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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

Stiffer penalties likely for fentanyl sales

In an effort to crack down on the growing number of opioid deaths in Connecticut, the members of the Connecticut House of Representatives have unanimously passed House Bill 5524, which stiffens the criminal penalties associated with fentanyl sales. Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law, recognizes that, while increasing criminal penalties for fentanyl sales may sound promising on the surface, doing so typically does little to save lives or help addicts get better.

According to the Hartford Courant, increasing criminal penalties has done little to combat the state’s war on drugs, but it does seem to have a disparate impact on minorities, the state’s poor and those struggling with mental illness or addiction. In fact, research shows that increasing incarceration rates for drug offenders does not, in fact, reduce the supply of drugs available to state residents, and it also does not reduce demand for illegal drugs.

Long-term consequences associated with drunk driving convictions

Seeing those blue lights come on in your rear-view mirror can be an unnerving experience even under the best of circumstances, but if Connecticut law enforcement officers stop you and charge you with drunk driving, your whole life can change as a result. Attorney Joseph J. Colarusso understands that a Connecticut driving while intoxicated conviction brings with it substantial penalties, and that some of the hardships you will face after a drunk driving conviction can haunt you for quite some time.

According to BACtrack, the consequences you face after a drunk driving conviction will vary to some extent based on where you live and other details relating to your arrest. However, you can typically plan on facing fines, substance abuse treatment requirements and a loss of licensure, among other possible short-term penalties.

Contribute to your own defense

Any criminal offense in Connecticut is a serious matter that should be defended against for the preservation of your future. What you may not know is that you can potentially play a major role in your own defense.

At the offices of Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law, we would typically not advise people in Connecticut to attempt to mount their own criminal defenses. We invite our clients to become partners in their own defense by educating them on the relevant details of the criminal justice system in the state. Please continue to read for a discussion of some of the things you could do to improve your own ability to protect your rights.

Facing criminal charges? Stay off social media

While it is completely understandable that you might feel anxious or uneasy when you face a Connecticut criminal charge, you can do yourself a favor by avoiding using social media until your case concludes. At the Law Offices of Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law, we have seen firsthand the damage that can occur when people facing criminal charges continue to use social media, and we have helped many people facing such charges pursue favorable solutions that meet their needs.

According to Flux magazine, social media postings are, in many cases, admissible in court, meaning that the things you say or post online can potentially come back to bite you. Ultimately, whether social media content ends up being admissible in court depends on whether it is, in fact, authentic, and it also depends on whether the content accurately depicts what the other side argues it does.

Is methamphetamine always harmful?

You may hear about many different kinds of drugs in Connecticut. However, some of these substances may easily blend together, and it is important to understand the difference among these drugs and how they might affect you. Methamphetamine is one drug many people have had problems with. A previous blog post discussed some of the ways people might get the help they need; this blog post will focus on the facts about this substance.

It may surprise you to learn that some physicians have used methamphetamine to treat medical conditions. According to Medical News Today, some doctors have found that this substance may help with narcolepsy, ADHD and obesity. However, many people make this drug illegally and when you do not use it properly or have the necessary medical supervision, taking this substance can have many harmful side effects. This is because when people manufacture this drug illegally, they sometimes include other materials, such as talc and caffeine. Additionally, you may have a higher chance of experiencing dangerous or fatal side effects if you mix methamphetamine with opiates, alcohol or cocaine.

What should you know about domestic violence protection orders?

If you have been involved in a domestic violence incident in Connecticut, you may find yourself with a restraining order against you. Aimed at protecting alleged victims from threats or abuse, protective orders may significantly affect your life. Therefore, it is important for you to understand the types of domestic violence protective orders that may be issued in the state.

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the court may issue restraining orders, protective orders or standing criminal protective orders. Restraining orders may be requested by family or household members who allege domestic violence, and they can be issued whether you have been arrested for family violence or not. At the court’s discretion, such orders may remain in effect for up to one year and may specify that you cannot harass, threaten, assault, restrain or otherwise attack the protected party. Additionally, the order may specify that you cannot go into the protected party’s home or a residence that you share.

Voting rights for felons topic of town hall

People who live in and are convicted of criminal offenses in Connecticut may often fear that their civil rights are put in jeopardy, making it hard for them to fully recover from their experiences. Even basic things like getting a job or finding a place to live after being released from jail or prison can be a challenge for people with criminal records. Social and political opinions on what rights people convicted of crimes should have can vary greatly.

ABC News recently reported on a series of public town halls held by democratic presidential candidate hopefuls. Among the topics discussed was the ability or lack thereof for convicted felons still in prison to be able to vote. Opinions appear to be very divided about whether or not these people should be allowed to have their voices heard via voting in elections.

Law banning solitary confinement not being followed

People who are sent to prison in Connecticut may experience a wide range of conditions. This can happen in part due to the nature of the offense for which they are sentenced and the specific facility that they are sent to. Conduct that is witnessed in a prison setting may also contribute to some of an inmate's experiences while there. For a long time, some people have been forced to be isolated in what is generally called solitary confinement but can also be referred to as administrative segregation or restrictive housing.

Either way, such treatment of a juvenile inmate is expressly illegal in Connecticut, thanks to a law that was signed into effect in 2017. However, a report issued recently by Connecticut Public Radio indicates that this law is not being adhered to in all cases. Some youth are still being isolated regardless of the stipulations that were part of the 2017 bill. This is one reason why a new bill has now been introduced into the state legislature that would ban solitary confinement for all inmates regardless of age.

Domestic violence continues to claim more victims

CNN estimates that every day, at least three women are murdered in America by a boyfriend or husband. However, when you include how many children, law enforcement officers, family members, friends and innocent bystanders are killed in Connecticut and all across the country, that figure climbs even higher.

It is important to note that though domestic violence is most often perpetrated by men, men are sometimes the victims. This may be at the hands of a woman or another man. For perspective, CNN reports that 1 in 4 women suffer violence at the hands of their partners, while 1 in 7 men suffer the same fate. On a more general scale, of all murder victims in the United States, 1 in 6 are killed by their romantic partner.

Do Connecticut courts accommodate the disabled?

Finding yourself criminally charged is bad enough, but it can be even more taxing if you happen to suffer from a disability. However, having a disability should not impact your ability to go to court and contest criminal charges. If you or someone you know is disabled and is facing a court date in Connecticut, you should take steps to make sure the court knows about your disability and can accommodate you.

The Connecticut Judicial Branch website says that Connecticut courts allow for anyone to make an accommodation request at any time. However, the court prefers that you make your application no less than ten days before the court date, although in emergencies the court will set aside the ten day limit. You can make your request verbally or in any number of written forms, but the preferential way to make a request is through a Request For Accommodation By Persons With Disabilities form.

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