Surviving a Traffic Stop

Being pulled over by a police officer can be a stressful experience. Although life is full of such experiences, unlike many other stressful experiences, a traffic stop has the potential to end in a loss of money, liberty or even life. No two traffic stops are entirely identical. Therefore, the advisable course of conduct will vary depending on the situation. However, there are some general rules which can be helpful in many situations.

The best piece of advice one can offer is to avoid being pulled over in the first place. A traffic stop offers nothing to be gained. The best case scenario for the driver is to leave as if the stop never occurred losing only some time.

On the other hand, the downside can be disastrous. Vehicle equipment violations such as expired tags or an unlit taillight equate to a neon sign on your car inviting an officer to pull you over. Remember, the police can legally justify a traffic stop based on an equipment violation even if the police officer subjectively intended to investigate some unrelated issue. Moving violations such as speeding or failing to use turn signals also serve to legally justify a traffic stop. Avoid giving the police a free pass to pull you over.

Notwithstanding your best efforts, you may nonetheless find yourself being pulled over by the police. Needless to say, do not attempt to flee as this will earn you a felony charge as well as a very excited and unfriendly police officer at the end of the chase. Your main goal should be to survive the traffic stop with your life and liberty intact.

A traffic stop is a terrible time to be testing out new legal theories or arguing about constitutional law. You can resolve any disputes with the police officer in court at a later date.

The law is well settled that a police officer can order both the driver and any passengers out of the vehicle at a traffic stop. However, do not exit the vehicle until the police officer orders you to do so. If you are fortunate enough to have a passenger at your traffic stop, you should ask the passenger to carefully observe all events. Your passenger may be an important witness if events during the traffic stop deteriorate.

Although there are many different varieties of police officers, you should expect a police officer who is nervous and possibly excited. Do not give the police officer reasons to be suspicious. Do not engage in any quick or covert movements. You should place both of your hands in plain view on the steering wheel.

If there ever exists a good time to socialize with a police officer, a traffic stop is not one of them. You should attempt to end the traffic stop as quickly as possible. You have no constitutional right to a friendly or courteous police officer. Do not demand to know the reason for the traffic stop. Remain calm, polite and respectful at all times even if you have to fake it. You should immediately produce your license, vehicle registration and auto insurance upon request. Plan ahead by storing these items in an easily accessible place so you are not fumbling around trying to find them in front of the police officer. Such conduct is often interpreted as alcohol or drug impairment.

Use your common sense. You should quickly assess the police officer. There are some excellent public servant type police officers who I often refer to as “peace officers”. On the other hand, there are those who revel in the overwhelming amount of power afforded to police officers who I refer to as “law enforcement officers.” You must use extraordinary caution when dealing with the law enforcement officer as things can escalate very quickly.

Most police officers are honest; some are not. Unless you personally know the police officer, you should not assume you are interacting with an honest person. Because we live in a time when mere possession can be a serious crime, a dishonest police officer can rather easily cause an innocent person to be charged with serious felony offenses.

Constitutional rights exist, at least in theory, to protect the innocent. Do not give your rights away. If this is not obvious to you by now, please see my article entitled, “Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy”. I always advise against consenting to any search or talking to a police officer. During a traffic stop, you should communicate your refusals especially politely. Always keep your main goal in mind at a traffic stop.

If you simply cannot resist the urge to talk to a police officer, I suggest you read the back of my business card. This is a good way to document exactly what you said to the police officer. Do not simply hand the card to the officer. Remember, nobody can invoke your rights but you.

As a general rule, you should not volunteer information or answer any questions about having a weapon. Said another way, do not open a potential can of worms. However, if the police officer is about to discover the presence of a weapon, you should inform the police officer about all details of the weapon so as to avoid an accident. Also, if you have a concealed weapons permit, you must produce the permit upon the officer’s request.

If you are asked to sign an affidavit of service, sign it. Failure to sign an affidavit of service will likely result in an unnecessary arrest. In such a case, the officer had discretion to arrest you, but decided against it. You cannot waive your right to trial at a traffic stop. Even if you disagree with the charge, being arrested for failure to sign an affidavit of service will not strengthen your case.

If you are arrested, do not resist. Resisting even an unlawful arrest can earn you a felony charge. Expect a search of your vehicle and your person upon arrest. You should request to call an attorney immediately. If you are given a choice, do not opt to have your vehicle towed. You should expect to see a judge within twenty four hours, and you should try to arrange for an attorney at that hearing.

Traffic stops are not pleasant. However, handled with the right amount of tact, many traffic stops will result in nothing more than a waste of your time. Even for the more significant traffic stops, fighting it out in court is always a better choice than haggling with a police officer who has the power, and maybe the inclination, to arrest you.

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Marc J. Victor is an honorably discharged United States Marine who requires the same commitment to excellence from all members of the law firm that was expected of him during his time in the Marine Corps. To that end, we work hard to distinguish ourselves from other law firms. We represent people the way we would want to be represented ourselves. We strive to return all e-mails and all telephone calls the same day they are received. We want each client to feel like they are our only client.

Pulled Over for a DUI? What Now?

Getting pulled over for a DUI is no small thing. In Arizona, the consequences that you may face for drunk driving are very severe and could land you in jail. Remember that public sentiment has made it easier for prosecutors and judges to inflict very harsh sentences on people convicted of DUIs, particularly when there are multiple instances involved. In Texas, for instance, one man got 45 years behind bars for a DUI. Clearly, you need to know what to do in these situations.

Know the Law

In Arizona, there is a .08% limit on the amount of alcohol that someone is allowed to have in their blood when behind the wheel. This isn’t much, so be aware that you may be in violation of the law, even if you don’t even feel tipsy at all. It’s a good idea to avoid this whole situation and to give yourself enough time to be truly sober before you leave a party or a bar. Waiting a couples hours is much better than contacting a lawyer to deal with charges after the fact, but sometimes you make bad decisions and get pulled over.

If you are convicted, you’re going to face some severe consequences. Be aware that the consequences of refusing to take a test to determine your sobriety are sometimes worse than what you’ll face for the DUI. The 1st time you refuse a test, your license is suspended for one year. If you’re convicted on a first offence, you have a mandatory 24 hour period in jail. Don’t for a minute think that the 24 hours are the only consequences, however. You also face up to a year of license suspension, many different fees and fines, potential interlock device installation on your car and worse. The best thing to do if you are charged is to contact a DUI lawyer.

What to Do?

If you have a driver’s license in Arizona, you have given “implied consent” to submit to a breathalyzer or other test if a law enforcement officer believes that you are under the influence. Essentially, to drive legally you need a driver’s license and to get a driver’s license you have to consent to any type of testing allowed by law enforcement in the event that they believe that it is necessary. This can include blood and urine testing, as well, so you have little choice in this matter.

Remember not to admit to the crime. If you admit to the crime, that will be used against you, as is pointed out in your Miranda Rights when you are arrested. Don’t tell the officers how many drinks you had or anything else. Just remain silent. At the point where you are arrested, you’re better off getting a DUI lawyer and having them do the talking for you.

The Consequences of Excessive Driving Speed

Speed limit signs are one of the most instantly recognizable fixtures of the roadways and highways across the state of Arizona. They are intended to serve as both a guide to encourage safe driving and a device by which drivers are to be made aware of specific maximum legal speeds for a section of thoroughfare. While some drivers express frustration with speed limits, feeling that they are unnecessarily slow and prevent sufficiently swift travel, the roads are designed with a maximum speed in mind that is determined by the geography and topography of the surrounding area. If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver’s excessive speed then it may be in your best interest to pursue a civil legal action.

Driving at excessive speeds is particularly objectionable because it is entirely under the control of a motorist and the violation of posted limits constitutes a willful endangerment of public safety. Though law enforcement officers tend to be fairly vigilant about citing speeders and the fines and penalties imposed may serve to deter an individual from engaging in the same reckless behavior in the future, this does little to assist those who are injured in collisions caused by a speeding driver.

How Speed Plays a Role in Accidents

A mental imagining of a motor vehicle collision at varying speeds can give you some insight into why high speed accidents are so dangerous. When traveling slowly, the impact might be jarring but the damage to the vehicles involved and the physical injuries sustained by their occupants are likely to be fairly minor. As the speed increases, the vehicles essentially turn into massive projectiles and the exterior structure of an automobile is unable to withstand the force of the collision, crumpling inward with twisted metal and shattered glass.

This should serve to illustrate the need for observing posted speed limits, even from a standpoint simply of self-preservation. Yet still many drivers feel are unwilling to travel at what they perceive to be an unacceptably slow speed and in so doing expose other drivers to the risk of serious injury. Some of the ways that excessive speed can directly cause an accident include:

Reduced window of reaction time to respond to vehicles and other obstacles on the roadway
Inability to handle a car going around a corner
Dramatic increase in braking distance required

Self Defense Laws in Arizona

Self defense is something everyone thinks they understand. The concept of protecting yourself and your loved ones is generally considered to be sacred, and few would argue against such a right. Do you know what the law actually says about self defense? It is not as cut and dry as you might think. Like most statutes, there are complexities and legal language to understand. Why is this important? You never know when you could find yourself in an undesirable situation not of your own choosing; it is important should that time come that you know what you are allowed to do by law to protect yourself and possibly your family.

First, take a look at ARS 13-1404 if you like. Here I’ll just go over my explanation.

To put this into layman’s terms, you are justified in using lethal force when:
(1) A reasonable person would believe they were about to be injured.
or
(2) A reasonable person would believe someone was attempting to injure them.
and
(1) Physical force is immediately necessary to prevent injury

Further, you may not cry “self defense” if the following is true:
(1) Only words have been exchanged by the parties.
or
(2) The other party is a law enforcement officer.
or
(3) You initiated the encounter, and failed to attempt to leave and the other person keeps trying to hurt you or successfully does so.

Summarizing Section 5, be aware that you are able to use the same level of protection in defense of a third party as you are of yourself, as long as the same criteria are true for them. As you can see, it is not as simple as it first seems. Let me give you an example.

Suppose you are in a shopping mall with your family, when a drunk person approaches you. Again, suppose they are out of their mind, and are threatening you and your family and coming unreasonably close. You still may not use physical force to remove him from the situation. If you did, you could be charged with assault. It is not until you, under the “reasonable person” umbrella, believe you or a family member are about to be immediately injured and only physical force will stop the altercation.

While I do not sit here and seriously suggest you review the Arizona Revised Statutes while in the middle of a potential altercation in a public place, I do suggest that you remember one thing. Decisions made in the heat of the moment will be judged in the cool of the courtroom. Many have been tripped up by failing to remember this when their blood was hot, and they have sacrificed much for their mistake.

If you have been involved in a situation which you believe is justified under the self defense statute, contact a criminal defense lawyer. A criminal defense attorney will be well versed in the statutes and will know how to mount a defense against unreasonable prosecution when self defense is a valid claim.

Stay safe!

Cias Hart is a veteran and lifelong resident of Arizona. If you live in the greater metro area and have been involved in an altercation and are being charged with a crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix [http://www.criminalattorneyphoenixaz.com]. If you do not currently have a relationship with a lawyer, consider contacting one. Knowing a reputable Arizona criminal defense attorney [http://criminalattorneyphoenixaz.com/about/] is a good protective measure for you and your family, should the worst happen and you be placed in a situation not of your choosing.

Hiking the Waterfall Trail in the White Tank Mountains in Phoenix Arizona

White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Waddell Arizona USA, offers many family activities. You’ll be overwhelmed by opportunities for hiking and biking, the nature trails, camping, horse back riding, mountains, cactus, rocks, desert shrubs, hieroglyphics, birds, dry waterfall canyon, children’s playgrounds, picnic ramadas, handicap trails, trees, washes, Indian artifacts, and interesting rock formations. White Tank Mountain Regional Park at over 29,000 acres is the largest of the Maricopa County regional parks. White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers approximately 22 miles of excellent shared-use trails. The hiking trails range from easy to difficult. There are handicapped accessible trails available in the park which makes the park all the more user friendly.

Mountains

The range, often referred to as simply the White Tanks, is a moderate sized mountain range whose peaks rise to an elevation of around 4,000 feet (1,219 m). The Park has both mountain and desert environments and includes most of the White Tank Mountain range. Two handicapped accessible trails at White Tank Mountain Regional Park allow visitors in wheelchairs to take in the splendors of the area as well as visit Petroglyph Plaza. During seasonal heavy rainfall, accumulated water tends to rush rapidly through the steep canyons, over time scouring out a number of depressions or “tanks” in the white granite near the base of the mountains. These white “tanks” are the source of the mountains’ name.

Trails

Waterfall Trail is in the White Tank Mountain Regional Park and is a popular place for family hiking. The trail will take you past Petroglyph Plaza, where you will find some 1,000-year-old pictures on giant boulders, symbols left behind by the Hohokam Indians who inhabited the mountains until about 1100.

The range, deeply serrated with ridges and canyons, rises sharply from its base to peak at over 4,000 feet and provides wonderful opportunities for hiking on established trails and includes facilities for picnicking throughout the park. The park offers a variety of hiking trails, nature trails, 35 regular campsites, picnic facilities and special programs throughout the year. There are about 22 miles of hiking and biking trails at all levels of difficulty. The White Tank Mountains Park does not have a trail to the top, and they discourage people from ‘visiting the towers’ with mild threats that it is patrolled by law enforcement. Horseback and mountain bike riders are welcomed, although caution is stressed as some of the trails may be extremely difficult.

With so many amenities, this is a park that receives many visitors in the cooler times of the year. You’ll find people of all ages on the hiking trails and many of them will have their family pets along for the day. As with any hiking in the desert Southwest regions of the U.S. you must be careful to drink plenty of water. The air is so dry that you don’t even notice that your body is losing moisture at a rate that is much faster than usual. Be sure to bring drinking water in containers that you can carry along with you as you explore this beautiful mountainous park.

Jere Moline has been a life long traveler and has enjoyed the cultures of many countries throughout the world. He has experienced several different types of travel both on his own and on planned excursions. He has recently built a web site where travelers can ask questions about the next places they plan to visit and get information on budget travels and vacations. Be sure to stop by [http://www.discounttraveltoday.com] and claim your copy of “The Best Kept Secrets of DiscountTravel.”

Are We Not Entitled to the Same Protection Under the Law As Everyone Else?

One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is write more about cloths and fashion. Since my future now depends on selling merchandise, I thought it would be a good idea to concentrate my efforts by becoming more knowledgeable about fashion and blogging about it. Surprisingly however, this is not the point of today’s post. Let me explain.

Earlier today my Brother-In-law sent me story link from the New York Times titled, ‘Washington Steps Back From Policing Indian Lands, Even as Crime Rises.’ The article mentions that the federal government has cut the size of its police force in Indian country, reduced financing for law enforcement and had begun fewer investigations of violent felony crime, even as rates of murder and rape there have increased to more than 20 times the national average, according to data. Crime on Indian land is 20 times the national average? I can’t be reading this right.

From 2000 to 2010, for instance, as crime on some reservations surged by as much as 50 percent, the number of suspects on Indian lands being investigated for violent crime by United States attorneys declined by 3 percent, according to Justice Department figures. So not only is crime going up, but the federal government is turning a blind eye to the problem by not prosecuting the people responsible for the rising crime levels.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which along with the Justice Department is responsible for law enforcement for 1.6 million residents spread over 56 million acres of Indian country, distributed $322 million to tribal law enforcement programs in 2012, according to budget outlays.

According to the New York Times, the city of Philadelphia, which has a population of 1.5 million and a police budget of $552 million, and Phoenix, with 1.4 million people and a $540 million police budget, spend far more on public safety despite having smaller populations and less area to patrol. (Phoenix employs 3,100 officers, while Philadelphia has about 6,400 officers.) I ask where’s the fairness in all of this?

President Obama has called violence on Indian lands “an affront to our shared humanity.” But according to the New York Times his administration has cut both the budget of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and spending on reservation law enforcement. If this is true then this needs to be corrected.

I suppose it’s easy for some of us to simply stay focused and concentrate on what impacts us directly. The old saying, “if you don’t see or feel directly then it’s not my problem” holds true for a lot of people. Unfortunately, I’ve never been one of those people to turn a blind eye to the problem. A lot of shit happens on the rez. I should know I live on one.

Yes, I want to write more entertaining articles about fashion and sell my cloths. But it’s really difficult to do particularly when I still read and hear about the injustices that are still occurring on our reserves in the United States and in Canada. People we live in 2012. This stuff shouldn’t still be happening. Our people are not second-class citizens. Are we not in-titled to the same protection under the law as everyone else or are we?

What You Should Do When Your Website Is Stolen

You are searching for information on your own website and start checking out the search engine results. Your website shows up in that hard fought number one spot. Congratulations. Then you notice one result a couple of spots lower than yours. In big bold print it has your website or company name. You click on it and are taken to a third party site where, much to your horror, your copyrighted page has now become part of the content of their page. Your website has been stolen.

Stolen may sound like a harsh word, after all, you can still get to your own website’s URL, but your content is now available in someone else’s website. You can click on your links and they all work, but their trapped within the confines of another webmaster. Even links to outside pages suddenly get owned by the evil son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t mind ignoring your copyright. His website is now displaying your website in its entirety. Logos, favicons, content, web forms, database results, even your shopping cart are available to the entire world through his website. It happened to me and it can happen to you.

Unscrupulous webmasters, website owners or other third parties think nothing of violating copyright law to derive financial benefit from your work. They can argue that it is still your site, but it’s just being harmlessly displayed on their website, stuck in frames. Heck, your site name may appear in the title bar, your favicon is in its rightful location and all your content is right there, it’s just under control of the evil SOB I mentioned earlier. Who knows, if someone tries to login through the embedded site maybe their credentials can be captured, maybe even credit cards. It all depends on the sophistication of the evil SOBs.

Two questions you should ask yourself:

Why is someone risking the penalties association with criminal copyright infringement to display my content in their website?
What can I do about it?

Why?

The answer to the first question varies. The hijacker may want to grab some of your search engine juice. When it happened to us the perpetrator was listed as number 3 on the first page of search engine results on blekko.com. They got all that juice for free by stealing our content and displaying it in their page without our permission. Heck, their website has absolutely nothing to do with web security, access control lists or anything related to mine.

Perhaps the perpetrator is attempting to steal credentials and passwords.

Regardless of their motivation, your business can be affected by this type of identity theft. Yes, when your website is taken it can become confused with an entirely different brand, thus cheapening your product, your company and those who put in the hard work developing something unique.

What can I do about it?

There are several courses of action you should consider taking.

Copyright your website. While a copyright is technically no longer required to protect your content it does add extra value. The first type of copyright is the typical warning, Copyright 2012 Some owner. This is important to have displayed but it does not give you all the benefits you need. Sure, you can sue when someone infringes on this copyright, but you may find, unless you have lots of money or a lawyer in the family, you will be hard-pressed to find affordable counsel. If you really want to protect your copyright, register your entire website with the US Copyright office. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.

For cases of criminal copyright infringement you should always contact law enforcement authorities and file a report. Before you rush out and do this, let me give you a little insight. The FBI is going to want a police report before they even consider investigating. Your local police force will try to avoid creating a report for many cyber-crimes, including copyright infringement (it is a crime as well as a civil tort). Most police departments are ill-equipped to handle cyber-crimes. They lack the training and resources to adequately respond to your complaint. They are often short-staffed and the available staff specialized more on crime in the streets, burglary, assault, homicide, etc. But don’t let them turn you away. Document your copyright infringement, gather screen captures and other evidence, place it in a file with any other documentation including an overview and history of the alleged crime, and deliver a copy to the police. Make them give you a report number.

Once you get your police report, you can now file a complaint with the FBI. Let me warn you in advance of two issues. I have been told firsthand by an FBI field agent that unless you are a Fortune 500 Company, the likelihood is that the FBI will not investigate your cyber-crime case. Secondly, the FBI will usually not take your report directly. Instead, they will pass you off to the Internet Crime Complaint Center to file your complaint.

When you file you should provide them with the description of the alleged crime, witness information and that all important police report.

Once you file, your complaint may be seen by certain groups to ascertain the merit and jurisdiction of the crime you are reporting. Then your report goes off to die in that great government wasteland known as bureaucracy. Hopefully it will resurrect in the hands of someone in law enforcement that can and will do something about the alleged crime. But in reality you may never know.

After you have filed your criminal reports file a DMCA copyright infringement claim with the major search engines and the ISP where the website is hosted.

When it comes to personally contacting the alleged perpetrator should you write or call? You can send a formal “cease and desist” letter asking them to stop infringing your copyrighted materials. But if you do, they may grab your content and file a copyright on it with the US Copyright office. Then turn around and file an infringement claim against you. Make sure you are protected first. If you do send a cease and desist, send it after your content is fully protected and use a professional cease and desist letter or have one drafted by an attorney. If you send it yourself do so using cheap stationery so you don’t lose much money when they laugh and throw the letter away.

If you choose to call, don’t. We are not lawyers, but we have one.We have him to deal with these situations.

Contact the media. If you expect the media to come riding in on white horses you are in for a big letdown. I spent a huge portion of my life as a talk radio celebrity and know how most in the media think. If it bleeds it leads is still true. If the cyber-criminal didn’t shoot you or blow you up, chances are you will be ignored, unless you are in a tiny town on a very, very slow news day. The big question for the media is this: is it compelling? It’s compelling to you because your company identity has been destroyed, your content was stolen and your search engine juice has dried up. But is it compelling to the general public? No, probably not. My talk show producers spent more time turning stories, guests and show ideas down than accepting great show material.

I recently shared our personal copyright infringement experience with a producer at a radio station in Phoenix; a great station and a great producer. He wasn’t interested in the least. “Not compelling,” he said. And he was right.

Your cyber-crime experience may only be compelling to you. But, that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. In order to slow down criminals and those who think they can use your content and intellectual property without permission or payment, you must act to protect yourself. Remember, this is not a compelling problem until you personally experience cyber-crime. Chances are, those who haven’t yet, probably will.

Top Schools For Criminal Justice

The top schools for criminal justice should offer programs that are useful in the real world and programs that are appropriate for a variety of students including busy working adults. If you are a working adult, the following are considered by some experts to be the top schools:

American Intercontinental University Online: This is one of the top schools because it offers an accommodating accredited program for AS and BS degrees with administration, forensics, law enforcement and special population specializations.
Colorado Technical University: The criminal justice associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from this school provide excellent perspective on the theory and history of law enforcement, judicial system and human behavior fields.
Everest College: This school offers comprehensive justice programs in 23 states and online, making it a convenient and affordable option.
Heald College: The business administration department at this school offers degrees in criminology and criminal law with focuses on administration, business management and investigations.
LA College International Online: If you want to begin working in the justice field in as little time as possible, this school is an excellent choice with its 18-month associate’s degree and 36-month bachelor of science program.
Liberty University: This Baptist university offers a Bachelor of Science in justice covering constitutional procedure, criminology, ethics and juvenile justice.
Rasmussen College: This East Coast school’s offerings include associate’s and bachelor’s degrees concentrating on correction, crime scene investigation and homeland security.
University of Phoenix: This is one of the most well known online universities and is considered among the top schools for criminal justice with studies in criminal courts, criminology, cyber crime, forensics, juvenile justice, policing practices and more.
Westwood College: You can find Westwood campuses in five states, where you can earn a Bachelor of Science in justice with concentrations on ethics, legal systems and sociology.

There are many other top criminal justice schools with more prestigious names, but these are considered the best for students living and working in the real world.

Have We Lost the Right of Self Defense?

Does the law still provide an individual with the right to resist an unlawful order from or unlawful arrest of a police officer? Until a recent case I had, I thought the answer to this question was absolutely yes. However, pursuant to Michigan Compiled Law 750.81(b)(1), and the cases interpreting that statute, I learned I was wrong. This is another good example of how despite an attorney’s continuing legal education and experience, one should never presume that the law has remained fixed and unchanged. This statute states as follows:

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2), (3), and (4), an individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

This statute recently replaced a previous law which did allow for a statutory defense to resisting an unlawful arrest. According to MCL 750.479;

Any person who shall knowingly and willfully . . . obstruct, resist, oppose, assault, beat or wound . . . any person or persons authorized by law to maintain and preserve the peace, in their lawful acts, attempts and efforts to maintain, preserve and keep the peace shall be guilty of a misdemeanor . . . .

Until fairly recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals has interpreted this statute in the following way:

This Court has stated the elements of resisting arrest under MCL 750.479 were: (1) the defendant resisted arrest, (2) the arrest was lawful, (3) the person arresting the defendant was an officer of the law at the time, (4) the defendant knew the person was an officer, (5) the defendant knew the person was making an arrest, and (6) the defendant intended to resist. People vs. Ventura 262 Mich. App. 370 (2004) citing; People v MacLeod, 254 Mich App 222, 226; 656 NW2d 844 (2002), citing MCL 750.479; People v Little, 434 Mich752, 755 n 5; 456 NW2d 237 (1990). Therefore, under MCL 750.749, the right to resist an unlawful arrest was, in essence, a defense to the charge of resisting arrest, because the legality of the arrest was an element of the charged offense. People v Rice, 192 Mich App 240, 243; 481 NW2d 10 (1991).

In my own practice, the case I am referring to involves two defendants who were on their way to a friend’s house. A number of third-party witnesses, including a building superintendent, contacted the police and gave a description of four individuals who apparently had committed an assault and had displayed a gun. Based on the descriptions given to the police from dispatch, they went to the scene. So far, the police are well within their rights to approach a residence based upon what was told to them in a dispatch transmission. The residence in question was an apartment building, and, one of the police officers who had been to this residence on many prior occasions, decided that he knew which apartment door to knock on to investigate the alleged incident. He did so, was invited into the apartment, and then proceeded to search the apartment without obtaining consent to search. At this point, the police have engaged in an unconstitutional search of the apartment that went far beyond any plain sight or plain view exceptions to the fourth amendment of the Constitution.

My client was found hiding in a closet, and he was ordered out of the closet. Pursuant to the arresting officer’s own preliminary hearing testimony the defendant, “did not move fast enough” for him. As such he was pulled out of the closet thrown down on the bed and charged with resisting arrest. No gun was found and there is no evidence of any wrongdoing of any kind except for the fact that the police found this particular defendant hiding from them in a closet.

Does the fact that the police made an unconstitutional search provide a defense against the crime of resisting arrest with which the defendant was charged? No. The unconstitutionality of the search can be challenged with a motion to exclude any evidence that was discovered pursuant to that search. At which point, the entire case may be dismissed for lack of evidence. However, according to the statute and People vs. Ventura it does not provide a defense for the fact that these particular individuals were unlawfully arrested. The Michigan Court of Appeals have the held the following on this issue:

Examining the language of the MCL 750.81d, unlike in MCL 750.479, we find no reference to the lawfulness of the arrest or detaining act. The language of MCL [Page 376] 750.81d is abundantly clear and states only that an individual who resists a person the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his duties is guilty of a felony. MCL 750.81d. Because the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous, further construction is neither necessary nor permitted, and we decline to “‘expand what the Legislature clearly intended to cover'” and “read in” a lawfulness requirement. Davis, supra, 468 Mich 79, citing Pasha, supra, 466 Mich 382.”Courts and legislatures in other jurisdictions have found the right to resist an unlawful arrest to be outmoded in our contemporary society.” Wess, supra, 235 Mich App 245.

In Wess, after finding that a citizen’s right to use such reasonable force as is necessary to prevent an illegal attachment and to resist an illegal arrest does not extend to third party intervenors, this Court discussed the status of Michigan’s unlawful-arrest theory. The Wess Court stated: We share the concerns of other jurisdictions that the right to resist an illegal arrest is an outmoded and dangerous doctrine, and we urge our Supreme Court to reconsider this doctrine at the first available opportunity and to bring Michigan in line with the majority view as articulated in State v Valentine, 132 Wash 2d 1; 935 P 2d 1294 (1997).

We see no benefit to continuing the right to resist an otherwise peaceful arrest made by a law enforcement officer, merely because the arrestee believes the arrest is illegal. Given modern procedural safeguards for criminal defendants, the “right” only preserves the possibility that harm will come to the arresting officer or the defendant. [ Wess, supra, 235 Mich App 244- 245 n 1.] When the Legislature enacts statutes, it has knowledge of existing laws on the same subject, People v Ramsdell, 230 Mich App 386, 393; 585 NW2d 1 (1998), and it is not within our province to disturb our Legislature’s obvious affirmative choice to modify the traditional common [Page 377] law rule that a person may resist an unlawful arrest. When prosecuting a charge drawn upon MCL 750.81d, we adopt the modern rule that a person may not use force to resist an arrest made by one he knows or has reason to know is performing his duties regardless of whether the arrest is illegal under the circumstances of the occasion.

Assaulting, resisting, or obstructing an officer while he is performing his duty must be avoided for the safety of all society, regardless of the legality of the arrest. It is the immediate harm that can be attendant to an arrest when a subject engages in assault, resistant, or obstructive behavior that the Legislature seeks to eradicate. Solid mechanisms are in place to guarantee the safety of those arrested, and, to correct any injustices that may result from an illegal arrest. The statute at issue, MCL 750.81d, now serves as another mechanism to reduce the likelihood and magnitude of the potential dangers inherent in an arrest situation, thereby dually protecting both the general public and its police officers.

If you are involved in a traffic stop and you ask the police officer why you were pulled over, have you “obstructed” or “opposed” the officer in the execution of his duties? Can you interfere in a five on one police beating of a suspect? This happened in New Orleans after Katrina. Can you interfere when the police tazer a woman to death in an airport? This happened in an airport in Phoenix, Arizona. It seems that a citizen cannot act pursuant to their own judgment and conscience to intervene on another’s behalf when the police have engaged in clearly unlawful conduct without risking being charged with a felony under any circumstances. If you happen to disagree with the Michigan Court of Appeals on this issue, the best thing you can do is contact your state legislator or join a political action committee that shares your opinion.

Entrepreneurial and Intrapreneurial Leadership – Billionaire Dr John Sperling

This was one of sixteen well-known prominent business, political, and academic leaders on leadership, entrepreneurship and overcoming adversity, including two billionaire entrepreneurs and several mega- millionaire entrepreneurs, including: Dr. Anthony Bonanzino, Jack Canfield, William Draper III, Mark Victor Hansen, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Monzer Hourani, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), J. Terrence Lanni, Dr. John Malone, Angelo Mozilo, Laurence Pino, Dr. Nido Qubein, U.S. Army Major General Sid Shachnow (Ret.), Dr. John Sperling, Dr. Blenda Wilson, and Zig Ziglar. Five internationally known and respected leadership scholars offered their reviews of the Dr. Haller’s groundbreaking leadership and entrepreneurship research and his findings including: Dr. Ken Blanchard, Dr. John Kotter, Professor Jim Kouzes, Dr. Paul Stoltz, and Dr. Meg Wheatley.

Dr. Haller’s groundbreaking leadership and entrepreneurship research was been recently published by the major German firm, VDM Verlag Dr Müller AG & CoKG. Dr. Howard Edward Haller’s book is entitled: “Leadership and Adversity: The Shaping of Prominent Leaders.” [on Amazon]

Dr. Sperling was the founder and initial Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, of the Apollo Group, Inc., and is now the Chairman and Director. Apollo Group, Inc. owns and operates the University of Phoenix and several other colleges. Billionaire Dr. John Sperling was interviewed at his home in San Francisco, California.

John Sperling was born in poverty in the Ozarks. As a young child John suffered physical injury, psychological trauma, and was raised in a home where his parents were always fighting. John candidly commented that he was regularly abused by his derelict father. If fact, when John’s father died (when he was just 15 years old), John said he was “very happy.” Dr. Sperling said of his father’s death, “It was the best day of my life.” John overcame his early adversity, as well as impossible odds and facing multiple battles in his lengthy and successful entrepreneurial journey.

Professor John Sperling saw major unfulfilled educational (and business) opportunities that the traditional academic community was ignoring. He tried to work within the existing university system, but after meeting repeated resistance, Dr. Sperling literally walked away from his position as a professor at a major public university to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.

Dr. John Sperling’s very successful entrepreneurial venture, University of Phoenix, was challenged on a number of fronts because the University of Phoenix was a “for-profit” University, which the regulators believed it was educational heresy, immoral, and thought should be illegal. Sperling had to battle every educational and other regulatory body that his vehement enemies could launch against him. Dr. Sperling summed up the long list of those attacking him and the University of Phoenix, as everyone from every where, “including two regional accrediting agencies, the state legislatures in both in California and Arizona, the FBI, and various law enforcement agencies, plus multiple civil and criminal law suits.” While the journey was difficult for John, the University of Phoenix and the Apollo Group ultimately won the various battles, disproved their false charges, and was victorious in all the law suits.

In the beginning, Dr. Sperling used his fledgling company, the University of Phoenix (and it’s precursor) to help other well-established, traditional, “old school” Universities to successfully create and foster intrapreneuring ventures in adult college completion program for working adults, including bachelor’s degrees. Two of these successful intrapreneuring ventures supported by Dr. Sperling’s company, the for-profit Institute for Professional Development (prior to his creating the University of Phoenix) were done with the University of Redlands and St. Mary’s University, both these well-established and respected Universities are in California.

After relocating his firm to Arizona, and creating the University of Phoenix, Sperling began to focus his companies’ efforts into building their own brand in business bachelors’ and masters’ degrees, and other degree completion programs for adults. The University of Phoenix’s now has a full range of academic programs, including several Doctoral programs.

Dr. John Sperling’s life story is a true story of achieving the American Dream, that of being a successful entrepreneur! His life’s story is a real “Horatio Algier” story of going from poverty and parental abuse, then suffering the major regulatory and political attacks on his business from all sides, to going on to become a billionaire and accomplished entrepreneur!. John Sperling went from a semi-literate dyslexic kid, who barely graduated from high school, to someone with a master’s degree from U.C. Berkley and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Dr. John Sperling is a focused, driven and successful entrepreneur who created the University of Phoenix, in spite of all the major opposition from Academic Regulators, bureaucrats, politicians, traditional “non-profit” academic institutions. Dr. Sperling led the charge and took all the arrows to create a for-profit revolution in higher education. Sperlings significant early contributions to the growth on entrepreneurial ventures in creating new adult degree completion programs at established Universities has launched the growth of a wide range of adult degree completion programs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and through out the world. For more information on Dr. Sperling and his entrepreneurial journey and his entrepreneurial contributions, check out his autobiography. Dr. Sperling does an excellent did of telling his entrepreneurial story, as well as his long intense journey from extreme poverty to significant wealth in his “A Rebel with a Cause” (2000).