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Norwalk Law Blog

Are breath tests a reliable source of evidence?

If you have ever been pulled over by a Connecticut law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may have been asked to take a breath test. Breath test devices are often used by law enforcement officers to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content level and ensure they are not over the legal limit of 0.08. Yet, in some cases, the readings from these breath test devices may not be accurate and could lead to a wrongful DUI arrest and charges. 

Researchers from the State University of New York at Potsdam found that breath test devices measure more than simply the amount of alcohol in an exhaled breath sample. The device also picks up substances that have a similar molecular structure. Furthermore, there are substances in the environment that can skew the results as well. In fact, breath test readings can vary by as much as 15% when compared to the BAC found from an actual blood test. This means that at least one in four people who take the test will show inflated readings

What is the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine?

If you face criminal charges in Connecticut, you should familiarize yourself with the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. Why? Because this long held legal doctrine may come into play in your case and become the reason why the prosecutor may dismiss the charges against you.

LawTeacher.net explains that back in 1939, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurtur coined the term “fruit of the poisonous tree” when writing for the majority in the landmark case of Nardone v. United.

What distinguishes missed diagnosis from misdiagnosis?

We trust our doctors to inform us if we have a medical problem. Unfortunately, we may not always get the correct information about our health. Some Connecticut patients are given a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. These are not the same, yet they both inaccurately describe a person’s condition and could lead to tragic consequences. Very Well Health distinguishes the two from each other and explains how they work.

When it comes to a misdiagnosis, a patient is diagnosed with a disease or some other health condition. The problem is that the diagnosis is incorrect. A doctor may tell a patient that they suffer from a case of the flu, but in reality the patient possesses something else, a condition that requires more extensive treatment to properly recover from.

Seeing a doctor is essential even after a minor collision

Perhaps you are waiting for the light to change when another driver plows into the back of your car. The rear-end collision happens at low speed, but you still suffer quite a jolt.

Apparently, you are uninjured. You check on the damage to your car, exchange insurance information with the other driver and consider heading on home—but should you stop to see a doctor on the way?

Hands-free cellphones pose a risk for drivers

Drivers in Connecticut, and in many other states across the nation, are prohibited from using a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel. These laws were put in place in an attempt to minimize the number of people who are seriously injured and killed in distracted driving car accidents each year in the U.S. Hands-free cellphones, however, are not prohibited and drivers can legally use these devices as they navigate around city streets. The problem lies in the fact that even hands-free cellphones may not be safe for drivers to use, as they cause a significant amount of cognitive distraction. 

Cognitive distraction occurs when motorists are focused on something other than driving. According to the National Safety Council, the brain cannot focus on two tasks at the same time. It jumps back and forth between tasks, and this leaves moments where the driver is not concentrating on driving at all. This may cause drivers to run red lights, disobey traffic signs, neglect pedestrian crosswalks and fail to notice objects in the road. 

Swatting is not an innocent prank

Anonymous pranks have been around as long as people have had telephones in their homes. With the widespread use of computers and social media, pranks have become more sophisticated and difficult for law enforcement to track and control. Connecticut residents should understand that some phone and internet pranks are no joke. They can, in fact, result in serious criminal charges.

According to the Verge, swatting is a prank that involves callers or online users falsely reporting a crime to law enforcement. This usually results in armed officers or SWAT teams arriving at an innocent person’s residence. In 2015, a Connecticut man was sentenced to a year in prison for participating in numerous swatting hoaxes, including a bomb threat.

What should I know about splitting marital debt?

Debt can be a big concern for divorcing couples in Connecticut. The Nutmeg State is an equitable distribution state, which means a judge will divide up marital property based on the contribution of each spouse toward the marriage. You can expect a state judge to apply the same standard to the amount of marital debt that a couple has accumulated during a marriage.

According to Clearpoint, the debt of a couple needs to be designated as marital or separate debt. Separate debt will belong to the spouse who owns it and will not be spread to the other spouse. It is when spouses comingle expenses that marital debt is designated. For instance, when both spouses co-sign a loan for a house, a car or a boat, the debt is considered to be a marital debt. When spouses contribute money towards an expense, it is considered marital debt as well.

3 divorce-related issues you should think about

Divorce is never a purposeful end. People do not wed because they want to eventually split. It is a difficult and stressful process that can cause even the steadiest person to falter.

In Connecticut, the laws for divorce can seem overwhelming, and getting a handle on how things may occur can help you keep your feet firmly planted. These three issues remain some of the most common in the proceedings. Understanding them may help you in your own split.

Are brain injuries linked to increased dementia risks?

Traumatic brain injuries are known to cause any number of health problems for people in Connecticut. In recent years, public discussion has explored the premise that suffering blows to the head might boost the chances of developing dementia. The Alzheimer's Association describes results from a number of studies on traumatic brain injuries that suggest there are possible links to developing Alzheimer’s or other kinds of dementia.

One important study showed that older persons possessed a 2.3 times greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s if they had a past history of moderate traumatic brain injuries. The chances were even greater for people who suffered severe traumatic brain injuries, with 4.5 times the risk. While other studies have supported this finding, there have been some studies that have not found such links, so universal consensus does not exist as yet.

Advocating for your health and safety with confidence

Visiting the doctor is probably not something that you would think you should spend time preparing for. While you may have a brief list of questions to discuss, you may be comfortable leaving most of your health needs in the hands of your health care provider. At HHS Lawyers, we are committed to helping educate people in Connecticut about the importance of protecting their safety and well-being when they are seeking medical treatment. 

While your doctor has spent considerable time receiving the education that has prepared him or her to treat people, you should also remember that they are just as prone to human error as any other professional. If your doctor has received misinformation, is negligent in any way or is fatigued from working long hours, the chances that you will be the victim of a medical error could be exponentially higher. As such, it is critical that you advocate for your health and safety by being an active participant in your medical treatment and care. 

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