Author Archive

Thursday

30

May 2013

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is It Illegal To Listen To The Police Radio?

Written by , Posted in Communications Law

Answer:
In almost every state, it is legal to listen to police radio communication inside of your home using a police scanner. However, local laws can make it illegal to listen to a police scanner without a permit. For example, in the City of Los Angeles, listening to a police scanner without a permit is unlawful.

Using a scanner outside of your home gets tricky. For example, mobile police scanners are illegal in New York. In states where mobile scanners are illegal, exceptions require approval by local law enforcement and sometimes even the FCC.

Downloadable applications that can turn a mobile phone into a police scanner are becoming popular entertainment. However, please be sure to check with local law enforcement before you listen to police radio communication outside of your home.

Lastly, always use common sense. Don’t listen to a police scanner in front of law enforcement. While it may be legal in your city or county, it can agitate a police officer who is in ear shot.

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Wednesday

29

May 2013

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is It Illegal To Postdate A Check?

Written by , Posted in Consumer Law

Answer:

It is not illegal to post date a check. BUT, many state laws are based on the Uniform Commercial Code which has a provision that states that a bank can process a check even if the written date on it has not yet come due (meaning, just because you post-dated it doesn’t mean it’s illegal for it to be processed early). The “post-date” is not illegal, but also isn’t worth much as far as ensuring the check processing date either.

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Tuesday

28

May 2013

0

COMMENTS

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

0

COMMENTS

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

0

COMMENTS

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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