Threats on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other social media outlets


Social medial has taken over. Now almost everyone is on these sites. Even professionals are getting involved. Doctors, lawyers, movie stars, sport athletes, the list goes on and on. For the first time, people are connected at all times. And it should be no surprise to anyone that when people are so connected, issues are bound to arise.

The issue with Facebook and Myspace is that you can post messages on each other’s pages. Depending on the user, these messages can be viewed by only certain people, or by the public. One of the major problems is when people start posting horrible messages to one another.

So the real question is when can these messages be qualified as a threat? When can a person be charged for posting a message on Facebook or Myspace? When can a person try to file charges on someone who they think is threatening them on Facebook and Myspace?

The question is one that I get frequently, but the answer is harder to come by. In order to convict someone of threat to commit a crime, the prosecutor needs to prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt.

• First, the person communicated to the alleged victim an intent to injure his/her person or property, now or in the future.

• Second, the injury that was threatened, if carried about, would constitute a crime.

• Third, the person made the threat under circumstances which could reasonably have caused the alleged victim to fear that the person had both the intention and the ability to carry out the threat.

In terms of the messages, the DA may consider the type of messages that are posted and the amount of messages that are posted. Also, the prosecutor needs to prove that the person being charged is the person who actually posted the message. This may be more difficult than you think because the fact that a message comes from a particular Myspace or Facebook account doesn’t necessarily prove that he or she posted the message. People have their accounts hacked or may let other people use their accounts and this situation can be argued by the defense.

To substantiate that the person being charged is indeed the person who sent the message; the DA may look to other evidence. If the DA can find a motive for the person to be sending threatening messages, then their case may become a lot stronger.

There is no real answer to the question of when you can be charged with a crime of threatening for posting a message on a social media site. It really depends on the circumstances. What evidence can be used to support the threat? This largely is determined on a case by case basis. However, a good rule is to not threatened anyone, and definitely don’t post those threats online.

Interested twitter followers please visit- twitter: http://twitter.com/AttorneyChan

Interested in becoming a Facebook fan please visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Boston-MA/Law-offices-of-Attorney-Jason-Chan/101494423854?ref=sgm

For more information about this post: Teen charged with posting threat on Facebook http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/03/student-charged-in-facebook-threats.html

Man on $1 million dollar bail for Facebook threats http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/091409_Man_Facebook_Threats

Man pleads guilty to racial threat using fake Facebook account http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/13/facebook.racial.threat/index.html

Woman sued over Myspace threats http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/04/ricobene-myspace-lawsuit-jpmorgan.html

Man Arrested for Myspace threats http://howtosplitanatom.com/news/miami-man-arrested-for-myspace-threat/

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Bench warrants-Effects, removing one and taking care of it before you get arrested


 There are many reasons why you may have a bench warrant out for your arrest. The most common reason is that you failed to show up in court for a scheduled hearing. The court can also issue a warrant for other reasons, for example, failing to pay a court fine. If a bench warrant is issued, it poses several issues for you.

First, if you are ever stopped by police, you can be arrested. After you are arrested, you will usually be brought into court the next day. Unfortunately, if you are arrested on a Friday night, the earliest you will be brought into court is the following Monday.

There are also other potential issues about having a warrant on your record. The registry may suspend your license, or not allow you to renew your license until the warrant is cleared. The registry can do this right away or years later. Either way, the warrant is going to catch up sooner or later.

For the most part, in order to remove a warrant, you must show up to court. When you fail to appear in court, the court enters a default on the case and issues a warrant for your arrest. Essentially, the case needs to be taken out of default and then the judge needs to lift the warrant.

When removing a default the judge could detain you. One of the factors the judge considers is if you are a flight risk. Depending on what the excuse for failing to appear in court is, the court may decide to hold you in custody. Therefore, it is always smart to have an attorney with you when removing a warrant.

Interested twitter followers please visit- twitter: http://twitter.com/AttorneyChan

Interested in becoming a Facebook fan please visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Boston-MA/Law-offices-of-Attorney-Jason-Chan/101494423854?ref=sgm

For More information about this post, here are some interesting websites: Outstanding warrant?

Protect yourself against being jailed for traffic stop… http://www.masscriminaldefense.com/warrant.htm

Attorney that removes warrants in Miami FL http://www.defendyourcase.com/Areas_Of_Practice/Bench_Warrants.aspx

How to get rid of bench warrant http://ezinearticles.com/?How-To-Get-Rid-Of-A-Bench-Warrant&id=1070221

CA attorneys that deal with warrants http://www.shouselaw.com/bench-warrants.html

San Diego and LA California warrant attorney http://www.hoffmanlawoffice.com/PracticeAreas/RemovingWarrants.asp

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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How to deal with that restraining order


Restraining orders or 209A orders are very common.   One moment you think it can never happen, the next you are being served with a restraining order.  Let’s face it, most of you will be shocked when you are served and upset and angry later on.  The important thing is to understand what is going on so you can best protect yourself.  Let’s take a look at the issues.

 The most important issue perhaps is service.  Were you properly served with the restraining order?  To violate a restraining order you must know that one exist and you were properly served with said order.  Now, most orders that you receive before a hearing are temporary in nature.  The order usually only lasts for a short period of time; usually seven days.  At the end of the temporary restraining order, there is usually a date to appear in court for a restraining order hearing. 

 What is the restraining order hearing?  The restraining order hearing is held to allow the judge to determine whether to extend the restraining order or to terminate the order.  At this hearing, the judge will first read the affidavit from the complainant.  Then the judge will ask you if you are contesting the order.  If you are contesting the order, the judge will usually allow for testimony.  The complainant is usually allowed to tell their side of the story first.  Then the judge will usually give you an opportunity to voice your story. 

 The ruling.  The judge will make a determination of whether the restraining order should be extended.  The time period the restraining order should be extended.  And the conditions of the restraining order.

 Protect yourself.  You need to be careful of what you say in court.  The hearing is recorded and anything you say can be used against you further down the road.  If you have criminal charges pending against you, then you need to talk to an attorney.  If you have pending charges it isn’t wise to testify, especially without an attorney being there. 

 Abide by the order. It is important that you abide by all the terms of the restraining order.  Many people get themselves into trouble because they believe it is okay to contact the complainant.  If one of the terms of the restraining order is no contact, you cannot contact the complainant.  If you have a restraining order against you and the complainant contacts you, you are still violating the restraining order if you contact them. 

 The order itself is civil in nature, but violation of that order is a criminal offense.  If convicted of violation of a restraining order you can be sentenced to a jail term.  So be smart, protect yourself, abide by the order and hire an attorney to help. 

 http://www.marlborough-ma.gov/Gen/MarlboroughMA_PoliceDept/restrainingorderfaqs

 http://www.malawforum.com/content/ma-chapter-209a-restraining-order-and-ten-day-hearing

 http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?statelaw_name=Restraining%20Orders&state_code=MA

 http://www.massoutrage.com/ma/restraining-order-resources/fighting-false-restraining-orders/

 http://www.crimevictimlaw.com/restrain/restrain.html

 http://www.bostoncriminallaw.net/blog/

 http://criminal.altmanllp.com/lawyer-attorney-1445344.html

 http://www.davidyannetti.com/PracticeAreas/Restraining-Order-Violations.asp

 http://articles.directorym.com/How_To_Get_Restraining_Order_Massachusetts-r993167-Massachusetts.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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How to deal with that horrible speeding ticket


Alright, everyone hates speeding tickets.  Not only do you have to deal with the large fine, your insurance gets increased for five years.  Worse, if you have three moving violations in a year, your license can be suspended.  So here are a few things to keep in mind for a speeding ticket. 

 Be polite.  When you get pulled over do not yell at the police officer.  You need to follow instructions and be polite.  This sounds simple enough, but a lot of people want to argue with the officer.  Arguing will get you no where.  It only gives the officer more incentive to write you the ticket, to show up in court and to say that you had a bad attitude while he is testifying.  So be polite, even though you are not happy about the situation. 

 Look at the ticket.  You need to examine the ticket itself carefully.  First, look at the time and date to see if they are accurate.  Next, look at the information about your car.  See if the officer wrote the right information down correctly.  Finally, look to see if the officer estimated your speed or used radar. 

 File the appeal.  It doesn’t hurt to try to appeal your ticket.  The first hearing will be in front of a clerk.  The clerk’s hearing will cost you $25.  If you lose at the clerk’s hearing you can then appeal the clerk’s ruling in front of a judge.  The officer that wrote you the ticket doesn’t need to show up at the clerk’s hearing, but needs to show up in front of the judge’s hearing. 

 Make a decision.  You need to make a decision and figure out how important winning the ticket is for you.  You may want to just pay the ticket and get it over with.  You may also want to fight the ticket to the end because you already have two moving violations in one year.  If you do want to fight the ticket and put forth your best case, you may want to consider hiring a defense attorney for help. 

 http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourCar/ItPaysToAvoidaSpeedingTicket.aspx

 Attorney Jessica Foley’s Blog on License issues

http://massdrivinglaw.typepad.com/massachusetts_driving_law/speeding_tickets/

 Turnpike looking to increase revenue by issuing more tickets

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-13456882.html

 Police ordered to issue more speeding tickets

http://www.bostoncriminallawyerblog.com/2007/12/massachusetts_state_police_ord.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Facing criminal charges, court is tomorrow, what to do


The court process is a long and stressful process for most.  Some of the reasons why the process is difficult are that the system is slow, there are few explanations and the rules and procedures are cumbersome and confusing.  So here are a few tips to keep in mind to make the criminal justice system a little more bearable. 

  1. Keep all your paperwork.  Don’t throw anything out or be careless with any documents that are given to you.  The court and district attorney will usually give you information that is important for your case.  So make sure you keep all the documents that you are given and bring them to your attorney. 
  2. Dress to impress.  This one sounds silly I know, but there are so many people that go to court in sweatshirts, baggy clothes, revealing shirts and other horrific attire that this is worth mentioning.  First impressions are important and the first thing that a judge or DA will notice is your clothing.  Dress like you would if you were going to a very important interview. One judge I know won’t call your case until your shirt is tucked in.  So be smart, dress well and it will win you points. 
  3. Be on time.  This one sounds simple, but if you don’t get to court when your case is called you can be defaulted.  If a default enters it usually comes with a warrant out for your arrest.  People who show up late usually can get the default removed, but also will have to wait until all the other cases are called.  Depending on the court you should be prepared to wait a long time.  Don’t bother with the excuse of bad weather, problems in getting a ride or anything else.  If the judge is there, he expects you to be there. 
  4. No cell phones or talking.  Most courts won’t allow cell phones anymore, so leave them in your car or at home.  Many courts don’t even have a place to keep your stuff while you are at the court, so just don’t bring your phone.  Also be quiet in the court room.  I know you may be pretty bored waiting for your case to be called, but an annoyed or angry judge is bad news. 
  5. Be respectful.  Look, I know you don’t want to be in court, who does?  However, you need to keep your cool and keep your head on straight.  Don’t argue with the DA or judge, don’t swear and don’t make faces.  The last thing you want to happen is for the judge to hold you for contempt. 
  6. Hire an attorney.  The process is stressful and there are many pitfalls.  The stakes are high, the penalties are serious and the case may affect the rest of your life.  Be smart hire a professional and remember these tips. 
  7. Finally, this shouldn’t even be a tip, but I have seen this happen so I will cover this point.  DON’T BRING WEAPONS AND DRUGS TO COURT WITH YOU!  Yes I have seen cases in which people are charged for bringing weapons and drugs to court.  They were searched after the metal detector was set off and then weapons and drugs were found on the person.  You would think it would be common sense, but I have seen it happen.  So my last tips is  don’t carry contraband with you to court. 

 Massachusetts Probate and Family Court tips

http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/beforegoing.html

 Minnesota State Court tips

http://www.mncourts.gov/selfhelp/?page=1616

 Traffic Court tips

http://www.trafficticketsecrets.com/traffic-court-tips.html

 Delaware State Court tips

http://courts.delaware.gov/How%20To/Court%20proceedings/?ccp_goingtocourt.htm

 Illinois Legal Aid Video

http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentID=2151

 Hawaii State Court tips

http://www.courts.state.hi.us/page_server/SelfHelp/TipsOnGoingToCourt/5C475B8C1A32638F15195D2D7.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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