I’m Attorney Jim Ruane. I am a graduate of the University of Connecticut School Law and the senior trial lawyer of the firm. My job, in addition to routine court appearances, is to coordinate the trial and motion practice for the firm. Since 1985, I have been certified as a criminal trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. I’ve worked with many cases, including possession of marijuana.
There is certainly no shortage of criminal attorneys who are willing to tell you war stories about all of the trials they have been through. Certainly, trial experience is valuable, and we have it, but at Ruane Attorneys, we take a different approach. We want you to avoid trial altogether for your possession of marijuana charge.
To our firm, going to trial is a sign of failure. Typically, it happens when a lawyer fails in the negotiation process. This happens because they did not do their homework or one of the sides miscalculated the merits of the case. Trial puts your fate in the hands of 6 individuals who are not even remotely concerned about your future. In your situation, you don’t need a “general” practice lawyer, or even a general “criminal lawyer.”
You need a lawyer who knows the laws and the defenses to your case. Here is where the Ruane Difference comes into play. We already have a reputation for fighting and winning at trial. Our lawyers have tried dozens of cases and continue to go to trial every year on cases that cannot be resolved any other way. Because we have a reputation for going to trial, we cannot be bullied by a prosecutor who won’t give us what we want. We can go for it and take it. Unlike other attorneys who have a reputation for pleading their clients out if put on trial, we don’t do that. We only do that for our client’s benefit. This means that there is extra incentive for the prosecutors to resolve our cases. They know we will go the distance.
You must be aware that a criminal conviction can have serious lifelong consequences. This is one of the reasons why we fight so hard for you. A conviction can prevent you from international travel. It can also destroy your credit history. Other issues include increase your health and auto insurance premiums or make you uninsurable, prevent you from obtaining student loans, cause you to be ineligible for certain professional licenses, lose your job or even go to jail.
Because the stakes are so high we are committed to fighting this legal battle for you. This is our expertise. The impact of a criminal case can create havoc in your personal life. If this occurs we will guide you to the proper professional assistants. This is because we are attorneys and not trained as social workers. We want you to have the best assistance in all the issues of your life. We handle your legal problems so you can address the other issues appropriately. Because you hired us, you no longer have to worry about the legal and administrative aspects of your case. We do that for you and that allows you the time to focus on personal and professional matters.
Our firm operates on a total practice management theory. Instead of having one person in the office who you deal with, you can deal with any one of the members of our office at any time on your case. From the receptionist, to the paralegal, to the case managers to the attorneys, every single member of our office is up to speed as to what is going in your case at any one time. This way you’re not stuck waiting to speak to somebody in particular about your case. You can deal with anybody and get answers to the questions that you have, right now.
Eliminating the anxiety in your life is one of our main goals here at Ruane Attorneys. We understand that this anxiety can detract from your personal and professional life. By retaining our firm, we put you in the best possible situation to remove these anxieties from your life.
If you have been charged with possession of an illegal drug, one of the first things we will do is look for legal reasons why this evidence may be suppressed. In drug possession cases the police may have cut corners on investigating and processing the evidence properly. Perhaps they searched an area they didn’t have the legal authority to search. Perhaps the police lumped you in with other people who possessed drugs but you were not holding anything. Seeking out ways to attempt to suppress the drugs which the police are putting on you is the first step we take in defending you.
We keep an in house database of Connecticut suppression case law. We do this so we can match your facts with those in other cases. Also, we track the police officers involved in your case to see if they have a history of certain ways of doing things – things which may be unconstitutional. We do this to make sure we get you the best possible results.
If you have been arrested for marijuana possession, the state must prove certain things. They have to prove that you had marijuana under your command, custody or control at a certain time. The penalties for marijuana possession depend on the quantity that the state says you had in your possession. If you were charged with marijuana possession of less than 4 ounces, you are facing a misdemeanor charge. This is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1000 fine. If you are alleged to have had more than 4 ounces, you are facing up to 5 years in jail and up to a $2000 fine. One thing that you need to keep in consideration is that the field test often used for the detection of marijuana can also be triggered with many false positive, so we can fight these cases and win them.
If you were charged with possession of drugs and this is your first offense, you may be eligible for certain court monitored drug programs to keep you from getting a criminal record and teaching you about the dangers of drugs and how to avoid using them. These programs, called the “drug education program” and the “community service labor program” were specially designed to help people avoid the black mark a drug record will give you for the rest of you life. By contacting us today, we can see if you are eligible for a program, and help you avoid a conviction if at all possible.
Fighting the Charges
Once we open your file, we take a number of steps to begin your defense. We file an appearance on your behalf with the clerk of the court and the state’s attorney so they know we will be fighting for you. Then we determine what evidence we need from the state and discovery. We obtain your police report and any available video tapes when appropriate. We then contact the DMV and arrange for your DMV discovery and retrieve that from the main office in Wethersfield. Also, we sit down with Attorney Jim Olayos to review your report and look for issues which can be used in your DMV hearing. Finally, we review your file to make sure all the investigative issues are scheduled like roadway photographs, witness interviews, and toxicological consults when appropriate in your case.
Finding a Lawyer
Many people consult with us and have to make a decision about hiring our firm or a local lawyer who claims to have special relationships with prosecutors in a particular courthouse. Well, first, you should know that we have cases pending in every courthouse, so we are local everywhere. Secondly, a local lawyer may spend a lot of time in a particular courthouse, but that doesn’t mean they know the law, the science and how to defend a DUI case.
Many local lawyers feel like a DUI case is unwinnable, and march their clients into the courthouse to plead them guilty. Because they have great relationships with the prosecutors and deal with only those prosecutors, they don’t want to ruin those relationships in order to properly defend you. Instead, they take the path of least resistance, and merely ask for a “good deal” but don’t put in the time to get the best resolution. Some people are nervous that by hiring our firm, it shows they must be guilty. They think that hiring a DUI firm will show that they have something to hide. Nothing can be further from the truth. Prosecutors and judges respect our knowledge and expect nothing but zealous advocacy from us. They know we know your case inside and out and won’t compromise unless its in our your interest.
Role of the Attorney
One thing that is it important for anyone facing any type of legal trouble to know is exactly what is the role of your attorney. Since you don’t normally need an attorney to help you wit your day to day affairs, sometimes its important to establish the scope of what it is your attorney will do for you, and what you will be responsible for. In any case, the attorney makes all of the tactical decisions on how to handle your case, but does so with you involvement. You are responsible for 4 decisions that cannot be made by your attorney.
Those decisions are:
1. Do you plead guilty or Not Guilty.
2. Do you testify or not testify.
3 Do you have a judge or a jury trial and
4. Do you appeal or not.
Those 4 decisions must be made solely by you, and cannot be made for you by anyone, including your attorney. Of course, we will advise and counsel you to help you make your decision. All of the other decisions, like pretrial and trial strategy, who to call as witnesses and how to present your defense are made by your attorney. This is one reason why it’s crucial to have confidence in the attorney you choose. If you don’t have confidence in your attorney, then while you are sitting in the lobby of the courthouse waiting for him or her to come out and tell you what is going on, you will go crazy wondering if they are really telling your side of the story and defending you. We stack our knowledge up against any other lawyer in the state and know we can help you with your case.