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Commonly Charged Firearms Violations in Connecticut

commonly charged firearms violations in connecticut

Connecticut’s firearms laws are strict. Lawmakers intend to strictly regulate the use of firearms and protect other people from harm. Prosecutors are serious when they bring charges for firearms violations. Nonetheless, there are several different ways that innocent Connecticut residents can find themselves facing criminal firearms charges

Sometimes, a defendant can face firearms charges for acts he or she engaged in unintentionally. For example, someone might have failed to lock a gun case safely. Or perhaps someone put off renewing a concealed weapon permit in time and his or her license expired. Whatever the reason for your firearm violation, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. Below are a few of the common firearm violation charges:

Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm

Unlawful discharge of a firearm happens when the defendant intentionally, negligently, or carelessly discharges any firearm in such a manner as to be likely to cause bodily injury or death to persons or domestic animals, or the wanton destruction of property. You do not need to intentionally discharge your firearm to be convicted under this crime. The prosecutor needs only to prove that you negligently discharged your firearm. In Connecticut, this crime carries a potential jail sentence of up to three years in prison and fines of $250. 

Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon

In Connecticut, it is illegal to carry certain types of weapons, including the following:

  • BB guns
  • Metal knuckles
  • Switchblade
  • Knife with a blade greater than 4 inches
  • Police baton
  • Martial arts weapon
  • Electronic defense weapon

Suspects who have been caught carrying any of these dangerous weapons face up to three years in prison and fines of up to $500. Convicted defendants will also have a felony conviction on their criminal record.

Possession of a Stolen Firearm

Stealing another person’s firearm is also illegal in Connecticut. A defendant is guilty of stealing a firearm when a person wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds a firearm. Prosecutors will need to prove that the defendant intends to deprive someone else of their firearm or to steal the firearm and give it or sell it to a third party. Stealing a firearm in Connecticut is a class C felony. Those convicted will face a sentence of two years. The defendant will also face five thousand dollars or less fine in addition to having a permanent record as a felon. 

Owning a Gun or Pistol Without a Permit 

Under Connecticut law, everyone who carries a handgun needs to have a gun permit. You must carry the permit on your person whenever you are carrying your handgun. You do not need a permit to possess a gun in your own home as long as your gun stays in your home. If law enforcement discovers that someone is carrying a handgun without the proper permit, they can be punished by up to a $35 fine. If the person carrying the gun does not have a permit at all, he or she can face imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $1,000. The person will face a minimum one-year mandatory prison sentence when no mitigating factors are present. 

Selling a Firearm Without a License

Under federal law, anyone who sells firearms needs to have a federal firearm license. Under Connecticut state law, those who sell handguns must also have a dealer’s permit issued by Connecticut police chiefs. Even if you are a casual seller, you will need a permit if you have sold 10 or more handguns within the calendar year. 

Carrying a Dangerous Weapon

Many people assume that firearms are the most highly regulated weapons. However, weapons other than guns are just as highly restricted. Connecticut law prohibits people from carrying certain types of dangerous weapons on their person, including the following types of weapons:

  • Long knives
  • Switchblades
  • Brass knuckles
  • Blackjacks
  • Dirk knife
  • Any knife with an automatic spring blade that is released from the handle
  • Any knife having a blade of over one and a half inches in length
  • Any knife with an edged portion that is four inches or more in length
  • A police baton or nightstick
  • Any martial arts weapon
  • Any electronic defense weapon
  • Any other dangerous weapon or instrument

People are also prohibited from carrying dangerous weapons in their motor vehicles. This crime is a class E felony in Connecticut. There are several exceptions to this law. Members of the armed forces, police officers, and security guards are allowed to carry certain types of knives. There are several other exceptions to this rule. An experienced defense attorney will review your case and determine whether you can raise any of these exceptions as a defense to your charges. 

Felony in Possession of a Firearm

Federal law prohibits certain groups of people from possessing or purchasing firearms. Felons, certain people with a history of mental illness, and certain domestic abusers are prohibited from possession of a firearm. Under Connecticut law, the following people cannot possess a firearm in almost all cases:

  • Defendants convicted of a felony, with very limited exceptions, or those who have committed certain intimidating or violent misdemeanors after 2013.
  • Those convicted of the commission of a serious juvenile offense
  • Those discharged from custody within the last 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime due to a mental defect or disease
  • Those who have been confined in a mental hospital for those with psychiatric disabilities within the last year through the order of a probate court
  • Someone subject to a firearms seizure order, or a restraining or protective order of any state court

The penalty for violating the prohibitions above will face class C felony charges along with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years and a fine up to $5,000. 

Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers 

If you have been charged with a firearms charge in Connecticut, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Contact the Red Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today.

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Defenses for a DUI Charge in Connecticut

defenses for a dui charge in connecticut

If you have been pulled over and charged with a DUI in Connecticut, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and apprehensive. If this is your first DUI charge in Connecticut, you are likely unfamiliar with the criminal justice process in Connecticut courts. If this is your second, third, or fourth DUI charge, you are likely concerned about the serious penalties that Connecticut courts impose on DUI offenders. Below you will find some of the best defense strategies for combating DUI charges in Connecticut. 

Legal Defenses to a Connecticut DUI Charge

Sometimes, the best DUI defense strategy is to use a legal defense. Connecticut courts have developed legal defenses based on common law precedent. In other words, over the years, the courts have determined different legal defenses that are available to all defendants. One of these legal defenses is duress. If someone forced you to drive while under the influence of alcohol, you can use the defense of duress.

Police Misconduct or Constitutional Violations

Law enforcement is bound to adhere to the Constitution when they carry out searches and seizures. The Constitutional guarantees every person the right to a fair and speedy trial. It protects defendants against illegal searches and seizures for evidence.

For example, if a police officer pulled over a defendant without a reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated, a judge might throw out any evidence gathered at the motor vehicle stop because the stop and search were unconstitutional. Most DUI charges happen as a result of a traffic stop, but, in many cases, law enforcement make critical constitutional errors during the stop. Judges are required to suppress evidence that comes from an illegal traffic stop. 

Or, if law enforcement did not read you your Miranda rights before arresting you, a court might throw out any evidence gathered as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” For example, without hearing his Miranda rights, a driver might not know that he has a right to hire an attorney for his defense. 

At the Red Law Firm, we have helped thousands of clients fight their criminal charges. We have an in-depth knowledge of the common mistakes that law enforcement make. When law enforcement make unconstitutional errors, we know how to use these errors to convince the prosecution to drop the charges, or to convince the judge to dismiss the criminal charge. 

The Prosecution Cannot Prove the Defendant’s Guilt

In order to convict a defendant of a DUI in Connecticut, the state prosecutor must prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The prosecution must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the most basic elements that a prosecutor must prove is that the defendant was actually driving a motor vehicle. 

In many cases, defense lawyers attempt to prove that the defendant was not really driving a vehicle. At the Red Law Firm, we consider all of the following to see whether or not we can make a defense based on our client not actually driving a motor vehicle when the arrest happened:

  • The location of the vehicle when law enforcement made the arrest
  • Whether or not the keys were in the ignition during the arrest
  • Whether or not the vehicle was on and running at the time of the arrest
  • Whether or not the vehicle was operable
  • Whether or not the defendant was conscious at the time of the arrest

For example, if the defendant was passed out and unconscious when the police officer found him or her, and the car was turned on but parked in a parking lot, the jury might not convict the defendant. If, on the other hand, the driver was stopped at a stoplight while passed out, the jury will likely consider him or her to be operating a motor vehicle.

Challenging the “Under the Influence” Element

Prosecutors must prove that the driver could not safely operate a motor vehicle at the time of the arrest. The inability to drive the motor vehicle must stem from consuming alcohol. A jury must find that the defendant’s ability to drive was negatively affected by alcohol consumption beyond a reasonable doubt. 

When a defendant could safely operate a vehicle, the prosecution will have a difficult time proving that the defendant was unable to safely operate the vehicle. For example, when the defendant could drive without weaving, swerving, varying his or her speed, or showing any other signs of impairment, these facts will likely give the jury the reasonable doubt they need. 

When law enforcement pulls the defendant over for speeding and charges them with a DUI, the defense often makes this argument. Speeding does not always indicate that the driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. 

Challenge the Test Result

One of the best defenses to a DUI is to challenge the blood or breath test that led to the conviction. Defendants can challenge the administration of a blood, breath, or urine test given by law enforcement. In some cases, law enforcement does not have the proper training to administer these tests. Or, law enforcement might have failed to properly maintain or clean the machine. In other cases, the labs that process the tests make mistakes or incorrectly measure the defendant’s blood-alcohol level. For example, sometimes substances that are already in the machine can become mistaken for alcohol molecules and cause a false test result. 

Getting Help for Your Connecticut DUI Defense

Every DUI case is unique. At the Red Law Firm, we evaluate all of the circumstances in our clients’ cases. We develop a unique defense strategy that is tailored to the facts. If you are facing a Connecticut DUI charge, it is important that you speak to an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Red Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can fight for your rights.