Lawyer Gal's Blog

A Young Lawyer's Perspective

How does filing bankruptcy IMPROVE credit?

A lot of time, people’s credit improves after bankruptcy.  Most people who file are already behind on payments, have high balances and face collection accounts – so there credit score isn’t usually very good.

Although bankruptcy usually stays on credit reports for 7-10 years, people often find it easier to obtain credit after a discharge.

  • A debtor’s credit report is essentially wiped clean after bankruptcy: all the late payments and records on unpaid debts are marked as “included in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.”
  • Creditors know that the Bankruptcy Code permits filing once every 8 years, so someone fresh out of bankruptcy cannot turn around and refile.
  • Income that otherwise would be spent on debts “frees up,” allowing people to build credit with timely payments.
  • Bankruptcy shows that you are dealing with your debt, as opposed to letting it compile.  Some banks would rather see this.
  • Developing new lines of credit can improve your score rapidly.

May 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized, Your legal rights | , | 1 Comment

Want a job where you can lie but be lauded a hero? Become a police detective.

You wouldn’t think “liar” and “hero” go together…unless it involves police work. Then society loves you, even though any successful detective will tell you that arrests come about from trickery and the Game Theory.

Ok, I’ll admit, I have a few Facebook friends who are cops and are probably irked with my writing. Sorry about that, boys.  Then again, if you are reading this, you’ve knowingly entered into the Sarah Hulburt realm of incredible disgust towards many police practices. And lying to some poor sap just to get an arrest tops that list.

Here’s a little example [facts/scenario changed, but same idea].

 I got a call from a  dude – of course in trouble.  He is a really cool, chill hispanic dude. He’s not the sort of guy that has done anything really bad, but he has a bit of a record. (It happens. I know you all have a friend who is a chill dude with a record.)

Anyway, the source of his problems are a vengeful ex-gf.  If I’ve learned one kernel of advice to give to dudes, it’d be: don’t date someone tempermental or territorial.  While it may seem fun at the time, I doubt an indictment will provide the same satisfaction.

So his ex-gf calls the cops on him and basically says she is the straw purchaser of the gun.  In gun lingo, a straw purchaser is someone that can legally buy a gun.  You can’t buy a gun if you have a felony conviction, but a straw purchaser is a way to sort of…circumvent it.  It’s a big risk, because it is potentially a federal charge.  Anyway, this guy has a felony failure to pay child support.  Hardly seems like a felony to me, but hey, I’m not a law maker.

I don’t think he ever bought a gun for her…I think she’s just pyscho.  But my blog on nut case women who get their men arrested will have to wait another day.  Nonetheless, the detectives began investigating.  Investigation in their terms is: call the poor guy, threaten to issue a felony warrant for weapons under disability unless he hands over the gun. [On a legal note, WUD charge means you are either a mental person or a felon who has a weapon.  Those people aren’t supposed to, and it’s a very serious felony charge.]  Then, allegedly, they won’t go after him.

Yah fricking right.  A cop who won’t go after someone..good one.  All they have is a case [lack thereof]

          1. completely lacking in evidence except a crazy ex’s statement;

           2. that would be extremely difficult for the state to prove BRD.

Which, in lay terms, means: the cops want to arrest this dude, but knowing they have a extremely poor case evidentially, they decide to lie and threaten in hopes he will confess.

And with the elusive promise of leniency, the gentle persuasion that “if you aren’t guilty, then why can’t you talk to us?” and the feigned “I understand your situation and want to help you,” cops earn their living.

Yet as my former boss and top defense attorney always said, there is never anything good that can come from talking to police.  And as far as people’s desire to talk so as to “clear my name,” do you think that pretty little felony indictment that comes as a result will earn you a People’s Choice Award?

No, you see, that award is reserved for lying heros.

May 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Update: I am no different than a murder

A week ago, I posted the following blog: https://lawyergal.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/i-am-no-different-than-an-alleged-murder-either-are-you/

He was found guilty, even though no DNA from the victim was found on his feet. [Yet the prosecution claims he stomped the decedent. Odd].

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/akron_canton_news/ksu-fatal-beating-trial-wrapping-up

That is Ron.

I feel for all families involved, because 3 sons have been taken basically.

May 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

I am no different than an alleged murder. Either are you.

We, as people, are inherently fallible.  Mistakes, embarrassment and hurtful actions abound in our lives, often translating into intimacy with the criminal justice system.

Indeed, the criminal justice system connotes failure, poverty, alcoholism, dysfunction and any other negative sentiment associated with crime.  I firmly opine that many of these notions stem from popular rhetoric espousing the compartmentalization of offenders.  A criminal conviction, in society’s mind, equates to a lower status.  Felons are often deprived of many rights, including the right to a concealed carry, the right to vote, and the right to participate in many jobs.

Yet in my experience, most “crimes” lack violence.  Very rarely are they committed against a complete stranger.  I find that as a criminal defense attorney, I can feel sympathetic because I know the facts, and oddly, most situations precipitating crimes are exactly that – situational.  I could rattle off countless cases that would make you seriously second-guess your perceptions of offenders, as the circumstances surrounding those acts are ones that you and I face.  Love, fear, rejection, greed, recklessness, passion, carelessness – the very same characteristics that induce crime permeate our lives.

This theme of this blog comes at an eve when I could not feel stronger about the wrongness of society’s blanket ignorance to its own fallibility.  Tomorrow, a case I worked on closely will come to a close, as the jury deliberates and seals the fate of a 20-year-old boy.  His earnestness and good-nature is almost palpable.  He speaks with the grace and respect that comes from being raised by conservative, church-going grandparents.  A multi-sport letterman, he exemplifies many of the talents gifted to an elite athlete, as well as the virtues imbued by strict coaches.  As a student at Akron U, he celebrated his youth as only a college kid can: alcohol, parties, class, girls and crappy cars.  A brief jaunt around a college campus on a Friday night will show the pervasiveness of these activities.

This young man is indicted for murder, felonious assault and tampering with evidence in connection with the death of a Kent State student in November.  From the onset, the news media jumped on the story: 2 black thugs killed a beautiful, former all-american white athlete by stomping him!  Completely unprovoked, like savages, they beat him until he was lifeless.  The first time I heard the news, I was enraged that this would happen at my alma mater.  How could two boys be so heartless, I asked? My feelings were strong: these kids were demons.

Then, the attorney for whom I worked was retained by one of the boy’s family, and I was thrust into a case that I never wanted to be a part of.

You see, my job at the firm was quite unique.  I interviewed people, mostly witnesses and complainants [often termed “victim”].  In this capacity, I found a niche and a knack to decipher lies from truth.  It is a fairly simple skill: one need only ask collateral details about a story.  Unless a person is extremely clever, it is unlikely he thought of every possible angle from which I will question.  But the truest indicator has always been my instinct and “read” on people.   Meeting many people from all sectors of society, with an open mind and sensitivity, has offered me a lot of practice in determining the truly nasty from the merely fallible.

And I unequivocally state that Ron was truthful in his testimony.  Yes, he was drunk. Yes, he let his emotions, hormones and inebriation take over when  he got in a late night brawl with other drunk students.  But I don’t think he killed someone or did anything that you or me have ever done or contemplated.  Fierce questioning by us always led to the same story – that his friend Adrian inflicted the blow that killed Chris; that he never stomped Chris. [DNA evidence was no where on his shoes.]  I just don’t believe the 20-year-old, sheltered, soft-spoken rube that Ron is could exhibit the sophistication necessary to tell such an elaborate, flawless lie. But more than that, I just don’t feel like Ron is different from me and you, despite the outcry from the general public that he is.  No, Ron is nothing more than an fallible college kid, judged by a public blind to its own flaws.

I hope tomorrow will prove that last part wrong.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Security Deposit: Can your Landlord keep it? College student 101.

I’ve had a few colleges students ask me about security deposits, especially since graduation often signals the end of a lease.   Slum-landlords prey on students because frankly, they can. [location location location!]

But the security deposit question isn’t limited to students, and is worth knowing.  The neat part: you really don’t need an attorney for security deposit disputes so long as you know these little tips.   So here they are:

-Fortunately, the legal nuances of security deposits are set forth in clear, concise statutory language.  This is why you don’t need an attorney – there is no reason for case-law research to “interpret” your situation, which often arises for vague statutes [and of course, criminal cases].  Rather, the statute, broken down, says:

1. Landlord must return to you the s.d within 30 days of the lease ending.  There is this silly little thing called the “mailbox rule,” which basically means in this context that so long as the landlord sends the deposit in 30 days, he is in compliance even if it arrives in 50 days [say, lost in mail].

2. If the landlord finds the rental in dirty condition or damaged, he may subtract damages from the s.d.  However, each subtraction must be clearly described and itemized, in writing.  He can’t just say “damage: $400.”  He must account for that money!  For example:

  1. carpet cleaning – $75 [this is very cheap!]
  2. wall repair in bedroom on bottom floor $55
  3. broken window in living room $150

etc.

3.  What happens if one of your drunk friends broke the door window.  Does that mean the landlord can charge you for a new door? Nope! Not if repair can sufficiently remedy the problem.  Watch out for this with appliances, like dryers, where a shady landlord might be tempted to replace the item.

4.  If landlord fails to comply with the aforementioned requirements, then you can recover the amount of money wrongfully withheld, plus attorney’s fees.  Again, I’m going to be honest and tell you: you don’t really need an attorney for this one, folks.  All you have to do is go to small claims court, which is fairly self-explanatory.  Just call the clerk or look on the municipal court website.

5. You must provide your forwarding address, in writing, to the landlord within 30 days of termination of lease/moving out.

6.  What about wear and tear?  This is okay, especially if you’ve lived there a while.  The landlord cannot use the s.d to fix ordinary wear and tear, such as worn carpets, faded paint, minor nicks in wall, etc.

What if your landlord just subtracts money without an explanation?  Send him a letter!  Threaten small claims…let him know you are serious.  Or, if you really want to game, call your cool attorney friend and maybe she’ll give you some pro bono work to send a letter. 🙂

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How knowing a little law got me a free case of Sam Adams

I have a remarkable, if not innate, ability to find bargains and get stuff for free. If I were to write a self-help booklet [ask yourself, if you could write a self-help book on something you are really adept at, what would it be?  It tells you a lot about yourself], it’d be something along the lines of “Money: I’d rather spend it on beer than bills.”   Beer can be replaced with whatever hedonistic activity in which you partake, obviously assuming it costs money on a legal free market. 

So my dearest readers, I shall impart upon you one of the tips in my future self-“improvement” [indeed, readily available beer often enhances oneself in the eyes of others] guide: How I snatched a free case of Sam Adams.

Along with my mad skills for frugality, I am also rather audacious [whether this is a virtue or a fault will be determined by my eulogy].  My theory has always been that it isn’t the “good” guys and gals who finish last, but the timid ones.  So, in order to get free beer, you need to engage a certain level of boldness/and or take a shot. 

*It should be noted that this ploy only worked for me because I was of age to actually buy beer. 

*I was dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, flip-flops and had my hair in a pony tail.  I’m quite confident the results would have come out differently had I been age-appropriate accoutrement.

*The set-up of the super market made the result feasible.  A costumer service desk sat directly next to the entrance and a few yards from the check out lines.

*I bought a pack of Sam Adams at the customer service desk, off-handedly threw the receipt away, and merrily strolled past the check out lines towards the exit.  After all, it was going to be a GOOD night.

*An overly vigilant store employee stopped me, accused me of stealing, and requested my receipt.  I, of course, did not have one.  So in her wisdom, she took me to a back room, sat me down, and brought in store security.  [Apparently, a 5’3, 125 lb gal in flip-flops poses a great risk that could lead to an imminent breach of security.]

*As I sat listening to these workers, I greatly wondered whether the store’s motto for customer service included locking young people – the very future of the beer industry- in small rooms.  I also wondered if the tort case I had read where an old guy was held in a room for allegedly stealing a scarf at a department store applied to my situation.  The old guy ended up suing the store because he had in fact worn the scarf into the store. So I, in my audacity, decided to sit around and let them figure out that I had bought the beer.

*I didn’t tell them where I had bought the beer [at customer service], as they never asked.  I just stared at them vapidly when they accused me of stealing.  Ladies, never be hesitant to employ the vapid look, if you can pull it off in the requisite situation.

*Somehow, they realized that the security tape might shed light on the underlying facts.  Upon review of the tape, they sheepishly admitted their foul, and Audacious Sarah came out.

*-Always ask for the manager.  Managers get flustered and are the last modicum of customer service.  And plus, it shows you are ready to game.

* “Mr. I-feel-bad-that-you-are-a-manager-and-have-to-deal-with-this-crap-but-I-want-free-beer, I am a student and I understand the meaning of false-imprisonment.  You arguably have done just that, and I am inclined to make a call to headquarters to put in a formal complaint.  Also, your employees actions have completely removed all of my loyalty to your store, as well as my family’s.  Until you can give me a token to restore this faith, I will never shop here again, and I will eventually blog about this incident when I am a lawyer [j/k].  What can you do to remedy this?”

*Well, the manager was a bit taken off guard.  Little girl apparently wasn’t so vapid after-all, and she had a big mouth to wit.  So he said “what do you think I should do?”

*”Give me a gift certificate for the value of the product I bought today.”

For about 20 minutes of my time, I ensured my night would not only be fun, but free. 

So I suppose in summary, I can say: be bold, be assertive, and drink good beer.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Can you get a DUI for sleeping in your vehicle?

In criminal law, I’ve noticed a lot of misconceptions from the general public.  I sincerely hope that these articles help to debunk some of those legal myths.  Here are a few that come to the top of my head, which I will discuss in more details down the road:

1. murders and rapists get out in a few years.  WRONG!  Rape and murder are severe felonies that carry a mandatory prison sentence.  Judges must follow the statute and sentence the offenders accordingly.

2.  the victim always remembers the defendant’s face. WRONG!  Eye witness identification is highly faulty and is the basis of many wrongful convictions.

3.  people convicted of possessing child porn are pedophiles.  WRONG!  Possession does not mean creation of the material. Many possessors have never had any illicit contact with kids.

4. defense attorneys are money hungry, scum of the earth.  LOL maybe!  No, really – you will think differently when you need one.

But the subject of this article is one myth that I’ve heard on countless occasions.  So let me answer it for you – I think it is very practical and helpful to know.

In criminal law, each crime has “elements” that must be satisfied.  Every element must be satisfied.  Therefore, if one element is lacking, then the prosecution cannot prove the case.  Simple as that!  A DUI, actually called an OVI in Ohio, requires the following if it involves alcohol:

1. operation;

2.  .08% alcohol in system as determined by blood, urine or breath.

Pretty simple, really.  Operation is one element that can be attacked by defense attorneys and produce fruitful results.  A couple of years ago when I first started working for a defense attorney, I spent an entire day reading case law on what exactly constitutes “operation.”  The issues was: can you operate a vehicle that is malfunctioning? As you can imagine, there aren’t many cases where a drunk dude tries to start a vehicle without an engine.  [That would be a pretty fun argument though! ]  Most cases involve a drunk person who was driving, and then his car broke down.  Those cases are pretty rare…but a state can win on a theory that operation doesn’t have to be present ambulation, especially if there is evidence that the person had driven.

Police officers and prosecutors had a lot of trouble “diagnosing” the cases where a drunk motorist was found asleep at the wheel, often with the heat or AC running.  The General Assembly passed a gap-filling law called “Physical Control.”  Basically, this requires

1. driver is in front seat, with control of keys.

2. .08+

Ok, so now that I’ve given some background on DUI elements, lets apply them to different scenarios.

1.  A drunk dude is found sleeping in his running car on the side of a highway.  Chances are, he’ll be hit with a DUI because there is good evidence he drove there.

2.  A drunk guy is found at a bar parking lot with his car running.  The state might charge a DUI, but I seriously doubt it would win at trial, especially not in Cuyahoga County.  The 8th Appellate District is very strict: unless there is evidence of movement, then it is physical control, not DUI.

3. A drunk dude is found passed out in the front seat of his car at a bar parking lot, keys in his hand.  Under a strict statutory interpretation, he could be charged with physical control – all that is required is control of keys.

4. Id on the facts, but this time, keys are back seat, driver in front.  Although he might be charged with physical control, his car will be impounded and he’ll have to hire an attorney, I highly doubt any court would take such a broad interpretation of “control” to include this fact pattern.

5.  Drunk dude is in back seat, car is off.  Keys are nearby.  No physical control, because he isn’t in front seat.  Again, I’m not completely confident that cops would know the subtle nuances of the law, so I would advise people who sleep in their backseat to print off a copy of ORC 4511.94 and keep it in the glove box.  Even though there is no way you’d get convicted of a physical control violation, it would still be a pain to have your car impounded.

6. This one is a toughy: person has vehicle on in bar lot, no evidence of moving, and is sleeping in back seat.  I think he could be charged with physical control, because there is evidence that he was in the front seat at one point, even leaning in.

So, in summary: sleeping it off is GOOD.  You won’t break the law if you are in the back or passenger seat and your vehicle is off.

Also in summary: sleeping it off is GOOD so long as you don’t hurl all over your car.  

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A joint, a Jeep, and a guileless General Assembly

I’ve briefly skimmed lawyer’s blogs.  Note that I have never actually read a lawyer’s blog.  And I am not the type of person that under books on facebook says “I don’t read.”  Indeed, reading can be a highly pleasurable endeavor.  But I have yet to reach the pedantic snobbery that seems so synonymous with blogs penned by people with advanced degrees.  After all, anyone that openly admits to using Wiki to understand many an esoteric legal term or someone that eschews a commercial Bar prep course [hey, i saved $3 grand!] can’t possibly have any academic prowess, right?

Whether I graduated from Akron or Case, first or last, on law review or not, has no bearing on one simple tenet that seems to so frequently elude legal professionals:  people don’t care about statutes, cases or legislative material.  People want to know in a straight forward way how this minutia translates into their lives.  Just like when a client comes in facing criminal charges: they are scared, anxious and self-consumed.  They want to know how you will solve the problem, in simple terms, often repeated multiple times.  It is my theory that a blog should follow this model, lest it become just another “lawyer” blog.

Returning from that little foray, which actually has some bearing on the subject for today.  I am going to define the 3 terms:

-a joint is a rolled marijuana cigarette [lol not sure if this is known by all, but i assume it is]

-a jeep is a vehicle, often used by people who smoke joints

-the General Assembly is Ohio’s legislative body

-guileless= naive, artless

Ok, so how do these terms connect?  In a logical way, they absolutely don’t.  A joint has nothing to do with a Jeep; a Jeep should mean nothing to the General Assembly; and the majority of General Assembly members believe marijuana should be medicinally legal [but just lack the wherewithal to pass legislation].  Yet in its amazing mental acuity, the GA decided that it should somehow create a link to joints and jeeps [or any vehicle for that matter] through Automatic License Suspensions [herein referred to as ALS]. So, since I mentioned my adherence to straight-forward translations of legal minutia into effects on everyday life, here is an example:

A couple of young guys and gals are passing a joint in the woods at a local park. They had walked to the park.  A cop cruising around looking for this very behavior smells smoke [yes, cops will say in court that they recognize the smell of weed from “their professional training.” ehem. ya. ] The cop cites the youngins for marijuana possession.  This is a minor misdemeanor…no big deal, right?

Wrong, because when these folks go to court, the judge is going to hit them with an ALS for a minimum of 6 months.  Plus the court fine [which is usually $250].  Plus the $40 reinstatement fee.  Plus the cost of petitioning the court for driving privileges [either pay an attorney for a motion in some courts, or $15 at Stow].

It is absurd that the General Assembly gets involved with two completely unconnected things.

May 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why are some crimes prosecuted federally while others are at the state level?

I was always baffled by this question, even in law school and while working with a big time criminal defense lawyer.  One thing I did know:  if a person gets prosecuted by the federal government, then he or she is caught on a small watercraft on Lake Erie when a storm suddenly hits.  [Lake Erie is quite shallow, and churns up dangerously, with rip-tides and all].  I’m not sure if the severity of a federal indictment comes from the prestige of the court, the lifetime appointment of judges, or the sentencing guidelines.  A federal courthouse, in my opinion, should be visited by every citizen – not only is the building incredibly aesthetically pleasing, but it has a certain grandeur about it that truly cannot be described.

When I attended a seminar on the federal courts [a lawyer has to do various additional tasks to practice in front of each federal court], an assistant U.S attorney from the Northern District of Ohio spoke.  He said the first reason, obviously, that some crimes are prosecuted by the federal government is because they are contrary to federal law.  The federal government enforces myriad laws, especially ones relating to mail fraud, firearms, taxes and drugs that cross interstate lines. Rarely, however, does a crime fall exclusively within federal jurisdiction [say, mail fraud or filing false federal income tax].  More often than not, a crime is both a violation of federal and state law.

For example:  a company targeted poor people, often the elderly and Amish, into becoming members of a discount club for $2000.  In exchange for the fee, members were promised access to manufacturers directly.  The middleman would supposedly be bypassed.  As you can imagine, none of the “contacts” to the manufacturers actually existed.  Members saved no money, yet could never obtain a refund.  After countless complaints to the Better Business Bureau, the matter was brought to the attention of the FBI [they investigate crime generally], who started investigating the company.  The OIG [Office of Inspector General] became involved too. The OIG investigates crimes related to mail.  Anyway, the salesmen were indicted by the federal government for mail fraud – because they sent false information to consumers that induced them to act.

The fact is, however, that the crime could easily have been prosecuted in state court on a pure fraud theory. After all, the scam took place in Ohio; the consumers were Ohioians.  Yet, the defendants were charged federally.  Much of this stems from the extreme nature of the crime and that it caused a lot of financial hardship.  Additionally, the investigation was complex and more suited to the federal government.  Typically, a federal investigation starts on the desk of a federal agent.  He or she must establish certain criteria before the case is brought to an assistant US attorney, who then looks at the facts, the law, resources, the nature of the offense and his professional experience in deciding whether the case should go ahead.  So, in sum,  most cases depend on: federal law [and if the case has facts that can support a federal charge, even tenuously], who investigates it [was it local police, or did the feds get involved?], and factors analyzed by the US Attorneys Office.

Like I mentioned earlier, the federal government doesn’t mess around when it opts to proceed with charges. Some of the very brightest and most talented people work in the US Attorney’s Office.  FBI agents and other agents with investigatory duties are highly trained and screened.  [Most state detectives have 600 hours in the police academy.]  Federal judges possess c.v’s that young lawyers could only dream of.  Federal courts have the very best technology.  Federal dockets carry far fewer cases than state courts; thus, each case is closely followed.  Federal sentencing guidelines have a presumption of incarceration.

Finally, Double Jeopardy is NOT violated when a defendant is prosecuted in federal court and state court.  For example: a defendant commits an armed robbery involving interstate commerce.  (The federal government can legislate under the Dormant Commerce Clause for crimes that are at first blush within the states’ powers if the activity affects interstate commerce. Well, just about every robbery of a business involves interstate commerce [goods travel across state lines.])  The defendant is convicted and sentenced per the Sentencing Guidelines.  After his sentence is served, he is transported to state custody to face state armed robbery charges.  This is perfectly constitutional.

I hope you are a little less-confused than I was when I first became involved in criminal defense.

Sarah

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A primer on underage drinking

There is a pervasive normative argument that drinking underage should be legal.  While this debate is venerable, it should not shade the fact that underage drinking is illegal.  And is it a misdemeanor 1, which is on par with a DUI and domestic violence.  It will cost well over $500, plus attorney fees.  With this in mind, here is some background.

-If a cop goes up to a person he suspects of underage drinking and asks the suspect for identification, the suspect has every right to decline.  Why? Simple due process principle: you don’t have to self-incriminate.  When age is an element of an offense, you don’t have to disclose it.

-The cop will likely argue that he’s gonna hit you with failure to disclose. Yes, failure to disclose if suspected of a crime is a crime itself in Ohio per R.C 2921.29(a) IF in a public place.  [So a cop comes to a house party – definitely no way he can ask for ID]. But even if an underager is in public, the statute has an exception for age as an element:

“It is not a violation of this section to refuse to answer a question that would reveal a person’s age or date of birth if age is an element of the crime that the person is suspected of committing.”

Note, though, that the exception would still require you to give your name.  Giving a false name is very bad – will get hit with another charge.

-Let’s say a person is on probation or is in a diversion program for a previous underage drinking.  And lets say that he or she has pictures on facebook holding a beer…yep, you can be hit with a probation violation. Happens all the time.

-This one is fundamental to all offenses, not just underage drinking:  if a cop asks you how much you’ve drank, and you are underage, don’t incriminate yourself.  The state has to prove you committed the offense – don’t prove it for them by talking.  Shut up, shut up, shut up!

-Lastly, a cop might tell you that you are obstructing official business or something along those lines.  I swear, this is taught as a catch all in the police academy.  But caselaw clearly states that obstructing business requires an affirmative act.  You can’t obstruct business if you do nothing [i.e, not furnishing your identification].

I hope you found this primer to be informative.  Btw, this is not to be misconstrued as the creation of atty-client relationship.  I’m just pointing out general law.

Sarah

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment