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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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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Jurors please wait to tweet or be prepared to pay


Jury duty is something that most people don’t look forward to attending.  However, there are certain cases that may receive a lot of press and jurors actually are interested to be apart of the process.  If you are ever chosen to be on a jury, make sure that you follow the rules of the court. 

One of the most important rules the judge will require is for jurors to not talk about the case until it is over.  If a case takes more than one day, most juries are allowed to go home for the night.  In limited situations, juries are kept away from the public and housed in a hotel until the case is over.  Regardless of where the jurors stay, the rule remains the same.  Don’t talk about the case until the case is over.  This includes not talking to fellow members of the jury until it is time for deliberations. 

With technology, it is much easier to make contact with others than ever before. Most people own cell phones, and smart phones allow people to post messages on the web through Facebook and Twitter to thousands of people at a time.  With these conveniences, it takes more of an effort on a juror’s part to not be tempted to talk about the case he or she is currently apart. 

In Detroit, a juror posted a Facebook message talking about the trial.  When the court discovered this, the juror was fined $250 and was required to write an essay on the constitutional rights to a fair trial.  A fair trial, this is what the rule is trying to protect.  If the fine is not enough to deter you from talking to about the case, then imagine it was you on trial and how it would feel to not receive a fair trial.  It is okay to talk to others while the case is pending, just make sure the trial doesn’t enter the conversation.    

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

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For more information:

http://wwj.cbslocal.com/2010/09/02/juror-who-made-facebook-post-due-in-court/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/24/jurors-using-twitter-jeop_n_332648.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/4998004/Juror-tweeted-on-Twitter-during-trial.html

Lessen your chances of getting pulled over for DUI


It is Labor Day weekend and it is the last opportunity for most people to enjoy a long weekend before the winter.  People are going to pack the highways and the police are going to be out in full force and arresting people for DUI.  The last thing that you want is to be pulled over for DUI.  The best way to avoid a DUI is to not drink and drive.  However, there are other things that you can do to lessen your chances of being pulled over for a DUI. 

 There are obvious DUI signs that a police officer looks for in DUI situations.  Some DUI signs that may lead an officer to suspect a person of a DUI are: the car is weaving, inability to stay within lanes, car accident, failing to obey traffic lights and just driving poorly. 

 However, even if the DUI suspect is driving properly, the DUI suspect may still be pulled over for civil violations.  When the officer approaches the DUI suspect and smells alcohol, the officer may start their DUI investigation.  A person can be pulled over for many civil violations that may lead to a DUI investigation.  Some common violations are rejected inspection stickers, improper window tint and excessive sounds from the car or mufflers. 

In short, it is important not to draw any attention to yourself because your car is not in good working order.  Before you go out make sure that your car is not going to draw unwanted attention from the police.  If you have an expired inspection sticker then don’t drive the car.  Because if you been drinking and get pulled over for a civil violation, it could end up with you being charged with a DUI. 

 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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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 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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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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