Tuesday

28

May 2013

Question: Is it Illegal to Lie to a Cop?

Written by , Posted in Constitutional Law

Answer:

First, keep in mind, that every state has its own statute or law that would govern such conduct. However, most states have some law on the books that addresses this type of conduct. Usually, it is in the form of some type of obstruction of justice charge or something related. For instance, in Minnesota where I practice, we have a statue entitled providing “false information to a police officer”. For instance, if an individual is pulled for a traffic violation and the officer asks the driver his or her name and the individual provides a false name, then the driver could be charged with a crime.

In Minnesota, it is a Misdemeanor if the name provided by the individual is a name that doesn’t really exist and a more serious level of Gross Misdemeanor if the driver actually gives the name of an actual person other than themselves.

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Tuesday

30

April 2013

Question: Is it possible for a private citizen to bring a criminal case against a person or other entity?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Question:

Is it possible for a private citizen to bring, charge, and prosecute a criminal case against a person or other entity in any court (federal, county, etc.) without having to go through the law enforcement jurisdiction involved?

Answer:

This type of action is called “private prosecution.” A private prosecution is a criminal proceeding initiated by an individual or private organization instead of by a public prosecutor who represents the state. Public prosecutors (i.e. district attorneys) today conduct almost all criminal prosecutions. The United States Supreme Court has quashed the right of private prosecution in federal court. Under Leeke v. Timmerman, (1981), 452 U.S. 83, the Court affirms the precedent in Linda R.S. v. Richard D., (1973) 410 U.S. 614, which denies the right of private prosecution, and serves as a bar to criminal prosecution in federal courts by persons not federal government employees. There may be an exception when a federal court appoints a private attorney to prosecute a criminal contempt action if the executive refuses to prosecute. Young v. U.S. ex re. Vuitton et Fils, (1987) 481 U.S. 787.

Regarding state private prosecutions is a different matter. Some states do allow a complainant to either file a request for an order to show cause or to actually prosecute as a private prosecutor. However states usually do not allow private prosecution on cases involving serious crimes or in situations where a public prosecutor has expressly refused to prosecute the defendant. Other states allow the use of private attorneys to assist the state in the prosecution of criminal cases.

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Thursday

18

April 2013

Question: Is It Legal To Fly A Drone?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Answer:

In order to fly a drone you must comply with applicable laws, which can be difficult. Officially referred to as an ‘unarmed aerial vehicle’, known as a UAV, the government requires a certification from the FAA in the form of Certificate of Authorization and also adhere to non-commercial recreational flights. Because most ‘drones’ are meant to be operated at higher altitudes, commonly classified as commercial airspace, the FAA would likely be hesitant to grant permission to an individual as opposed to a governmental agency with a specific purpose.

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Wednesday

17

April 2013

Question: Is It Legal To Own A Hedgehog In New York?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Answer:

It depends where in New York you live. While hedgehogs are legal to own in the State of New York, they are not legal to own if you live within New York City (inclusive of the five burroughs). Other states have banned ownership of hedgehogs as some wildlife agencies are concerned that a larger hedgehog population could pose a risk to local wildlife. The only resource tracking hedgehog ownership laws can be seen here: http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/illegal.shtml

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Tuesday

16

April 2013

Question: Is It Legal To Ship Ammunition?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Answer:

The shipment of ammunition is a delicate topic and one should always look at the applicable laws where they live and the jurisdiction where they are shipping to. In addition, pay special attention as to if a person needs to be an ‘authorized retailer’ in order to ship ammunition. If you are shipping the ammunition to yourself, you will need to consult with the individual shippers. UPS does ship ammunition and require specialized labeling and transport. You can not ship ammunition via the United States Postal Service (USPS) as the agency has a complete restriction on the shipment of all firearms (including ammunition).

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