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The San Francisco criminal courts recently tossed out approximately 66,000 arrest warrants issued by local judges for defendants who failed to appear in court on quality of life crimes over the last 5 years. Generally, minor crimes such as urinating on a sidewalk, or being drunk in public, are characterized as quality of life crimes and punished by fines rather than jail.

However, San Francisco's justices have seen that the local homeless population, who cannot afford the fines, overwhelmingly commit these quality of life crimes. Although the San Francisco court has dropped the outstanding bench warrants for these, the charges/crimes have not been dropped.

While it may seem like a good or clever idea in the heat of the moment, lying to a police officer can land you in some real serious trouble. While the Fifth Amendment provides individuals with the right to be free from self-incrimination, otherwise known as the right to remain silent, there is no constitutional right that provides the freedom to lie to cops. Not even the First Amendment’s freedom of speech will protect a person if they are caught lying to police.

The penalties for lying to the police vary depending on the severity of the falsehood and the response/result of the falsehood. Additionally, aside from the differences in criminal law from state to state, lying to federal officers is treated much more seriously and is punished as a federal crime.

Everybody enjoys a good party. However, what some people consider a good party is what police consider arresting fish in a barrel. While there are some legal drugs, such as alcohol, prescription medications, vitamins and supplements, and, of course, marijuana in some states, there are countless illegal drugs that can get you arrested if you are caught using or possessing them at a party. It is important to note that the legal drugs can also get you arrested if you are overly intoxicated in public, selling/distributing them, if they look like real drugs, or while driving home.

There's no specific list of drugs that are considered party drugs. "Party drug" is a term that generally refers to any drug that has an effect that a partygoer would consider good for a party, such as extra energy, increased/altered sensory perception, and/or mood/mind altering effects. The term became popularized in the mainstream when illegal raves started gaining widespread popularity. Sometimes party drugs are as simple as vitamins or herbal supplements, however, frequently the term is used to refer to illegal or more powerful substances.

It hasn't been a great couple years for crime labs and their technicians. Last year, Harris County Texas overturned 42 drug possession convictions after initial lab tests were revealed to be false positives. At the same time, lab techs in the Massachusetts state drug analysis unit were convicted of falsifying results and stealing from the lab, affecting some 40,000 criminal cases. Even the FBI was forced to admit that forensic testimony in at least 250 cases was faulty.

And just yesterday, a Baltimore crime scene technician and her boyfriend were arrested in a raid that netted guns, drugs, and more than $100,000 in cash. Now the department is reviewing all of the criminal cases on which she was the technician.

In July of this year, a Minnesota police officer shot and killed Philando Castile, despite Mr. Castile presenting no threat to the safety of the officer. Although Mr. Castile did have a gun, the weapon was permitted, and Mr. Castile advised the officer of the weapon. Tragically, his last words were about how he was not reaching for his gun, but rather for the documents the officer was requesting.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office announced this week that the officer would indeed be facing a second degree manslaughter charge, as well as two additional felony charges for dangerous discharge of a firearm. The prosecutor is quoted, saying that "In order to achieve justice, we must be willing to do the right thing, no matter how hard it will seem." At the time of the shooting, Mr. Castile had his girlfriend and her young daughter in the car with him. Thankfully, neither child nor mother were not physically injured.

As any Jay-Z fan will tell you, having a good idea about your legal rights when pulled over by law enforcement can get you out of some sticky situations. And, like Jay, you don't need to have passed the bar to know a little bit about illegal car searches.

But not every word of 99 Problems should be taken as legal advice, so here are five of the most important questions when it comes to vehicle searches and how to legally assert your rights.

While parents are regularly and explicitly warned about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome, it is an unfortunate everyday occurrence. According to the New York Department of Health, there are an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 infants shaken every year. One in four shaken infants will die, and 80% of those that don’t die suffer permanent injury.

What makes shaken baby syndrome so tragic is that parents may not mean to harm their infants, but due to their fragile constitution, even a brief shaking can cause irreversible injury and even death. While parents who have had to deal with this diagnosis are usually devastated, the diagnosis usually requires doctors to contact law enforcement, and for law enforcement to investigate if there was criminal wrongdoing.

While having your identification on you in public is generally advisable, there is no law that requires people to carry identification with them when out in public. As such, you cannot be arrested simply for not having your ID on your person. However, there are situations that can lead to arrest if you fail to identify yourself.

Although carrying a government issued ID at all times is not required by law, certain activities do require showing a government issued ID. For instance, purchasing alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, tattoos, or other age restricted items, frequently requires showing a government issued ID to a store clerk, however, failure to show ID will only result in being unable to purchase those item or services, and not in an arrest.

The New York Police Department announced that it has seized over 3,000 guns so far this year, and over 1,000 of those will remain off the streets for good. The NYPD says its Field Intelligence Officers' haul is the highest in the last three years.

So what happens with all those weapons now?

When police officers cross the line and cause a person injury, even if the officers were making a lawful arrest, there may be a claim of excessive force that the victim or arrestee can use to sue the police. Generally, the law allows law enforcement to use the force that is reasonably necessary in order to affect an arrest. However, the amount of force that is reasonably necessary is not an easily quantifiable amount.

There is a common misconception that when a person is lawfully arrested and convicted, that even if an officer used excessive force, the arrestee will not have a claim. That is just plain wrong. Even if a person is convicted of the crime they were arrested for, they can still successfully bring a claim for excessive force. Surprisingly though, this even applies to convictions for resisting arrest.