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Can Police Arrest You For Refusing to Answer Questions? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 2/5/13

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Ezekiah: Can police arrest you if you refuse to answer their questions?

Joe Escalante: There is no charge of “not answering questions.” However, if they suspect you of something and you say “I’m not talking to you, get me a lawyer,” they might arrest you for whatever they suspect you of. You will be thrown in jail. If it’s a felony, you may qualify for a public defender. You may be released right away, but was it worth it? They will say that if you would have just answered a few questions you could have cleared yourself and avoided the whole mess.
Or, they could be tricking you. You never know.
They will often threaten you with arrest if you don’t cooperate. It doesn’t mean they can convict you of anything.

Ezekiah: So is it better to just talk to them or exercise your right to remain silent

Joe Escalante: It depends on the circumstances. You have to be on your toes. If you’re hiding something, or if you think you’re being set up, you need to ask for a lawyer right away and accept that you might sit in a cell for a while. Don’t be like those dumb kids in the First 48 that cop to anything.

Lisa: If your only living parent dies and you are not in the will can you fight for half of the assetts agains your only other sibling that is named in the will? What are the chances of getting half of it?

Joe Escalante: You have to challenge the will as something that does not represent your parent’s true wishes. You have to have evidence of that. Good evidence would be proof that she was under the spell of a very charismatic Svengali.

Tom: Free Joe; i was fired from a large oregon corporation for a failed urine test [marijuana] and denied unemployment twice…can they also withhold my pension when i retire at 62? i signed a paper admitting guilt. been there [salaried] for 38 years

Joe Escalante: It’s hard for me to believe that a pension you’ve earned from working could be withheld for something like this. However, you need to check the language in the terms of the pension agreement. Perhaps you agreed to forfeit their contributions if you violated some serious safety laws that put them in jeopardy. I don’t know. However, if it’s YOUR contributions, I don’t see how they can get that, but you have to have someone look at the written terms.

Sarah: My doctor is giving me every excuse not to be seen at a pain clinic. said I have thc in my system and there is no possible way. What do I do? Last week he said I had nothing in my system and this week I have marajuana. I only took what he gave me and he keep saying “people from Florida” and Pain clinics. I was born in Miami Florida and have 2 daughters and 4 children that still live in Florida. I feel like hes punishing me because I lived in Florida.

Joe Escalante: Poor Florida. People can be cruel. I would get a second opinion and consider filing a complaint with the state board of licensing for doctors.

Tinishia: for court orderd back child support who do i file a motion wit to recieve it…and to recieve it on time? O and hello and thank you.

Joe Escalante: I would talk to two people. 1. the clerk of the court where the support order was adjudicated. That’s where you would file a petition to enforce the court order.
2. the district attorney’s office. Sometimes the A.G.’s office goes after dead beats but the state keeps the back child support until they determine if you have been on public assistance. If you have, they keep it.

Ammie: What kind of help is avaiable to families of Veterans who died of cancer caused from agent orange? My sister for one, had all the documents that her husband was on board a ship that carried agent orange. Is there an easier way to fight the Federal Government by not goin g through the hoops at the VA?

Joe Escalante: You need to at least have a consultation with an experienced veterans benefits attorney. They know how to overcome denials on appeal. The government has made it so this is the only way. Otherwise, lawyers would break down the government with so many lawsuits that there would be no government anymore. You can blame the government, or the lawyers, take your pick.

Kathi: Due to cancer,i was unable to make payments on my house. They have never foreclosed.. i left ga. And moved here to ca. The fire Marshall called me and said,i am still considered home owner and house burnt down! It had been a year since i made payments. Where does this leave me legally?

Joe Escalante: Legally, it leaves you liable for just about anything the city wants to bill you for, and any damages anyone may suffer while on the property, even if they’re trespassing in many cases.
And if your neighbor’s are nasty, they could file civil suits against you for abandoning the property and creating a hazard and lowering their property values. There’s a lot of risk in this type of situation.

Karen: If my husband claims me on his taxes is he legally bound to share with me even though we have been apart for 6 mo. also he lives in our home that I made a huge down payment on?

Joe Escalante: These are all things that get settled in a divorce settlement decree. That’s what grown ups do.

Chad: If you do not have an attorney & plan to represent yourself at a hearing. What is required of you before and or during? Are you required to send any and all documents/photos you plan to use in court, to the other attorney or court? An how dO you go about it, so they don’t reschedule the hearing because of lack of info etc provided prior to

Joe Escalante: You should go to the self help office of the court. Most courthouses have them. And read a book on it. Here’s one:

Michelle: If a mother refuses to allow the father to have the children on his day can she be held in contemp weather or not he is current on support or behind one month. Also what do u do if she is leaving harassing voice mails and friends are making threats to him on Facebook. It’s time the law saw some of these mothers for what they are.

Joe Escalante: You go girl! This stuff varies by state, but the general procedure would be for the aggrieved spouse to file a petition to enforce the support order. The other spouse might fire back with something like, “well, he’s late on support payments,” but this is how you get a judge to take a look at what’s going on.

Heather: My husband and I filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy in The state of Oregon back in aug 2005. We were told by our attorney it would stay on our credit report for 7 years. Yet it still shows and transunion even posts it will stay on their until 2018. What is correct? Also, our current mortgage company, that bought our loan from previous one 2 years ago, lists our mortgage as being discharged yet it wasn’t. How do I fix that? Thank you!

Joe Escalante: This is more like credit counseling than lawyering. If you have damages that are certain and provable that were caused by another, you might have recourse, but I don’t see it here.

David: Can I change the name of my LLC? For cheap? And where do I start? (live in MI)

Joe Escalante: According to Michigan’s MCL 450.4603, for a fee of $25.00,
a limited liability company may amend its Articles of Organization to change its name, to change its purposes, to change the duration of the company, or to otherwise amend its Articles of Organization if the amendment contains only such provisions as might lawfully be contained in the original Articles of Organization. A limited liability company cannot add, remove, or otherwise change the organizers by amending the Articles of Organization.
For more info, check out:

Julie: I’m seriously thinking about getting a divorce from my husband of 23 years. What are my legal rights? Could I get the home that we both purchased? Part of his pension, or social security. Can you recommend a good divorce attorney in my area? (Saginaw , Michian)

Joe Escalante: I don’t have a good recommendation in Michigan but I do have a book you should read immediately. It will be an eye opener. And it has a cute dog on the cover, sometimes.

James: My father is 91,in a nursing home,and in the first stages of dementia,need to change his will because some people are no longer alive,could it be done?

Joe Escalante: If he understands what changes he’s making, it will be legal. However, it may be challenged in the court during probate if someone thinks there were shenanigans afoot.

LegalZoom: Attorney Joe Escalante will be back on Friday for more legal Q&A. Join us then!

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February 7th, 2013 at 5:20 am