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Windham County Criminal Law Blog

Connecticut college student expelled, facing criminal charges

Many college freshmen have difficult relationships with their roommates, with whom they are often randomly paired. However, a young woman who has been expelled from the University of Hartford allegedly took her issues with her roommate to extreme levels. She is facing a charge of criminal mischief and could also face charges involving intimidation based on bigotry.

The case has become national news, and the university is facing accusations by the woman's roommate that people there wanted her to keep the matter quiet. She's also alleging that the university's actions were in part influenced by her race. She says, "If the race roles were reversed, I feel like this would have gone down a different route."

When can someone assert a spousal privilege?

There are two types of spousal privileges that people may be able to invoke if a current or former spouse is being investigated for a crime or has been arrested. There are important differences between them, so it's essential to know which one applies, whether you're the person facing potential criminal penalties or the spouse (or in some cases ex-spouse) of that person.

One is the marital communications privilege. It prevents private verbal or written communications between spouses from being used as evidence against one of them. This privilege can be used in civil cases as well as criminal ones.

What does smuggling involve?

If you're bringing back gifts, souvenirs and other items from a trip overseas, chances are that you aren't violating the law. Bringing home a few tchotchkes from the Louvre shouldn't land you in jail. However, it's important to know what the government considers a customs violation.

Our customs laws are in place to control the goods that are imported into the country, not just for the protection of the economy, but to ensure that diseases aren't spread and that proper taxes are paid by those bringing in legal goods. It's essential to declare the true value of any goods that you bring into the country.

What is 'insider trading?'

Everyone loves a good stock tip. It could be word about a merger that will send a company's stock soaring or news that a company's leading product will soon be recalled, sending the stock plummeting. However, when is it illegal for someone to leak that information, and when is it illegal to act on it?

That gets us into the realm of insider trading, which is a federal crime. According to the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, an "insider" is a director, officer or anyone who owns at least 10 percent of a company. They are limited in their own transactions of the company's stock in order to help prevent them from acting on knowledge of the company's activities for their own financial well-being. This is illegal. So is sharing information with others that it is their fiduciary to protect.

How cocaine-related offenses are punished in Connecticut

New York has long been the breeding ground for illicit drug business. In an effort to combat its image as an enabler of the illicit drug trade, it's implemented strict penalties for drug-related offenses in the last few years. As punishments for drug crimes have become more serious in New York, a significant portion of the drug trade has moved just north into Connecticut.

As a response, state legislators here have also adopted more serious penalties for those who commit drug crimes, especially ones that involve the consumption, distribution or trafficking of cocaine.Sections 240, 243 and 278 of Connecticut code 21a spell out some of the penalties that are associated with the possession or sale of cocaine in the state.

Your criminal case is unique; your defense should be, too

There are many different things that you have to think about when you are facing a criminal charge. The exact points depend on the circumstances of your case and your life. For example, we recently discussed how a criminal conviction can impact a green card holder, but these impacts don't have to be considered by a natural born citizen.

We know that every situation is unique and they must all be treated as such. We can help you evaluate each option that you have to determine what options might suit your case. We can also help you learn about why certain options might not be suitable in your case.

Do you have a green card? A conviction can get you deported

If you are living in the U.S. as a permanent resident with a green card, you know that you have to renew it on a regular basis. If you are convicted of a crime, your chances of getting your green card renewed so that you can remain in this country legally may be jeopardized.

When a permanent resident files an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will run a criminal background check. USCIS uses the photograph and fingerprints that you're required to provide at your biometrics appointment to check law enforcement databases for any record of an immigration violation or crime.

Avoid jail on Halloween: Scale down your scare tactics

Halloween is supposed to be scary, and pranks are the norm. However, you need to know where to draw the line before you end up in a pair of handcuffs.

Even if you aren't inclined to make any mischief this holiday season, make sure that you talk to your teenage children about what they may see as essentially harmless fun. It could end up in a trip to court -- or worse.

Charged with hazing frat brothers or sorority sisters? Seek help

If you belong to a fraternity or sorority at a Connecticut college or university, you probably know quite a bit about hazing. While that doesn't mean that you have any primary knowledge of hazing incidents, surely you sat through lectures describing how the practices were forbidden both on and off campus.

What may remain a bit unclear is just what comes under the umbrella of hazing on university campuses. True, the image of intoxicated fraternity brothers funneling beer à la Animal House is prevalent, but falls far short of epitomizing all examples college students may encounter.

Why you need a lawyer even if you haven't been arrested

Have you been notified by authorities that you're being investigated for alleged criminal activity, or do you believe that you may be the subject of an investigation? Perhaps police officers or other authorities have shown up at your home or workplace just to "chat."

It's best to secure legal counsel before you talk to any authorities well before you find yourself under arrest. Experienced criminal defense attorneys can provide guidance and protect your rights.

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