Articles Posted in Federal Criminal Defense

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

CAN I TRY TO MAKE A DEAL WITH THE POLICE?

No.

No police officer can make a deal.  They do not have the legal power to make you a deal or cut you a break.

ONLY a prosecutor can negotiate and make an enforceable promise of leniency in return for assistance.

Don’t even think about negotiating deals with cops.

If a prosecutor is standing next to the cop, ignore the cop, talk to the prosecutor.

 

 

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

DO I HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE?

No.

You do not have to say anything to an officer to assist him in making a case against you.

The police can stop you in the street and talk to you.  You do not have to, and should not, answer.

The only person who can force you to answer questions is a judge, and then only in limited circumstances.  Those circumstances only occur in a courtroom.  The street is not a courtroom.  A cop is not a judge.

 

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

WHY IS THE COP TALKING TO ME?

9 times out of 10 he’s talking to you because he needs something more from you to make a valid arrest.

The police cruiser may have “TO SERVE AND PROTECT” printed on the door, but that’s not the truth.  The police are there “TO INVESTIGATE AND ARREST”. 

They are not there to protect your rights.  That’s what a lawyer is for.

If a police officer is talking to you assume he is conducting an investigation.  DO NOT cooperate in a police investigation if you are the person of interest.

You cannot know what is in the mind of the police officer.  You can only assume he is conducting an investigation with the objective of making an arrest.   It is naïve to assume anything else.

IMG_6709-2-194x300SEARCHES

100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

WHAT IS A STOP & FRISK?

A cop can detain and (“stop”) and pat down (“frisk”) if he has:

1. A “reasonable” suspicion of criminal behavior and/or

2. “reasonable” concern for officer safety. This applies on the street    and at a traffic stop.

The officer needs to have more than a “hunch”, or a judge will throw out the search.

The officer needs to have something he can put into words which is both reasonable and rational….like “furtive movements” and reaching into bulky over-sized clothing, or a bulge that has the outline of a gun or knife.

He can’t go rooting around in your pockets without 1 and 2.

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

CAN THE POLICE SEARCH ME ON SOMEONE’S LIE?

Yes.

It happens all the time.  Someone angry with you calls the police and piles on a heap of lies.  The police can search and arrest you based on someone’s lies.

What can you do?

If the police act on a “confidential informant” or a “citizen informant” the search is subject to suppression if the search does not meet legal standards.

If the search is unlawful it will be thrown out.

The test is:

  1. basis of the informant’s knowledge
  2. veracity
  3. credibility
  4. reliability
  5. the totality of the circumstances.

 

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

HOW DO YOU SAY NO TO THE POLICE?

Just say no.

If you can say no to an insurance salesman who is trying to sell you insurance, you can say no to a cop:  he is trying to sell you a prison term.

The police are an instrument of the State, not your mother or your priest.

The street is not the place to object to police actions, assert your rights, and seek fairness or justice.   That is what goes on in a court.

Just say no and call your lawyer from jail.

Loose lips sink ships.

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

CAN THE POLICE LOOK INTO MY YARD?

Yes.

The police can look into your yard with binoculars, from airplanes, from a neighbor’s yard, from anywhere.

If an officer is lawfully in a place from which he can view your home or yard it is with the Plainview exception to the search warrant requirement.

Looking into your yard can also mean examining your trash if it is put out for trash pickup.

You do not have any expectation of privacy in any garbage which is placed in a garbage container and left for pick up. That means your trash can be pulled and examined by police.

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

HOW DO THE POLICE OBTAIN A SEARCH WARANT?

To obtain a search warrant a police officer has to swear under oath, in a written affidavit, that he has probable cause to believe that the fruits or instrumentalities of a criminal act are in a certain place.   He has to have evidence, not just a “hunch”.

A search warrant closely defines where the police can go to seize the property and what the police can take.

 

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

CAN THE POLICE ENTER MY HOUSE?

No.

Only with a warrant or “exigent” circumstances such as: they are chasing you, they get an emergency call that someone is being beaten or shot, a fire emergency.

You have a heightened expectation of privacy in your home.  Therefore the police must get a search warrant before they can enter your home, or have a real good reason to tell the judge.

What is a home?

The law protects persons:  not places.  So what is in your mind is determinative.

Your home can be anywhere you feel like home:  at a hotel room, as an overnight guest, in your room in a rooming house.  It is always an open issue and an arguable question:  like a snail who carries his home on his back:  think home.

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100 ‘most asked ‘ questions

CAN THE POLICE SEARCH ME?

They CAN search you ONLY if…

1.  You agree to the search.

Your consent must be freely and voluntarily given, and not the product of threats, intimidation, force, or the threatened use of force.

2.  For “Officer Safety”

They can search you for weapons only IF the officer has a good reason to believe you are a threat to his personal safety AND ONLY AFTER you are lawfully stopped or detained.

  1. After an arrest.

If a cop searches you without permission it is illegal, unless they have legal cause to search you.  And that is for a judge to decide….later.

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