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I was drunk when I did that. That’s a defense, right? No.

November 2, 2011

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I was drunk when I did that.  That’s a defense, right?  No.

So you did something stupid, probably on a lark.  You busted into somebody’s house, you got touchy-feelly way too much with somebody that said to stop … whatever you did, you were drunk.  You weren’t thinking right.  Alcohol has a way of bringing out bad behavior.  You do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. You can […]

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Classifying Crimes – Murder, Felony, Misdemeanor, & Summary

November 1, 2011

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Classifying Crimes – Murder, Felony, Misdemeanor, & Summary

We need to focus on just one state in order to get through this topic.  While every state is different, there are a lot of similarities, so using Pennsylvania will be instructive. Here’s the hierarchy from worst to, um, less worse: Murder 1 Murder 2 Felony 1 Felony 2 Felony 3 Misdemeanor 1 Misdemeanor 2 Misdemeanor […]

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Got arrested for DUI? Brace yourself.

November 1, 2011

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Got arrested for DUI?  Brace yourself.

Had a client that back in the 1970s got pulled over for speeding in upstate New York.  Cop did a sobriety test; said he was DUI.  “Here’s your speeding ticket.  Here’s you DUI ticket.  Drive safely.”  Those days are over. About a third of roadway fatalities involve a vehicle operator at or over the legal […]

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Should I get an attorney or represent myself?

October 31, 2011

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Should I get an attorney or represent myself?

It’s no different than being sick and deciding whether to see the doctor.  You got a sniffle?  Deal with it.  Is your arm hanging on by a thread?  Maybe you should see a doctor. First, you have the right to defend yourself all the way through any case – regardless of the severity.  At most, […]

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So I killed this guy. Can I claim self defense?

October 31, 2011

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So I killed this guy.  Can I claim self defense?

I sure hope so, otherwise your next long-term girlfriend is gonna have an Adam’s Apple. First of all, Self-Defense is just that – a defense.  You’ve done everything to be guilty of Murder, but your behavior was excused because of the totality of the circumstances. The initial issue is your use of deadly force.  Chances […]

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What is theft?

October 31, 2011

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What is theft?

Theft – or the older and still sometimes used term Larceny – is a very cool crime.  So much arises out of it – Burglary, Robbery, and Possession of Stolen Property, for example.  Even Trespass. Common Law defined it as the “trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent […]

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How can I be a good witness in court?

October 29, 2011

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Three rules: Tell the truth; don’t tangle with the DA as he questions you; and look at the jury when you speak. When you’re on the stand, you are under oath.  Lying under oath is a felony.  Felonies are bad.  There is no shame in not knowing the answer to a question.  If the truth […]

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What’s ‘bail’ and how do I get it?

October 29, 2011

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What’s ‘bail’ and how do I get it?

The underlying principle of bail is to make the decision to not show up in court at future required times.  Bail is set as early as possible in the criminal process.  The US Constitution recognizes that a government that can toss you in jail and leave you there until trial is not much different than the […]

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What do I do if a cop pulls me over in my vehicle?

October 29, 2011

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What do I do if a cop pulls me over in my vehicle?

As the question suggests, pull over.  The flashing red lights give the cop the right to pull you over.  It’s not an option.  For example, Volunteer Firemen/women have blue lights – pulling over to get out of their way is optional (although you’d be a goof for not doing so).  Flashing red lights mandate a response. […]

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Do I tell my attorney if I’m guilty?

October 28, 2011

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Do I tell my attorney if I’m guilty?

Only if you want to complicate things.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Read on … Here’s the drill – never lie to your attorney and never lie under oath.  It also helps if you never lie – period. It may seem odd, but I don’t care if you’re guilty.  If you want a trial, I […]

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