Should a Lawyer Predict the Outcome or Result in a Case?

It is not uncommon for a prospective client and, for that matter, even an existing client, to inquire as to the likely result(s) in the handling of their case.

It is simply unwise to predict an outcome or even worse to speculate on what can be expected. I do not predict the expected or anticipated result without first doing the required work-up. Moreover and even after performing the necessary case evaluation, factual and legal analysis, and requisite strategy, I still need to prepare and execute a complete plan of action.

It seems reasonable to state there being over 215 five-star client reviews and endorsements from lawyers all over California and the United States; having earned  the “Client’s Choice Award” for ten (10) years in a row since 2007; having served as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice between 2000 through 2008 as a prosecution lawyer at the Attorney General’s Office; and, since that time, concentrated my law practice on the defense side of cases with tested protocols we utilize that have produced a winning record.

As a lawyer, there are two guiding and profound principles that are etched in my brain;  they are an integral part of my thought process, and have been my approach for four decades: “what I don’t know, I don’t know.” There is a second I learned from the first day at Loyola Law School: “when you think you will win, you will likely lose.” In short, I practice law without bravado, and I am better for it because I try harder and work longer to find every possible way to develop a defense. Often, and even more important, is my highly effective practice to establish and develop a compelling and comprehensive “offensive strategy” [for those who know the world of  sports, it has been said that more points are obtained by the offense plays that are made].

We find it priceless to first obtain all of the evidence, which is commonly referred to as the “discovery” from the Deputy District Attorney or Assistant U.S.  Attorney in a criminal case; the Deputy Attorney General handling a professional or occupational license matter; and, the Department or Bureau Legal Counsel handling the prosecution case. The next step is to thoroughly review and fully analyze the prosecution evidence [this process cannot be done in an office interview with a client or on the telephone]. Some lawyers may  do this quickly, however, there is too great a risk that one might overlook a legally significant fact, if not much more. The next step is to request and initially obtain a lengthy written rebuttal from our client, which at times is 10, 20, or even far more pages in length; we do not rely upon an abbreviated version that would only be possible during a teleconference or even an office meeting. There are multiple other steps as part of my law firm’s protocol before I and/or my colleagues are able to fully understand a case and then to establish an appropriate plan of action. We simply do not provide legal advice with less; we do not predict a result nor do we gamble on the outcome.

In addition, it has been my practice to utilize forensic experts [the trial science] because only through an expert evaluation can a lawyer  know what is truly the standard practice that is relevant to a specific set of facts. Even though I spent over seven (7) years serving as a Deputy Attorney General and nearly four decades as a Professional License Defense Lawyer, I do not speculate on how to obtain a winning result. My clients deserve more!  In summary, I tell prospective clients: “I cannot predict a result, and no experienced lawyer can do so without a thorough examination of all of the facts and applicable legal principles.” Most importantly, “the more time and work performed, the greater opportunity for a better result.”

For your complimentary attorney teleconference, call Spital and Associates at 619.583.0350. It is even more helpful for you to visit the Contact Us page of this website and send an email with the details of your situation, information and questions you have, along with the desired action you wish a lawyer to take on your behalf; notably, it will be answered by Sam Spital, Managing Lawyer who will contact you in order to discuss the options, alternatives and steps in order to obtain your personal lawyer to level the playing field, and protect your rights and advance your interests.

California Government Considering Law to Become Sanctuary State

California Senate Bill 54 has recently been introduced; it proposes to establish a new law to prohibit law enforcement agencies from cooperating with Federal Immigration Authorities. Whether state law enforcement (State Police; CHP, etc.), county (Sheriff), city (local police),  school police or security departments, organization or individual, they would be prohibited from investigating, detaining and/or arresting anyone suspected of a crime that would constitute or be characterized as aiding, assisting, helping or facilitating the enforcement of immigration laws. The Attorney General of the State of California will also be mandated to publish model policies limiting assistance with immigration enforcement by the U.S.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In addition, the bill would require the University of California, public schools and libraries, along with all other facilities that provide services related to education, wellness, physical or mental health, and courthouses to implement a similar policy.

ICE would still be permitted to conduct deportation raids in California, however, they could not rely upon or be assisted by state or local law enforcement (police, sheriffs, etc.). Basically, California would become a “sanctuary state” and countless numbers of individuals claim the state would be protecting criminal felons from being deported. In addition, ICE would be banned from entering jails to interview inmates suspected of living in the United States illegally.

You may be against the idea of sanctuary cities, but as you can see from SB 54, our California government is currently in the process of establishing it as a “state sanctuary.”

Opponents have argued against this bill because it would allow those with criminal records, such as violent felons, to remain on the streets. Proponents  claim by protecting immigrants, even those who have committed violent crimes and/or other felonies,  it is the only humane thing to do for anyone who lives in California. They cannot accept the proposition that there have been many innocent citizens who have been murdered at the hands of undocumented immigrants with prior criminal felony records.

Additionally, Senate Bill 54 does not distinguish between those non-documented immigrants who have a minor infraction, such as driving with an expired vehicle registration tag or broken taillight, and those who are extremely serious and heinous criminal offenders, such as having been convicted of murder, rape, arson and child molestation. Hence, California’s 2013 Trust Act that protects unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16 and other undocumented individuals living in California, who otherwise have been law-abiding, would be superseded by SB 54 and, therefore, these individuals would then be subject to deportation by ICE officers if they were arrested for an infraction.

 It has been reported that California gets about $1 BILLION A DAY from the federal government, and if that is withheld as a sanction against stopping immigration officers from picking up non-documented individuals (politically correct name for illegal immigrants) who have a criminal record, there will inevitably be budget shortfalls in California.

Even if the majority of the California  population oppose sanctuary cities, and no doubt will oppose SENATE BILL 54 that otherwise will make California a “sanctuary state,” if you want this to go to a referendum (to be put on a forthcoming ballot so everyone can have a chance to vote their conscience), you should place your name, city and email address on the web page posted by and this link from California State Senator Jeff Stone.

VIZIO TV Settles Charges Of Tracking Viewers’ Data

In last month’s case of FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION et al v. VIZIO, INC. et al, the FTC obtained a stipulated (agreed) settlement with a permanent injunction against, and payment of over $2 million from, Vizio, which is one of the largest television manufacturers in the world.

The FTC alleged Vizio acquired from the video displayed on monitors and TV’s from viewers’ cable, broadband, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, streaming devices, etc. very specific demographic information, and  second-by-second users’ viewing habits along with the viewers’ age, sex, marital status, size and income of the household, level of education, whether viewer’s owned their home and its value.  In addition, the FTC asserted Vizio sold the data to others, who used it for target advertising to consumers using other devices.

On February 6, 2017, a Stipulated Order for a Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment was filed with the United States District Court. Although Vizio denied any liability,  they were charged with participating in deceptive, unfair and unconscionable practices, misrepresentations, false promises, and omitting material facts in collecting and sharing viewers’ data while using the Smart Interactivity feature in over 10 million Vizio TV’s they sold. These are so called “smart” televisions and monitors that can connect to the internet.

Vizio agreed to disclose and obtain consent for the above data collection and sharing practices; and is prohibited from making false statements and misrepresenting the privacy, security &/or confidentiality of the viewers’ information they collect.

It is noteworthy, there presently is a consumer  Class Action lawsuit filed and pending against Vizio involving this subject matter.

Sadly, our respective rights to privacy and individual expectations of being free from daily intrusion from others, whether government, business, and/or others, are being compromised as we seek to enjoy the continuing benefits of the growing number and expanding scope of our electronic devices.

With this link, consumer information published by the FTC, one can obtain varied educational and enlightening topics and subject matter.

CAUTION: You May Get An Email, Text or Pop Up And It May Not Be Authentic !!

One of the newer scams is pop ups; these are windows that automatically appear on your cell phone screen, desktop monitor, laptop, tablet or notepad. Originally they were intended and, therefore, designed as a form of online advertising to attract business to a website. More recently, some have become a tool to not only capture the email addresses on your device, but some may also be fraudulent, using 1000’s of popular site names.

Be extremely cautious before you do anything on your device, such as replying to an email, &/or acting on a text message, or a pop up.

Sadly, they can easily copy genuine logos and addresses.  +The following are examples merely listed to remind each of us these are elusive criminals preying on billions of people and businesses on a daily basis +using all too familiar and very common genuine business names like: Microsoft, Intel, Norton’s, Facebook, iTunes, HP, Epson, Apple, Yahoo, Google, AT&T, Gmail, AOL,  National, Regional or Local Banks, Maps, Media Player, Real Player, Music, Weather, Flashlights, Apps, Texts, a nd many other popular applications that are used by hundreds of billions of individuals, including each of us.

It is not that you have yet to see any of these scams, but when this will occur.

Merely shutting down your device might not be a solution, as it might also be the trigger for them to gain access, if not already!!

They look genuine and are intended for you to simply:

push “ok” 

or

click ” here

or

update now

or to simply

reply

and your Computer, Cell phone, Tablet &/or Laptop is open to them to see everything, including your usernames, passwords, and anything you want to be private; and, then face the huge problem of getting them off, if they have not also “ locked your device ” so you cannot access it without calling or texting a number to pay a ransom.

It has been suggested that the alternative is to go online and find the “actual” and “genuine” business, then search to see if they have and use a genuine app, and/or call and speak to their customer service to inquire if there is a link to their app and the online page for you to click. Remember, to be extra cautious and really certain the email, text message, popup and app is authentic before you click, update, open or reply.

Some cyber specialists also recommend we do not provide our identification information to a retailer; nor to anyone when surfing the internet. Take the same precautions whether you have contacted a business to make a purchase or sought a service through the internet This cautionary note is also important when providing your private information to anyone who has contacted you, whether in person, via text, email or on the telephone.

It is a sad commentary that we have to be guarded when we get an email, text message, see a pop up or we are asked to update a particular software on any of our devices. Now we may even need to have a concern, for example, when we get a call from a charitable organization asking us to make a contribution; here as well, we may want to ascertain if they are the authentic entity who they say they are, and/or do not adequately protect the credit card information you decide to give to them. Some individuals do not respond at all; others have chosen to use a money order or check, and send it through the U.S. Postal Service.

California Recent Change to Marijuana Law

Under the ballot measure designated as Proposition 64 that was passed by 57% of the voters in the November 8, 2016 election that became effective November 9th:

1) those convicted of a felony as a result of possession, transportation &/or cultivation of marijuana can have it reduced to a misdemeanor;

2) the County Public Defender in San Diego has offered to file the Petition for free even if the crime occurred years ago, and even if the defendant was previously represented by private counsel;

3) if the San Diego District Attorney decides there is a basis to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor, the defendant may not even have to appear in Court;

4) the current process in San Diego allows the Superior Court to re-sentence a defendant from a felony to a misdemeanor, or dismiss the charges [it would seem beneficial to have private counsel if one hopes to obtain a full dismissal of a prior felony conviction];

5) the law also now permits anyone over age 21 to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, or grow at any one time up to six marijuana plants at their residence.

6) the maximum penalty is now up to six months in the County Jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for those who grow, transport or sell marijuana, which are now misdemeanors.

7) there are certain exceptions causing the case to be charged as a felony, such as:

  • the defendant has prior convictions for the sale of drugs;
  • the defendant is charged with transporting marijuana into the United States &/or across state borders. For example, one cannot obtain marijuana in a state in which recreational use is legal and bring it into California;
  • the defendant has a prior conviction of certain felonies that are deemed “strikes;”
  • the defendant is a Registered Sex Offender [RSO].

8) in addition, there are miscellaneous restrictions in connection with marijuana, such as:

  • there are Federal laws that apply to the use, possession, sale, transportation and/or cultivation of marijuana;
  • driving while impaired by the use [under the influence] of marijuana is a crime in California;
  • smoking marijuana (a joint) (pot) in public is still illegal;
  • a store, shop, or retail establishment that sells recreational marijuana must check ID’s to be certain they are not selling marijuana to a minor; and such a business cannot be within 600 feet of a school, daycare or youth center;
  • unless the law is amended, a medical marijuana dispensary and/or an entity that cultivates marijuana cannot legally sell to an adult recreational user [includes social, personal or nutritional uses] until January, 2018;
  • advertising that is aimed to minors is prohibited;
  • a city or municipality has the power to issue an ordinance to ban the sale of marijuana; and if they permit such a commercial entity to do business, they have the power to regulate those entities under zoning laws.
  • an employer can lawfully require all prospective employees to pass a drug test as a condition of employment for certain positions as long as no individual or group is unlawfully selected, such as discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, religion, sexual preference, etc.
  • an employer can lawfully refuse to hire an employee who has tested positive for marijuana, even though it was legally prescribed for a medicinal purpose

9) nonetheless, there are still advantages to have a felony reduced to a misdemeanor, including but not limited to allowing an individual to maintain &/or obtain current and future: employment, security clearance, insurance, rent or lease property, and, in specified instances to possess a firearm, etc.

On the other hand, it is still likely if one has a professional or occupational license in California, or seeks to obtain such a license,  the state licensing Board, Bureau, or Department will require one to report a crime, whether a felony or misdemeanor; and, they will investigate and likely file an Accusation even if a misdemeanor is expunged. At Spital and Associates, we aggressively seek to present a comprehensive and cogent treatise with a compelling defense and offense and utilize forensic experts (adding the technical science) to marginalize any such investigation or Accusation.

Any discussion of marijuana of necessity has to include what opponents consider to be the dangers of such use. The short term effects include but are not limited to causing changes in a person’s mood, but  it can also impair body movement; as well as difficulty in attention and/or memory (learning) and/or problem solving (thinking). It has also been reported that marijuana raises one’s heart rate, which can increase the risk of a heart attack, particularly with older individuals and/or those with congenital or later developed or contracted heart problems.

The long term effects can adversely impact the previously mentioned mental abilities, and possibly cause permanent loss of certain brain functions. In some individuals,  the long term use of marijuana can cause temporary symptoms such as paranoia and hallucinations, as well as anxiety and depression that has been linked to mental illness. Not only can there be a loss of physical and/or mental health, but it has also been described as a “gateway drug” because it can lead to the use of other drugs and narcotics (some of which are highly addictive and deadly).  In addition, the smoke can harm a person’s lungs and, therefore, cause lung cancer. The risk to the development of a child during and after pregnancy is still unknown. When one seeks to stop using marijuana, there may be withdrawal symptoms.

You are encouraged to consult with a physician in terms of  medical and psychological issues; and, it is recommended that you obtain the advice of an experienced lawyer in regards to each and all of the above items to determine whether and to what extent any apply to you, a loved one, and/or a friend or associate. If you desire a Free Attorney Consultation, call 619.583.0350 and ask for Sam Spital, Managing Lawyer or send an email

Do You Know Whether You Are Using Fake Apps (Applications)?

Almost everyone uses a cell phone today. And, the number using a smart phone and/or any other mobile device, such as a tablet, is increasing daily.  We know that cell phones can be used to send instant text messages, which for many are used more frequently than communicating in person, on the telephone or sending an email. And, it has been reported that some individuals now spend more than four (4) hours or more a day using mobile devices. With the added time spent surfing the internet on all devices, using (icons on a desktop or) applications on a mobile device has become increasingly advantageous and customary for many of us.

Applications are more commonly referred to as “apps.” At this point there are approximately  4 million apps for Apple and Android cell phones.  Using apps save a lot of time, do not require entering information on a search bar, and then selecting from a host of different entries or listings. As  result, many consider apps to have become priceless (not just the free ones, but even those that come with a fixed price at the beginning and/or even a monthly fee).

Some apps are simply a convenient way to reach a business, and for many apps that are free there often are lots of advertisements that can be a nuisance. But, some apps bring with their use both spam and viruses, while others can cause a great deal of harm, for example when a culprit uses their fake app to obtain all of our confidential information stored on our device.  Yes, there are a growing number of apps every day that are fake & not genuine. The average individual would not ordinarily be able to discern whether an app is legitimate because they use the exact logo, same address and everything including the order form that makes them look genuine, except the telephone number and email address with which you are using to communicate.

Even worse once you find an object on the internet using a counterfeit or fake app (and, not knowing it is not authentic) to order and make a purchase,  you will never get the product, but your credit card will be charged. Then, all of your identification information will have been gathered, and before you know it you will have to cancel your credit card because it has become an object of identity theft of hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars. You may be naive to what has taken place and innocently give your address, your driver’s license number, and/or Social Security number (even just the last four digits). The problems just begin, having to report the suspicious and illegal activity, and cancel your credit card, which can ruin your credit.  In addition, some or all of your private and confidential information stored on your device, however, may also be hacked and open to countless others.

An alternative may be to go online and find the “actual” business, then search to see if they have an app, and/or call and speak to their customer service to inquire if there is a link to their app and the online page for you to click. But, next time be cautious and  really certain the app is genuine before you provide your identification information to a retailer or anyone when surfing the internet. This cautionary note is also relevant when providing information to anyone with whom you are speaking, whether in person or on the telephone; and, take the same precautions whether you have contacted a business to make a purchase or sought a service through the internet.

Court of Appeal Recuses Orange County District Attorney’s Office in Murder Case

On November 23, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Superior Court’s Decision  recusing the entire District Attorneys Office in Orange County [OCDA] in the penalty phase of a case in which the defendant had previously pled guilty to eight counts of murder. The Superior Court concluded the OCDA had such a severe conflict of interest (its duty to fairly prosecute a case under the rule of law) with the [OCSD] Orange County Sheriff’s Department (in which the loyalty by prosecutors to  the sheriffs conflicted). As a result, the court held  it was unlikely the defendant could have a fair trial. This determination came after hearings over a period of six months in which nearly forty witnesses testified as to the systemic, known and prejudicial use of confidential informants that violated the constitutional rights of inmates, along with substantial discovery failures of the OCSD.

The ruling came after a  murder trial heavily reported by the media involving a defendant who with a barrage of gunfire killed eight individuals at a hair salon where his former wife was working. Although the Deputy Public Defender representing the defendant eventually discovered sheriff’s deputies were using confidential jailhouse informants to solicit incriminating statements from high-profile defendants, the District Attorney’s Office and its prosecutors on an ongoing basis failed to disclose this practice.

 

Safeway Grocery Settles Claim of Employee With Disability

On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a settlement regarding a food services employee on disability leave for a job injury at Safeway Grocery.

Initially Safeway followed the law, Americans with Disabilities (ADA), which requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees with a disability; as such Safeway allowed the employee to work in a different position that did not require heavy lifting as she did in her previous assignment. However, Safeway unilaterally decided to place the employee on unpaid leave indefinitely, making the argument that the employee had exceeded what they deemed an allowable time lime and, therefore, could no longer enjoy the position with modified duty.

The Federal Disability Lawsuit was settled by Safeway because of a legal discrimination claim brought against it. The requirement of reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to, the employer reassigning an employee with a disability to another position, unless it can be established this would cause a significant expense to the employer and/or substantial difficulties associated with the same. There is no time limit provided the employee has a qualifying disability.

For additional information on employee related issues, you are invited to view our web site at www.spitalaw.com

California Death Penalty. Vote November 8th

There are two measures  that deal with the death penalty in California that are on the ballot in the forthcoming November 8th election. California has the largest number of inmates awaiting the death penalty of all the states. The last execution in California was about ten years ago when it was legally challenged because of a claim, among other things, that the process of using lethal injections was inhumane. The last attempt to abolish the death penalty occurred in 2012.

The first measure on the ballot is Proposition 62, which replaces the death penalty with life in prison without any possibility of parole and applies retroactively to all previous and existing cases in which anyone is currently incarcerated and facing the death penalty. If enacted into law, it will [also] apply to all future first degree murder convictions in which the death penalty would have been the sentence. In September of this year, a Field poll was conducted of likely voters and found that a plurality of voters (the most posted online votes, but not a majority of all votes which would be over 50%) wanted to abolish the death penalty and, therefore, voted that it be repealed. It is noteworthy that there were a substantial number of “undecided” voters, however,  and they will likely make the difference in the outcome on November 8th.

Those that oppose the death penalty cite, among other things, the following reasons: it is unfairly applied to minorities, the procedure is inhumane, and the process is costing far too much to the people of the State of California. Proponents of execution as the form of punishment assert this penalty is reserved for what can best be described as a most heinous and despicable crime against humanity, causing unparalleled and life long suffering to the families of such victims; and, there are newly developed procedures associated with death penalty cases that are being considered.

The second measure on the ballot, Proposition 66, is considered a competing measure and much different than Proposition 62 in that it speeds up executions and the death penalty process by requiring the outcome of a defendant’s appeal to not take more than five (5) years. A little over 1/3 of those in the Field poll noted above were in favor of this Proposition, but more importantly, about 42% of those who were polled were “undecided” and will indeed make a difference in the outcome of this Proposition.

To promote justice for whom they claim at this point in time are at least 1000 victims and their families, there are District Attorneys in the multitude of California counties, the California Highway Patrol Association and Peace Officers Association, along with victim advocates who are among those behind Proposition 66 declaring it to be much needed. The Office of the California Legislative Analyst reported when it last made a study it costs nearly $50,000 per year per inmate to be incarcerated in our State Prisons. The cost of a death row inmate is about $90,000 more per year due to the costs of lengthy and complex appeals to the California Supreme Court, which currently has a backlog that can take ten or more years for a ruling.

Today, there are about 750 Death Row inmates that for decades have been incarcerated in prisons. Proponents of Proposition 66 also note such inmates get three meals a day in state prisons that have heating and air conditioning; with access to cable TV and a library; and each receive nearly unlimited heath care, including but not limited to eyeglasses; dental care; hearing aids; hip, kidney, knee, heart and sex change surgery, all of which are often far better than most of us who do not get free health care, including senior citizens who often cannot afford the escalating cost of living, prescription medicine and/or a satisfactory long term care facility. In summary, these are stated as further grounds to support Proposition 66 and limit the current delays and streamline the criminal justice system in California.

If both measures were to pass on November 8th, then the one with the greatest number of votes will become law in California.

You are urged to vote on these and other critical issues that concern all of us in the forthcoming election.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET PULLED OVER?

Knowing what to do in the event you get pulled over is very important. However, it is equally important to know the reasons for getting stopped by a law enforcement officer so as to avoid being pulled over in the first place.

Here are a few of the top reasons:

  1. Speeding. Clearly, driving above the speed limit is most likely going to catch the attention of the police, sheriff or C.H.P. Because it will take longer to react to an unexpected event, and the braking distances increase the faster one drives, this is the number one reason law enforcement pull over drivers as it obviously helps prevent accidents.
  2. Cell Phones. With the proliferation of mobile devices, nearly everyone is using a cell phone throughout the day and night. However, using a cell phone to text and/or talk with another person while driving a vehicle is another major reason you will get pulled over. And, to deny you were using the phone or to throw the phone on the seat next to you may not be as clever as it might seem; cell phones not only maintain their own records on the device, but can be traced to the cell towers to identify the time and location of our communications.
  3. Unsafe & Hazardous Driving. It should be no surprise that, among other things, following too closely; driving through a stop sign or red traffic signal; making an illegal U-turn; failing to yield to other vehicles; unsafe and/or improper lane changes; driving too slowly; not wearing a seat belt; and, failing to signal are at the top of the list of the various reasons for getting pulled over by law enforcement.
  4. Vehicle Equipment. At the top of the list of equipment violations are improperly (extremely) tinted windows; headlights that are inoperative (such as burned out); expired registration license plate stickers; and, having no license plate on the front bumper. These are vehicle equipment reasons officers make traffic stops.

 

Considerations:

Once you become aware an officer intends for you to stop your vehicle, you should cautiously pull over to a safe area of the road or freeway as soon as possible. When the vehicle is at rest, the motor should be turned off.

The officer will request your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Being evasive or denying any wrongdoing when it is clear you violated the law is not likely to be in one’s best interest. Also, do not argue with the officer. Being polite as in most situations we face is generally the wisest decision.  By talking back to or arguing with an officer, it is likely the officer will be angered; and, being confrontational, probably will exacerbate the situation. Since an officer has discretion on how to proceed, there is little or no reason to get into a conflict with him/her. On the other hand, if the officer asks “Do you know why I stopped you,” it is noteworthy that anything you say can and will be used against you (see information below).

Some Relevant Laws:

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: This Amendment to the Constitution guarantees one the right to remain silent and to be free from self-incrimination. In the situation of a traffic stop, however, refusing to talk to an officer can result in unintended consequences. Ordinarily, a traffic stop is deemed an investigatory process; at the outset, you are not considered to be in custody and, therefore, there is no requirement to be admonished by law enforcement as to your rights. If you are asked to “voluntarily” come in to the police or sheriff’s station for questioning, you can refuse. On the other hand, once an individual is arrested, you will be taken into custody and, therefore, should obtain the advice of a criminal defense lawyer before making any statements. And, if the traffic stop escalates into an arrest, you should affirmatively invoke your Miranda rights under the Fifth Amendment and remain silent. However, it is important to do all of the above calmly and politely.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: If an officer decides to detain you, there may be sufficient evidence to do so. If there is probable cause to make an arrest, however, the situation as noted earlier becomes one in which you are in “custody;” then, the officer must state (commonly referred to as the Miranda rights)  you have a right to remain silent; anything you say or do can and will be used against you in Court; you have a right to an attorney; if you cannot afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one. At the point of what can be characterized as a custodial interrogation, it is highly recommended you do not answer any questions nor voluntarily provide your own narrative of the facts without the prior advice of legal counsel.

This blog is not intended as legal advice. Each situation requires a proper and thorough evaluation of all of the facts and circumstances. It is noteworthy that there are many articles on the above subject matter. In addition, you can view more information by clicking the topic Probable Cause and Miranda rights.