Criminal Defense FAQs

What Are Attorney Murphy's Qualifications and Experience as a Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Since 1983, Attorney Ron Murphy has successfully defended thousands of cases in state and federal criminal court in Connecticut. He has defended people accused of every conceivable type of criminal accusation from murder to reckless driving.

Attorney Murphy is an accomplished and nationally recognized trial lawyer and has the highest rating available from other lawyers. Some of his qualifications and honors in the area of criminal defense include:

- listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" in the areas of Criminal Defense; 

- A-V Rating by Martindale-Hubbell;

- designated "SuperLawyer" in Connecticut as chosen by the publishers "Law and Politics";

- 1990 graduate of the National Criminal Defense College;

- member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers;

- member of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (and was President of this organization in 2000-2001);

- member of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

- instructor of Trial Advocacy at the University of Connecticut School of Law (where he has also taught Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility).

- instructor at the Trial Lawyers College (based in Jackson, Wyoming), where he teaches lawyers from around the country how to best defend those accused of criminal misconduct.

Some of Atty. Murphy's criminal defense cases in Connecticut include:

- not guilty acquittal of a Milford bookkeeper accused of being part of a money laundering conspiracy after 7 weeks of trial in Hartford Federal District Court;

- not guilty acquittal after 8 weeks of trial in a multi-defendant drug prosecution in which the client was accused of being part of a crack cocaine distribution conspiracy in Hartford;

- not guilty acquittal of a Hartford man accused of participating in a West Hartford armed robbery in Hartford Superior Court;

- not guilty acquittal of a professional truck driver accused of drunk driving;

- not guilty acquittal of a young insurance professional from West Hartford accused of DUI.

And while acquittals were not obtained in the following cases, the results were excellent for the client:

- 19 months in prison for Middlesex County man who plead guilty to armed bank robbery and burglary charges;

- 18 months in prison for a Hartford County man who plead guilty to embezzlement of 1.9 million dollars from a major Connecticut insurance company;

- after first degree murder trial began arising from the execution of a state witness in an arson case in Litchfield County, effective sentence of 7 years for Manslaughter First Degree;

- after federal white collar trial began, no jail time for West Hartford real estate and business executive accused of bank fraud in the amount of $7 million dollars;

- after federal civil rights violation trial began for a Hartford police officer accused of raping a prostitute at gunpoint, a sentence of 4 months in halfway house after a plea to a reduced charge of giving a false statement to federal investigators;

- no jail time and one day probation for a Simsbury man charged with criminal negligent homicide with a firearm arising from the accidental shooting and killing of his roommate with a pistol;

 -no jail time for young Farmington Valley woman charged with tampering with evidence and illegal sale and possession of drugs after a friend died in her apartment from heroin overdose and police informants made undercover purchases from her condominium;

- complete dismissal of all charges against a Burlington man who was wrongly convicted of assault (stabbing) someone after a trial where the man had been represented by a lawyer (not Atty. Murphy) who had a conflict of interest;

- also, Attorney Murphy was both trial and appellate counsel in State v. Miller, a leading case in Connecticut law expanding the rights of citizens under the Connecticut Constitution.

Atty. Murphy's relevant publications in the area of Connecticut Criminal Defense include:

-"Ethical Considerations in Criminal Defense," National Business Institute, 1996;

- "Taking the Criminal Case to Trial," National Business Institute, 1996.

And his relevant presentations in this area include:

- "Driving Under the Influence: Dealing with the New Laws and Regulations," Hartford County Bar Association (1993);

- "The Many Changes in State and Federal Criminal Law," Hartford County Bar Association (1995);

- "Strategies in Defending DUI Cases," National Business Institute (1996);

- "Criminal Defense Litigation in Connecticut," National Business Institute (1996);

- "Considerations of Ethics and Law for Criminal Defense Retainers," Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association (2001);

- "Voir Dire for Criminal Defense," National Business Institute (2006).

If you have any questions or want additional information about Atty. Murphy's qualifications and ability to defend you in a Connecticut criminal case in either state or federal court, please give us a call. There is no charge for an initial consultation.

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How Much Will It Cost to Hire Your Firm to Defend Me Against the Connecticut Criminal Accusations I Am Facing?

The fees we charge in Connecticut criminal defense matters depend on a number of factors, some of which are:

  1. how serious are the charges against you?
  2. how many charges are facing?
  3. do you have a criminal record?
  4. are you are eligible for a pretrial diversionary program?
  5. is the case in state or federal court?
  6. is the case likely to go to trial or will it be resolved through some type of pretrial resolution, such as a dismissal because of a violation of your rights or a plea bargain that we negotiate with the prosecution?

We strive to set a fee that is fair and reasonable and that compensates us for our time and talent. We also need to get enough money up front so that we do not have to worry about whether we are going to get paid for efforts. Also, you should know that we tend to charge more than other lawyers or law firms because we are not a high-volume Connecticut criminal defense operation. We take fewer cases than many other lawyers or law firms so that we can focus the appropriate amount of time and energy on your matter.

We suggest you just give us a call at 860-678-1900 and just ask us how much we will charge for your case. There is no charge for such a phone consultation.

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If My Connecticut Driver's License Is Suspended, Can I Get a Special Permit to Drive To and From My Classes or Exams at School or College?

If you are attending an accredited institution of higher education, you may be eligible for a special operator's permit that would let you drive to and from classes or examinations. You would have to apply for the permit.

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What Is the Presumption of Innocence in the Context of a Connecticut Criminal Prosecution or Investigation?

The presumption of innocence is a rule of constitutional law under both the United States and Connecticut constitutions. It says that anyone accused of a crime must be presumed innocent unless and until the government proves that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Please note that we say unless and until and not just until the government proves the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We believe saying unless and until is a more accurate statement because just saying until almost implies that it will happen.

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What Is Due Process of Law in the Context of a Connecticut Criminal Prosecution or Investigation?

"Due process of law" is a phrase that means many things. It appears in the 5th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution; and in Article first, section 8 of the Connecticut Constitution.

In short, it requires that the procedures and laws used by the federal and state governments must be fair and just. Due process is the basis of many of the rights given to people accused of Connecticut crimes.

The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to the federal government and provides in part: "No person shall... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ..."

The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to the states and provides in part: "... nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Also, Article First, Section 8 of the Connecticut Constitution provides in part: "No person shall be ... be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law...."

There are two types of due process: procedural and substantive.

Procedural due process requires the government to use fair and just procedures when investigating, charging, and prosecuting a person. Depending on the circumstances, it either requires or prohibits certain actions by the government.

Substantive due process requires all laws to be related to a reasonable government objective and capable of being enforced in a fair and legitimate manner. If a law violates this requirement, it is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

It is beyond the scope of this FAQ database to list all things required or prohibited by procedural or substantive due process.

At Advocates Law Firm, we aggressively and creatively analyze the government's actions for violations of the constitution and take all appropriate steps if we believe doing so will advance our clients' ultimate interests.

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What Are the Penalties in Connecticut Superior Court for a Criminal Conviction of DUI / DWI?

Effective 1/1/2012, pursuant to Connecticut General Statute Section 14-227a (g), the penalties for being convicted of driving or operating while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, are as follows:

For a FIRST conviction of driving under the influence in Connecticut, the punishment would be: a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000; imprisonment for not less than 48 hours nor more than 6 months; suspension of driver's license for 45 days; and use of an ignition interlock device in EVERY vehicle that you would drive for ONE year. In certain circumstances, the court may substitute 100 hours of community service for the 48 hours in jail.

For a SECOND conviction of operation while under the influence in Connecticut within ten years of a previous DUI/DWI conviction, the punishment would be: a fine of not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $4,000; imprisonment for at least 120 days and maybe as much as two years; probation requiring 100 hours of community service; loss of driver's license for 45 days; and use of an ignition interlock device in EVERY vehicle that you would drive for THREE years.

For a THIRD conviction of DUI within 10 years of a previous DUI conviction, the punishment would be: a fine of not less than $2,000.00 nor more than $8,000; imprisonment of at least one year and maybe as much as three years; probation requiring 100 hours of community service; and PERMANENT loss of license.

The court would also assess court fees, which are a percentage of the fine. And, if you are put on probation, the court would also assess a probation fee.

Please note that if were under 21 years of age at the time of your arrest, your license will be suspended for 45 days or until you reach the age of 21, whichever period is longer.

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What Is an Ignition Interlock Device With Regard to DWI / DUI in Connecticut?

Before 1/1/2012, if you were convicted of DWI you lost your license for one year for a first offense and three years for a second offense. After 1/1/2012, the law has changed. If convicted you now lose your license for only 45 days, BUT you have to install and use an ignition interlock device in EVERY vehicle you drive for one year for a first offense; and for three years for a second offense.

As you might expect, you have to pay all costs for installing and maintaining the device; and you can only use a device that has been approved by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The use of an ignition interlock device can also be made a condition of bail, probation, or the Connecticut alcohol education program (AEP).

Also note that if you have a special operator's permit (work permit or higher education permit) you still have to use an ignition interlock device.

See Connecticut General Statute Section 14-227j.

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What Is the Connecticut Alcohol Education Program (AEP)?

The Connecticut Alcohol Education Program (also known as the AEP) is a pretrial diversionary program that would require you to attend at either 10 or 15 counseling/education sessions on drinking and driving. If you successfully complete the program and stay out of trouble for a year, the DUI charges would then dismissed. The benefit of the AEP program would be no criminal conviction on your record and no one year loss of license.

(Note: even if you get the AEP, you could still lose your license under the Connecticut DMV Administrative Per Se because what happens in court does not control what happens at the DMV and vice versa.)

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