7 Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Criminal Defense Case
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Being accused of a crime can make the future uncertain. There’s no room for error. To avoid hefty fines and jail time, it’s important to have a strong lawyer to guide you through the Connecticut court system.
Erin Field will give you a plan to take back your life.
As an experienced New Canaan criminal defense lawyer, I know how confusing and frightening being arrested and charged can be. I am here to help walk you through the process and help you evaluate all of your options.
Please contact me today for a free consultation with an experienced New Canaan criminal defense lawyer before making any statements to the prosecution, or making any deal. If you don’t, you’ll never know if you got a fair offer, or if your case really should have been dismissed on legal, constitutional, or procedural grounds.
Please remember, once you make a deal – that’s it. It’s over. You can’t go back if you decide you didn’t make the right decision.
Any New Canaan criminal charge can be serious. Felony offenses frequently have mandatory jail time attached if you are convicted. Even misdemeanor offenses can carry jail time, driver’s license suspensions, and will have other costly and difficult restrictions on your life and your future.
I have successfully represented people facing a wide variety of criminal charges. Some of the charges I defend include:
Felony charges are those that have a minimum jail sentence if found guilty, typically a year or more.
|CAPITAL FELONY||Specific types of Murder||Life in prison||N/A|
|CLASS A FELONY (MURDER)||Murder||25 to 60 years in prison||Up to $20,000|
|CLASS A FELONY||Aggravated Sexual Assault under 16, Sexual Assault w/younger victims, Kidnapping 1st degree, Arson 1st degree||10 to 25 years in prison||Up to $20,000|
|CLASS B FELONY||Manslaughter 1st degree, Assault 1st degree, Sexual Assault, Larceny 1st degree||1 to 20 years in prison||Up to $15,000|
|CLASS C FELONY||Manslaughter 2nd degree, Sexual Assault 2nd degree, Robbery 2nd degree, Arson 3rd degree||1 to 10 years in prison||Up to $10,000|
|CLASS D FELONY||Assault 2nd degree, Sexual Assault 3rd degree, Criminal Mischief 1st degree, Stalking 1st degree||1 to 5 years in prison||Up to $5,000|
Under Connecticut law, misdemeanor charges are less serious than felonies and have a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail.
|CLASS A MISDEMEANOR||Assault 3rd degree, Threatening 2nd degree, Sexual Assault 4th Degree, Criminal Trespass 1st degree, Larceny 4th degree, Violation of a protective order||Up to 1 year in jail||Up to $2,000|
|CLASS B MISDEMEANOR||Criminal Mischief 3rd degree, Stalking 3rd degree, Breach of Peace||Up to 6 months in jail||Up to $1,000|
|CLASS C MISDEMEANOR||Criminal Mischief 4th degree, Disorderly Conduct, Larceny 6th degree||Up to 3 months in jail||Up to $500|
Violations and Infractions are not crimes, they are civil penalties, so they do not give you a criminal record. A violation is punishable by a maximum fine of $500, and some specific violations have lesser maximum fines.
An infraction has a fine of up to $90, plus additional fees and surcharges that may go as high as $300.
Typical violations and infraction are motor vehicle offenses such as traffic tickets, speeding tickets, possession of alcohol by a minor, and various city ordinances.
You do not need to make a court appearance for either a violation or an infraction. You can choose to pay your fine by mail, but I do not recommend.
Reference: Connecticut Traffic Infractions FAQ.
Many professional licensing boards have standards that prohibit anyone with a criminal record or civil infraction from being admitted or certified.
And now that all criminal convictions in New Canaan are posted online publicly, your criminal record could easily become a scarlet letter that haunts you forever.
When facing criminal charges, you are up against law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices with decades of experience with criminal prosecution. They are trained to catch any slip-ups or incriminating statements you might make. Having a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges you are facing can mean the difference between years in prison and no prison time at all.
The police may tell you that things will be better if you answer their questions, but this is rarely true, even if you are innocent. Exercise your right to remain silent until you have an attorney. Your lawyer can prevent you from saying anything that may damage your case.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can also explain the risks of taking your case to trial. If you choose to plead guilty, a criminal defense attorney will vigorously negotiate on your behalf to obtain a favorable plea deal. And if you decide to plead not guilty, a criminal defense attorney will put the state’s case to the test and make the state prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Just because the police have collected evidence doesn’t mean you will automatically be proven guilty at trial. In many cases, there are problems with the state’s evidence that make it inadmissible at trial. Without evidence to prove each element of your charges beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor or trial court may end up dismissing your case.
Some examples of the problems I see in criminal cases include:
These issues can lead to the suppression of evidence. In addition, if tainted evidence led the police to other evidence, that evidence can also be suppressed under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine. If evidence critical to the state’s case is later thrown out by the court, it can result in dismissal of your charges for insufficient evidence.
If you’ve been arrested, don’t make any statements or confessions until you have first spoken with a criminal defense attorney. Do not attempt to talk to the police or the prosecutor on your own. Instead, calmly but firmly decline to answer any questions and request to speak with an attorney. Be sure to contact a criminal defense attorney like me about your case at your first available opportunity.
If you are released after your arrest, do not speak with anyone except your attorney about your case. Avoid posting about your case on social media, and refrain from contacting any alleged victims or potential state witnesses. Doing so may violate the conditions of your release and may constitute a crime itself. Avoid committing any new offenses while awaiting trial. It may negatively impact your chances of obtaining a plea deal or could increase your sentence if you are convicted.
If you have been arrested, you may be feeling stressed, scared, and alone. To calm some anxieties, I have included the answers to some of the questions I hear most often from my clients below. To get personalized answers to your specific questions, be sure to call my office as soon as possible.[qa cat=criminal-defense]
Please call me for a consultation or contact me online now. I will fight for you and look for every opportunity to avoid sticking you with this permanent criminal record.
Your case evaluation is free, confidential, and there is no further obligation.
You will always speak with me, Erin Field, the attorney.