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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DUI Lifetime look back rule


The penalties for DUI offenses have become more serious over the years.  Essentially, in order for the Commonwealth to figure out what number DUI offense a DUI offender should be charged with, the state “looks back” at the DUI offender’s record.  Since 2002, the DUI rules of “looking back” at a person’s DUI record have changed making the punishments for DUI more severe. 

 The DUI rules prior to 2002 would only look at the DUI offender’s to see if the DUI offender had any DUI’s for the last ten years.  Now for the purposes of counting DUI offenses, the DUI laws counts CWOFs and convictions the same way. (To learn more about CWOFS https://attorneychan.wordpress.com/?s=cwof Under the DUI ten year look back rule, the state would look at the DUI offender’s record and only count DUI offenses that occurred in the last ten years.  So for example, under the old DUI rules, a 50 year old DUI offender has one DUI on his record when he was 25.  Under the old DUI rules, the DUI offender would be charged with a DUI first offense. 

After 2002, the DUI rules no longer just “look back” ten years in the DUI offender’s record.  Now, no matter how much time has lapsed, all the DUIs on a person’s record are counted.  So back to our example of the 50 year old DUI offender with one DUI on his record when he was 25. Under the new DUI rules, the DUI offender would be charged with a DUI second offense. 

This change in the DUI rules is very significant because the penalties for DUI become more severe depending on the number of the DUI offense.  To find out more information regarding the different DUI offenses, you can visit the DUI index.  http://www.attorneychan.com/dui/index.html

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

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Tough not to get caught-crimes that weren’t so smart. Part II


Last week’s story was about a breaking and entering that wasn’t planned out very well to say the least.  It’s difficult to imagine that this week’s story could top last week’s.  Remember that the suspect from last week left fingerprints and blood at the scene and then tried to cash in numbered scratch tickets.  Before you rush to judgment, just wait to hear what this next person did. 

 Story number 2: Traffic anyone? 

A suspect decides to rob a bank downtown Boston late Friday afternoon.  He goes into the bank without a hat, sunglasses, or any type of disguise.  The bank has a main entrance and a side entrance.  The suspect has a getaway car and driver waiting at the side entrance.  As a result, the suspect wants to wait for the bank window that is closest to the side entrance.

 The problem starts with the fact that there aren’t too many people waiting in line.  There are several windows open and several bank tellers are asking the suspect if he needs help with anything.  The suspect is persistent in his desire to wait for that one bank teller closest to the side door.  The suspect ends up waiting for the bank teller closest to the side door for up to 10 minutes.  This gives the other bank workers ample opportunity to look at the suspect.  If that isn’t enough, the cameras are recording him this entire time. 

 Finally, the suspect goes up to his desired window and hands the bank teller a note demanding money.  The bank teller calmly hands over the money and the suspect flees out the side door.  With all the information the police probably would have caught the person sooner or later, but this is when the situation makes a turn for the worse. 

 Not really planning out his getaway route, the suspect takes 93 South for his escape.  Now anyone that works in Boston knows that 93 South on a late Friday afternoon is similar to a parking lot.  The police find out that the suspect fled onto 93 South, get onto 93 South, put on their lights and gently weave through traffic.  The suspect is found stuck in traffic not more than 3 exits away from downtown. 

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

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Tough not to get caught-crimes that weren’t so smart. Part I


During my travels you hear a lot of silly stories.  First, I didn’t represent any of these people.  Second, these stories are much better than my imagination can provide.  And finally, if you ever find yourself wanting to violate the law, please reconsider.  Over the next several weeks, I have four crime stories that will make you scratch your head.

Story number 1: Trying to hit the lottery

A suspect breaks the window of a liquor store.  The suspect probably didn’t think about the situation too clearly because blood is found on the window sill.  Either the person cut his or her hand on the window while breaking it, or the broken glass cut the suspect on the way in.  The suspect didn’t wear gloves leaving DNA and finger prints everywhere.

Once inside, the suspect looks for valuable items to take.  The suspect takes some alcohol and rummages through an empty cash register.  Finally, the suspect comes up with a great idea of taking scratch tickets and lottery tickets.  The problem is that the tickets are numbered and once they are cashed in, the police will know what store cashed the winning tickets.  Moreover, most convenience stores will have cameras.

When the person cashed the winning tickets the police had his face on tape.  In the end, the fingerprints were enough to track the person down, but the police were able to retrieve the tape from the store that cashed the scratch ticket.  The suspect gave the police plenty of evidence to find and to later prosecute him.  This definitely wasn’t one of the best thought out crimes.  If you think this story is silly, just wait as the stories get progressively worse.

 

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

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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Why do people take plea bargains?


 In a plea bargain, essentially the defendant agrees to admit the charges and to receive a certain type of punishment. The punishment itself can vary from a fine, to probation and finally incarceration.

There are certain advantages to pleas that can’t all be covered in this post. However, I will try to cover a few main reasons why defendants decide to plead. First, a defendant will usually get a better deal pleading to a case before trial than if the defendant was found guilty after trial. It is common for the prosecution to recommend probation before trial, but jail time if the person is found guilty at trial. Therefore, many defendants may want to take a plea deal before trial to avoid jail time.

Second, the prosecution may be dismissing some charges in exchange of the defendant agreeing to a plea bargain. There are certain charges that have mandatory jail sentences. That means if you are charged with one of these crimes and convicted at trial, the judge can only sentence you to jail for that specific period of time. In order to avoid serving a minimum mandatory jail sentence a defendant may agree to a plea bargain.

Third, the defendant may just want the case to be over. I hear this all the time and try hard to convince a person not to plead to a case just to get the case over with. Once you plead to a case, it is very difficult to change the result. There are certain situations the case can be reopened, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. Court cases take time and people get impatient. Therefore, some people plead to cases just because they want to get the done. This is an awful reason to plead to a case and one should be careful about pleading just to resolve a case.

Finally, pleading to a case is serious business. It isn’t like impulsively going out to buy something that you can’t afford from the store and deciding to return it the next day. The criminal process is much more difficult and you can’t return a plea based solely on buyer’s remorse.

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

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What in the world is a guilty file?


In Massachusetts a guilty finding is a pretty unique resolution to a case.  Essentially, a person is still found guilty, but there is no immediate sentence.  In order for the court to guilty file a charge, the judge needs the consent of both the defendant and the Commonwealth. 

 This type of sentence is most commonly seen when a defendant has several charges on the same docket.  If the defendant pleads out to the more severe charges, the Commonwealth will usually agree to guilty file the minor charges. 

 Technically, a defendant that has charges that have been guilty filed can be sentenced later on.  A defendant has the right to request sentencing on any filed charges at any time.  Obviously, unless there is some unique reason, most defendants will never request to be sentenced on a charge that has been guilty filed. 

The Commonwealth may request that a defendant be sentenced on a charge that has been filed for several reasons.  One way the prosecution may request sentencing is if a related conviction or sentence is reversed or vacated.  A second way is for the prosecution to prove that the defendant has committed a new offense.  Finally, the prosecution may request a sentence if the defendant has violated a condition that the filing was based upon. 

In Massachusetts, it is becoming more common to state when the charge will be guilty filed until.  On the new green sheets (sheets that are used by prosecutors and defense attorneys alike to write out plea deals) you will actually see an area in which you can write an end date for charges that are guilty filed.  Essentially, the Commonwealth has until that end date to request that a defendant be sentenced on a charge that has been guilty filed. 

Depending on the situation a guilty file could be a good way to resolve certain charges.  There are things that need to be kept in mind before trying to resolve your case in such a fashion.  Remember that a guilty file still counts as a conviction on your record.  Please don’t attempt to resolve your case without an experience professional. 

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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:

Massachusetts Criminal Procedure Rule 28: Judgment http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/source/mass/rules/criminal/crim28.html

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

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Failing to return a leased sofa could get you charged with a crime


We see these commercials on television all the time.  Many places offer to allow you to rent ordinary house hold items for a monthly fee.  Some of these items include bed room sets, washer driers, televisions and computers.  However, renter beware, if your lease runs out don’t sell the product or try to keep the item.  If the items are not returned at the end of the lease, the rental agency can bring a civil suit and apply for criminal charges. 

 Essentially, a person that doesn’t returned lease property can be charged under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 87; larceny of leased or rental property.  Under Massachusetts law one of the ways a person can be charged is if the person fails to returned lease property within 10 days after the expiration of the lease or rental agreement. 

 The potential penalties for being convicted are up to a $1,000 fine and imprisonment for up to one year.  Also, a person who is convicted must pay restitution for any financial loss in addition to any jail time or court fine.  Under the law, even if a person serves a year in jail, the person is still responsible to pay any restitution to the rental company. 

In economic times like these many people are losing their jobs and ability to pay for things around the house.  It is very important that you return the items that you have leased from a company.  Many rental companies preferring applying for criminal charges in lieu of bringing civil complaints because these companies don’t want to spend the money on civil cases.  So in case you wanted to sell your leased property, just remember you can spend up to a year in jail. 

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For More information:

Massachusetts General Laws CHAPTER 266. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/266-87.htm 

Telegram and Gazette reporting on people being charged for larceny of leased or rental property

http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/telegram-gazette-worcester-ma/mi_8005/is_2010_Jan_1/courthouse-records/ai_n45726649/

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

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Holiday bad decision turns into domestic assault and battery charge


 Holidays are supposed to bring out the best in people, but unfortunately many times it brings out the worse.  It may be the tight quarters with family members that bring out the emotional exchanges, or simply the excess of alcohol.  Either way, don’t call the police unless it is necessary.

So I see this type of situation occur a good amount.  It happens quite often, but especially around the holidays people usually men are charged with assault and battery from a domestic incident.  The alleged victim in the case say that they didn’t want the defendant arrested and don’t want the person to go to jail.  The victim also states that the situation was exaggerated because the person wanted the police to take their side.

So here are a few things to consider before calling the police for no good reason.  Police tend to err on the side of caution in domestic situations.  Police can’t decipher an argument that is just a normal family argument that will boil over from one that may lead to some violent end.  As a result, police tend to make arrests to err on the side of caution.  That means if you tell the police that some physical contact has been made, the defendant will usually be arrested.

Too many people tend to call the police in attempt to get a person out of their house.  The likely end is that the police will get the person out of the house, but will also arrest and charge the person.  Also, the police arrest is not the end of the matter, but simply the beginning of a long legal process.  There is likely to be many court dates and people that you don’t want in your life.

Conversely, if you feel like you are in danger of your own safety then you shouldn’t hesitate in calling the police.  This post isn’t an attempt to convince people from calling the police for legitimate reasons, but to warn people from calling for frivolous ones. Holidays are supposed to be times of joy and celebration, but if you can’t get along perhaps you should avoid one another.  In the end, only call the police if you really need their help.

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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 domestic violence:

Massachusetts Law about Domestic Violence: http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/domviolence.html

Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence: http://www.atask.org/site/

Healing Abuse Working for Change: http://www.helpabusedwomen.org/

Network for Women’s Lives: http://www.networkforwomenslives.org/

Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project: http://www.gmdvp.org/

Casa Myrna Vazquez: http://www.casamyrna.org/

Jane Doe’s Inc.: http://www.janedoe.org/

On the rise: http://www.ontherise.org/

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

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