Important Virginia Legal Advice: Use your lawyer!

June 11, 2012 | No Comments »

Two recent episodes reminded me to repeat this basic legal adage: 

Once you hire a law firm, let them do their job. 

Clients of The Gordon Law Firm in Fairfax, Virginia are reminded of this advice immediately after choosing our firm.  Once we have been retained to provide our clients help, they are encouraged to only communicate with our law firm about their case, and to limit communication about the facts of the case to friends, family, and to the general public.  They are also reminded that any statements a defendant makes about the case after the arrest can be used against them at trial.  Additionally if a person claims publicly that “injustice has been done” or that the “police officer should be fired”, the offensive public statements may become “bulletin board material” for some prosecutors and police officers.  Two recent events in the news are almost the equivalent of a quarterback calling an opposing teams linebackers “moronic, steroid shooting, cross-dressers”.  That puts too much pressure on your offensive line.  Or in these cases, your criminal defense attorneys.

Don’t go before your church and tell the congregation “I should have never been arrested”.

Pastor Creflo Dollar did just as he denied punching and choking his 15-year-old daughter. He told the congregation that the police report included “exaggeration and sensationalism.”  He was charged with misdemeanor counts of simple battery and cruelty to children.

Dollar launched into a lengthy denial of the allegations from the pulpit.

“The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional,” he said. “And emotions got involved and things escalated from there.”

Dollar also said “I will never put any fault on my children, as Jesus would never put any fault on me“.

As he talked about the difficulty dealing with teenage children in a “culture of disrespect,” many in the crowd nodded in agreement. The pastor got an enthusiastic ovation from the packed World Changers Church International in the Atlanta suburb of College Park.

Using Jesus’s name to support your cause in church is one thing.  However, getting Jesus to testify in court will be pretty tough.

See God’s previous testimony in this famous film scene. Skip the inane music to the 3:33 for the good stuff:

Creflo Dollar’s 15-year-old daughter called 911 at about 1 a.m. Friday after they argued when he said she couldn’t go to a party. A Fayette County police report says the girl told a deputy her father charged at her, put his hands around her throat, began to punch her and started hitting her with his shoe. The report said the deputy also interviewed Dollar’s 19-year-old daughter, who said her father grabbed her sister’s shoulders and slapped her in the face and choked her for about five seconds. She said her sister tried to break free, but did not fight back. When her father threw the 15-year-old on the floor, the older girl ran to get her mother. Dollar’s wife, Taffi, told the deputy she did not see the fight.

Dollar is one of the most prominent African-American preachers based around Atlanta who have built successful ministries on the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches. Ministers in this tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works

Dollar said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press that he renounced his church salary, and his income only comes from personal investments, including a real estate residential property business and horse breeding company called Dollar Ranch. He’s also published more than 30 books, focusing mostly on family and life issues, including debt management. He also has been claimed that he has been paid up to $100,000 for a single appearance on his packed schedule of speaking engagements.

Of course, I do not represent Mr. Dollar, nor do I know him well.  I surely was not present at the time he was arguing with his teenage children.  His daughters may be mistaken or lying about what happened. In light of his personal wealth, I would suspect he has hired competent legal counsel in the Atlanta area. His efforts on his own behalf have probably made his lawyer’s job a good bit harder.

Don’t ask the President of The United States to fire the police officer that arrested you; and

Don’t Twitter your request to the entire world.

Amanda Bynes, young woman who has appeared in several television shows and movies, was charged in a Hit and Run and DUI in Los Angeles, California. She has only been charged, she has hired a DUI attorney, and she eventually may be found not guilty at a DUI trial.

However, tweeting this is not a good idea and is not likely to help your case.

“Hey @BarackObama… I don’t drink. Please fire the cop who arrested me. I also don’t hit and run. The end”

Even though Amanda Bynes is only 26 years old, she should know that firing a local police officer is not among the chief executive’s enumerated powers.  And while President Obama does have the power to issue pardons, such pardons are only for federal convictions, not for state DUI charges.

See CNN Anderson Cooper make comments here.

Bynes faces a single count of misdemeanor DUI after she allegedly sideswiped a Los Angeles police cruiser on April 6. She allegedly refused both a breathalyzer and a blood test, she could face a harsher sentence of up to six months in jail if convicted according to California law.

The DUI law in Virginia is much different than in California.  However, President Obama will not be able to help you out if arrested for a DUI in either Hollywood or in Fairfax County, Virginia.



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