Mayer Law Practice | Charleston Family Law Lawyer Services
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Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to the police under any circumstances.

-Robert Jackson, Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court, writing in Watts v. Indiana, 388 U.S. 49, 59 (1949).

Don’t be caught without a lawyer when you need one most – at the spur of the moment after a self-defense incident.

The Fair Shooter: A Case Study

When you’re “jumped” by five guys all at once who proceed to punch, kick and pummel you until you need medical attention; when you’re walking by the same group of guys days later at the trunk of a car and they flash you a look at an assault rifle and flat-out say they’re going to kill you; when they know where you live and slowly cruise by your house, repeatedly; when later they see you at the fair and surround you, threaten your life again, and one of them reaches into a jacket for what common sense screams to you is a weapon – should you have bought a gun to protect yourself? And if so, can you then legally draw your gun and shoot the guy?

That is exactly what happened to my client R.D., who until that day at the fair had never fired a shot in anger. He saw the guy going for a gun and R.D. moved faster, successfully getting his weapon (a .45 Glock 30) out of his pocket and firing three shots. Two hit the aggressor. Neither caused fatality or even permanent injury. They surely saved his life. The third grazed the aggressor’s accomplice’s shoulder.

So why was R.D. charged, arrested and locked up? Because the police had multiple witness reports of a shooting, a severely injured “victim,” and R.D. who told them (“confessed”) that he shot the guy. Honesty and candor here did R.D. no favors.

Why was he kept incarcerated before trial for over a year? Under South Carolina’s Stand Your Ground law, R.D. acted within his rights not to run away from those guys at the fair. He had a legal right to a hearing, but his prior attorney (a lawyer whose practice included exclusively criminal law) unfortunately did not request a Stand-Your-Ground hearing for R.D.

By the time I met R.D., he’d already been incarcerated for over a year awaiting trial. A year out of work, with no income. Other people pitching in to provide for his family. It was a nightmare for him.

As a gift to R.D., his dad retained me during the holidays. I promptly filed a series of motions, including a demanded for the prosecutor’s file and a notice of self-defense. I got the file, and had the charges dropped within a month of when I received it, getting R.D. out of jail for the first time since the shooting (and with no further charges to address later).

What could R.D. have done differently? A good lawyer at the scene could have siphoned the necessary information to the police without incriminating R.D. with a “confession.” Had it been me there, I would have spoken in detail with my client in private (such conversations are privileged and cannot be eavesdropped on, nor used later). Armed with the background of harassment to which he’d been subjected by these supposed “victims” I would have set out for the investigating detectives the nature of the self-defense incident that occurred. Sometimes with full and complete contact information, the police can be persuaded to think it through before running to a judge for an arrest warrant. And if they think it through, then that gives me time to provide additional evidence to support our self-defense argument. By that point, my client and I have migrated from being police adversaries to working with the police to close the case satisfactorily.

Legal Process of Shooter in South Carolina

If arrested, usually held overnight until a bond hearing in front of a magistrate judge.
Bonds for murder are heard by Circuit Court judges, not magistrate judges, and often require over ten days to schedule (while you are held in jail).
Unlike non-capital charges, murder does not require that a judge grant a bond at all – judges can legally refuse to set a bond, keeping unlucky defendants in police custody for months, until trial.
Murder suspects can be held without bond for more than 18 months.
Murder bonds often exceed $100,000.
If the incident was possibly self-defense, then you’re entitled to a “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) hearing – long before trial, in which we ask a judge to dismiss the charges based on self-defense.
A “SYG” hearing affords you the opportunity to call witnesses on your behalf.
If you win the “SYG” hearing, the case is dismissed.
The judge’s SYG ruling cannot be appealed before trial.

First Things First: Secure the Scene

The fine line between securing a scene and tampering with a scene must never be crossed. Unless the assailant is clearly dead, I recommend moving his weapon out of his reach, using a shoe or tool with minimum contact. In obvious death cases, touch nothing.

Say Nothing, Starting Immediately

If the person who is shot remains alert or awake (or is still breathing), I recommend that you move out of hearing range before saying anything because in a criminal or civil case (if he sues you for shooting him) your statements may be used against you.

Civil cases based on GSWs can result in significant verdicts against the shooter, even when the shooting occurred in self-defense.

Making the Call to 9-1-1

9-1-1 calls are an exception to a person’s right against self-incrimination. That means anything a caller says can and will be used against him (or his spouse, etc.) even though there is usually no Miranda warning provided to the caller by the 9-1-1 operator.

Ex. 1: If I shoot an intruder in my home and then call 9-1-1 for medical assistance, and say “I just shot a guy who broke into my home” and the guys later dies from his injuries, then the police now have a recording of me confessing to murder.

Similarly, if my wife calls 9-1-1 and says that I shot a guy who broke into our home, and the guy dies from the GSW, then the police have her accusing me of murder, which may waive her Constitutional privilege not to incriminate her spouse.

Who Should Call 9-1-1

It is not wrong to call 9-1-1 to obtain help for an injured person, and some people may think it looks better to make that call before any other call (like to your lawyer). If the shooter does call 9-1-1 himself, he should state only 2 Facts: “There is a GSW injury at (fill in the blank) address.” Then I would give my name and hang up without making any other statements. Anything you say on a 9-1-1 call can be used against you.

Alternatively, the advantages of your lawyer calling 9-1-1 for you are:

1) Your statements to your lawyer are absolutely privileged – under normal legal conditions they will be known only by you and your attorney. This matters: if a neighbor calls 9-1-1 for me and says a guy was shot in my home, the police will likely ask how he knows that. When it comes out I told him so, the cops will compel him to testify against me to restate what I told him. This can’t happen if the call is placed by my attorney.

2) Your lawyer can get in route sooner and possibly arrive before the police, providing an immediate buffer for you.

3) Your lawyer can call 9-1-1 and get help on the way within a minute of when you call him.

4) Any differences between the forensics and the description of events provided by your lawyer will not impeach you or otherwise be considered “the defendant’s lies.”

Lawyer Gets There Quickly After Shooting

Police build cases: they often do not seek the truth, or they ignore facts and evidence that conflicts with their theory. Rely only on your own team to properly collect, test, and establish a chain-of-custody (that can be used in court) for all physical evidence suggesting the shooting was justified.
Your statements to police CANNOT be used to help you at trial. Under the Rules of Evidence, only your “bad” statements may be allowed at trial.
Do not confess – on purpose or accidentally – but also do not deny it, because that could be used against you by a judge later.
Do not exaggerate or make any mistakes or you will appear to have lied.
Do not discuss motive or opportunity, even if true: i.e. “I didn’t like him, but I didn’t shoot him.”
Do not implicate yourself in another crime (there are over 10,000 crimes).
Talking to the police without immunity exposes you to their memories if a cop doesn’t recall your statements with 100% accuracy. Your statement that “he raised his gun first,” may easily be forgotten to “the Defendant said he raised his gun first,” making you the aggressor.
Even your 100% truthful, accurate statements to police may conflict with statements provided by other witnesses (who may be mistaken or unreliable).

Legal Service

Born 1976, Aaron has defended charges under the murder statute over a dozen times. He prefers to prevent charges from being filed, and guarantees he will arrive at the scene within one hour of receiving a call or text on the client-only 24-hour hotline.

The cost for this on-call service is about $99 the first year, and $49 afterwards.

Forms and Contact

Aaron Mayer, Attorney

Mayer Law Practice

2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.

T: (843) 225-7240

F: (888) 446-3963

Aaron@MayerLawPractice.com

The single-page retainer agreement, weapons information and more about Aaron is available upon request by phone or email.

 

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Charleston Family Law Attorney | Aaron Mayer

Sometimes life does not work out as hoped and planned. People change, and arrangements can be changed too. We help people obtain divorces and get their fair share of marital property. Separation and divorce are life-altering and emotionally charged. Once authorized by a client, we take the necessary legal action to protect our clients assets and legal rights, but most importantly, to protect our clients themselves. Be sure to ask us about having the other party pay for your attorney fees.

Oftentimes, two people are in agreement that a marriage is over and just need help filing the paperwork properly. Call us for a free consultation and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. After a divorce, many people also want to update their wills and estate plans.

Our family law attorney takes all of these facets into consideration. Many situations arise when one person needs to be legally linked together with another in the absence of a marriage. For instance, adoption agencies screen prospective parents and often require that certain legal relationships are established between the adoptive parent or parents.

Similarly, many hospitals will not let a “friend” in to visit a patient even though the two live together and are each other’s’ primary “emergency contacts.” For those with the foresight to plan, there are inexpensive legal solutions for such contingencies. Contact us for a free consultation or click the links below to learn more about the specific areas of family law we handle:

 

Custody
Visitation
Child Support
Alimony
Asset Division

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Injuries often impact the whole family. Daily tasks, seldom thought twice about before an injury, can become a challenge that may last a lifetime. Mr. Mayer understands this, having been wheelchair bound for two months after a bike accident. Recovering from serious injuries is a vexing ordeal, but it can be done, with support and love from those around you. A loved one who has been injured needs that support from the entire family, without other distractions. At Mayer Law Practice, we handle the other stuff so that you can keep your attention where it needs to be.

At Mayer Law Practice, we strive to make insurance companies or corporations compensate you as fully as money will allow for injuries suffered by you or a loved one. Mr. Mayer’s approach is to find the facts that tell your side of the story. In all too many instances, corporations illegally alter their records to cover up the facts. It is important to conduct an independent investigation to find out exactly what they did wrong, and to find the evidence to prove it.
Each case is unique and must be thoroughly investigated.
Mr. Mayer will provide you with a free consultation and describe how he would handle your particular case. Mayer Law Practice accepts most kinds of injury cases, including:

Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.

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Being accused is a frustrating situation. Accusations can become part of one’s permanent record if they are not properly dealt with. Even untrue accusations can diminish a person’s confidence and sense of self-worth. Often, when accused of criminal charges, the best defense is a strong offense. The Mayer Law Practice’s approach is to attack those accusations through an independent investigation. One objective of this investigation is to find evidence that supports our client’s case. That is the first way we will seek to insulate you as much as possible, by aggressively investigating the facts and the prosecutor’s evidence. When your Constitutional rights are on the line, we understand.

We know that people have different objectives for the outcome of their case and we will discuss your objectives. From that point, an analysis is made to determine how best to attain your goals. Mayer Law Practice will work from several angles to try and achieve those goals: asserting the client’s U.S. Constitutional rights, and State Constitutional rights, against the prosecutor’s evidence, impugning that evidence, and cultivating separate evidence that supports the client’s case.

DUI
For clients charged with DUIs, the standard datamaster test administered by the police has weaknesses that can be argued. Blood tests are also susceptible to error. For DUIs, even a basic investigation conducted by Mayer Law Practice may lead to the discovery of important facts that help resolve the case. A more thorough investigation may uncover Constitutional violations that may exist in the prosecution’s case.

The Mayer Law Practice approach is founded on an understanding that every case is different.

OTHER CRIMINAL CHARGES
Mr. Mayer has experience defending a variety of criminal charges, including: armed robbery, murder, attempted murder, burglary, drug trafficking, drug distribution, drug possession, domestic violence and various weapons charges. No matter the charge, Mayer Law Practice will provide you with a free consultation, which will include an assessment of what is required to attain your goals.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSES
If your medical license or other professional license is under attack, there are several steps that can be taken to keep your license in good standing.

FREE CONSULTATION
Contact us for a free analysis by our team.

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Mayer Law is glad to be working in this area.  The firm accepts clients seeking political asylum, trafficking visas, citizenship, and other issues.  The firm is involved in fighting against the new immigration laws passed by states. The firm is passionate about educating the public about immigration. Knowing that immigration is a matter of paperwork, applications, and attention to detail for the paperwork and applications, Mayer Law provides complete immigration services.  We are happy to help undocumented workers, victims of domestic or international crimes, and also businesses.

BUSINESSES
With the new SC immigration law in effect, there is increased liability for hiring undocumented workers. This may include seizure and forfeiture of assets for businesses that have hired undocumented workers. We can assist in the paperwork and filings of visas necessary for foreigners legally to work in the US. Contact us for a free analysis of risks to your business and assets and to hear how we would suggest limiting your exposure.

INDIVIDUALS
Whether you need a visa, renewal, green card, or citizenship, we understand the process. Are you a victim of human rights abuses or violations of international law? There are special visas for victims of human trafficking and human rights abuses. Did you know that there are bond funds that may assist individuals who cannot otherwise afford to pay an immigration bond?
Contact us to discuss your particular immigration questions for free.

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Mayer Law Practice has sued corporations and brands that are household names, like Apple Computer, Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Google, Pandora, AdMob, Traffic Marketplace, and Hormel – and sued them for nasty misbehavior, like fraud, lying and cheating.

All too often in corporate cultures a profit motive overrides principled behavior, and corporations find themselves testing just how much they can get away with before a critical mass of people complain. Historically, corporations have targeted relatively small extra fees, or unclear charges that they can levy on many or all of their customers. Their calculation is something like: “if we can make $5 extra on each customer, then after a million transactions, we’ve made $5 million extra.” The problem arises when those charges are deceptive or otherwise unfair to customers.

Corporations rely on the small dollar amount of an individual harm to each customer: They know that small amounts deter people from bothering to take a stand against them. Such small amounts are sometimes not even worth the time it would take to call the company to complain. Those who do call to fight the unfair charge will often obtain the result they wanted: the corporation will correct that single customer’s account, maybe refunding the $5. But it will not correct any else’s account. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and quiets down, while the corporation retains the other $4,999,995 it effectively ripped-off from its customers.
Class actions can be an effective way to force corporations to repay the entire $5 million, in that example, by allowing one of the squeaky wheels to represent everyone who got ripped-off by the company’s same unethical practice. The people who got ripped-off are “class members,” represented by the squeaky wheel, who is the “class representative.”
At Mayer Law Practice, squeaky wheels are appreciated. A squeaky wheel stands for what’s right and demands that companies behave ethically. If you are aware of corporate misbehavior – if you’re a squeaky wheel – then Mr. Mayer would like to hear from you. Contact us via email or call for a free consultation.

Squeaky wheels who have served as class representatives have often been awarded payment for their service. It is not uncommon for a class representative to receive $10,000, but it depends entirely on the court because only a court can make such an award.

Class representatives, also known as “lead plaintiffs” because of their role in leading the class, function as the people who stand up for the interests of everyone effected by the corporate misbehavior. The class representatives are the people who Mr. Mayer, as the lawyer for the class, will communicate with at each stage of the case and about any settlement offers from the defendants.
If you think you may have been tricked by an unfair practice, contact us for a free consultation.