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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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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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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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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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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Pleading Guilty: Rights and Other Legal Aspects


 Many times when someone comes to my office after the arraignment, they tell me that they want to plead not guilty. I tell the person that the court probably has already entered a not guilty plea during the arraignment. Most people are very nervous during the arraignment and simply miss the court entering a not guilty plea on their behalf.

Once a not guilty plea is entered, a guilty finding can be entered in one of two ways. First, the person may bring the case to trial and a judge or jury can find the person guilty. Second, the person can plead guilty as part of a plea bargain.

When a person chooses to plead guilty, the person is giving up many constitutional rights. Some of these rights include: the right to remain silent, the right to presumed innocent, the right to confront witnesses against them, right to cross examine witnesses, right to a fair and impartial trial and right to file motions to suppress and appeal those rulings.

In every criminal case, the prosecutor, also called the Commonwealth in this state has the burden to the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. When a person pleads guilty he or she is relieving the Commonwealth of the burden to prove the case against them. Every person has a constitutional right to remain silent and say nothing and to be presumed innocent.

By pleading guilty the person is giving up his or her constitutional rights. The person is admitting to the facts that are alleged in the police report. Because the person is admitting to the facts, the Commonwealth no longer needs to provide evidence to prove the charges. A person may plead guilty for many reasons, the most common to receive a more lenient penalty. The Commonwealth likes pleas because it no longer needs to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

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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:

Plead guilty or go to trial? http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06086/677199-85.stm

US Supreme Court Center, Guilty Pleas: http://supreme.justia.com/constitution/amendment-14/61-guilty-pleas.html

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. 

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:

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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Not a good move: Listening to everyone, but your lawyer


Generally, people who are charged with a crime are concerned and want to know what is going on at all times.  The problem arises when a defendant chooses to talk to people who aren’t his or her lawyer to try to get advice.  Meanwhile the best thing to do is not to talk about your case with anyone, except your lawyer. 

 One of the major reasons why you don’t walk to talk to anyone other than your lawyer is anything you say can be used against you.  The last thing that you want to do is to have the district attorney summons a cell mate, girl friend, or relative to testify against you.  Essentially, what you say about a crime can be considered as an admission and can be used against you in the court of law.  On the other hand, if you talk to your attorney about the case the communication is privileged. 

Another reason why you don’t want to talk to others to try to get advice is because of the advice you will be getting.  Every case is different and there are many factors that go into determining the ultimate outcome of a case.  Just because your neighbor or mom told you that a certain outcome happened to another person charged with the same offense, doesn’t mean anything.  There is no guarantee that the same things will happen in your case.  The last thing you want to do is to listen to bad advice. 

 Obviously, the last thing you want to do is to talk to the police and listen to their advice.  Yes, police are very good listeners, but it won’t help you.  You don’t want to put yourself in a bad situation, so if you are charged with a crime, don’t try to get advice from the police. 

 Be smart, you need to make sure you talk to a lawyer as early as possible.  Don’t talk to anyone about your case.  You also don’t want to listen to anyone’s advice, especially those of others in jail.  Remember if your cell mate had such great advice, he wouldn’t be sharing a room with you. 

 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:

Working with your lawyer http://www.paulerogers.com/worklaw.htm

 Tips on working with your lawyer http://www.fatherhoodqic.org/ten_tips.pdf

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

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Police Interrogation (reader suggested topic)


Couple weeks back an avid reader suggested that I write about police interrogations. I liked the idea and finally came up with this. If you have any suggestions for topics please feel free to send them along and I will do my best to write about them. First my disclaimer, I am not a police officer, have never been trained in interrogation and I am not an expert in this area. The following about police interrogation is from my experience in viewing these types of interactions.

There are many things that work against you during an interrogation. The more you understand the process the better you can protect yourself. The best advice is to stay silent and get a lawyer as soon as possible. Aside from that, here are a few points to keep in mind.

The speed of the process. I hear the words, “well it all just happened so quickly” way too often. That is one of the largest problems working against you. Something happens, you get arrested, driven back to the police station, and then they start asking questions. The pace really bothers a lot of people, and it hurts their concentration. A lot of people are still trying to figure out what just happened at the scene, or are stunned about being arrested and as a result don’t pay attention at the police station. It is important that you stay focused, and in the moment.

The atmosphere. The area that you are usually brought into is a small bare room. The room is uncomfortable and it makes a lot of people uneasy and gives them a feeling of not being in control. There is usually a double sided mirror, video recording, some old chairs, uncomfortable lighting, and a sorry looking table. All this can make people feel uneasy. When you feel uneasy, it gives the other side the advantage.

The numbers. There are usually at least two officers there when the questioning happens. This uneven number can make people feel helpless, especially in a small room. The police do have to give you your Miranda rights. Those are usually given at the beginning when the conversation is still pretty easygoing. Because of the light atmosphere at the beginning, a lot of people sign away their rights. However, once the questioning gets going most regret waiving their rights. The police don’t have to let you know that you can still assert your right to an attorney even after you waive your rights. Remember to ask for an attorney before you speak with them, but even if you sign a waiver, you can still ask for an attorney later on.

The questioning. The police are very good at getting people talking. At the beginning of the questioning, they tend to ask easy questions. This usually gets people use to talking to them. We as a society have a tendency to keep talking once we start talking. The police may also use small amounts of outside information, like we talked to this person or we found this evidence, to encourage you further.

Video tapes and signed confessions. Usually every interviewed is video taped and the police will ask you to sign a written confession. A video taped signed confession can be devastating, and they usually are. Most of the time they are a key piece of the prosecution puzzle. Even if the police have a lot of physical or derivative evidence, they must link the evidence together to point at you. When you have a signed written confession you are helping the police tie the evidence together. You can be even filling in gaps that the police could not solve without more information.

The majority of police officers are nice to talk to and pretty helpful. However, they have a job to do and cases to investigate. A large part of their investigation requires them to question people. Knowing that, it is very important that you stay vigilant and protect yourself at all times. After all, you wouldn’t tell your spouse about the details of the bachelor or bachelorette party, would you? Then again I wouldn’t want to see the thing your spouse may do in response to you invoking your right to remain silent, or to an attorney.

Arrests and Interrogations FAQ
http://articles.directorym.com/Arrests_and_Interrogations_FAQ_Lawrence_MA-r935136-Lawrence_MA.html

Mark A. Godsey: Shining the Bright Light on Police Interrogation in America
http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/osjcl/Articles/Volume6_2/Godsey-FinalPDF.pdf

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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