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If you are falsely accused of a crime quickly hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.  That attorney can help defend you such that accusations do not turn into false criminal charges and a wrongful conviction ending in years or decades of unjust prison time.

 

The frightening truth is that anyone can be falsely accused of a crime at any time. Proving that you’re innocent may cost money, time, energy, and loads of stress. You need a devoted criminal defense attorney and sufficient resources to beat a false accusation.

In the old Soviet Union they could prosecute anybody they wanted because some of the statutes were so vague. Alan Dershowitz points out that this was a technique developed by Beria, the infamous sidekick of Stalin, who said, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” That really is something that has survived the Soviet Union and has arrived in the good old USA. “Show me the man,” says any federal prosecutor, “and I can show you the crime.” This is not an exaggeration. [1]

Although you may believe that a false accusation could never happen to you, the reality is there’s no real way to know what the future holds. In the event that you or someone you care about is falsely accused of a crime, use the following 10 suggestions to protect yourself:

Falsely accused

Anyone can be falsely accused of committing a crime. Getting legal help quickly from an experienced criminal defense attorney if the best way to counter false allegations

#1: Prepare an “Arrest Plan”

Yes, this is the United States, but you could be falsely accused of a crime. Just as you don’t imagine that your home will catch fire or your car will be stolen, you take out a renter/homeowner or auto insurance policy just in case. You might also take out earthquake, hurricane, or flood insurance depending on where you live. Consider what you’d do if the police came to your door or how you’d react to a phone call saying a loved one was arrested before it happens.

#2: Discuss Possible Arrest with Your Family

Discuss arrest with your kids. If they’ve ever been questioned or arrested by a police officer, it’s important to have the talk now.

#3: Come Forward

Call “911” first. The person who makes the emergency call first is more likely to be viewed as the victim. Since an accuser is likely to be seen as the potential victim by law enforcement since he or she came forward first, take proactive steps.

#4: You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Remember—you have the right to remain silent. Let’s say you or your spouse was just taken away in handcuffs by the police. You don’t know what’s happening. You’re anxious, afraid, panicked, and confused. Although you aren’t the individual the police have accused of a crime, you can remain silent. Ask for an attorney to be present before discussing anything with the police.

#5: Ask for a Search Warrant

Demand a search warrant (even if there’s nothing to hide). If law enforcement officers ask to search your property and you know you did nothing wrong, it’s tempting to just say yes. Realize that your cooperation won’t help to end the nightmare. Ask for the warrant—your criminal defense attorney will be able to determine what the police are looking for that way. If the police didn’t properly execute the search, the warrant may disqualify evidence found (if any). Physical documentation is preferable when the criminal justice system is concerned.

#6: Criminal Justice Can Be Hard on Innocent People

Popular culture lulls some of us into a false sense of security. Actors that play police officers and prosecutors always seem to value the truth above everything else. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case in real life.

The flow system of criminal justice wants to process as many cases as possible in the least amount of time. This occurs through the process of plea bargains. A plea bargain is the least expensive way for the prosecutor and you to end the criminal justice process. However, once you negotiate a plea bargain—even if you plead guilty to a lesser offense—you will have a criminal record.

You may face continuous impositions in the future, e.g. limits on where you can travel, alcohol or drug tests, or community service. If you’re innocent, you might not be willing to accept any of these restrictions. Be prepared to fight with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side.

#7: Expect the Prosecutor to Assume You’re Guilty

Movies and reality are quite different. Expect the prosecutor to treat you like you’re guilty even if the evidence doesn’t support this conclusion.

If your case isn’t high-profile, the prosecutor might not bother to review your case until shortly before the court date. Even if the false accuser decides he or she wants to call an end to the court proceeding, it’s ultimately the prosecutor’s decision. In the interim, you’ll need to abide by court-ordered restrictions that feel like parole.

#8: Proving Innocence May Come at a High Price

Going to trial is expensive. Your accuser probably won’t have to pay for a lawyer, and his or her transportation to and from court might be paid by the prosecutor.

Realize that the cost of freedom is priceless. Do everything possible to defend your innocence. Look for an experienced criminal defense attorney who accepts payments. Don’t assume that, because you’re innocent, you don’t need a knowledgeable and skillful defense attorney at your side.

#9: Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer Doesn’t Mean Your Guilty

You shouldn’t go this alone. If someone has falsely accused you of a crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer. The criminal justice system is a frightening land in which you don’t speak the language. You need a criminal defense attorney with experience. He’s going to explain what to expect and how to face the many curveballs you might face.

#10: Trials Are Stressful

You, your family, friends, or employer will experience anger, stress, exhaustion, and fear until the trial is over. Don’t speak to anyone but your defense attorney about the trial. Friends and family can’t help you. Unless you have an employment contract, your employer can terminate you.

When you’re wrongfully accused of a crime, you’ll probably lose friends. You’ll feel sad and surprised by those who just don’t want to know what’s happening. Others will assume you’re guilty. Stay grateful to your true friends.

 

Getting Legal Help

If you or someone you love is falsely accused of a crime, you need resources and information. The knowledge that you’re innocent doesn’t always mean an innocent verdict in court. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area for advice on how to proceed.

About the Author

Greg Tsioros

 

The Law Office of Greg Tsioros in Houston, Texas provides legal advice and aggressive representation for clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies at both the state and federal level. Mr. Tsioros handles criminal defense cases of any stature – from orders of parole and expunctions to more serious DWI and drug charges.

 

 

[1] For a detailed analysis, see Harvey Silvergate’s book “Three Felonies a Day.”

 

The Law Offices of Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the content of this post.  Jay Leiderman did not alter any substantive content.

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Driving under the influence (DUI)’s or driving while intoxicated (DWI)’s are no laughing matters which put people at a deathly risk on the road. Yet, hordes of people each year continue to drive drunk or high, and many are convicted. According to Statistic Brain, around 1,500,000 people are arrested annually just for drunk driving. This does not include marijuana or other prescription pill convictions.

For the ones who were blessed to survive the tribulation, police conviction and the cost repercussions induces immense stress. Other than going to jail for a night, the costs following are a pretty penny.

According to QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison tool and ‘think tank,’ the average of costs of a DUI are rough on the wallet:

 

DIU costs

 

 

What Should I Do After A DUI?

First of all, it is highly recommended that a person charged with a DUI gets a lawyer, as the cost-benefit trade-off of having a DUI lawyer on the case is much more favorable in the long-run. According to a driving under the influence lawyer cost-benefit study conducted by QuoteWizard, having the charge dropped with a lawyer can save:

  • $3,400 in insurance costs
  • Reducing a DUI charge to reckless or negligent driving saves you $1,900 in insurance
  • Court fees and fines for DUI average $3,600. For negligent or reckless driving charges, that number drops to $1,600.

 

DUI charges

 

Insurance Costs after a DUI – Higher Risk Drivers

One of the largest factors of added cost following a DUI is the insurance rate on row 3 on the cost analysis above (table 1). It can rise above $5000 per year! This makes it difficult for those to get back on the road as the rates can increase up to 5 times more than usual, a heavy burden for many.

When a person has a DUI on their record, insurance companies considers those convicted as ‘high-risk’ drivers for an average period of 3-7 years following. Since they were recklessly driving drunk or high, insurance companies are going to be wary of covering the person because his or her driving records shows that they are statistically more prone to get into an accident due to poor past choices.

This is opposed to a person with a clean driving record who requests to be insured. For clean drivers, the insurance company takes on the risk because there are chances that the person will never get into an accident in their lifetime, making them an ideal customer to take on. Essentially, this segment of prospective insurance customers are assumed to be good drivers, and not those labeled a criminal, until proven otherwise.

Since insurance companies are a business that need to make money and be profitable, it is much more risk to take on a person to insure who will likely need to the use the insurance. Paying out claims to people insured and in an accident is one of the major expenses for insurance companies. Since the person convicted of a DUI is considered a higher risk driver, there are fewer companies out there who will take the person’s policy on. Some will not even consider it.

Then, he or she will need to file for an SR-22 at the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

This creates a seller’s market for the situation, which ends up giving all the leverage and bargaining power to the insurance company. Expect the rates to significantly increase through this, due to lower supply. Since most people need to drive to live functionally such as driving to work, the demand is high (general law of economics apply).

Exactly determining the insurance cost is hard to calculate because there are many factors that play into it such as varying state laws. Secondly, all the insurance companies have different standards and policies regarding high-risk drivers. Insurance companies have common factors that play into the added costs.

Variables That Affect Insurance Cost after DUI

  • Driver’s Age – Younger drivers likely pay more
  • Location – Rural vs Urban rates vary
  • Car Model – New cars will typically cost for insurance coverage
  • Driving History – Violations compound on each other

After the DUI case is over, he or she will need to update the current policy or shop around if dropped. Insurance companies do not offer “special” DUI insurance policies. Even though they market them as so. This policy is essentially a normal insurance plan with stricter standards and a much higher monthly premium.

Then, he or she will need to file for an SR-22 (except the few states that don’t require it) at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. This essentially states proof of financial responsibly, showing a minimum liability coverage for the state where the person convicted of DUI lives. With the SR-22, it may state that the driver was involved in a major car incident, in which additional paperwork needs to be filed. This all adds more expenses to monthly premiums

When Will My DUI Insurance Rate Go Back to Normal?

After the 3-10 years, the insurance rates should go back down to normal. If the rates do not go down after that time, request to have the driver’s record expunged or have the incident listed under the ‘sealed records’ in which only the courts and police officers have access to. By doing so, insurance companies will not be able to see your DUI, which will mitigate any impact on insurance costs in the future.

After that time, be safe, and drive sober. It is not worth going through the process all over again and have to pay even more the next time. Take a taxi, walk, or get a ride home from a designated sober driver and live a safe and healthy life.

 

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This post is not legal advice from the Law Offices of Jay Leiderman.  It is a guest post that was edited only for grammar and spelling.  If you need advice about how to handle you DUI case, consult with a lawyer capable of defending a DUI.  Jay Leiderman will be happy to discuss these cases with no charge for an initial consultation.  

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The Antifa movement has garnered a lot of attention as of late.  What is Antifa?

Antifa in America have become an increasingly controversial topic of conversation over recent years as their prominence has grown. Antifa has a simple meaning: Anti-Fascist.  The name Antifa exploded in the media after the recent clashes with Neo-Nazi’s and White Supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The Antifa movement stems from the ideology of the anti-fascist groups from Europe in the 1930’s. Hitler and Mussolini were fascists.  The name Antifa has grown from these roots. Although for many years they were known as the Anti-Racist Action, believing Americans would understand the concept of racism easier than fascism, they have taken up the name Antifa and are largely made up of left wing anarchists.  Antifa are activists and protectors of equality.

Antifa

The Antifa Symbol

Antifa and the “Alt-Right”

As for the “Alt-Right” clashes with Antifa that happened in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, Antifa were present to ensure that the Nazi white racist and hate groups didn’t oppress minorities.  The Nazi white racist and hate and oppression groups gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the relocation of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, who led the confederacy in the Civil War, with the aim of preserving slavery.  Many people were arrested in Charlottesville on that day.  Of note, the Nazi’s were exercising their constitutional rights, especially the first amendment right to free speech.  Of course, only the Nazi’s murdered anyone.

It is important to define the “Alt-Right” before we move back to Antifa.  The “Alt-Right” or Alternative Right or conservative groups are hate groups dedicated to oppressing minorities, especially blacks and Jews, and cleansing the United States of impure blood.  Alt-Right is a term that white racist and hate groups – Nazis – inventreed themselves to distance themselves from the term Nazi.  As I said on my LinkedIn page: When [ ] did fascist Nazi pigs start being called the “alt-right”? Fuck anyone who has ever called a Nazi “alt-right.” [ ] A Nazi is a [ ] Nazi. A white supremacist is a Nazi. A white nationalist is a Nazi. A Neo-Nazi is a Nazi. [ ].

Antifa’s structure

Although Antifa has no formal organization it is still a very strong group and runs largely through social media. With different autonomous groups and individuals setting up events throughout the country, it is hard to pin down exact numbers of members. Since the inauguration of President Donald Trump in 2017 numbers have boomed significantly and it is estimated that there are now over 200 factions of Antifa in the USA.

Increased Antifa membership during the Trump administration is necessary because Trump refuses to distance himself from Fascist and Nazi groups. Indeed, he seems to embrace and even sometimes encourage them.

Although Antifa are a left-wing group they do not force their political views on others. Their main aim through their political movement is to fight far-right (mostly Nazi) ideology often meeting it with violence and destruction. With aims to disrupt far-right rallies as much as possible, including using force and violence, their aim is to stop the spread of the right wing ideologies especially those focusing on racist and extreme views.  Assault is never a first choice.

Antifa use non-violent and alternative tactics to fight fascism

While Antifa are a very hands on group they also have a more subtle and less violent way of fighting right wing extremists. By using pictures of activists at rallies and carrying flags that are associated with far right views, Antifa aim to disrupt their day to day lives as much as possible. This includes imagespublicly identifying them in order to have them evicted from their homes and fired from jobs.

Many of the tactics that Antifa use to fight against the far-right are considered illegal and increased law enforcement presence is being used at rallies where the two sides will meet. Both the open use of violence and the damage to both public and private property are offenses that many, including a large proportion of far-left activists don’t agree with. The more intelligent and subtle ways of using social media to identify and publicly shame those who are involved in right-wing rallies is less frowned upon and is also a highly effective measure to fight against those they disagree with.

Antifa is a necessary counterweight against fascism in America

Antifa

Antifa flag

Antifa does not stand for left-wing politics but is a direct fight against fascism and the right wing politics that has grown throughout America in recent years. By following the right-wing protestors to any rallies and events they put on, their aim is to spread the word that hate-speech is not free-speech. Although their methods might be extreme and not legal in many instances, the individuals who identify as being part of the Antifa movement are strong believers in the word they are spreading.

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What You Need To Know About Gun Laws in the US

The United States Constitution, through its Second Amendment, guarantees the right of Americans to bear arms. The right to own a gun, however, is not absolute. There are laws—both state and federal—that cover and limit the ownership of firearms. Here are some facts that you need to know about gun laws in the United States.

you cannot legally own a gun if you are a convicted felon

Not everyone can legally own a gun

Under federal law, you cannot legally own a gun if you are any of the following:

  • A convicted felon sentenced to a prison term of more than a year
  • A fugitive from justice
  • A drug user or addict
  • Declared by a court as mentally ill or have been committed to a mental institution
  • An illegal immigrant
  • Dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces
  • A former US citizen who renounced his/her citizenship
  • Subject to a court restraining order issued on behalf of your ‘intimate partner,’ your partner’s child, or children
  • Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
pistol, rifle, 18 years old, felon, immigrant, dishonorable discharge

Notwithstanding the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, guns are prohibited for certain persons and under certain circumstances

Not legally allowed to own guns means no ammunition or “ammo,” also

If you cannot legally own a gun, you are also prohibited from buying or owning bullets. In fact, possessing a single, live bullet can already get you in trouble since no minimum amount of ammunition has been set such that a prohibited person is safe from prosecution.

Age restrictions apply

Anyone under 18 is not allowed by federal law to possess a handgun or handgun ammunition, subject to limited exceptions. Conversely, federal law doesn’t set a minimum age for owning long guns (rifles and shotguns) or ammunition for them.

Background checks

If you want to buy a gun, you have to undergo a background check. Licensed firearm dealers are required by federal law to run your information through the national background check system to determine whether or not you are eligible for gun ownership. But if the dealer doesn’t get a notification about your eligibility or ineligibility within three business days, he or she can legally sell you the gun of your choice.

NRA, shotgun, bolt action, pump action, blue steel, drugs, alcohol, hunting, second amendment, weapon

The National Firearms Act or NFA prohibits machine guns, short-barreled (sawed off) shotguns and silencers.

Not all types of firearms are fair game

The National Firearms Act (NFA) has certain restrictions in place on the sale or possession of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, and silencers. If you want to purchase any of these so-called NFA firearms or devices, you have to undergo a thorough background check, buy a tax stamp for manufacturing the firearm or device, and log it with the NFA registry of the ATF.

If you find yourself facing charges of illegal gun possession and you think your Constitutional right to bear arms is being violated, you should get the services of a gun lawyer immediately so you can discuss your legal options. You should also do the same if you are being accused of other gun-related crimes.

 

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Blacks on the witness stand in Georgia in 1962: The Unsworn Statement

The unsworn statement

Slaves in Georgia suffered indignities even in church.

Jay, I read your your twitter

I was very interested in the one picture you posted about how slaves collecting the offering in church had to have one hand behind their back to keep them from stealing.

Most jurors didn’t know about the unsworn statement”

When I was in Georgia in the Summer of 1963 and again in 1964 through 1966, there was something called the “unsworn statement.”  I don’t know if it exists anymore.  It stemmed from the days of slavery when you could not have a black person take the “great oath” as they were deemed incapable of adhering to it.  [1]  Even so, occasionally the white man needed black man’s court testimony; for example, when the black man was present when Captain Bob and Mr. John made a business deal but now argued over terms and the black man was present while he was serving them dinner.  So they put him on the stand and he told his story.  Cross examination was not allowed since he wasn’t under oath.
In modern times it was used by white attorneys to put black defendants on the stand to give a “lawsy, lawsy Mr. White Man, I sho is a bad n***** and sho am sorry for whut I done did.”  The equivalent of the “slow plea” today.

However, the attorney for whom I worked, C. B. King,  [3]used the unsworn statement for a very different purpose.  We would put a defendant on the stand who couldn’t withstand a good cross examination and that defendant would tell his story.  The DA was not allowed to cross-examine.  Most jurors didn’t know about the unsworn statement and felt that since the DA didn’t cross-examine it might just be the truth.  Hey, it was one of the very few ways that we could get an all-white jury (all juries were all “all-white juries” at that time) to believe a truthful African American client.

all juries were all “all-white juries” at that time

 

Dennis Roberts, Attorney at Law

370 Grand Ave., Suite 1 

Oakland, CA 94610-4892 

(510) 465-6363 (Phone)

(510) 465-7375 (Fax)

roberts_dennis@sbcglobal.net

http://www.TheOaklandCriminalLawyer.com

 

***

Reference notes:

[1].  Interestingly enough, Aboriginies in Australia have basically the same law at present:

Unsworn Statements and Traditionally Oriented Aborigines. Aborigines may be particularly disadvantaged in the courts either as defendants or as witnesses.[519] These difficulties may prevent an Aborigine adequately presenting his or her version of the facts to the court both in evidence in chief and in cross-examination. In particular, problems arise with cross examination through incomprehension of questions or reluctance to reject suggestions or propositions put by persons in authority.[520] The option of an unsworn statement may assist in resolving this problem. A Select Committee of the Legislative Council (SA) investigating these questions reported that:

The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, supported by three Adelaide counsel … submitted … that a special case could be made out for Aboriginal defendants in particular for whom the unsworn statement ought to be retained. They referred to a number of judgments in which it had been recognised that Aboriginal persons faced special problems in relation to the administration of justice. In oral submissions to the Committee, the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement emphasised that, because of these particular difficulties, cross-examination was not necessarily a tool which could always be used effectively to establish veracity. Consequently the abolition of the unsworn statement would help neither the Aboriginal accused nor the interest of society as a whole.

[2] A slow plea happens when a defendant has a bench or “judge” trial, knowing he will be found guilty.  Facts are often agreed to before trial.  A “slow plea” trial is done just to preserve one or two issues for appeal.  Sometimes issues are waived if trial did not go forward. Often the judge will not order jail time to be served until after the appeal has been decided.  As a defendant is entitled to a jury (even if that defendant is black) a slow plea is the choice of the defendant.

[3] The hypertext links in CB and King are separate and distinct.  They lead to two separate authorities on him.

The first courthouse in the deep South was named after C.B. King: “The C.B.King United States Courthouse is located at the corner of West Broad Avenue and Washington Street in the original downtown section of Albany. It was named in 2000 for Chevene Bowers King, a pioneering African American attorney, civil rights leader, and politician in Georgia.” http://www.gamd.uscourts.gov/court-info/court-locations/newark

Addendum to fn [3] from Dennis:

“When I was invited to speak at the dedication I spoke about what an honor it was for the black community and what a great fighter against injustice and to ease the burdens of black folk. But then I paused and said “I wonder how Attorney King would feel knowing they applied his name to a building he referred to as a ‘Temple of Injustice’ “

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