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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

Are DUI checkpoints considered entrapment?

You have probably seen notifications from news stations or your Connecticut law enforcement about DUI checkpoints. These are when officers set up a roadblock to check drivers for driving under the influence. They are most common around holidays, and they are always announced in some form. Some people have asked the question if this is a form of entrapment, which is illegal under the law, because you would be driving right into a situation where you could possibly go to jail.

According to the Valley Independent Sentinel, DUI checkpoints are not unconstitutional or entrapment. The reason is those announcements that inform the public about them beforehand. The US Supreme Court mandates that law enforcement announce the location and time of any checkpoint to avoid the claims of entrapment. 

What does the Federal drug policy change mean for Connecticut?

You may be one of the many medical marijuana users in Connecticut. As such, recent news that the federal government is no longer going to honor the policy of not enforcing federal marijuana laws may have you concerned. However, as ABC News reports, medical marijuana users like you probably have little to fear.

It is important to know that while states have legalized marijuana in various capacities, the drug is still illegal at the federal level. What this means is if you get caught buying or using it by a federal agent, you could face federal charges even though it may be legal in Connecticut. However, there has been a long-standing unofficial agreement that the feds will not step in when people are obeying state laws. 

Man gets DUI charge after falling asleep at the steering wheel

Many people believe the only way they can receive a DUI charge is by driving while drunk. But there are other ways they can receive a driving while under the influence/impaired charge. Substances that alter a person’s perception, motor skills and cognitive abilities can lead to DUIs too. Anyone who uses medications, narcotic drugs, suffers from certain medical conditions and gets in their vehicles could find themselves dealing law enforcement. 

Impaired driving is a serious crime that endangers many people, including the offenders. Many people who operate their vehicles while under the influence risk losing control of them and hurting and killing others, including themselves. They are also likely to crash their vehicles and cause a significant amount of property damage. 

Can domestic violence murders be prevented?

Violence in relationships is something that happens all the time. It can be a difficult situation where the law may have trouble managing things and preventing them from getting even worse. However, there may be things Connecticut law enforcement and courts can do to protect domestic violence victims from becoming murder victims or murderers. 

According to NBC, there are red flags that are often seen in domestic violence cases that point to the possibility of the situation becoming a murder case. If law enforcement or others involved can watch for such signs and react accordingly, lives could be saved. 

Understanding Connecticut's statutory rape laws

Many people in Connecticut might generally have an understanding that statutory rape refers to sexual contact with a minor, they may not fully understand the state's laws on this matter. This is because the laws can be quite complex and there is not just one definition of what might constitute statutory rape. Learning about this is importnat for anyone who might have a relationship with someone under the age of 18.

According to Age of Consent, the state of Connecticut identifies 16 as the age at which a person may voluntarily and legally agree to sexual activity. This, however, is far from the only guideline and there may even be times when sexual contact with someone who is 16 or 17 may be involved with a charge of statutory rape.

Supreme Court rules on pretrial conferences

People who are accused of criminal offenses in Connecticut may sometimes have the opportunity to engage in plea bargains with the prosecuction team. These discussions may offer benefits to both prosecutors and defendants. For the former group, an agreement may result in faster processing of a case which reduces the load on the court system. For defendants, a plea deal may often result in a lesser charge being entered which may in turn lead to a lighter set of penalties compared to that associated with the original request.

The discussions that lead to these deals often take place in the private chambers of a judge. As such, they are not offically recognized court proceedings. The State Constitution requires that alleged victims in criminal cases be allowed to attend all court proceedings. In a case involving a teenage boy said to have been sexually assaulted by his former teacher, the defense team requested that the boy be allowed to attend a pretrial conference with the participating attorneys and judge. Because this is not a court proceeding, the judge denied this request.

Will recreational marijuana be legalized?

Laws regarding marijuana have been changing rapidly throughout the country. While most states, including Connecticut, have legalized marijuana for medical use, there are only a few states that have legalized recreational use. You may wonder if the state will ever legalize the drug for recreation, and you are not alone. 

The good news, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, is legislation to legalize marijuana's recreational use was considered. However, when the governor signed the new state budget in October, this legislation was not part of it. The budget is a two-year deal, so at least for the next two years, it looks unlikely that recreational marijuana will be coming to the state. However, those in favor will keep trying in 2018 to get laws passed.

What are the issues with no body for a murder charge?

If someone is facing a murder charge, typically, it is because a body has been found, along with evidence linking them to the crime. However, in Connecticut, you could be charged with murder even if there is no body. According to the New Haven Register, as long as there is evidence you committed the crime, you could face murder charges. 

However, the prosecutor may find it difficult to take your case to court. Not having such critical evidence as the body can make proving the case hard because murder charges require proof beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. 

Drunk driving enforcement to spike over holiday

For many Connecticut residents, having a beer or a glass of wine with friends and family at a holiday meal or celebration is a common thing and widely accepted as a social norm. A good portion of those same residents may also drive themselves to and from their respective events. Neither traffic nor ciminal laws expressly prohibit driving after drinking. The laws only prohibit or criminalize such behaviors if a driver's blood alcohol content is beyond the stated legal limit.

It is this difference that can sometimes make a traffic stop a challenge. If an officer asks a driver if they have been drinking, an answer in the affirmative in and of itself should not be an issue. Yet many drivers are understandably concerned about answering this type of question from a police officer for fear that it may lead them to being charged with a drunk driving offense. Over the holiday weekend there well may be an increased chance of that happening.

Is physical violence always part of domestic abuse?

If you have been accused of domestic abuse against a spouse or significant other in Connecticut but you know you have never physically harmed them, you may be wondering how you could be facing such a charge. Many people almost equate physical violence like hitting, slugging or slapping with domestic violence. However, the definition of domestic abuse is much broader than this and understanding what it may entail can be important for anyone in a relationship.

One thing you should understand is how the United States Department of Justice defines domestic abuse. It includes behaviors or patterns of behaviors that could be said to be intended means of gaining and exerting control over another person. This includes not only actual acts but the threat of actions as well. This means that there is the potential that words said in the midst of a disagreement may be later accused as threats.

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