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When a police officer asks to search your cell phone, it may be difficult to know if you can legally refuse.

The situations may vary, but in general, arrestees do not have to let the police search their cell phones, even if cops demand it. As one retired California judge told San Francisco's KPIX-TV, officers can only look at a suspect's cell phone with consent, in an emergency, or with a search warrant.

Before you let a cop search your cell phone, consider this:

No one (or at least anyone in their right mind) goes around looking for a fight.

But sometimes, whether you're looking for it a not, a physical confrontation may find you. If you find yourself the victim of an assault, what can you do to defend yourself without also potentially being charged with a crime?

Is it legal to fight back if someone punches you first?

Drunken driving suspects don't always argue "I wasn't drunk" or "I wasn't driving." Sometimes, they get a little more creative with their DUI defense theory.

Of course, the more creative the theory, the less likely it is to work. But hey, everybody needs a Hail Mary once in a while. And if a DUI is likely to impact your career (as it may for police officers and truck drivers, for example) one of these long-shot defenses might be worth trying.

Of course, defense strategy is something that you should discuss with your attorney, and if you're desperate enough to try one of these, you need an attorney, so consider this helpful information -- not legal advice. Here they are, from plausible to utterly nuts:

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a nightmare scenario for many drivers, but you may be able to legally refuse to perform one.

Refusing Breathalyzers and blood tests will likely result in the automatic suspension of your license, but the same may not be true for FSTs. There may be other practical and legal consequences for refusing to try to balance along the side of the road, but it may a driver's best legal option.

So can drivers legally refuse a field sobriety test?

The Department of Justice will no longer ask defendants who accept a plea deal to waive their rights to appeal their case based on bad advice given by their defense attorneys.

This is a bit of a departure from plea bargain tactics employed by federal prosecutors, which sometimes involve requiring an appeal waiver for any sort of plea deal. According to The Associated Press, this might not be that big a change, as only 35 of the 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices request that defendants pleading guilty give up their right to sue over ineffective counsel.

What does this change in DOJ policy mean for criminal defendants in federal court?

Witnesses to crimes are often nervous about being called upon to testify about what they have seen and heard, but in many instances, there's no other way to get that important information.

Criminal defendants have the right to confront their accusers, and this right includes the ability to call witnesses into court to testify and be cross-examined. Even if a witness does not have to appear in court, he or she may be ordered to give a recorded deposition under oath.

So when you witness a crime, do you always have to testify?

Police in Hammond, Indiana, are the subject of federal lawsuit alleging officers broke a window, used a Taser on a passenger, and terrifed a car full of civilians, including two young children.

On September 24, Lisa Mahone and her boyfriend Jamal Jones were on their way to visit Mahone's mother in the hospital when Hammond police officers pulled them over for a "routine seat belt violation," according to the Chicago Tribune. What followed is a matter of contention, but a federal lawsuit accuses Hammond police of using excessive force and battery.

What's the story with this Hammond traffic stop, which was caught on cell phone video?

Accepting a plea deal is often the best course of action for a criminal defendant, but no one should accept a plea bargain blindly.

Depending on the terms of your agreement to plead guilty or no-contest to an offense, you may give up your rights to change your mind or fight for your case in the future.

So before you sign a plea deal, consider these five things:

Civil forfeiture is a strange legal concept, allowing law enforcement to seize large amounts of money and even homes from persons who haven't even been charged with a crime.

Comedian John Oliver recently took on the topic of civil forfeiture on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight," revealing many of the shady police practices and procedural gaps that make the asset-seizure process seem so wrong.

But what is civil forfeiture, and is it even legal?

A police report is a written record made by an officer, describing an incident to which police have responded or have been involved. But can a police report be used as evidence?

When a person has been arrested and accused of a crime, a police report can be a significant source of information about the circumstances surrounding the arrest. But by definition, police reports are hearsay: an out-of-court statement, used to prove the truth of the matter asserted (i.e., to prove the truth of what's stated in the report).

Hearsay evidence is generally inadmissible in court, as anyone who's ever watched a television show in which the lawyers scream "Objection! Hearsay!" during crucial moments of a trial doubtlessly knows. So how do lawyers get around this hearsay presumption for police reports?