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Home Invasion Arrests In Connecticut (Part 1 of 2)

Home Invasion Arrests In Connecticut
(Part 1 of 2)

In 2007, a brutal and tragic Cheshire Connecticut home invasion shocked and appalled the nation, including Connecticut lawmakers who quickly enacted a new criminal law that created a crime much more serious than Burglary. The new crime of “Home Invasion” in Connecticut provided zero tolerance for breaking and entering into an occupied home with the intent to commit a felony against an individual. What is even more compelling about an arrest for Home Invasion in Connecticut are the stiff penalties—10 years of mandatory minimum jail time. Since then, Connecticut police have made hundreds of arrests for Home Invasion in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and other Connecticut cities and towns.

One offshoot of these arrests in Connecticut for Home Invasion under CGS 53a-100aa is how it has been affecting top Stamford Connecticut criminal defense lawyers’ ability to fight these Connecticut Home Invasion arrests. Some of the best Greenwich Connecticut criminal defense attorneys and lawyers would argue that prosecutors have significantly benefitted in their plea bargain negotiations in Home Invasion arrests. With a 10-year mandatory minimum jail sentence, prosecutors have been able to easily and often plead down Home Invasion arrests to felony Burglary arrests, as criminal defendants are just too wary of going to trial against a 53a-100a Home Invasion charge. But there’s hope. As you can learn by contacting a top Stamford Connecticut Home Invasion criminal lawyer, you will find out that the burden of proof is very difficult for prosecutors in Connecticut Home Invasion arrests, and that it is usually a good idea to take prosecutors to task in meeting their burden of proof before throwing up the white flag of surrender and taking a plea bargain. Therefore, if you are arrested for Home Invasion or Burglary in Stamford, Bridgeport, New Canaan, Darien, or Greenwich Connecticut, then you should contact a top Darien or Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer to counsel you through the police investigation, handle any plea negotiations with Connecticut prosecutors on your behalf, and attempt to provide you with the best defense possible at your jury trial if your Home Invasion arrest reaches the courtroom.

The Connecticut Home Invasion Statute and Penalties

The Connecticut crime of Home Invasion is codified in C.G.S. § 53a-100aa (click here for the full text of the statute). This crime is unique for a serous felony charge in Connecticut in that the Connecticut legislature did not subdivide the crime into varying degrees or lesser Home Invasion offenses. In other words, there is no such crime as first degree or second degree Home Invasion. As any of the best Burglary and Home Invasion lawyers in Connecticut would agree, to be arrested for Home Invasion in Connecticut, four elements need to be present. First, you must unlawfully enter or remain inside of a dwelling, Simply put, this means that you cannot enter a home where someone sleeps at night without permission. Second, another human being must be inside of the dwelling at the time of your illegal entry. A co-conspirator’s or accomplice’s presence inside the dwelling is not enough. It must be someone other than yourself or another person involved in the commission of the offense. Third, you must have the intent to commit a crime inside the home at the time of your illegal entry. So, if you were highly intoxicated and accidentally went into a stranger’s home because you thought it was your own, but you had no intention to do anything inside of the home – this is not a home invasion. You need to have the intention to commit a crime, such as a kidnapping, larceny, felony assault or sexual assault. However, even if all 3 elements above are satisfied, a fourth element must still be satisfied. This fourth element can be fulfilled if either of the following occurs during the course of committing a Connecticut Home Invasion: (1) you were armed with a deadly weapon, an explosive device, or some other dangerous instrument; or (2) you or a co-conspirator committed or attempted to commit a felony against one of the individuals in the home. A felony against a person can include crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, rape, or murder. Home Invasion is a Class A felony that carries up to 60 years in prison, 10 years of which cannot be reduced or suspended. A conviction to Home Invasion in Connecticut also includes probation and a maximum $20,000 fine.

The Legislative & Prosecutorial Aftermaths of the Cheshire Connecticut Home Invasion Case

The events surrounding the Cheshire Connecticut home invasion prompted immediate legislative action that understandably changed the landscape of the Connecticut criminal justice system forever. On January 25, 2008, just six months after the Cheshire murders, then-Governor Jodi Rell signed a bill into law that created the new crime in Connecticut of Home Invasion. To be clear, before the Cheshire murders, there was no Connecticut General Statute in existence that set forth the specific offense of home invasion. Pursuant to the new bill, Home Invasion was established as a Class A felony carrying a minimum prison sentence of 10 years. In addition to creating a new offense with a minimum mandatory sentence, the bill also raised the stakes for Burglary, amending and escalating the penalties in various degrees. Traditionally, entering a dwelling at night to accomplish a crime was considered Second Degree Burglary. Under the new post-Cheshire law, however, burglarizing a dwelling at night was raised to Burglary in the First Degree, which is a Class B Felony, carrying up to twenty years in prison.

Similarly, prosecutors now aggressively prosecute Burglary and Home Invasion cases with the Cheshire case very much on their mind. The Connecticut Department of Corrections and the Board of Parole are now very hesitant to grant early release programs due to violent offenders because of the Cheshire case. Finally, Connecticut Probation officers who are monitoring their violent offender clients who have robbery and burglary convictions are likewise very hesitant to give them much freedom and liberties. Understandably, no one is giving violent offenders the benefit of the doubt anymore. As you can see, the Cheshire home invasion case hit so close to home for Connecticut residents that it stimulated Connecticut lawmakers and courts to come down hard on offenses involving entry into peoples’ homes – especially at night. For this reason, it is critical to have the best Connecticut Home Invasion criminal lawyer attorney by your side if you are arrested for Home Invasion or Burglary in Stamford, Westport, Fairfield or any other Connecticut jurisdiction.

Continue Reading…Home Invasion Arrests, Part 2 of 2
(Fighting Home Invasion Arrests, Home Invasion v. Burglary Arrests, and much more)