How much does a good, fairly priced Wichita attorney cost?
This is similar to asking how much it would cost to fix a car – it depends on the problem. To find the best lawyer match for you, shop around and ask multiple lawyers for a quote on how much they charge to handle a certain kind of case. Marty provides free consultations to listen and give you a fair, accurate estimate.
When can the police search my house?
To search your house, police generally need a written search warrant signed by a judge that shows probable cause, which means reasonable cause, based on facts. As the old saying goes: “A man’s house is his castle.” The Founding Fathers wanted the government to leave people alone unless there was strong enough evidence that they were up to no good to search your house.
When can the police search my car?
To search your automobile after a stop, police still need probable cause – a reasonable cause based on facts – but they don’t need a paper search warrant signed by a judge (it takes too long to get a written search warrant, and you could just drive away after getting your speeding ticket). So the officer makes a snap decision based on the facts. But probable cause means strong evidence that you are up to no good.
If police ask for my permission to search my house or car will I get in trouble if I say “No?”
You do not need to give police consent to search your house or car if they don’t have probable cause (if they have probable cause, they won’t ask for your permission; they will just do the search whether you want them to or not). But most people are afraid to say “no” because they are afraid they will look guilty or uncooperative if they don’t consent to a search.
People think “what do I have to hide?” But are you sure you know everything that is in your house or car? Remember that time you loaned your car to your teenage grandson, Guido? Remember when your sketchy relative Tommy Schlokovitz crashed at your house for Thanksgiving? How do you know they accidently didn’t leave something sinister behind?
Marty is not giving legal advice here, but Marty would NEVER consent to allowing a police officer to search his house or car. The Founding Fathers didn’t want the government rummaging through your house or car without good reason. But if you decline to consent, be polite but firm. Police don’t like smart alecks.
When can police “stop and frisk” me and search my clothing?
One would think before police could search your clothing on the street, they would need probable cause – some reasonable grounds based on evidence. But to ensure police safety, mainly to protect police in case someone has a gun, the U.S. Supreme Court in Terry (1968) ruled that police could search your clothing with only “reasonable suspicion.” This is a lower bar than “probable cause.” They just need suspicion, not cause. If the police have a well-founded suspicion that criminal activity is afoot, they can search your clothing.
Marty thinks the Terry decision was a good decision to ensure police safety. In the Terry case, two sketchy characters were acting suspicious, and they appeared to be casing a store to burglarize it. The court allowed the officer to search them for weapons to ensure police safety. This is called a “stop and frisk.” It’s a good concept to protect our police from getting hurt or killed.
What does Marty think of modern “stop and frisk” cases?
Every profession has a few bad apples, and Marty knows the legal profession has its share. But the problem with the “stop and frisk” case is that some unscrupulous police abuse it to search just about anybody’s clothing, particularly in minority neighborhoods. Sometimes it gets used in a random fashion against large numbers of people on the street.
These searches sometimes yield drugs or other things, but often they yield nothing at all. In the presidential race, much of the African-American community in New York City is not too pleased because Mayor Bloomberg seemed to encourage police to illegally expand the Terry stop – “the stop and frisk” – beyond its original intent.
Marty specializes in minority cases and protecting your rights. If you’ve been convicted, contact him for a free consultation to know your rights.
Why is the Terry case “stop and frisk” still performed?
Marty was a Criminal Justice professor for years, and he thinks the main purpose of the Terry case is to keep police safe – not to have dozens of folks in minority communities get their clothing searched against their wills when they are just minding their own business. If people are doing something really fishy (like casing a store to possibly burglarize it), it’s good that police can stop and frisk them to check for potential weapons. Police safety is key here.
If you refuse to give consent to a police search, are you being a disloyal American?
No. You have the right to refuse consent to your home being searched. The Bill of Rights are all about making sure our newly founded government didn’t do what King George III was doing to colonists. He was somewhat of a tyrant, having British troops do illegal searches of colonists houses and horse carriages, or having secret trials and throwing his political enemies in jail without cause.
How does the Bill of Rights protect my privacy?
The Bill of Rights, sections 5-8 ensure you have a fair shake in the legal system. If you insist that the police follow the Bill of Rights in a polite fashion, you are not only doing the right thing, you are doing something the Founding Fathers – Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Ben Franklin, etc. – would probably applaud.
The Founding Fathers wanted the new government to leave people alone unless they were up to no good. Although the word “privacy” does not appear in the Constitution, the idea of privacy is embedded in the entire Bill of Rights.
Good people have the right to be left alone. Most law enforcement officers are good people trying to do the right thing. And most lawyers are good people trying to do the right thing. But if you encounter a bad apple, politely invoke the rights the Founders gave you. They wrote the Bill of Rights for you.
Does Marty support our brave law enforcement first responders?
Absolutely! As a former Criminal Justice professor, Marty has lots of former students who are distinguishing themselves in law enforcement. Marty is so proud of them and wants them to stay safe and continue to protect and serve in an ethical fashion. Both citizens and police need to respect and honor the Constitution.
Am I going to prison?
This depends on your case and conviction. Marty can give you an accurate estimate of what it will take to keep you from going to the “Big House.”