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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

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.

What is the Dominant Aggressor Law?

Domestic violence calls are one of the most difficult that law enforcement officers have to deal with. The high emotions and physical risks of such a call can often create a chaotic scene. Officers have to make quick decisions and sometimes the law makes that tough. Fortunately, for officers in Connecticut, changes in domestic violence laws have helped make it easier to help victims and ensure the decisions they make at a scene are the right ones.

Prior to the change in the law, Yale Daily News explains, officers on the scene of a domestic violence call would have a mandatory requirement to arrest someone. This often led to the arrests of both parties because of the nature of how one of these calls usually goes. Typically, both parties offer a complaint when the officers get on the scene, regardless of who called. They both assert the other has done something wrong. If the officers feel there is probable cause for each complaint, the law used to say they had to arrest them both.

Can an ignition interlock device benefit me?

If you have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Connecticut, the consequences you are facing could vary depending on the severity of your offense. Some of the requirements you have may be paying a fine, attending an educational program to inform about the dangers of DUI or the implementation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. The benefits of the latter suggestion can actually be quite advantageous for you if you use the technology correctly and use its presence as a measure of your accountability. 

An ignition interlock device is an innovative technology that will prevent you from being able to start your vehicle if you are found to have blood alcohol content above the legal limit. This is discovered after you have blown into the device which functions as a breathalyzer. If you are cleared, your engine will start and you will be able to legally drive. While it may seem inconvenient and invasive at first, if you use it correctly, it can be instrumental in helping you overcome your past offense and encouraging you to stay sober when you plan to drive. 

How will felony drug conviction affect finding employment?

Having any felony conviction on your record can hinder your ability to get hired for a job. Many employers in different sectors require background checks for new employees. While federal and Connecticut state laws prohibit employers from excluding you as an employee just because you have a felony conviction, the laws do allow employers to deny you employment if the conviction is related or impacts the job for which you applied. In most cases, your felony conviction will impact the job and therefore exclude you from employment. This does not mean you cannot get a job.

However, with a felony drug charge, you may find it is a bit tougher to find someone who will hire you. From the employer's viewpoint, according to Jobs for Felons, the thought is that anyone with a drug charge has a substance abuse history. This makes you seem unreliable and a risk to the employer.

Know the difference: suspension and conviction

Connecticut law assumes that driving is a privilege granted under certain conditions. Specifically, you have already given your consent to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test when you drive on a public roadway. At the offices of Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law, we understand that this can sometimes feel like a violation of basic rights. We are prepared to mount administrative and criminal defenses on our clients' behalf to attempt to get their driving privileges reinstated.

While there are penalties you would probably incur if you were to refuse a BAC test, they are slightly different than those you might face if you were convicted of an OUI charge. Here is a brief explanation of how Connecticut handles refusals versus how it handles convictions.

What to know about alcohol education classes

When Connecticut residents get a DUI, they may think they do not have many options. However, some people may be able to take alcohol education classes.

There are many different kinds of alcohol education programs. According to FindLaw, some of these programs offer therapy and alcohol education to drivers who have had more than one DUI. Other programs are specifically for drivers who do not have any prior DUIs and for people younger than 21. These classes also come in different levels. If someone attends a Level 1 alcohol education class, this usually means that he or she had a blood alcohol content lower than .10 percent. Conversely, someone enrolled in a Level 2 class may have more DUIs on his or her record. 

What distinguishes first and second-degree manslaughter?

The distinction between first and second-degree manslaughter is primarily due to the directness of the act. Because these levels of manslaughter carry various degrees of possible punishment, it matters a great deal what a Connecticut resident is charged with. Depending on the charge, you stand to lose a great deal more of your freedom and finances if you are convicted.

As FindLaw explains, Connecticut will charge a person with first-degree manslaughter if the state believes the person intended to inflict serious physical harm on the individual who died as a result of the person’s actions. The accused person may have also committed harmful acts under extreme emotion. Additionally, if someone’s conduct was so reckless that the individual was severely indifferent to human life and caused another person to die, the state may levy a first-degree manslaughter charge.

The First Step Act is truly just a first step

People who live in New York and find themselves charged with a criminal offense might feel trapped and as if they have no options. For many people, there can exist a tragic cycle that keeps them in jail or prison or prevents them from putting their lives on a better path. 

As reported by The Washington Post, the United States has the highest number of people in jails and prisons around the world. With more than two million people behind bars nationwide, the criminal justice system is in need of reform. A potentially bright spot in the problem is that it appears legislators on both sides of the political aisle agree on the need for reform, even if they do not always agree on the method. 

Hopelessness over domestic violence allegations

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you may feel overwhelmed by the entire situation. You may be worried that your voice will not be heard and that an unfavorable outcome is inevitable. You could be concerned about being unable to spend time with your kids or the impact that these charges may have on your reputation and career. Unfortunately, many people find themselves in a position where they feel hopeless when they are facing domestic violence allegations (even if the claims are completely false). In Connecticut, it is pivotal for people to know what their rights are in this tough situation.

Domestic violence cases carry a harsh stigma and people who have been accused of this offense may find that their life never returns to normal afterward. Sadly, some of these cases are based on completely fabricated allegations, such as a former partner who wants to win a custody battle or exact revenge on an ex. If you have found yourself in this position, it is crucial to examine the ins and outs of the incident(s) and the accusations. You should be closely familiar with your legal options and do what you can to ensure that the truth is revealed.

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