Don’t consent to search of your car or person


Police need to have a good reason to search your car or your person.  If the police have a valid search warrant then they are allowed to search the areas that are specified in the warrant.  However, in most searches of cars and people, police don’t have a warrant because they don’t have time to get a warrant. 

If the police search a person or car without a warrant, they need a legally recognized reason to search.  If the police don’t have a legitimate reason to search, then the court may end up suppressing the evidence that was found. 

The most important thing that a suspected person can do is not to consent to any search.  A lot of people will consent to a search of their person or car because they believe they have no other choice.  What is even more astounding is that many people will consent to the search knowing that there are illegal materials in the car or on their person.

Once a person gives consent, it helps the police greatly.  When a person consents to being searched, the police no longer need a legitimate reason to search.  The police are allowed to search because the person has consented.   The police do not need to warn the suspect that he has the right to refuse to be searched.  The lesson is never consent to a search.  If the police find evidence so be it.  Don’t take away your own rights by consenting to the search and taking away your opportunity to force the police to justify their warrantless search. 

For More Information Please visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Search of cell phone text messages without a warrant


A person has a constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizures.  Essentially every person has a right to privacy under the US constitution.  Now the right to privacy is reduced when a person is arrested or under other circumstances. 

Under these rules, police can’t randomly search people to look for drugs or evidence linking them to crimes.  Police need a legitimate reason to search a person or a warrant.  When a person is arrested, police are allowed to do an inventory of the person’s belongings.  This inventory search may lead to the discovery of illegal materials such as weapons or drugs. 

With the new world of technology, courts across the United States are trying to determine the use of warrantless search on technology.  In California, a court ruled that the police don’t need to obtain a warrant to search the text messages of a suspected drug dealer. 

In the 2007 case, the Defendant was arrested by the police on suspicion of drug dealing.  When the Defendant was arrested the police officer took the suspect’s phone out of his pocket and read the text messages without a warrant.  The court ruled that the police didn’t violate the Defendant’s constitutional right. 

States differ on this subject.  The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that arrested suspects phones can’t be searched without a warrant.  This issue is long from being resolved and may end up being reviewed and ruled on by the US Supreme Court.  Until then, it will be interesting to see how the states rule on this subject and other constitutional issues surrounding technology. 

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

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Defaults lead to bail


The holidays are time for family.  The last thing you want to do is to spend your holiday in jail.  One of the most important factors in determining if the judge will set a bail on you is how often you default.  The purpose of bail is to encourage a person to show up in court.  Therefore, if you have a lot of defaults or fail to show up to court when you are supposed to, it is more likely that you will be held on bail. 

Just because you have a warrant on a case doesn’t mean that the judge will automatically set bail.  As not all warrants are created equal or viewed in the same way.  There are two types of warrants on cases.  First, there are default warrants.  A default is entered when a person fails to show up to court when they have notice of court date.  When a person defaults the court will send out a default warrant. 

The second type of warrant is known as a straight warrant.  In the situation of a straight warrant, the defendant has not gotten notice of the court date.  This usually happens because the court was unable to reach the defendant with a letter regarding his or her court date.  

Most if not all judges view straight warrants in a more favorable way than default warrants.  It really makes sense if you think about the differences.  The court assumes that you didn’t know your court date when it issues a straight warrant and assumes you did get notice when it issues a default warrant. 

Essentially, the court views that it is your fault for defaulting on a case and that will increase the likelihood of bail being set.  Verses in the situation where you have a straight warrant, the court assumes you didn’t know therefore it isn’t your fault for not showing up.  In the situation of a straight warrant, the court is less likely to place a bail on you just because you have a warrant. 

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

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Don’t turn yourself in


You get a letter in the mail; it states that you won free Red Sox tickets.  The letter gives you a place, date and time to redeem your tickets.  You show up and you are arrested because of an outstanding warrant.  You learn a very important lesson, don’t turn yourself in.  If you have an active warrant, a lucky day of winning tickets can get you into handcuffs.

Law enforcement has gotten better at tracking down people with warrants over the years.  If a person has an active warrant, the police are allowed to arrest the person when the see them.  During raids, car stops and searches police will look to see if a person has an active warrant that would require the person to be arrested.

In recent years, many police stations have decided to make their lives easier by getting people with warrants to turn themselves in.  The police departments will usually come up with a fake contest telling the person with the warrant to redeem their prize at a certain location.  When the person with the warrant shows up to redeem their prize, they are taking into custody. 

It is amazing the amount of people the police end up taking into custody through these fake contests.  If you have an active warrant and get a letter in the mail about winning a contest it is important not to try to redeem the prize.  If you do follow the instructions of the contests, the only prize you’ll get is a night in a jail cell.  

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

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Caffeine defense in a murder case


Americans love their caffeine.  With Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks scattered all across the US, people can get their fill of caffeine at anytime.  Additionally, products such as energy drinks and 5 hour energy are flying off the shelves. 

Recently, lawyers have begun to use the caffeine as a legal defense in criminal cases.  Lawyers have begun to argue that caffeine has affected the intent of the criminal, their knowledge and their confessions.  It is a novel defense and young defense and it will be interesting to see how the situation works out. 

 The most recent use of this defense is by Woody Sill Smith who is accused of killing his wife by strangulation.  The defense plans to argue that the large amount of caffeine ingested by the defendant resulted in an altered state of mind.  As a result of this temporary altered state of mind, the defendant should be found not guilty of the crime.

 The strategy of this case will be closely examined by both prosecutors and defense attorneys.  Seeing that the defense is so new, it will be interesting to see its development over time.  In the mean time, it may look as though a person should limit their caffeine consumption.   

 For more information

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100920/ap_on_re_us/us_caffeine_defense

http://www.semissourian.com/story/1666443.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/man-caffeinated-psychosis-defense-hit-run/story?id=9306666

http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978533466

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

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A dollar makes all the difference


As the economy is getting worse, theft rates are going up.  That shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone, but did you know that the cost of the item by a dollar can make a world of difference? 

 In a Massachusetts larceny case, the Commonwealth represented by the prosecutor needs to prove three things.  First, the defendant took and carried away property.  Second, the property was owned by someone else.  And finally, the defendant intended to take and keep the item. 

 Now, the cost of the item is very important when it comes to being the defendant.  If the item taken is worth$250 or more, then a person can be charged with larceny over $250.  If the item is worth $249 or under, then the person is usually charged with larceny under $250. 

 Larceny over $250 is a felony, while the charge of larceny under $250 is considered a misdemeanor.  The burden is on the prosecutor to prove that the item is worth $250 or more. 

 It seems very silly that there is such a difference in the law and potential penalties based on a single dollar.  When the statutes were drafted $250 was a lot of money.  Perhaps the legislature at the time felt as though anyone taking anything worth that much money should be considered a felon.  The reality today is that most people have items that are worth over $250 on their persons.  Most cell phones, Ipods and definitely computers are well over that threshold.  Sometimes one dollar does make all the difference. 

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

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Tis the season to be road blocks


Summer is here and the weather is going to be great. The Fourth of July makes a wonderful long weekend for everyone. As you go to cookouts and barbecues this weekend, alcohol is a staple for celebration. Just keep in mind that police are out in full force and be prepared for road blocks.

When road blocks are set up, police usually come out in full force. You will usually see several police officers with their flashing cruisers at a road block. The officers at the start of the road block stop traffic and make sure cars are going into the road block in an orderly fashion. These officers also look out for any cars that are trying to turn around and escape detection. If these officers see anyone trying to run, they will usually call for an officer that is sitting in a cruiser to chase the fleeing vehicle.

Other officers stop cars at random, usually every 4th or 5th car and talk to the operator. If the officer stopping cars detect that the operator may be over the limit, the officer then waives the suspected driver to an area for further testing. Cars sent to further testing will find other officers that will ask the suspect several questions and perform field sobriety tests. Finally, there are usually many other police officers assisting in arresting people and securing the area.

If you do see a road block don’t run. By the time you see the road block, the officer in the front of the set up will have seen you. If you run, a cruiser would be sent to stop you. Also let’s face it, if you believe you are under the influence, running away will only make the situation more dangerous. So enjoy your Fourth, but be mindful of those road blocks. Just in case, you may want to put my number in your phone 508-808-8902.

Interes9ted 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:

http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x546151264/Police-roadblocks-legal-but-some-question-effectiveness

http://www.patriotledger.com/news/cops_and_courts/x1880507907/Memorial-Day-roadblocks

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

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My girlfriend is not looking to press charges


 A person is charged with domestic assault and battery. In a domestic assault and battery, the defendant has an existing relationship with the alleged victim. Domestic assault and batteries most commonly happen between people in married or dating relationships. A person can also be charged with domestic assault and battery on their family member. Whether the assault and battery is characterized as domestic or not the maximum penalty is the same.

When most people get charged with domestic assault and battery they believe that the alleged victim is pressing the charges. As a result, they also believe that if the alleged victim isn’t pursuing the charges, the charges will be dismissed. In actuality, the charges usually came about because the police file application for criminal complaint. The clerk issued the complaint. And now the district attorney’s office is prosecuting the charges. The district attorney office is the entity that is prosecuting the charges and not the alleged victim.

Though the district attorney’s office may take the alleged victim’s wishes into consideration, the prosecution have to do what an allege victim wants. District attorneys around the country are increasing their pursuit in these types of cases. It is becoming much more difficult to resolve these cases even if the alleged victims want them dismissed.

Assault and battery charges are serious and many defendants are being wrongfully accused of these crimes. If you are charged with an assault and battery case, expect it to take at least a few cases even if the alleged victim wants the case dismissed.

Interes9ted 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 regarding domestic violence and help MA laws about domestic violence

http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/domviolence.html

Help for domestic violence victims http://www.janedoe.org/ Executive Office for Sexual and Domestic Violence http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopssubtopic&L=4&sid=Eeops&L0=Home&L1=Crime+Prevention+%26+Personal+Safety&L2=Personal+Safety&L3=Sexual+and+Domestic+Violence

Resources for Domestic Violence and Abuse

http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=mg2subtopic&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Resident&L2=Family&L3=Domestic+Violence+%26+Abuse&sid=massgov2

Women’s Law

http://www.womenslaw.org/gethelp_state.php?state_code=MA

Counseling and Education to Stop Domestic Violence

http://www.emergedv.com/

Domestic Violence Unit

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/cyp/dv/pt4.htm

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

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To plead or not to plead?


This is perhaps one of the most critical decisions on any criminal case. Last week, we talked about why a person would take a plea bargain. This week we aer going to talk about some factors one should consider in making the decision on whether to take a plea bargain.

First of all, a person should never agree to a plea bargain without the help of a defense attorney. This decision will remain with you for the rest of your life and it makes no sense to try to make it without a trained professional. It is fine to look information up on the web and read this blog to be better informed. However, if you need a new transmission for your car, would you do it yourself after reading information about it online?

Alright, so that being said, here is an incomplete list of things one should consider prior to pleading to a case. The potential penalties of the charges are one thing that should be considered by any defendant. One should be aware of what the maximum and potential consequences of the charges verses what the prosecution is offering for a plea bargain.

Another factor that people should consider is the evidence. People should look at what the prosecution has for evidence and how strength of that evidence. This isn’t something that is easy to assess. Most people believe certain aspects of a case are helpful when it isn’t, while others mistakenly believe other parts of a case are useless. This is where an experience attorney can shine and really be helpful to your case.

Finally, people should also consider the collateral consequences to a plea. Some of these consequences include license suspension, immigration issues, loss of financial aid, employment issues, providing DNA samples, GPS monitoring and needing to register as a sex offender. Today, plea bargains are becoming increasingly common, as fewer cases are going to trial. The decision to plead to a case verses demanding a trial is an important decision that shouldn’t be made alone.

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

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Arraignment: What is it and What Happens during it?


The arraignment is usually the first court date that people are before the court to face their charges. The arraignment is the day in which people know officially the charges that are before them. In Massachusetts, if people are being charged in court it will be by way of a criminal complaint. A complaint is an official court document that states the charges against the person.

There are two ways in which a person is brought to an arraignment. A person can be brought in custody or be summoned to court. In custody, just means that the person is brought to court in handcuffs. Conversely, when a person is summoned to court they are sent a piece of paper stating when and where he or she needs to show up at court. If a summoned person fails to show up voluntarily before the court, a warrant could be issued and that person could end up being brought in handcuffs.

At the arraignment, there are usually a lot of other cases scheduled so it can be awhile before a person’s case is called. When the case is finally called, the court will usually read the charges against the person and enter a not guilty plea. The court will then address bail and terms of release. Finally, the court will ask if the person wants to represent themselves or want an attorney to represent them.

For the most part, unless there are some issues, the arraignment happens pretty quickly. A person can try to resolve a simple case during the arraignment, but more complicated matters will usually be put on for another court date. At the arraignment, try to be patient while waiting for your case, be respectful to the judge and court personnel and try to get as much paperwork from the court and district attorney as possible.

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

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