There are a number of new Connecticut state laws that came into effect as of October 1, 2016. Attorney Knight outlines some of the most interesting ones below.
Connecticut already has a medical marijuana program, however it has now been expanded to include minors under the age of 18, provided:
The new law also expands the list of qualifying debilitating conditions for adults. It further requires that the marijuana must be obtained from a dispensary. The law subjects patients to possible enforcement hearings if they possess marijuana obtained from other sources.
This law allows judges to appoint attorneys or law students as advocates for dogs or cats that are the subject of certain judicial proceedings, especially those proceedings involving animal cruelty, seizure of a neglected or maltreated animal, or the welfare or custody of the animals.
The appointed advocate would be allowed to monitor the case, consult individuals with information that could assist the judge or fact-finder, review records concerning the animal’s condition and the defendant’s actions (including records from animal control officers, veterinarians, and/or police officers), attend hearings, and present information or recommendations to the judge.
BONUS: Watch Attorney Knight’s WTNH ‘Ask the Lawyer’ segment on Connecticut state laws here.
This law makes changes to the process for obtaining a civil restraining order against someone accused of domestic abuse by revising the application to allow information as to whether the accused has a firearm permit. It also reduces the number of days for notice to the accused before a hearing date on the application and further requires that the person subject to an order in a case involving physical force transfer or surrender his or her firearms and ammunition within 24 hours of the granting of the application (the previous time frame was within two business days).
Given the opioid crisis throughout Connecticut, this act seeks to enhance opioid abuse prevention and treatment. It generally prohibits medical care providers from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of opioids to a minor or to an adult for the first time for outpatient use.
It also allows any licensed healthcare professional to administer an opioid reversal drug and to ensure that municipalities amend their emergency medical services plans to ensure that first responders are equipped with an opioid reversal drug (typically Narcan) and are trained in its administration.
This law increases the criminal penalties for driving under the influence with a child passenger—that is, anyone under the age of 18. The new law includes longer mandatory minimum and maximum prison terms, required probation for first-time offenders, and a DCF referral for purposes of a risk evaluation.
A first-time DUI offender would face either up to six months suspended with a mandatory minimum of two consecutive days or up to six months execution suspended with probation requiring 100 hours of community service. If the offender has a child passenger, he or she would face up to one year in prison with a mandatory minimum of 30 days and probation would be required with a number of conditions, including 100 hours of community service, DCF evaluation, and substance-abuse evaluation and treatment. The individual would also be subject to a fine of between $500-$2,000. Penalties ratchet up from there, with a second conviction mandating a 180-consecutive-day sentence with up to three years in prison.
This law lowers the blood alcohol content, from .10 to .08, that triggers a violation of the law which prohibits carrying a loaded firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is a misdemeanor carrying a potential penalty of up to six months in jail.