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


As if the exploding dye packet story wasn’t enough, this story will really make you think and scratch your head.  Saving the best for last, here is the fourth and final story.  

 Story number 4: Going to get my drugs back

The story starts with a pretty common situation.  The police arrest 3 individuals for having a large amount of marijuana at that place.  The three individuals and the marijuana are brought down to the police station.

 A friend of the 3 people arrested comes down to the station to bail them out.  The friend who is trying to bail out the three people arrested starts arguing with the police.  The friend angrily tells the police that the marijuana belongs to him and that he wants it back. 

 The police ask the friend several questions regarding the drugs.  The friend tells the police where the marijuana was placed in the house and how it was packaged.  At the end of the conversation, the friend was placed into custody.  It is hard to believe that this would ever happen, but it does.  So there it is four unbelievable yet true stories.  Until next time when I come across more, or when I remember those I have forgotten. 

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

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Disgusting drug stories, don’t get into them or it may lead you to one of these places


We have all heard it before, drugs are bad.  Well, it isn’t easy for most people to grasp exactly how bad they really are.  I am not here to preach, but here are a few gross drug user stories I have come across my travels.

I have always found it odd how people can insert a needle into their arm while using heroin.  Seeing that most people are afraid of needles, how can someone constantly volunteer their arm to that torture?  From my travels I have heard that heroin is usually the drug of last resort.

It runs cheaper than other drugs and works quicker.  However, the downsides are huge.  The using of unclean and shared needles have many people contracting different diseases.  A lot of drug users will have hepatitis, HIV, and other horrible diseases.  In one of the worse cases I have seen, a girl had sores all over her body including her face.  Everyday, the sores would bleed and she would look like a bloody pulp.

I hear that Meth users take the drug and rub it across their gums.  As the drug comes in contact with the gum line, it starts rotting the teeth out from the roots.  As a result, a meth user’s teeth will fall out.

Finally, heroin is truly a horrible drug.  Aside from the diseases and bloody sores that come from that, some users will do anything to continue their habit.  One probation officer said that many users will go to extremes to hide their habits from authorities.  Many people will insert the needle between their toes to hide the marks that the needles make.  Females have been known to stick the needle underneath their finger nails then put on nail polish.  Finally, one of the worst stories I have heard, is that of a man who inserted heroin into his own male body part because that was the only good vein left on his body.

As I have heard one person say, the best thing is to never try drugs.  You may like it too much that one time and it may be impossible to stop.

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.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/treatmeth.html

http://www.adcare.com/

http://www.theagapecenter.com/Treatment-Centers/Massachusetts.htm

http://www.recoveryconnection.org/find_drug_rehab/Massachusetts.php

http://www.treatment-centers.net/treatment-directory/massachusetts.html



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

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This is no CSI


Crime scene investigation has gained incredible popularity in the hearts of people.  It is difficult to turn on the television without seeing at least one show that involves crime scene investigations.  Unfortunately, life hasn’t exactly caught up to the shows just yet. 

 Crime scene shows are very popular because they are very entertaining.  However, the shows are very different than real life practice.  On the show, the crime scene personnel can solve a crime in 60 minutes with the inclusion of commercials.  Finger prints, DNA tests, and other forensic analysis takes seconds to do.  An entire team of people juggle friendship, relationships and work and still find a way to catch the criminal.  The facilities and equipment are top of the line and look like they have never been used before. 

 The shows are entertaining, but are far from how most crime labs operate.  There are certain crime labs that have great equipment and very new facilities, but not all crime labs are in such great shape.  It all starts with the funding.  The crime labs usually aren’t that new.  The crime scene investigators aren’t that well paid and are often overworked.  Because of the amount of cases that need scientific analysis, this usually leads to significant delay in getting results back.  Drug certifications, ballistic reports, finger print and DNA analysis can take several months before the reports are done. 

The lack of funding and amount of work that needs to be done often leads to mistakes. Unlike the shows, real world investigators have to juggle many tasks at one time.  Therefore, the next time you watch a crime scene show, enjoy yourself, but please be mindful that it is just television. 

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:

MA Crime labs

http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopsterminal&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Public+Safety+Agencies&L2=Massachusetts+State+Police&sid=Eeops&b=terminalcontent&f=msp_feature_2009_msp_feature_entire_state_forensic_lab_system_receives_accreditation&csid=Eeops

 DNA resources in United States

http://www.dna.gov/dna_resources/state_labs

 Former Crime Lab Administrator with Troubling Story http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/13630969/detail.html

 Boston Globe Story about DNA crime lab still behind in testing

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/11/27/demand_for_dna_testing_outstrips_crime_lab_capacity/

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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The Irish of Irish Times: being searched at a club or any establishment


Irish Times is a popular bar/club in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts. To promote security at its bar, Irish Times has a policy to search all of its patrons. There are signs in at the front door that warn people of this policy. Also, on weekends, Irish Times pays off duty police officers to provide further security.

There are a large amount of criminal cases that stem from the Irish Time policy. Many patrons of the Irish Times are arrested guns and drugs. Even though patrons are warned by clearly marked signs at the entrance, they continue coming in with guns and drugs.

For quite some time the Irish Times had off duty police officers perform the searches and had people arrested for contraband. And for that same time, defense attorneys were able file and win motions to suppress based on unreasonable search and seizure law. The litigation of this point raged on until the Irish Times refined its policy.

Every person has a right against unreasonable search and seizure. If the government violates your constitutional rights, then what is found can usually be suppressed. This argument worked in the Irish Times searches when it had the police officer’s perform the searches. Then the Irish Times changed its policy. Instead of having the police perform the searches, Irish Times hired private employees to perform the searches. When the employees would find contraband then they would hand it over to the police, thereby circumventing the constitutional violation.

To find that a search has violated a person’s constitutional rights there usually needs to be some sort of state action. One could argue that it is still state action when an off duty police officer is searching people. However, a private employee searches a person most judges will agree that there is no state action.

The practical effect is that when a private employee of an establishment finds guns or drugs on you, then its trouble. However, it doesn’t mean that if the police officer is the one performing the search you are safe. In the end, before you party at a place that searches, don’t keep “stuff” on you.

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

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At a party, you hear police coming, there are drugs at that place, what do you do?


Throughout your life you probably went to your fair share of parties and you are likely to go to a few more before you hang it up. What if you are at a party, and you know someone is doing drugs or there are drugs in the apartment, and the police show up? There are a lot of police officers everywhere, people screaming, what do you do? Well here are a few things to keep in mind.

Don’t run. This is not an easy thing to do, but think rationally about this for a moment. Most of the time when police do a raid on a house they cover all access points. Therefore, by running away from one police officer, you will inevitably find your self running straight into the arms of another. Besides running doesn’t make you look good. Also let’s face it, if you have been partying and drinking, what are your chances of outrunning the police at this point?

Don’t say much if anything at all. If this is just the police coming into the apartment to break up the party that is one thing, but it could also be a raid. During a raid the police will usually have a search warrant. If the police have a search warrant for that location, they will usually arrest everyone there. You don’t want to say anything that might link you to the place, the targets on the warrant, and obviously the drugs. So don’t say anything, instead tell the officers you don’t want to say anything until you talk to an attorney. Sometimes the strongest piece of evidence the police have is the statements that you give. If you tell the police officers that the drugs in the bedroom aren’t yours it won’t help. You might be thinking you are giving solid defense to the drugs, the police will think that you knew about the drugs in the bedroom. So be quiet.

Call an attorney. If you get arrested and the police want to ask you questions, don’t waive your rights. Tell the police in a nice way that you would like to first talk to an attorney. You never know what the police are thinking. Don’t put yourself in a bad situation because you thought the police were going to let you off easy if you talked.
To recap, don’t run from the scene, don’t say anything at the scene, and don’t answer questions until you talk to an attorney.

Massachusetts Bar Associations talks about search warrants
http://www.massbar.org/about-the-mba/press-room/journalists’-handbook/20-search-warrants-and-subpoenas

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

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