Serrano Law Firm, LLC

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690 Flatbush Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110-1308

27 Holmes Avenue, Waterbury, CT  203 756-6100

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690 Flatbush Avenue West Hartford, CT  06110-1308

860 236-9350             800 856-6400  toll free     860 523-9101  fax

27 Holmes Avenue Downtown Waterbury 203 756-6100

 

CRIMINAL DEFENSE & DWI / DUI LAWYER

    From our Hartford and Waterbury law offices, we at the Serrano Law Firm, provide effective and aggressive criminal defense representation for persons who have been charged with crimes, including driving under the influence (DUI), also called driving while intoxicated (DWI).  Our experience as a Connecticut criminal defense attorney and DUI lawyer tells us that people often are wrongly accused of crimes.  We also know that sometimes people make mistakes and wind up needing a criminal attorney or dui lawyer to defend criminal charges.

    When we take your case, you can be assured that we are determined to get you the best result possible.  Our defense attorney skills have earned us the respect of prosecutors and judges.  We will put that skill to work for your criminal defense, whether in attempting to negotiate a favorable outcome or in trying your case effectively to a jury. 

    As an example of our determination to achieve the best possible results for our clients, Attorney John Serrano won a Not Guilty verdict after a 3-week trial in Waterbury Superior Court for an individual wrongly accused of kidnapping and sexual assault crimes who was facing 40 years in prison.

Felony Criminal Defense

    Felony charges are serious crimes and requiring serious criminal defense.  Conviction of a felony can result in a lengthy prison term and substantial fines.  Persons convicted of felonies must provide the state with a sample of their DNA.

    Felony convictions in Connecticut also result in the loss of certain rights such as the right to vote and to serve on a jury.

    Rely on our criminal attorney skill and experience for criminal defense representation for felony charges, including drug charges, gun charges, sexual assault, risk of injury and manslaughter.

Misdemeanor Criminal Defense

    Misdemeanors are less serious crimes then felonies but still result in a criminal record.  Some misdemeanors have mandatory minimum jail sentences.  We provide effective criminal defense for all misdemeanors, including domestic violence, assault, larceny, and motor vehicle charges.

Drunk Driving (DUI / DWI)

    Driving under the influence (DUI), also called driving while intoxicated (DWI) or simply drunk driving, is probably the most common criminal charge we see as criminal defense attorneys.  People who drink frequently and drive obviously are at risk for being arrested for drunk driving.  Those who only drink once in awhile, however, often times do not realize they are above the legal limit when they start driving home from a party or a social event.  Every day people from of all backgrounds ó college educated, high school drop-outs, rich, poor, lawyers, teachers, factory workers and housewives ó find themselves facing DWI / DUI charges.  These people need a knowledgeable and determined dui lawyer to help keep their record clean of a DUI offense and to avoid driver's license suspension and other DUI penalties.

    DWI / DUI is a very serious problem in the United States.  Every two minutes, a drunk driver injures someone.  Every 30 minutes, a drunk driver kills someone.  Forty percent of all fatal accidents are DUI related, that is, caused by intoxicated drivers.

    Judges often say the most difficult part of their job is when they have to sentence a person charged with causing a death or serious injury in a DWI / DUI case.  The driver, who did not mean to hurt anyone, is overcome with sorrow and guilt.  The victim's family ó a spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters  ó are overcome with grief and want justice.  Oftentimes, the injured person was a relative or friend traveling as a passenger when the accident happened.

    The best advice any dui attorney can give you to avoid a DUI arrest is to never to drive if there is any chance you might be above the legal blood alcohol limit.  Even when no accident happens, the penalties for driving while intoxicated are severe.  There are criminal DWI / DUI penalties and there are separate DWI / DUI penalties imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    In Connecticut, a person who operates a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended for DUI / DWI  faces a mandatory 30-day jail sentence.  Under the law, "operating" means not just driving a vehicle on a road, but also includes simply being in the driver's seat of a parked vehicle with the engine running if the vehicle is on a road or a parking lot having more than 10 spaces.  Even starting a car's engine with a remote engine starter while standing outside the car has been held by the Connecticut criminal courts to be "operating" a motor vehicle.

    As dui lawyers, we caution everyone to be extremely careful about drinking and driving.  We understand, however, that people are human and make mistakes, and we work hard as Connecticut DWI / DUI defense attorneys to minimize the penalties imposed by the criminal courts.

    As noted in the following charts, penalties for repeat DWI / DUI convictions within 10 years are increasingly more severe.

Connecticut Penalties for DWI / DUI Criminal Charges
Arrest Conviction Mandatory Sentence Maximum Sentence Fines License Suspension Ignition Interlock Device
1st N/A (Eligible for Alcohol Education Program)
2nd 1st 48 hours or 100 hours community service 6 months $500 to $1000 45 days 1 year
3rd 2nd 120 days 2 years $1000 to $4000 Longer of 45 days or until 21 years of age (1st year work or school only) 3 years
4th 3rd 1 year 3 years $2000 to $8000 Lifetime (may apply after 2 years to end suspension) Lifetime (if suspension ended). May apply after 15 years to remove device.

   

    In addition to suspending driver's licenses for criminal convictions as noted in the previous chart, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend a driver's license for persons arrested for DWI / DUI who fail a breathalyzer or other blood alcohol level test or who refuse to take the test.  This means that a first time offender who avoids a criminal charges by using the alcohol education program may still have his or her license suspended by DMV.  The DWI / DUI suspension will be for 90 days if the person's blood alcohol level is over 0.08 but less than 0.16, for 120 days if the level is over 0.16, or for 6 months if the person refused the test.

Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicle License Suspension for DWI / DUI
Arrest 0.08 to 0.15 0.16 or Over Refusal
1st 90 days 120 days 6 months
2nd 9 months 10 months 1 year
3rd 2 years 2 1/2 years 3 years

 

When You Need a Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer,

Rely on Us for Skill, Determination and Experience.

 

 

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Recent Connecticut Criminal Court Cases

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State v. Thompson  A search of a car and a home in which the police found 600 pounds of marijuana was proper, even though it began before the time that the judge who issued the search warrant wrote on the warrant, as there was sufficient evidence presented to show that the judge had written the wrong time on the warrant.

State v. Solomon  The criminal trial judge properly admitted evidence of the defendantís prior assault conviction because the defendant had attempted to portray himself as a peaceful, nonviolent man.

State v. Samms  There was sufficient evidence for a jury in a criminal case to convict the defendant of stalking as he would intentionally change his path while walking at the beach to approach them, he would maintain eye contact, glare and stare at the victims, and he approached their car.

State v. Reilly  Inconsistent testimony by police officers at a suppression hearing and at trial did not amount to a constitutional violation that required a mistrial.  It was up to the jury to determine the officersí credibility given their differing testimony.

State v. Lanasa  In a sexual assault case involving an underage victim, no special jury instruction was required regarding the victimís credibility even though the victim could have been suspended, disciplined or faced a delinquency referral if the allegations were proven false.

State v. Lage  For a guilty plea to be properly accepted in a criminal case, it is not necessary that the defendant realize the likelihood of immigration consequences from pleading guilty but only that he understands their possibility.  It is up to the defendantís criminal attorney, not the court, to request a conference to discuss the immigration consequences.

Jason B. v. Cmmr. of Correction  The court properly rejected the petitionerís claim that his right to due process in a sexual assault case was violated when the police flushed away a marijuana cigarette that the victim claimed he forced her to smoke.  Whether the victimís, the petitionerís or another personís DNA on the cigarette would not have established that the victim was lying about whether the petitioner forced her to smoke the cigarette or about whether she consented to sex.

Crawley v. Cmmr. of Correction  Even if the petitionerís criminal defense lawyer rendered ineffective assistance at trial by failing to present evidence of drug dependency, the petitioner failed to demonstrate prejudice because there was no evidence that his sentences would have been less than actually imposed had the defense of drug dependency been raised during his trial for sale of narcotics.

State v. Carter  Evidence that the defendant pointed a gun at a person was sufficient to convict him of attempt to commit assault in the first degree even though he subsequently lowered the gun and turned away.  The law of attempt requires only that a defendant be shown to have had the intent to cause serious injury at the time he intentionally took a substantial step toward committing assault first; it is irrelevant if he later changed his mind because by then the crime of attempt was already committed.

State v. Bryan  In a trial for first degree assault, the criminal court properly refused to instruct the jury on the defense of others as the evidence showed that at the time of the stabbing the victim had turned away from the person that the defendant allegedly was trying to protect.

Britton v. Cmmr. of Correction  The criminal court property determined that no Miranda warnings were required during police interrogation of the petitioner because a reasonable person in the petitionerís position would not have believed he was in custody as he accompanied the detectives voluntarily to the police station, he was not handcuffed or subjected to force, and he was told repeatedly he was not under arrest and could leave at any time.

State v. Anwar  In a criminal case for first degree sexual assault and risk of injury, the court properly allowed laboratory results into evidence, holding that the results were not testimonial because they were requested by a medical staff member rather than by a law enforcement officer and the report did not have any accusatory information.

State v. White  In light of the defendantís superior strength and size, the court in a rape case was entitled to believe the complainantís testimony that she had been overpowered and sexually assaulted even though she was not visibly injured and her clothes were not torn

State v. Baker  Although it is the better practice for a criminal court to ask a defendant if he or she wishes to make a personal statement before being sentenced for a violation of probation, the court is not required to ask a defendant if he or wishes to do so.

State v. Alston  The defendantís expression of his subjective beliefs that his court appointed criminal lawyerís representation was deficient and that he would not prevail at trial with his lawyerís assistance was not evidence that the defendantís decision to plead guilty was not voluntary but merely provided a rational explanation for the defendantís plea.

State v. Abreau  The child victimís testimony that the defendant touched her intimate parts in a sexual and indecent manner but that he did not engage in sexual intercourse provided sufficient evidence for the jury to convict him of risk of injury to a child despite acquitting him of sexual assault.

State v. Romanko  The trial court properly denied a request by the defendantís criminal attorney to have the defendant, who had a bad knee due to an accident, perform the heel to toe and one leg stand DUI field sobriety tests in front of the jury as an in court demonstration would not have reliably recreated how the defendant performed the tests on the night in question.

State v. Mullien  The court properly held in a criminal case for risk of injury and assault that once the defendant allowed police officers to enter the defendantís residence, an officer had the right to remain at the residence to make sure that evidence was not destroyed while other officers applied for a search warrant.

State v. Morgan  In a criminal trial for sexual assault, the presence of unidentified DNA on the victimís clothes, in addition to the defendantís DNA, does not render the evidence that this DNA was present irrelevant or nonprobative.

State v. Johnson  In a criminal case in which the defendantís lawyer told the judge before the trial began that the defendant had previously stated he no longer wanted the lawyer to represent him and the defendant then told the judge he was ready to go forward with the lawyer representing him, the judge did not violate the defendantís state and federal right to an attorney of his choice by not questioning the defendant further about the issue of representation.

State v. Gene  A jury can reasonably find a defendant guilty of sexual assault on the basis of the victimís testimony alone.

State v. Ciullo  A criminal conviction for unlawful restraint was reversed because the victimís running away demonstrated that there was no restraint. 

State v. Burns  In a drunk driving (DUI / DWI) criminal case, no Miranda warnings, such as the right to remain silent, are required when a police officer asks a driver suspected of driving drunk whether he or she will take a breathalyzer or other blood alcohol test.  At a trial for drunk driving, the driverís refusal to take an alcohol test is admissible into evidence.

State v. Riley  A criminal courtís sentencing of a juvenile to 100 years for murder was upheld on appeal because the sentencing judge exercised discretion in fashioning the sentence and was free to consider any mitigating evidence presented by the juvenile defendant, including evidence about his age and maturity.  A dissenting opinion argued that US Supreme Court cases required the judge in juvenile murder cases to take into account scientific evidence that childrenís brains and maturity levels differ from that of adults.

State v. Rodriguez  In criminal cases, when a witness testifies to loss of memory, the judge does not have to find that the witness is lying about the memory loss before the judge allows a prior inconsistent statement by the witness into evidence.

State v. James  To accept a guilty plea in a criminal case, a judge must give the defendant an opportunity to discuss the possible immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a crime with the defendantís criminal defense lawyer if the judge is made aware that the defendant has not discussed those immigration consequences with his or her lawyer.

State v. Rodriguez  The attorney for an illegal alien, who was the victim of an assault and who committed medical fraud by using a false identity to obtain medical care after the assault, was allowed to testify in the criminal case against his attacker because the attorneyís testimony would help the jury understand why the illegal alien testified even though he could face criminal charges for fraud and would help the jury evaluate the alienís credibility.  The alien, who had overstayed his visa, was given immunity from prosecution for testifying and, as a witness in a criminal case for assault, was given the opportunity to become a legal U.S. resident (to get a green card), pursuant to immigration law.

 

 

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Courts We Serve:

Bantam (Litchfield County), Bristol, Danbury, Derby (Naugatuck Valley), Enfield, Hartford, Manchester, Meriden, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Norwich, Rockville, Willimantic

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Find Out About:

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What to do if you have a DUI arrest.

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How many drinks is too many.

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What not to do if you have a criminal case.

 

 

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Attorney John Serrano - Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Immigration, Workers Compensation.  Hartford, Waterbury

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