Connecticut Criminal Lawyer
Do you need a highly experienced Connecticut criminal lawyer who will give you compassionate personal attention? Turn to the Law Offices of Andrew J. Cates, LLC.
Impending criminal charges can affect you in so many ways. You may face jail time and fines and a conviction might jeopardize future employment opportunities as well. You can’t afford to take these charges lightly. At the Law Offices of Andrew J. Cates, LLC, we’ll provide you with a persistent, fair, and aggressive attorney who will fight to protect your rights.
Mr. Cates has been appointed counsel in four Connecticut courts and has a team of certified private investigators at his disposal to investigate the charges against you. Fighting the charges is, of course, important, but we also feel that it is important to make the whole experience as stress-free as possible for our clients. We offer a free phone consultation and flexible appointment scheduling. We know this a frightening and overwhelming time for our clients, so we’re happy to patiently answer any and all questions a client has. If you need counsel on substance abuse programs, we can provide that as well.
If you are looking for a high-quality but affordable Connecticut criminal lawyer, call the Law Offices of Andrew J. Cates, LLC toll free at (800) 330-4988 or (860) 522-7044, or contact us online today. Let us fight for you.
Stages of a Criminal Case
There are several stages in a Connecticut criminal case, the most important of which are outlined below.
This is the first step in any criminal process where the police gather evidence, interview witnesses and persons who have possible knowledge of the case, and then piece together all the details retrieved. If sufficient evidence for a case is uncovered, investigators will ask a judge to sign a warrant of arrest for the suspect.
Arrest Without Warrant
The Police “in their respective precincts, shall arrest, without previous complaint and warrant, any person for any offense in their jurisdiction, when the person is taken or apprehended in the act or on the speedy information of others” (CGS Sec. 54-1f). The police, usually the Sergeant in charge, will set the amount of the bond, which may be modified by the Judge at the defendant’s arraignment.
Arrest by Warrant
A judge “may issue (1) bench warrants of arrest upon application by a prosecutorial official if the court or judge determines that the affidavit accompanying the application shows that there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the person complained against committed it” (CGS Sec. 54-2a). The judge who signs the warrant will set the bond, which may be modified by the Judge at the defendant’s arraignment.
The decision to allow bail and the bail amount set is dependent on a number of factors: the severity of the crime, the suspect’s crime history, if any, and if he is considered a flight risk.
At an accused individual’s arraignment, he is made to appear before the judge who informs him of the charges brought against him. The judge also asks the accused whether he already has an attorney or needs a court-appointed attorney to represent him. The defendant may argue that the bond should be lowered and the prosecutor may argue that the bond should be raised. No further argument can be made on the bond for at least 45 days following arraignment.
Discovery (very critical)
This is really a part of both the State and Defense investigation, but it warrants its own discussion. In Connecticut both the Defense and the Prosecution have an obligation to disclose certain information to each other in order to preserve the rights of the defendant and to assure that the defendant and the State are afforded the opportunity to have a fair trial based on the available evidence. However, because the defendant has much more at stake than the prosecution, discovery is weighted heavily in favor of the defendant. It is the responsibility of the defense attorney to assure that all discoverable material is procured from the prosecuting authority, including the identity of all witnesses and codefendants, all statements by witnesses and codefendants, photographs, videos, lineups, results of chemical testing, medical and psychological reports, and reports of experts such as accident reconstructionist, forensic accountants, and medical examiners etcetera.
Investigation by the Defense (most critical)
Although the State may follow-up on the initial Police investigation, for the most part, the State’s investigation is complete. This is the most critical stage of a criminal case because this is when you and your attorney can most influence the outcome of the case. The Defense investigation consists of two components: Legal Investigation and Fact Investigation. Legal Investigation is conducted by the Defense attorney who analyzes the conduct of the police to determine if there has been any misconduct or error that might result in suppression of evidence at trial. Legal investigation also involves analysis of the alleged facts to determine if the alleged conduct has been charged correctly, and if the Defendant is at risk of facing additional charges. Fact Investigation is conducted by professional investigators under the close supervision and direction of the Defense attorney. The goal of the fact investigation is to determine through the examination of the evidence including a thorough review of the State’s evidence gained through discovery, crime scene inspection, witness interviews, etcetera to determine if and to what degree the State’s case can be challenged. The fact investigation will also seek to discover mitigating circumstances and defenses such as standing in the community, family background, drug or alcohol dependence, self-defense, mental defect, alibi etcetera. Both the fact and the legal investigation may require the assistance of experts.
Diversionary Programs (very critical)
The State of Connecticut offers many diversionary programs that if completed successfully by the defendant often result in the dismissal of the charges. These include, but are not limited to programs for first time offenders, drug or alcohol dependent persons, and persons suffering from psychological problems. It is important that the Defense attorney be thoroughly familiar with the programs available in the State of Connecticut because for many offenders, these programs can result in their criminal charges being dropped.
Based on the results of the investigation, most often the accused and the prosecuting attorney can negotiate on a reduction of charge, dropping of some charges in the case of multiple offenses, or the recommendation of a lighter sentence, provided that the defendant puts forward a guilty plea.
The defense and prosecution will offer evidences and question witnesses. Both sides will also have an opportunity to address the jury and argue their case through closing statements.
When and if a defendant has plead guilty or been found guilty following a trial the defense and prosecution will argue the sentence. Many times when a defendant has plead guilty under a plea agreement, the sentence is agreed upon and there is no argument. Sometimes a defendant pleads guilty with a “cap,” or maximum sentence from which the defense can argue for a range or lower sentence. In some cases a plea agreement has a “floor,” or minimum sentence. At a sentencing following a trial or a plea bargain where the agreed upon sentence is a range, the defense will argue for a lower sentence and the prosecution may argue for a higher sentence. The defense will argue mitigating circumstances such as standing in the community, family background, drug or alcohol dependence, mental defect etcetera.
For more information and sound legal advice on the different types of felonies and misdemeanors and their applicable punishments, contact the Law Offices of Andrew J. Cates, LLC toll free at (800) 330-4988 or (860) 522-7044, or contact us online.