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. 

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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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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.

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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

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You have the right to remain talking?


Most if not every person knows the Miranda warnings by heart:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.

It is truly astonishing the amount of people who are given these rights and still decide to talk to the police. The police tell them that they have the right to remain silent, yet most people rather choose to exercise their right to remain talking at their own peril.

If the police suspects that you have committed a crime, and have enough evidence to file an official complaint, they will. There is little that you can say to stop the police from doing that. While you may believe you can talk your way out of the situation, it is highly unlikely to happen. Police officers are trained to extract information from people, and most of them are very effective at doing just that.

You have a right to an attorney, and one will be provided if you can’t afford one. Therefore, there is no reason why you should not talk to an attorney before talking to the police, or to have an attorney present during the interview. Think about it, before you go in for surgery wouldn’t you want a professional doctor to warn you about the possible dangers of the procedure, and reduce the risks that you may face?

When you are properly given your Miranda rights and confess, it makes it very difficult to suppress the statements. To make matters worse, police are trained to obtain a written confession and to tape the interviews. Many times, the confession is the strongest part of the prosecution’s case. So if you decide to exercise your right to talk, make sure you are ready to face the consequences.

Expert law provides a good question and answer about Miranda rights: http://www.expertlaw.com/library/criminal/miranda_rights.html

Globe story regarding a Vermont man confessing to murderhttp://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2008/07/10/accused_killers_confession_played_in_court/

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

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