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Some useful guidance when dealing with the police and court system
How To Deal With Police
Officers - Magic Words?
Author Unknown
6-14-6

When dealing with the police, keep your hands in view and don't make sudden movements. Avoid passing behind them. Nervous cops are dangerous cops. Also, never touch the police or their equipment (vehicles, flashlights, animals, etc.) - you can get beat up and charged with assault.  

The police do not decide your charges; they can only make recommendations. The prosecutor is the only person who can actually charge you. Remember this the next time the cops start rattling off all the charges they're supposedly "going to give you." Questioning Interrogation isn't always bright lights and rubber hoses - usually it's just a conversation.

Whenever the cops ask you anything besides your name and address, it's legally safest to (respectfully) say these Magic Words:  "I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer." This invokes the rights which protect you from interrogation. When you say this, the cops (and all other law enforcement officials) are legally required to stop asking you questions. They probably won't stop, so just repeat the Magic Words or remain silent until they catch on. 

Remember, anything you say to the authorities can and will be used against you and your friends in court. There's no way to predict what information the police might try to use or how they'd use it. Plus, the police often misquote or lie altogether about what was said. So say only the Magic Words and let all the cops and witnesses know that this is your policy.

Make sure that when you're arrested with other people, the rest of the group knows the Magic Words and promises to use them.  One of the jobs of cops is to get information out of people, and they usually don't have any scruples about how they do it. Cops are legally allowed to lie when they're investigating, and they are trained to be manipulative. The only thing you should say to cops, other than identifying yourself, is the Magic Words: "I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer."  

Here are some lies they will tell you:  "You're not a suspect - just help us understand what happened here and then you can go."  "If you don't answer my questions, I'll have no choice but to arrest you. Do you want to go to jail?"  "If you don't answer my questions, I'm going to charge you with resisting arrest."  "All of your friends have cooperated and we let them go home. You're the only one left." 

Cops are sneaky buggers and there are lots of ways they can trick you into talking. Here are some scams they'll pull:  Good Cop/ Bad Cop: Bad cop is aggressive and menacing, while good cop is nice, friendly, and familiar (usually good cop is the same race and gender as you). The idea is bad cop scares you so bad you are desperately looking for a friend. Good cop is that friend.  

The cops will tell you that your friends ratted on you so that you will snitch on them. Meanwhile, they tell your friends the same thing. If anyone breaks and talks, you all go down.  The cops will tell you that they have all the evidence they need to convict you and that if you "take responsibility" and confess the judge will be impressed by your honesty and go easy on you. What they really mean is: "we don't have enough evidence yet, please confess." 

Jail is a very isolating and intimidating place. It is really easy to believe what the cops tell you. Insist upon speaking with a lawyer before you answer any questions or sign anything. The Golden Rule: Never trust a cop. The Miranda Warnings The police do not have to read you your rights (also known as the Miranda warnings). Miranda applies when there is (a) an interrogation (b) by a police officer of other agent of law enforcement (c) while the suspect is in police custody (you do not have to be formally arrested to be "in custody").

Even when all these conditions are met, the police intentionally violate Miranda. And though your rights have been violated, what you say can be used against you. For this reason, it is better not to wait for the cops â¤" you know what your rights are, so you can invoke them by saying the Magic Words, "I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer."  If you've been arrested and realize that you have started answering questions, don't panic. Just re-invoke your rights by saying the Magic Words again.

Don't let them trick you into thinking that because you answered some of their questions, you have to answer all of them. Police Encounters There are three basic types of encounters with the police: Conversation, Detention, and Arrest.  

Conversation When the cops are trying to get information, but don't have enough evidence to detain or arrest you, they'll try to weasel some information out of you. They may call this a "casual encounter" or a "friendly conversation". If you talk to them, you may give them the information they need to arrest you or your friends. In most situations, it's better and safer not to talk to cops. 

Detention Police can detain you only if they have reasonable suspicion (see below) that you are involved in a crime. Detention means that, though you aren't arrested, you can't leave. Detention is supposed to last a short time and they aren't supposed to move you. During detention, the police can pat you down and go into your bag to make sure you don't have any weapons. They aren't supposed to go into your pockets unless they feel a weapon.  If the police are asking questions, ask if you are being detained. If not, leave and say nothing else to them. If you are being detained, you may want to ask why. Then you should say the Magic Words: "I am going to remain silent. I want a lawyer" and nothing else. A detention can easily turn into arrest. If the police are detaining you and they get information that you are involved in a crime, they will arrest you, even if it has nothing to do with your detention. For example, if someone gets pulled over for speeding (detained) and the cop sees drugs in the car, the cops will arrest her for possession of the drugs even though it has nothing to do with her getting pulled over. Cops have two reasons to detain you: 1) they are writing you a citation (a traffic ticket, for example), or 2) they want to arrest you but they don't have enough information yet to do so.  

Arrest Police can arrest you only if they have probable cause (see below) that you are involved in a crime. When you are arrested, the cops can search you to the skin and go through you car and any belongings. By law, an officer strip searching you must be the same gender as you.  If the police come to your door with an arrest warrant, go outside and lock the door behind you. Cops are allowed to search any room you go into, so don't go back into the house for any reason. If they have an arrest warrant, hiding won't help because they are allowed to force their way in if they know you are there. It's usually better to just go with them without giving them an opportunity to search. 

Reasonable Suspicion vs. Probable Cause Reasonable suspicion must be based on more than a hunch - cops must be able to put their suspicion into words. For example, cops can't just stop someone and say, "She looked like she was up to something." They need to be more specific, like, "She was standing under the overpass staring up at some graffiti that hadn't been there 2 hours ago. She had the same graffiti pattern written on her backpack. I suspected that she had put up the graffiti."  

Cops need more proof to say they have a probable cause than to say they have a reasonable suspicion. For example, "A store owner called to report someone matching her description tagging a wall across the street. As I drove up to the store, I saw her running away spattered with paint and carrying a spray can in her hand."  

Searches Never consent to a search! If the police try to search your house, car, backpack, pockets, etc. say the Magic Words 2: "I do not consent to this search." This may not stop them from forcing their way in and searching anyway, but if they search you illegally, they probably won't be able to use the evidence against you in court. You have nothing to lose from refusing to consent to a search and lots to gain.

Do not physically resist cops when they are trying to search because you could get hurt and charged with resisting arrest or assault. Just keep repeating the Magic Words 2 so that the cops and all witnesses know that this is your policy. Be careful about casual consent. That is, if you are stopped by the cops and you get out of the car but don't close the door, they can search the car and claim that they though you were indicating consent by leaving the door ajar. Also, if you say, "I'd rather you didn't search," they can claim that you were reluctantly giving them permission to search.

Always just say the Magic Words 2: "I do not consent to this search."  If the cops have a search warrant, nothing changes - it's legally safest to just say the Magic Words 2. Again, you have nothing to lose from refusing to consent to a search, and lots to gain if the search warrant is incorrect or invalid in some way. If they do have a search warrant, ask to read it.

A valid warrant must have a recent date (usually not more than a couple of weeks), the correct address, and a judge's or magistrate's signature; some warrants indicate the time of day the cops can search. You should say the Magic Words 2 whether or not the search warrant appears correct. The same goes for any government official who tries to search you, your belongings, or your house. 

Infiltrators and Informants Undercover cops sometimes infiltrate political organizations. They can lie about being cops even if asked directly. Undercover cops can even break the law (narcs get hazard pay for doing drugs as part of their cover) and encourage others to do so as well. This is not legally entrapment.  

FBI and other government agents The essence of the Magic Words "I'm keeping my mouth shut until I talk to a lawyer" not only applies to police but also to the FBI, INS, CIA, even IRS. If you want to be nice and polite, tell them that you don't wish to speak with them until you've spoken with your lawyer, or that you won't answer questions without a lawyer present.   

Taking Notes Whenever you interact with or observe the police, always write down what is said and who said it. Write down the cops' names and badge numbers and the names and contact information of any witnesses. Record everything that happens. If you are expecting a lot of police contact, get in the habit of carrying a small tape recorder and a camera with you.

Be careful - cops don't like people taking notes, especially if the cops are planning on doing something illegal. Observing them and documenting their actions may have very different results; for example, it may cause them to respond aggressively, or it may prevent them from abusing you or your friends.  Conclusion People deal with police in all kinds of circumstances. You must make an individual decision about how you will interact with law enforcement. It is important to know your legal rights, but it is also important for you to decide when and how to use them in order to best protect yourself.

 

8 Things most lawyers wont tell you.

Reproduced from http://www.lawfirms.com/resources/general-practice-/working-with-an-attorney/8-things-most-lawyers-wont-tell-you

Not as a rule but this is from a US lawyers perspective in the client relationship.

 

Pay Your Attorney As You Have Agreed To When money comes between you and your lawyer, you are less likely to get your attorney's attention, best performance, or sympathy. Would you blow off your dentist after he's cleaned your teeth? NO, you have to make payment then and there. Would you walk out of the grocery store without paying? No, you have to pay then and there. Would you forget your checkbook on the day of trial? You would be surprised just how many people think attorneys can and should wait. Well guess what. If you don't pay your lawyer on the day of trial, or however you have agreed to, then while he or she may be obligated by other ethical duties to do his/her best, they won't be motivated by sympathy for you, and it will show in court.

One of the best indicators that you are telling the truth to your lawyer, is to do what you say you will as to money. If you have stiffed your lawyer, you should be careful in having a similar expectation that your attorney will do their best for you. It's a reciprocal relationship. When you breach the contract by not paying, then don't be surprised when your lawyer quits. Even on the day of trial. Solution? Pay your attorney in full, on time, and with full communication.

Keeping money out of your legal issue is the smartest way to get good results from someone driven to help you. Financial aspects can easily confuse the priorities, for both sides. Tell the Truth If your lawyer doubts you in the consultation, or doesn't think you have a case, while that may change over time, getting over an initial disbelief is very hard. You have to prove your case.

Your attorney is not your witness. They are your advocate - but you are responsible for coming up with proof. That comes in the form of what will later be evidence (such as documents, photos, or live people to testify about the facts). If no one can confirm that the story is true, you will at least need something external, such as a hard copy document, to prove your case. Be prepared. Dress Appropriately When your lawyer tells you to come to court or to a deposition - dress up for God's sake.

When I see people at the courthouse looking like they are on their way to a nightclub, I know that they are a) low-class; b) going to lose their case; and c) their ego got in the way. If I can see your boobs, so can the judge. If the judge can see your boobs, he's not listening to your story. If I can see your boobs, then I know you didn't care enough about yourself to talk to an attorney. Dress like you are going to church.

Credibility is one of the most important things in this world - and most important in a courtroom. If you care enough only to wear sweats to the courthouse, then the judge will see that you don't care, and that will be reflected in their desire to help you, listen to you, and decide in your favor. Step it up. Your case depends on it.

Things Can Take a Long Time It's expensive because we have to wait in line too. Going to court is more than dressing up in a fancy suit and knowing what papers to fill out. Attorneys have to wait in line just like the "regular folk" and we are at the mercy of the court staff just like everyone else. If you get a bill that includes time spent waiting in court, it's not usually exaggerated. While some people may stretch the truth - if you want to see whether I had to wait an hour for the case to get called, then just come with me to court.

Some courtrooms have more than 50 cases on the call. Your case may not be first or even ninth. I have been number 210 on the list before. It takes time. Most people hired attorneys because they don't want to sit in court. Well, truth be told, neither do I. The difference between lawyer and client is that the lawyer expects it to take a long time and understands.

The client typically thinks it's unjustified. So, your hard truth is that each case takes time. Be patient. People Rely on More than Just the Law to Make Decisions I know, I know. Every client's case is a winner. Everyone who sits in my office is right. We all know. However, just because you are right in principle, does not mean that you will win.

Much of the legal process is about what is more likely than not, and who is more believable. Sometimes it's about who is likeable.

Sometimes the guy with the nicer or more articulate lawyer wins. While juries usually get it right, sometimes, it's not about whether a particular matter is emotional or simple, complicated or straightforward.

Sometimes people make decisions on who has the nicer suit, or who is more pleasant to deal with. So even if your case is good or even if it's not so strong. Put your best foot forward and be nice.

You never know if you are sitting next to a potential juror on the bus. The strength of your case in a courtroom is not directly related to your being right or wrong. Get it in Writing If you can't prove the terms of your arrangement to me in my office, you probably don't have a case. While lawyers can certainly take your money and your time and we can file a case that will be very hard to win, if you don't care enough about your life to get a contract, the judge is not very likely to be on your side. At least, not automatically.

Oral contracts are extremely hard to prove. What are the terms. Who agreed to do what? How can you prove it? Does that oral agreement conflict with the law? If it's important, write it down. Stop it with the Autobiographies on my Voicemail If you leave a message longer than say, 30 seconds, when you are first calling me to set up an appointment, I will not be interested in calling you back. I don't want a 10 page email about your problem or a long voicemail, before I've even met you. If you can't articulate your issue in 10 seconds or less (like "I think I've got a breach of contract situation" or "I have a real estate issue", then I have to wonder how smart you are.

No one likes representing a client they don't like or believe in. Be the best version of yourself, and that starts with your initial contact to an attorney. If you are telling me your life story before we've even met, chances are we are not going to meet. Or, even if I meet you, if I don't want your case but I'm still trying to be polite, then I'll quote a retainer that is outrageously high so that you won't choose me.

Don't forget that lawyers don't always need to take more cases. Yes, new clients are a great thing, but I don't want clients that will eat all my time and get no where fast. Your tip: keep your communication very simple and to the point. Don't Bring Your Whole Family to Our Consultation If you and I have an appointment, I don't need to be meeting everyone else.

Not that I mind generally, but to be honest, bringing other people usually makes you late, unfocused and inattentive. Other people will distract you, interrupt you and are generally not helpful. As the attorney, I only need to talk to people that have an interest in, and know the case. Find a babysitter. Bringing your children to my office creates distractions and does not help you.

These suggestions may not apply to everyone in every case, but they are a good bench mark for having and maintaining a good relationship with an attorney. While many won't say some of these things, they are often being thought. You can better prepare yourself for success by following those tips and most of all, bring a positive attitude. I, like most attorneys, love meeting new people. Having to consult with an attorney does not need to be a negative. I find that people who are open to suggestion, who can be candid and honest, get a lot out of meeting with me, and I get a lot as well. Best of luck, and keep your eyes open for news you can use.

 

1. LEARN HOW TO BEHAVE IN COURT

Before you go to court:

  • Wear clothes that are suitable. For example, don't wear clothes with inappropriate language or images.
  • Bring all the documents you need.
  • Plan to be at the courthouse at least 15 minutes before your hearing. This gives you enough time to go through security and find your courtroom.
  • Be prepared for a possible security search at the courthouse.

When you are in the courtroom:

  • Don't bring any food or drink in the courtroom. Only water is allowed in the courtroom.
  • Don't chew gum.
  • Remove your hat.
  • Turn off cell phones or other electronic devices.
  • Always be respectful and polite to everyone.
  • You must stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. You should also stand when you are speaking to the judge.
  • When you speak to the judge, say "your Honour".
  • Always speak directly to the judge, not to your partner, except when you are examining a witness.
  • Always refer to other people in the courtroom by "Mr.", "Ms.", or "Doctor". Do not use first names.
  • You may take notes during court so that you can properly respond to any issues that are raised.
  • If you want to speak during the hearing, talk to the judge. Do not talk to anyone else.
  • Do not interrupt when the judge is speaking.
  • Do not interrupt when another person is speaking unless you want to object to an inappropriate question during the examination of a witness.
  • Only one person is allowed to speak at a time.
  • If you are having trouble hearing the judge or anyone else, you should let the judge know.
  • Any documents you wish to give to the judge must be handed to the Court Registrar.
  • The judge cannot give you any legal advice because the judge must be fair and impartial and not take sides. But, if you have any questions about the court process during the hearing, you may ask the judge or duty counsel.