Trends in New Haven Criminal Cases
The New Haven courts and prosecutors take any criminal offense seriously and often believe that even the most minor offenses or crimes need to be prosecuted. With this said, it is still important to be aware of the trends and priorities of the legal system they are charged in. The following is information on the various enforcement trends and what those charged with a criminal offense in New Haven should know. To learn more or to begin building a defense for your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
Law Enforcement Priorities
In New Haven and throughout the state of Connecticut there is a focus on offenses involving the sale of narcotics and anything involving guns. This focus is a result of a spike in violent crime, and the fact that there have been numerous murders that police and prosecutors tied to drug activity recently. As a result, laws have become more serious and there has been an increase in mandatory minimum sentences associated with these gun-related offenses.
Impact on the Case
This focus on weapons and narcotics is seen in the laws of the State of Connecticut. Both narcotic offenses and firearm offenses carry significant mandatory minimum sentences. Meaning the legislature has taken the power out of the court’s hands as to the sentence.
A mandatory minimum sentence is a sentence where the legislature has specified that a specific criminal conviction, results in a sentence of this amount of jail time. This effectively eliminates plea bargaining, because it creates legislated mandatory sentence.
If a prosecutor chooses to stick on these particular offenses, there is a very little the defense can do in terms of negotiating those mandatory minimums.
Charging Innocent Individuals
These priorities can lead to innocent individuals being charged with crimes and an example will be charges of possessing a firearm.
Very often what will happen is the police officer will initiate a motor vehicle stop. During the course of that motor vehicle stop, there may be three or four people in the vehicle and ultimately the police officers search the car.
During the course of the search of the car, they may find a firearm. It might be under the front seat. It might be in the glove compartment or it might be in a bag in the back seat. What they do, typically, is the police officers arrest everyone in the vehicle. They cannot determine who is in possession of that firearm, but nevertheless, they still arrest everyone in that vehicle.
It is very possible in that situation that someone in the backseat, where the gun is found in the glove compartment, will have had absolutely no idea the weapon was in the motor vehicle and will have been wrongfully accused.
It is important to have an attorney to act as a representative in these cases. If someone truly is innocent and was unaware, that needs to be conveyed to the prosecutor and an attorney can assist with doing the investigation necessary to establish that the person was unaware of it. An attorney can advocate for that person, show the circumstances, and point out the circumstances that demonstrate that the client simply was in the vehicle and had no knowledge of that firearm.
Issues with the Current Justice System
The court system and the court process is very slow. Very often, the cases do not get resolved quickly and they are not worked out quickly.
The detriment to that is many people have to come back to court every three or four weeks. That can have a huge impact on the individual and their ability to maintain their job and ability to continue to provide for their family.
The process itself is very cumbersome and typically things do not get done in between court dates. Many times clients will call for an update in between court dates but there will be nothing until the next court date.
Attorneys try to assist by moving this as quickly as possible and limiting the collateral consequences for people losing their jobs by following up with the prosecutors about requested materials. Attorneys that show up earlier sometimes have their cases called as quickly as possible and hopefully get their clients out of court as quickly as possible rather than waiting around for the afternoon call.
A diligent attorney should do everything they can to navigate the court systems, limit the inconvenience and the extra costs, and limit lost time at work for their clients.