When can a police officer search (i.e. frisk) me?

In my last blog post I addressed the issue of when a police officer can stop your car.  As part of my “when can a police officer (fill in the blank)” series, today I am addressing the issue of when a police officer can search your person, or as it’s more crudely referred to as, frisking.

Police Frisk (search) Man for Weapons

Frisking is a technique frequently used by the police of running his or her hands up and down the suspect’s outer clothing to detect weapons or other contraband. As can reasonably be expected, the guilty and the innocent are not comfortable with a stranger feeling up and down their body, to say the least. So when is a police officer lawfully justified in doing so? Continue reading

When can a police officer stop me in my car?

Boise Idaho Police StopAs a criminal defense lawyer in Boise, Idaho, I often get asked, when can a police officer stop me in my car? In a prior blog post I talked about when a police officer can search your car, but before an officer can search your car, it goes without saying that he has to stop you first. But can a police officer stop whomever he wants to stop? I know it may seem like that they can at times, but the answer is no, a police officer can not stop you for just any reason. Continue reading

A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Observations of Unfair Tactics Used in Domestic Violence Prosecution.

For one reason or another, as a criminal defense attorney in Boise, Idaho, I cover more domestic violence cases than I do any other type of crime. Through this experience I have come to see patterns in the prosecution’s strategies. Some of these strategies apply to both misdemeanors and felonies, but these strategies are most prominent in the felony world where there is obviously more to lose. Continue reading

When can a police officer search my car?

For those of you who read my “When can an Idaho police officer (fill in the blank)” blog post, you will recall that I made a list of questions about what it is exactly that the police can do.  One of those questions was “When can a police officer search my car?” For those of you who are not from Idaho, the law that I am going to cover is predominantly handed down by the United States Supreme Court and therefore applies to all States. The States are required to afford at least as much protection as the Federal government, and are allowed to offer even more. Check with a local attorney regarding your rights in your particular state. Continue reading

Criminal defendants with less money are more guilty?

One thing is for certain, the vast majority of those in custody in this country’s state prisons, or under supervision by the State, are of the lowest class when it comes to economic wealth. That fact is undisputed. Among those entering prison in the United States in 1991, about 70 percent earned less than $15,000 a year when they were arrested, and 45 percent didn’t have a full-time job. One in four prisoners is mentally ill, and 64 percent never graduated from high school. According to this article, being poor means you are arrested at a higher rate, convicted at a higher rate, and sentenced more harshly. What is unknown, and debated, is why those who are poor end up being convicted of crimes at such high rates. Some say that stupidity got them where they are today. Stupidity made them poor, stupidity caused them to make stupid decisions, and stupidity put them in prison. Others say it’s a moral issue. Immoral behavior made them poor, and immoral behavior got them in trouble, and immoral behavior put them in prison. Continue reading

When can the Idaho police (fill in the blank)?

Boise Idaho PoliceA good number of the questions I am asked to answer as a criminal defense attorney in Boise, Idaho usually involve a question about what the police in Idaho are allowed to do. When can they search my car? When can they search my house? When can they stop my car? etc. etc. Of course there are no simple answers to these questions. It is a very complicated and convoluted area of law, even for seasoned attorneys. But the first rule you should know, and the rule that all attorneys and all judges start out with in their analysis, is what we legal professionals call the “Warrant Requirement.” Continue reading