Common Question: My property is in foreclosure, should I seek a short sale or let the bank take the home in foreclosure?
Answer: It all depends on your situation. Foreclosure can take a long time, especially if you fight it and don’t allow the bank to win by default. So if your income is not currently enough for the rental market, it may be a good idea to stay in the property longer. On the other hand, if you have a job lined up somewhere else, leaving the property in your name longer exposes you to some liability, if the house is sitting empty. Of course, if your income is increasing, it may be advantageous to file a bankruptcy while you still qualify.
Many people believe that achieving a short sale will “save” their credit as long as it happens before the end of a foreclosure. There is no literature that supports this view. If a representative of the bank says something of this sort, have them put it in writing. Once a foreclosure is filed against you, it is a public record, regardless of the disposition. A short sale, a foreclosure, a deed in lieu of foreclosure all represent the same thing: a default by the borrower. In other words, one’s credit is typically ruined before the foreclosure lawsuit by the bank even begins.
Question: When arrested, a person has the right to remain silent. But what if the police detain you, interview you, then give your Miranda warnings, and ask you to confirm previous statements?
Answer: The pre-Miranda statements, if not confirmed post-Miranda, should not be used against you in Court, assuming the interview occurred after you had been detained and not in a voluntary conversation. For example, if you are in handcuffs, police should provide Miranda warnings. On the other hand, if the police call you and ask you to come down to the station voluntarily and speak with them, then your statements could be used against you. A favorite police trick is to ask a witness questions before giving Miranda warnings. Then, after they know everything, they provide Miranda warnings and ask people to confirm what they just said. Most people are afraid not to confirm something that was just admitted only moments earlier.
Another way of putting it is to say that police are only supposed to be able to do certain things in a voluntary encounter. After a person is detained, and certainly after they are arrested different rules apply. Defendants should understand that police may use a “voluntary” encounter to gather evidence.
Bottom line: don’t say anything, don’t answer questions, and ask to have access to an attorney.
Common Question: I’ve been arrested for DUI and someone told me that all the penalties are already laid out in the law. Also, I provided a breath sample and it indicated that I was drunk. If that is true, what help can a lawyer provide to me?
Answer: You are quite right that there may be little that an attorney can do for you. People convicted of a DUI are always placed on probation, always have to take certain classes and do community service. A lot of it is already determined, no matter what your attorney does. However, it may be that the police acted improperly and the evidence against you can be thrown out. This would allow you to escape DUI penalties or be offered a plea to a lesser charge such as Reckless Driving. Consulting an attorney at least allows you to have your case evaluated to determine if there are any defense issues. If there is not much of a defense case, and the decision is made to seek a plea to DUI minimums, your attorney should charge you less than if you seek to take the case to trial.