Info Series: Selling a Car

One of the situations clients often present to me is this: “Andy, I sold my car a few months back and I got a letter in the mail a few days ago that I owe money for a parking ticket on that car”. Sometimes, the parking ticket is a toll transponder ticket for crossing a bridge or using a toll road without paying. In really bad cases, the unpaid ticket the client didn’t know about has already gone to collections. Often, the only reason the client discovered it was because they were denied credit somewhere. Regardless of what it was you got in the mail, the bottom line is that the law (or, more accurately, the department of motor vehicles in your state) still believes that you are the registered owner of the vehicle you sold and, thus, are responsible for any tickets, fines, etc that the car accumulates. To fix this, what you — as seller of the automobile — should have done is notify your department of motor vehicles that the car you sold is no longer yours. The way to do this in California is to file a Notice of Release of Liability form (REG 138) with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The form is available as a PDF file you can print or you can even fill it out online if that works better for you. Under California Vehicle Code section 5602, filing a REG 138 Notice of Release of Liability form cuts off the seller’s liability for future fines, tickets, fees, registration, etc that the car might accrue. Vehicle Code section 5900 says...

Info Series: Signing a Power of Attorney

In this episode of Info Series, I’m talking about a problem that I run in to surprisingly often: Does a Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney in California need to be notarized in order to be valid? I recently helped an elderly client execute a Durable Power of Attorney and the client had me present it to his nationwide bank as well as his previous employer from whom he is receiving a retirement pension. Both the bank and the employer tried to convince me that the Durable Power of Attorney needed to be notarized. Fortunately, I’ve looked this question up before and the answer lies in California Probate Code sections 4121 and 4122. Section 4121 begins by saying that “A power of attorney is legally sufficient if all of the following requirements are satisfied:” 4121’s subsections are listed as: a. The power of attorney contains the date of its execution b. The power of attorney is signed either (1) by the principal or (2) in the principal’s name by another adult in the principal’s presence and at the principal’s direction. c. The power of attorney is either (1) acknowledged before a notary public or (2) signed by at least two witnesses who satisfy the requirements of section 4122. Section 4122 lists the following requirements for witnesses: a. The witnesses shall be adults. b. The attorney-in-fact may not act as a witness. c. Each witness signing the power of attorney shall witness either the signing of the instrument by the principal or the principal’s acknowledgment of the signature or the power of attorney. Thus, under California Probate Code...

Info Series: Police officers lying to force a confession

It might not seem like it to most people, but law is not something that just happens in the abstract confines of a courtroom. What happens in a courtroom appears in real life all the time and most people likely don’t even realize it. My goal with this Info Series is to show you those incidents of when law from a court room appears in real life. We’ve all seen police interrogations on television shows before. The suspect is brought in to an interrogation room with a one-way mirror where the suspect can be observed and recorded. One of the things that the police can do when interrogating a suspect is to lie and, for example, tell the suspect that they have evidence linking him to the crime already so he might as well confess. While it may seem strange that the police would lie, doing so during an interrogation can be perfectly legal thanks to a line of cases beginning with the 1969 US Supreme Court case of Frazier v. Cupp. In that case, Frazier was convicted of second-degree murder in Oregon. He appealed his conviction alleging, among other things that the police had lied in telling him that (a) his associate had already fingered him for the crime, and (b) that the victim had been at fault too by starting the fight that eventually lead to the death. The US Supreme Court disagreed and said that such questioning by the police can be proper, but it depends on the totality of the circumstances under which such interrogation occurs. As with most things in law, the outcome in...

Tech Series: How to get text messages off your phone

Regardless of its pros and cons and my personal feelings on the subject, people send text messages. When it comes to court proceedings, those text messages can often be used as evidence.  You can print out an email fairly easily, but printing out a text message from your phone is more difficult. As with most things these days, there’s a smartphone app that will help. It will depend on the kind of phone you have. The app that I use is called SMS Backup + and it’s free through the Google Play store. As with most Android apps, it connects to your Google ID account. Your texts will appear in a folder in your gmail account. Here’s the HowToGeek tutorial on how to use and install SMS Backup +. Here’s a Youtube review of it as...

Branded Merchandise #2 – Touchpoints

A few weeks back, I wrote a celebratory post on my new line of branded swag pens. Quite surprisingly, I got quite a few retweets and follows from that, largely it appears from people who sell branded merchandise. #PromoIdeas: The Write Touch! | @chrispiperor @andychenesq #PPW! fb.me/2zqc1HtpZ — Robert Bruce (@LogoPrintWear) May 29, 2013 #PromoIdeas: The Write Touch! | @chrispiperor@andychenesq #PPW! fb.me/1yV0YVRDg — Promo Products Work! (@PromoProductsWk) May 28, 2013 In this follow up post, I’m going to go over some of the criteria I used to select which merchandise to get. I’ll also interlineate some of the feedback I’ve gotten from clients who have received pens from me. If you even try to look for branded merchandise like pens, you’ll discover that the selection is vast. I’m also a big fan of cars and a lesson from my love of cars helped me choose what pen to actually get. Criteria #1: Touchpoints: It’s part of human nature to want nice things, or — at a minimum — to not be reminded that something is wrong. When you drive a car, you use your senses to interact with it directly in numerous ways. For example, you’ll feel the seat and the steering wheel and you’ll hear the tone of the exhaust or the howl of the wind through the windows or the road through the floor. If any of these interactions are poor — for instance, the seat is really uncomfortable or the road noise really excessive — it will be a constant reminder that you’re driving a lousy car. The takeaway lesson, then, is to spend money on...