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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

How do you help your child avoid alcohol charges in college?

For many college students in Connecticut and elsewhere, alcohol use is considered a rite of passage. You may also fondly remember the university events and tailgating parties you attended in your college days. However, if you have children in school, you should understand that they face numerous risks – both to their safety and to their legal interests – if they drink too much during the school year.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cautions that many students develop drinking problems in college. Why is this, you may wonder? Students who are involved in fraternities, sororities and sports teams may be pressured to drink more than a healthy amount of alcohol during extracurricular activities. It is also common for new students to rely on alcohol to deal with the stress of adjusting to their workload and trying to fit in.

Connecticut residents: be careful with cannabis and driving

With some states still penalizing the use of recreational marijuana, cannabis proponents in Connecticut and elsewhere are interested in the future of marijuana use as it pertains to the entire country. The laws surrounding cannabis use can be confusing, especially when it pertains to medicinal use or driving with tetrahydrocannabinol in one’s system.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the component found in cannabis that causes a high. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain, THC can remain in a person’s bloodstream for weeks after the last marijuana use. A person can have THC in one’s system long after the high has worn off, which can present complications if a driver is pulled over and ordered to undergo a chemical test. Since the high produced from THC can impair a driver’s perception, reaction time, coordination, judgment and ability to make quick decisions, driving under the influence of marijuana can result in DUI charges. However, with THC remaining for so long in a person’s system, it is possible to get a DUI while being unimpaired.

Overcoming a violent past with hope and determination

When people have been apprehended for committing a violent crime in Connecticut, they often face many serious consequences related to their actions. Depending on the circumstances surrounding their situation and the outcome their behavior had on the people around them, their consequences could range from fines to community service to time spent in prison. 

Violent behavior is rarely a reaction that people make without prior triggers being present in their lives. For many people who have tendencies to react violently to situations, experiences from their past have influenced how they respond to stress, anger and other strong emotions. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, some of the factors that may influence a person's ability to manage and control their anger include the following:

  • Excessive exposure to media violence from movies, video games, music and television shows. 
  • Presence of genetic history of mental illnesses and behavioral illnesses. 
  • Complicated socioeconomics in their family makeup including unemployment, poverty and death. 
  • Having been the victim of incessant bullying or ridicule, as well as domestic violence. 

Can you challenge radar gun evidence?

You know the feeling. You crest a hill on a Connecticut road and start your descent. Unfortunately, you fail to notice the law enforcement officer at the bottom aiming his or her radar gun directly at you. The result? You get a speeding ticket. What now? Should you just pay the darn thing or challenge your alleged traffic offense?

According to FindLaw, you may do well to challenge the radar gun evidence in court. Why? Because radar guns often give inaccurate results.

What should you know about zero tolerance laws?

In Connecticut, a zero tolerance policy is in place. You may know that the related laws are meant to give harsher penalties to underage drinkers convicted of DUI-related crimes, but do you know how they function or came to be?

FindLaw examines zero tolerance laws, their purpose, and how they can impact you. First of all, these laws are in place with the intention of cutting down the rate of underage drinking and driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to a third of the roadway fatalities involving people aged 15-20 are related to underage drinking. Younger drivers typically have an alcohol use rate that is double that of those over 21 years old.

Should you accept a plea bargain?

If you face criminal charges in Connecticut, chances are that the prosecutor will offer your attorney a plea bargain. But should you accept it? Obviously that depends on the exact nature of the plea bargain and the things you must agree to do.

FindLaw explains that a plea bargain represents an agreement that the prosecutor and your attorney negotiate. Naturally, both sides are seeking the best deal possible.

How to handle child abuse accusations

Allegations of domestic violence can have a long-lasting impact on Connecticut residents, particularly if these allegations include child abuse. If people find themselves facing this accusation, it is important for them to know how they should handle this situation.

Some people may think the accusations will go away as soon as they say the allegations are false. According to Very Well Mind, a court generally has to look into the situation to make sure the children are safe. This means that the allegations will not go away overnight and the situation may linger for several weeks or longer. During this time, people may sometimes want to make sure no one learns about the allegations. However, it can be a good idea to speak to close family members and friends. These people may also have to speak to the court, and it is a good idea to ask them to be honest.  Additionally, it is important to cooperate with the court during the investigation.

Connecticut statutory rape laws

According to Connecticut 2-1-1, statutory rape is a criminal offense that occurs between a person who is of the age of consent and another who is not old enough to legally consent to the activity. State laws vary regarding at what age a person can consent and how big of an age gap may exist between minors, so it is imperative that individuals and parents of teens thoroughly understand Connecticut statutory rape laws.

Per Connecticut law, a person is guilty of statutory rape when he or she partakes in sexual relations with a person who is more than three years younger than him or her if that person is between the ages of 13 and 16. However, if the minor is under the age of 13 and the offender is more than two years that minor's senior, the older person is guilty of statutory rape.

What are Connecticut’s animal cruelty laws?

Most people think about assaults against other humans when the topic of violent crimes comes up. However, cruelty to animals can also be violent, and many people might not realize that neglecting or harming an animal can result in serious criminal charges. You and other Connecticut residents should understand the state’s animal cruelty laws.

According to the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, most instances of animal cruelty are considered misdemeanors by law enforcement, although some cases are felonies. First, what is considered animal cruelty, you may wonder? Overworking, beating, torturing, intentionally injuring, poisoning and deliberately killing or mistreating an animal to the point of death are actions that can result in animal cruelty charges. The same is true for failing to provide a pet or livestock with proper care, depriving an animal of food or water, maliciously teasing or abandoning an animal that is legally under one’s care.

What is maintaining a premises?

You may have heard news reports of people in Connecticut facing charges for maintaining premises and felt confused trying to figure out what that means because it does not sound like an illegal action. Indeed, people lawfully maintain different types of premises for all sorts of legitimate reasons. However, maintaining premises becomes a crime if you do so for illegal purposes. This often involves the manufacture, sale or distribution of controlled substances. 

According to the United States Department of Justice, maintaining drug-involved premises can entail either civil or criminal penalties. Authorities may use the amount that you gained as a result of the illegal activity as a guide to calculate your fine for a civil offense. A criminal charge related to maintaining premises can result in a fine ranging from between $500,000 to $2,000,000 in addition to up to 20 years in prison. 

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