Articles Posted in arrest

Cell Phone and Hand.jpegImage: LeCours Chertok & Yates, LLP
The US Supreme Court has decided that the search of a cell phone – as a general rule – can’t be conducted without a warrant. The decision, Riley v. California, has had a lot of media attention, including coverage in the New York Times and the Guardian. The Guardian article provides a link to the opinion, but for convenience, we include a direct link to it here.

All nine justices concurred in the ruling, and eight of them joined in the opinion by Chief Justice Roberts. ‘The Supreme Court Justices Have Cellphones, Too’, as the Times pointed out this morning (this was the title of an op-ed piece by commentator Linda Greenhouse).

Concluding that “privacy comes at a cost,” the Court concedes at page 25 of the opinion that “our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime.” Cell phones are excellent ponds to fish in, after all. Officers may find evidence that will help them convict you of the offense for which you’ve been arrested. They may find evidence of other offenses they might not otherwise have known about.

And, of course, they may also find things that will just humiliate you if they’re made public. Officers may or may not have been exploiting this power for private ends routinely. But the potential is always there, as shown by a case reported in the Houston Chronicle some years ago. While searching a young woman’s cell phone ‘incident to arrest’, an officer found that she had some racy photos of herself stored there. The officer downloaded them, and showed them to his buddies and co-workers.

You can see why, as was evident in another Times piece from April, there was a lot of nervousness as to how Riley would come out.
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Blue on Yellow Car 480 x 257-2.jpeg
Did you know that the college sticker in your car’s rear window is an invitation for any police officer to pull you over? Don’t take our word for it – read the law; you’ll find it (if you look very carefully) in Sub-paragraph ‘(i)’ of Paragraph ‘(b)’ of Subsection ‘(1)’ of Section 375 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law. And the law is very clear: “[t]he use or placing of posters or stickers on . . . rear windows of motor vehicles is . . . prohibited.”

You might want to take a look at Subsection 32 of Section 375 while you’re at it. A sticker in your window can cost you $150 (plus surcharge), 30 days in jail, or both.

While ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’, though, no one really expects you to read every sentence of every statute ever published. The way a government spreads the word about a law is by enforcing it. So, the real reason you didn’t know you were an outlaw, a scofflaw, and a desperado, is that you never got a ticket for having a sticker in your window. No one ever does get a ticket for it – at least, no one ever gets pulled over for that alone.

The ‘no-sticker’ statute is only used when law enforcement wants to bust your chops over something else.
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If you want to be a criminal, but can’t bring yourself to do actual harm, there’s a simple solution. Just ignore correspondence from New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Ignore DMV, and any number of normal, everyday activities can get you arrested.

One of our clients was just driving to work. His wife (who usually took care of the bills) had accidentally let their car insurance lapse. DMV immediately suspended the car’s registration. When our client drove the car, he was committing a misdemeanor – a crime – by driving a car with a suspended registration.

Ultimately, we were able to get the charge reduced to mere operation of an unregistered vehicle, a traffic violation. But not before the client had called his wife and shouted “You’ve made me a criminal!

Driving with a suspended license is another easy way to commit a crime. And you can get your license suspended with little or no effort, as we’ll go into below the fold.
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Know Your Rights:

Most people living in our country are familiar with Miranda warnings, as they are called, in that they are frequently recited on television police shows. The warnings stem from a well known United States Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona. From that seminal case, and those that grew out of it, came the requirement that once an individual is taken into custody and is therefore “under arrest” they must be advised by the arresting officer of certain rights that they have. Among these rights is the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney appointed to represent the individual if the person is unable to afford an attorney on his or her own.

The right to remain silent is an important right with which each of us is protected as we go about our daily business in society. For example, an officer approaching an individual in the street is not allowed to detain a person for questioning without having a sound legal basis. Actually, the analysis is far more complicated then this, however, suffice it to be said that if a police officer is to question an individual on the street, or after a traffic stop, or in some other setting, the person being questioned is not required to answer those questions, essentially “remaining silent”.

Most importantly, one’s right to remain silent is not dependent upon being advised of that right by a police officer. Often times police officers are seeking information and hoping that an individual will give up their right to remain silent. Instead of reminding the person of their right to invoke silence, the investigating officer will usually just go right into the questions that he seeks to have answers for. This is most likely to occur in a “non-custodial” setting, where for instance an individual is approached on the street or after a traffic stop.
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