Posts tagged with "criminal record"

Pretrial Diversionary Programs in Connecticut

If you are a first-time offender in Connecticut, you may be eligible for pretrial diversionary programs, which consists of several programs designed to rehabilitate the offender, rather than punish them.  The objective, of course, is also to reduce recidivism and, effectively, state costs.  The public interest in minimizing repeat offenders is significant, which is why Connecticut continues to offer many offenders the benefit of these programs.    

Each diversionary program, while serving similar objectives, has different eligibility criteria, program objectives, time limitations, and requirements for successful completion.  Here is what you need to know about Connecticut’s most common diversionary programs:  

Accelerated Rehabilitation

To be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation (“AR”) in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with a crime or, in some instances, a motor vehicle violation, not of serious nature.  The law expressly prohibits the use of AR for certain crimes including any class A or class B felony, operating under the influence, 2nd degree manslaughter, 2nd degree assault with a motor vehicle, 2nd degree sexual assault, 3rd degree sexual assault, 3rd degree sexual assault with a firearm, enticing a minor, 2nd or 3rd degree possession of child pornography, a crime or motor vehicle violation resulting in the death of another, family violence crimes, and others.  Prior convictions may also result in ineligibility for this program.  

If you are deemed eligible for this program, you will be supervised by the Court Support Services Division (“CSSD”).  While under CSSD supervision, the prosecution may be stayed for up to two (2) years enabling you time to successfully complete the program.    

Pretrial Alcohol Education Program

To be eligible for the Alcohol Education Program (“AEP”) in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with operating under the influence, violating safe boating rules, or 2nd degree reckless vessel operation while under the influence, with some exceptions.  Like AR, prior convictions may also result in ineligibility for this program.  

If you are deemed eligible, you will be allocated one (1) year to complete this program consisting of between ten (10) to fifteen (15) sessions of an alcohol intervention or substance abuse program.  

Pretrial Drug Education and Community Service

To be eligible for the Drug Education and Community Service program, the defendant must be charged with a drug paraphernalia or possession crime or possession of less than .5 ounce of marijuana punishable by fine.  

Under this program, the defendant must submit to a Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (“DMHAS”) for evaluation.  The defendant is allocated one (1) year to complete this program consisting of a fifteen (15) session drug education or substance abuse treatment program.  

Pretrial Family Violence Education Program

To be eligible for the Family Violence Education Program (“FVEP”) in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with a family violence crime, with some exceptions.  A family violence crime, in Connecticut, is defined as a crime that includes an element of family violence to a family or household member.  The law expressly prohibits the use of FVEP for class A, B, C, or unclassified felonies with possible prison sentences greater than ten (10) years, and class D or unclassified felonies with possible prison sentences greater than five (5) years.  Any offenders that were involved in a family violence crime that involved inflicting serious physical injury are also ineligible without good cause.  Prior family violence convictions may also result in ineligibility for this program. 

If you are deemed eligible for this program, the Court Support Services Division (“CSSD”) will supervise you to ensure successful completion.  While under CSSD supervision, the prosecution may be stayed for up to two (2) years.

Pretrial Supervised Diversionary Program

To be eligible for the Pretrial Supervised Diversionary Program in Connecticut, the defendant must be charged with a crime or motor vehicle violation that is not of serious nature and must have a mental or emotional condition that has substantial adverse effects on the defendant’s ability to function.  This condition must require care and treatment.  Alternatively, the defendant may be eligible if they are a veteran with a mental health condition that is amenable to treatment if not dishonorably discharged from the military.  

If deemed eligible for this program, CSSD will develop a tailored treatment plan, even collaborating with state and federal agencies including DMHAS and the state and federal veteran’s departments.  Unlike the other diversionary programs, specially trained probation officers will supervise the defendant ensuring successful completion.  

With all of these programs, eligibility and admission into the program will not always result in your charges being dismissed.  It is imperative that you are wholly compliant with the court’s directives to ensure successful completion.  

If you have any further questions about criminal diversionary programs in Connecticut or would like the representation of an experienced attorney to assist you, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.

Operating Under the Influence in Connecticut

If you are facing allegations of Operating Under the Influence (“OUI”) under Connecticut Law, you must understand the charges you are facing.  These offenses are taken seriously and can result in significant penalties including community service, probation, fines, license restrictions, and even jail time – depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.  The actions you take, or fail to take, before, during, and after you are charged can alter the outcome of the case significantly.

In the event that this is not your first-time facing allegations of Operating Under the Influence in Connecticut, the consequences become significantly more serious.  Here is what you need to know about OUI penalties in Connecticut:

1st Offense

Under Connecticut law, any person who violates the operating under the influence statute for the first time will be charged with a class B misdemeanor.  While this may sound relatively insignificant to you, the statute imposes additional penalties including a mandatory minimum of forty-eight (48) hours in jail and a fine of between five hundred and one thousand ($500-$1000) dollars.  If you are facing charges in addition to the OUI charge, expect even more consequences.  

2nd Offense

Any person who violates the operating under the influence statute for the second time in Connecticut will face even more serious consequences.  Under the statute, an OUI conviction as a second offender will result in a felony, rather than the misdemeanor charge given to first-time offenders.  The statute additionally imposes a much more severe mandatory minimum of one hundred twenty (120) days in jail and a fine somewhere between one and four ($1,000-$4,000) dollars.  Again, additional charges may result in even more penalties.

3rd Offense 

By the time you are charged with your third OUI in Connecticut, the law is not on your side and you can expect serious consequences.  If your choices have led to yet another OUI arrest, under Connecticut law you will be charged with an even more serious class E felony.  A conviction of a Class E felonies can mean up to three (3) years in prison.  The statute additionally requires a mandatory minimum of one (1) year in jail and a fine somewhere between two and five thousand ($2,000-$5,000) dollars.

On top of the already serious consequences, additional penalties may include community service, the requirement to complete a criminal diversionary program including the Alcohol Education Program, probation, conditional discharge outlining the terms of your release from custody, points on your license, the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle requiring you to submit to a breath test every time you operate your vehicle, other license restrictions, and license suspension.   With so much at stake, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of competent counsel. An experienced OUI attorney can assist you in negotiating the best possible outcome for your case.

 

If you have any further questions about Operating Under the Influence in Connecticut or would like the representation of an experienced attorney to assist you, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.

 

What You Need to Know About Expungement in Connecticut

Is Your Criminal Record Haunting You Years Later?  What You Need to Know About Expungement in Connecticut…

If you live in Connecticut, the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles (“BOPP”) Pardon Division has the power to grant a criminal expungement, also known as an Absolute Pardon.  Alternatively, for those not yet eligible for an absolute pardon, the BOPP has the power to issue a Certificate of Employability (“COE”) which can help you to secure employment while you get back on your feet.  

Absolute Pardon

An Absolute Pardon is an absolute erasure of your Connecticut criminal record.  To be eligible, certain requirements must be met:

  1. You must be a resident of the state of Connecticut.
  2. You must have one (1) or more criminal conviction(s) in any state of jurisdiction.
  3. Three (3) years must have passed since your most recent misdemeanor conviction.
  4. Five (5) years must have passed since your most recent felony conviction.
  5. Thirteen (13) months must have passed since the court nolled any charges against you.  
  6. You must have no pending charges, open cases, or be on any form of supervision in any jurisdiction, state of federal.

Assuming you have met all of these eligibility requirements, you may apply for an absolute pardon.  Once the application is started, you or your attorney will have six (6) months to complete the process, and it can be quite involved.  An Absolute Pardon in Connecticut requires a comprehensive background check that includes gathering imperative documents including your driver’s license, a criminal history report; fingerprints; incident reports; and court, probation, and police records.  In addition to these documents, you are required to submit at least three (3) character reference questionnaires.   Once your file has been complete, a pre-screen telephone interview will be scheduled and finally, you will be required to attend a hearing on the issue.

We get it – it sounds involved.  There is good news if your offenses are considered “non-violent” and do not involved a listed victim.  Non-violent offenders may be considered for expedited review, and it is possible for your expungement to be processed without the need for a pre-screen telephone interview or hearing.  However, this process is discretionary with the Pardons Board so do not hang your hat on it.

Like just about every other area of law, every case is different.  It is impossible to determine whether or not you will or will not succeed in the process, though some factors may help (or hurt) you.  The BOPP will look at a variety of factors, including but not limited to, the severity of the offense, the extent of your criminal record, how long it has been since your last conviction, whether the crime had any impact on the community, whether there were any listed victims and what input they might have had, and what you have been doing since the conviction are just some considerations that will go into assessing the application.  Have you been very active in your community?  Have you completely turned your life around?  Have you been able to hold steady employment?  The list can go on.

Certificate of Employability

Even if you are not eligible for an Absolute Pardon at this time, the BOPP offers an alternative; a Certificate of Employability.  A COE is also known as a Provisional Pardon or Certificate of Rehabilitation.  Unlike an Absolute Parson, the process of obtaining this certificate does not erase your criminal record.  A COE is intended for employment and licensure purposes only.  

To be eligible for a COE, certain requirements must be met:

  1. You must be a resident of the state of Connecticut.
  2. You must have one (1) or more criminal conviction(s) in any state of jurisdiction.
  3. If you have recently completed a sentence or are on parole or special parole:
    1. You must have been in the community for ninety (90) days and have no new arrest(s) if you have recently completed your sentence and are not currently under supervision.
    2. You must have completed ninety (90) days of supervision if you are under the supervision of the Department of Corrections Parole and Community Services Division.
  4. Thirteen (13) months must have passed since the court nolled any charges against you.  

If you are currently on probation and have more than ninety (90) days of supervision left, you must apply through the Court Support Services Division (“CSSD”).  Contact your probation officer for further information.

Assuming you have met all of these eligibility requirements, you may apply for a COE.  The BOPP requires you to submit a Background Investigation Authorization Form, a copy of your valid Driver’s License or State ID, and a Supervising Officer Questionnaire for those currently under any form of supervision.  

Like Absolute Pardon applications, once submitted, your application for a COE will be reviewed and investigated.  Once the investigation and administrative review are complete, the Board will either deny or grant the issuance of the Certificate.  Unlike an Absolute Pardon, a hearing is not necessary for your application for a COE.    

If you have any further questions about expungement in Connecticut, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.

What is Employment Discrimination in Connecticut?

While the law does not protect employees from all types of behavior, it does protect employees from discrimination and harassment.  Accordingly, it is a violation of the law for an employer to refuse to hire or promote a person, or to discipline, terminate, harass or otherwise treat an employee differently because of certain characteristics.  These characteristics include:  (1) race or color; (2) national origin; (3) religion; (4) age; (5) sex/gender (including pregnancy and medical conditions relating to pregnancy); (6) sexual orientation; (7) physical or  mental disability, including learning disability; (8) genetic information; (9) marital status; or (10) in certain circumstances, criminal record.

If you have any questions related to sexual harassment and discrimination in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

What is Employment Discrimination in Connecticut?

While the law does not protect employees from all types of behavior, it does protect employees from discrimination and harassment.  Accordingly, it is a violation of the law for an employer to refuse to hire or promote a person, or to discipline, terminate, harass or otherwise treat an employee differently because of certain characteristics.  These characteristics include:  (1) race or color; (2) national origin; (3) religion; (4) age; (5) sex/gender (including pregnancy and medical conditions relating to pregnancy); (6) sexual orientation; (7) physical or  mental disability, including learning disability; (8) genetic information; (9) marital status; or (10) in certain circumstances, criminal record.

If you have any questions related to sexual harassment and discrimination in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.