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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

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 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.

What is a mandatory minimum sentence?

People who are arrested and charged with criminal offenses in Connecticut may often have immediate concerns about what type of punishment or consequence they may face. In particular, it is understandable for you or anyone is this position to want to know if you will have to spend time in jail and, if so, how much time you will need to spend. Depending upon the offense that a person is convicted of, there may be what is called a mandatory minimum sentence.

As the State of Connecticut Office of Legislative Report indicates, not every crime has such a sentence but many do. As the name implies, a mandatory minimum sentence is a length of jail or prison time that must be ordered for someone convicted of a specific crime. It eliminates a judge's discretion on the low end of the sentence but does maintain the judge's discretion for the high end. For example, if a mandatory minimum sentence is one year, a judge may order a person to spend 18 months, two years or more in jail. The judge may also order only the minimum 12 months be spent.

New domestic violence law in neighboring state

With Connecticut being a relatively small state from a physical area perspective, it can be especially interesting and important for residents to be aware of the laws in its neighboring states. Family, friends and even jobs often necessitate frequent trips back and forth from Connecticut to other states. In Rhode Island the Governor recently signed into law a new piece of legislation relating to domestic violence.

At its core, the new law aims to help children who have been exposed to abuse in their homes or among family members. Money from the state's Department of Justice would be made available to these children to fund therapy sessions designed to help them process through the trauma that they may have witnessed or experienced in some way.

Man held on $2 million bond in alleged homicide

The circumstances surrounding a criminal arrest in Connecticut can vary greatly. When people find themselves facing serious charges such as those for murder or homicide, it can be very important to understand not only the potential penalties associated with the charge but what may have led prosecutors to make such a charge.

One man today is in such a situation after he was placed under arrest and charged with homicide in the death of a woman who he was said to be in a romantic relationship with. While waiting for a court appointment the man was being kept in custody and his bond was set at $2 million.

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