The opioid crisis has hit every state in the country and Connecticut is no exception. The statistics are very disheartening whether you live in New Haven, Meriden, Middletown, New London, or any other city in Connecticut. On average two people in Connecticut die from drug overdoses every day -more than those who die from car accidents or gun violence. Experts believe the opiate epidemic can be traced back to doctors writing prescriptions for opioids more frequently. When the government began putting controls on prescription painkillers some people started to search for illegally sold pills. They also switched to heroin and fentanyl. These individuals often get arrested of various drug charges and require the services of criminal defense attorneys to help them navigate the criminal court system in Connecticut.
The criminal justice system has tried to balance the need for treatment versus the need to punish people who illegally sell and use drugs. The legislature has recognized that saddling people with felony records often leads to undesirable consequences such as the inability of individuals to find jobs, to get certain licenses, or to qualify for student loans. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Knight & Cerritelli LLC fight to avoid felony convictions and jail time.
There are a number of programs available in the court system for people arrested for possessory drug offenses that involve an educational component and a community service component. The individual is limited in terms of the number of times he or she can engage in such a program because if the individual is successful in completing the requirements of the program the charges are dismissed. These programs are only available for people who have been arrested for possessory offenses and do not apply for people involved in selling narcotics, controlled substances or hallucinogens including marijuana. The New Haven Law Office of Knight & Cerritelli, LLC has helped many clients access these programs and avoid criminal convictions.
For those individuals who have a serious addiction to narcotics or other illegal substances the court has a court run drug program called drug court. This program is available to nonviolent offenders who have been arrested for crimes as a result of their addiction. These crimes could be varied from larcenies to drug possession to many other examples. People with any violence in their background are not eligible for this program. In New Haven, it involves a person pleading guilty upfront to an offense and then being given a chance to participate in inpatient and outpatient programs over the course of the year. It is a much more intensive program and if successful they will avoid jail time but will sustain a criminal conviction.
The criminal justice system is much harder on individuals accused of selling drugs. Often in plea bargains individuals plead guilty to felony charges and are placed under the supervision of a probation officer for a period of time. Other times, they will be put in prison in conjunction with the felony record. Connecticut also views sales by non-drug dependant persons more harshly than sales by drug dependant individuals. Some individuals accused of selling or dealing drugs may face mandatory minimum sentences.
The federal authorities have prosecuted large groups of individuals that are engaged in drug trafficking as a conspiracy. These individuals are often sentenced to very long prison terms that include mandatory jail time based, in part, on the total amount of drugs alleged in the conspiracy. The criminal defense attorneys at Knight and Cerritelli, LLC represent people charged in both State and Federal courts throughout Connecticut.