension — by working to reveal the truth behind these types of spurious claims. 

Depending on what is at stake in a given argument, spouses may act rashly and irresponsibly. We have seen it many times: someone learns that it might be possible to effectively cut out a partner by taking undue advantage of the legal system's protections. In the heat of the moment, one spouse enters an unsubstantiated domestic violence claim against another, requesting a restraining order.

Is Connecticut a stop-and-identify state?

In short, Connecticut is not a stop-and-identify state. This means that police would not usually have the right to demand ID from you — that is, they could not arrest or detain you should you fail to produce identifying documents when asked.

Simply asking for ID from another citizen is rarely a violation of rights. By extension, asking for ID is usually within a police officer's authority. In fact, multiple encounters with police would probably show you that it is a relatively common question. Law enforcement agents are trained to gather and record information to use in investigations and prosecutions, and identification cards are one of the most efficient tools in doing so.

What penalties do Connecticut’s underage OUI offenders face?

If you are under 21 and receive a charge of operating under the influence in Connecticut, or conversely, if you have a child charged with OUI in Connecticut, you may have concerns about the possible penalties you, he or she may face if convicted. Authorities do not have to prove that you have a particular amount of alcohol in your body to file such a charge against you or your underage child – instead, they simply must prove that you are under the influence enough for your driving ability to suffer.

Per Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the state imposes harsh penalties on those who abuse drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel. More specifically, if you or your loved one is under 21 at the time of the arrest, you can anticipate a loss of driving privileges for 45 days. After that, you or your underage child will have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for another year, which is a system that prevents you from drinking and driving by having you blow into a device every time you need to start your car.

How we aim to stop trials before they start

When a client walks into our Connecticut offices, the team supporting Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law, is focused on one thing — getting his or case resolved in the most advantageous and expedient manner available. That often means that we must start quickly, gathering information and taking full advantage of the state's robust pre-trial negotiation phase.

If you have heard of a plea bargain, then you already know something about pre-trial. What you might not know is that, should you stand accused of a crime, you could have several other options to resolve your case without undue consequences. In fact, we often prefer to prioritize alternatives, if they are available. Bargaining with your right to plead innocent could involve you admitting to a crime — albeit not the one with which the state's attorney originally charged you, most likely. 

Understanding Connecticut arraignments

Those accused of a crime are often initially confused about the Connecticut criminal judicial process. This confusion could lead to fear, especially if one were anxious about the long-term consequences of a trial. However, it is usually advisable to act from a considered position, informed by a study of the multiple stages of criminal proceedings.

One significant milestone in a case is called the arraignment. This is an initiation of the judicial process, in which an accused individual is formally entered into the court records as a defendant. Since the judge typically reads rights to all defendants at once — before hearing individual cases — arraignments have the potential to take a significant portion of the day, depending on docket position. 

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