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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

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.

What does pleading no contest mean?

When you face criminal charges, the court will ask you for your plea. Most people know you have the option to plead guilty or not guilty, but there are other options in most cases. Technically, this is called pleading nolo contendere, according to NoloContendere.org. This type of plea means you are admitting guilt for the charges and you agree the court may punish you for committing the crime. Even though the plea will end up with the same results as just pleading guilty, it is quite different than a guilty plea. 

The court will only allow a guilty plea if it believes you are being completely honest about the fact you committed the crime. If you show reservations to facts presented or there is any other concern by the court, a guilty plea is often not allowed. If you do not want to go trial and you openly admit your guilt but the court will not accept your guilty plea, then you can plead no contest. 

What are the two parts of the DUI law?

Drunk driving laws are often complex. They consider many different aspects, from the type of vehicle being driven to the age of the driver. The blood alcohol content level also plays a very important role. If you are a driver in Connecticut, it is important for you to understand the state's drunk driving laws. There are two main laws that govern this crime.

One of the laws is the BAC testing law, according to the Connecticut General Assembly. This part of the law says that you must consent to a BAC test when asked by law enforcement who has pulled you over for a DUI. In fact, it says you have already consented just by getting a driver's license, so you really have no right to refuse a test. However, if you do refuse to take a test, you will face a license suspension regardless of whether you are found to have been driving under the influence or not.

Defendant rejects plea deal

Connecticut residents who are arrested and charged with criminal offenses may have multiple ways to approach their defense. One approach to a criminal defense is to enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution. A plea agreement often includes a defendant pleading guilty to a charge that is lesser than what they may face in a trial in exchange for not having to go through the full trial process. 

One man who is currently in custody at the Northern Correctional Institution has recently chosen not to enter into a plea deal with the prosecution in a case in which he is charged with the murder of another man. After rejecting the offered deal, the defendant will now be heading toward a trial that is expected to take place at some point in 2018 although the exact date is not unknown. He will face full charges and if the jury finds him guilty of the murder, he may be ordered to spend as many as 60 years in prison.

Domestic violence reports in 2017

Very often, public news reports detailing allegations of domestic violence in Connecticut make it all but seem the accused person is guilty right off the bat. There is generally little discussion about the possibility that an incident either involve a person truly defending them against someone else, for example. This is just one situation that may change a person's view of a defendant if more facts were known.

Data released recently indicates that the city of Bridgeport has logged more than 3,800 calls for potential domestic violence instances during the first three quarters of 2017. As with reports about individual domestic violence accusations, many things remain unknown. For example, it is not known how this number compares to prior years and if this is an increase or a decrease. No details were provided as to how many of these calls led to actual arrests or then to actual convictions.

Drug addiction plagues people in U.S.

Connecticut residents who read stories about people being arrested for and charged with crimes involving drugs may sometimes want to better understand how this might happen. More and more is being learned recently about the extent of a serious problem in the county involving addictions to prescription drugs, epecially opioids often used for pain relief.

The fact of the matter is that a person who may originally use or take a prescription opioid drug for a legitimate reason can develop an addiction that leads them down a very dangerous path. This path may well involve criminal activity or charges. Understanding that addiction is the real problem is something that needs to happen in order to properly address the issue. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of accidental deaths nationwide today is actually opioid addiction or overdose.

Arrest made after bag reportedly left behind

Connecticut residents who hear about people being arrested might initially think some sort of investigation had been underway. While this may happen in some cases, it is not always the path that leads to a criminal charge. A person may actually end up being accused of one crime even after a previous interaction with the law that is completely unrelated.

That is actually what has happened to one man from Waterbury recently. Reports indicate that law enforcement officers were called to a particular location for an undisclosed reason one day. It appears that no arrests were made as a result of the visit. However, later on another person called the police back again. The reason the officers were called was because the man, who was 23 years old, apparently left a bag at the location. It is not known why the caller did not simply let the man know he left his bag.

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