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Your Right to Remain Silent

Your Right to Remain Silent

Although the words are well known in criminal law, most people do not really understand their meaning. People are often unaware of their legal rights when dealing with police and criminal law. It is important to know that you have a constitutional right to remain silent and a right to an attorney.

What Does This Mean?

You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can, and will be used against you. In other words, if a police officer asks if you have anything to say, or if you consent to a search, you have an absolute, positive right to say NO!

In order to understand your rights, it helps to know where those rights come from. The U. S. Constitution, 5th Amendment states: “No person…shall be compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself.”

The word “compelled” means required or forced. That means any information you volunteer, and are not forced to say, can be admissible against you as evidence. On the contrary, if you decide to exercise your right not to respond any questions, you deprive the authorities of any potentially incriminating statements.

In the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the United States Supreme Court decided that the 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination was the basis to be used for ruling on the admissibility of any statements made to a police or other law enforcement officer.

While it’s never a good idea to be deliberately uncooperative with the police, if you are considered a suspect, cooperating with the police officer at the scene or at the police station will only make things worse for you and better for the prosecutor at the courthouse.

Police investigators tell people they arrest to cooperate in exchange for better treatment. These assertions are often made without any authority. The benefits of cooperating are not guaranteed and are often not extended to the court room or any sentencing.

Always Ask to Speak With Your Attorney

Law enforcement guidelines apply to arresting officers as much as they apply to anyone else. The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens the right to an attorney. This applies whether you ask before or during interrogation. Once someone has stated they wish to exercise their right to an attorney, law enforcement must stop the interrogation until an attorney is available for legal counsel.

This gives you huge advantage over the interrogating officer! In stead of being afraid, getting upset, or even aggravated, and volunteering information to make the situation more difficult on you, explain that even though you wish to be as cooperative as you can, you need to protect yourself by consulting with an attorney before answering any questions.

Know Your Rights, Exercise Your Rights

A voluntary admission to the police is basically the same as a “guilty plea” to the court. If you’re going to plead guilty, at least give your lawyer the opportunity to get some benefit for you in return!

Even though this is a good general description of you rights, legal advice can be very important if you are suspected of or charged with a crime. There are many nuances which can be explained in greater detail by a criminal defense attorney once your particular situation is known.…

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Have An Attorney Attend Your HOA Meetings

Have An Attorney Attend Your HOA Meetings

A Homeowner Association is typically formed as a non-profit corporation initially created by a real estate developer to govern a planned community. Planned communities governed by HOAs can include residential subdivisions, condominiums, and town-home developments. They are initially set into place to give the developer control over the standards of quality in appearance established in the developer’s plans.

They not only give the developer control of the way the homes are built and the appearance of each lot, but they allow them to maintain a high standard for the common areas like the entrance, clubhouse, golf course, and property landscape. Establishing an HOA makes it much easier for that developer to effectively market and sell the lots and homes in the subdivision.

Participation by all property owner is almost always mandatory. HOAs are run by a board with positions being filled by election or appointment and are bound by the bylaws. An Annual fee called a Homeowner Association Fee, is collected from all owners to continue the maintenance and upkeep of common areas, address legal and safety issues, and enforce restrictions that are applicable to that particular area. The HOA hold monthly meetings to provide residents with a platform to address common concerns within their community.

Real estate law is a branch of civil law governing rights to posses, use and enjoy land and the permanent man-made additions to it. This covers everything from relations between owners, relations between owners and the community, landlord and tenant relations, and the transfer of interests in real property. The purchase, sale and leases of real estate are governed by a wide body of federal and state laws that often vary from state to state.

It’s a really good idea to hire a lawyer to participate in your Homeowner Association meetings primarily for the purpose of translating the bylaws and real estate laws that often are not written in a clear and concise language that everyone understands. A seasoned lawyer can provide the true meaning of each law and how they actually apply to the residents.

When hiring a lawyer for an HOA, remember there are many services they can provide for that community. It’s important that the board defines their needs before making this investment in order to keep legal fees within the allocated budget. The lawyer should provide a retention letter that spells out their responsibilities, turnaround time, and the attorney’s rate of pay.

When creating the list of responsibilities, give careful thought as to whether the attorney should attend every board meeting. It’s inevitable that legal issues will arise at meetings. Since the association is paying for the attorney’s time, you need to decide whether it’s better to have an immediate answer and a larger legal bill, or answers within a day or two and a smaller legal bill.

With over 23 million HOAs governing residents throughout the country today, there are numerous reports lawsuits that arise most of which are over simple misinterpretations of these laws. Many of these lawsuits could easily have been avoided if members had understood the rules clearly from the start. Lawyers understand all the nuances of the law and can effectively advise the board members and residents on the best legal course of action for resolving problems in their community.…

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Living With Criminals – An Overview of Criminal Record Searches

Living With Criminals – An Overview of Criminal Record Searches

Be it justified or just curiosity, background searches quiets or verifies people’s suspicions. If the suspected person is actually a criminal, gleaned from the information gathered from the aforementioned methods, or if there is still suspicion of criminal activities, background checks are the best avenue to start. However, there are scam searches available on the internet. So it is always best to go with reputable websites, such as Intelius.

It is always best to look first into the criminal search options available. What you need is the subject’s name, his alias used (if known), his gender and race, his date of birth (again, if known).

There are two ways to achieve this. First is to use Google, or other such search engine, and input “the name of the state” Criminal Records. For example, Florida Criminal Records. The websites ending with .gov or .us are the official websites of the state that allows criminal checks. The second is to access the website called Criminal Searches, this site obtains criminal records for free.

Depending on your needs, the search for criminal records may be run by state or nationwide searches. These criminal Records would include the case number and charge; the offense, arrest and filing date; the disposition with date and sentence.

There is also a search that uses the social security number (SSN) of a person, listing a person’s background information including a criminal record, if there is any.

It is important to note, though, that sometimes these data are not as up-to-date. The lag between the charge, the conclusion of the case, the conviction, and the report filing to the state, local or federal agency affects it’s reliability. It is, therefore, pertinent to know how many times a website database is updated. The data listed also includes more than criminal records, in most cases, there are also civil filings, traffic and other minor offenses, so the people listed may not be actual criminals. Also, not all criminal records result in convictions, and no provision is made as to the guilt or innocence of these people are indicated.

There is, however, no need to limit search online, local newspapers or police stations can provide valuable information, too.…

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What a Licensed Gun Owner Should Do If He Shoots Someone in Self Defense

What a Licensed Gun Owner Should Do If He Shoots Someone in Self Defense

Having to fire your gun at another human is difficult in any circumstances. It should always be used as an option of last resort. However, anyone who owns a gun should have a thorough understanding of the state laws governing the use of firearms in their particular state. Gun owners should be prepared for all situations and scenarios in which they might have to use their gun for protection. If you should find yourself in the position of having used your gun in self-defense, you need to know what your next steps should be to keep yourself and your family protected from any criminal/legality issues.

First of all, if your state requires a license to own a gun, make sure you have a current license. Don’t try to skirt the laws. That will only lead to serious trouble. Keep your license in a safe place. You will want to be able to quickly locate the license when asked for proof by the proper authorities. If you own any type of weapons, you should know a lawyer. Keep your lawyer’s information in the same spot as your gun license. There are too many scenarios to mention of ways that your guns could land you in hot water. So, it is best to head off trouble from the beginning.

If you are involved in a self defense shooting, call 911 immediately. You want to alert authorities that an accident has occurred. By calling 911, you will have a record of the events as they unfold, which could help your case later. You will also want to get medical attention as soon as possible for yourself or the shooting victim. When the authorities arrive, make sure you don’t still have your weapon in your hands. You don’t want your intentions to be mistaken.

The police will likely ask you to show them the weapon. Lead them to where you placed the weapon, but don’t pick it up yourself. Make sure to show them the license for the gun, and then you will be reminded to call your lawyer. You may be tempted to give a statement to the police, but wait for your lawyer. After such a shooting incident, you are likely to be very shaken up and not have your wits about you. Your lawyer will be a calming voice in the crowd to help make sure your words come out as you intend and will not be misconstrued or taken out of context.…