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General Overview and Consequences Of a California DUI Charge

Living in many California cities requires a great deal of driving. Because of that the chances of one getting pulled over for the suspicion of driving while under the influence is high. Here is an overview of DUI law and the penalties in California and how a lawyer can help if you are ever charged with a DUI.

In California, a driver is charged with a DUI if he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater at the time of the stop. A police officer can prove this through a combination of a field sobriety and chemical blood tests. Your specific BAC level may determine the consequences of your DUI arrest. A driver under age 21 with as much as 0.01% BAC may also be cited for a DUI.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Offense

California law distinguishes between the number of times that you have been convicted of a DUI. The legal consequences increase in proportion to the frequency of your charges and also whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony DUI. In other words, a skilled criminal defense attorney will be less able to negotiation a favorable plea agreement for a third time or felony offender than he or she will for someone who made the mistake to drive drunk for the first time.

Overview of Misdemeanor DUI Penalties in California

First Offense:

– $390 up to $1800 fines
– Between 48 hours to six months in a County Jail
– Up to nine month of alcohol programs
– Up to six months of driver license suspension

Second Offense:

– 96 hours to one year in a county jail
– $390 to $1000 in fines
– Summary probation for three to five years
– Up to two years of ones driver’s license being suspended

Third Offense:

– A minimum of 120 days up to one year in a county jail
– Three years of driver’s license revocation
– $390 to $1000 in fines
– Five of an informal probation

When in Doubt: Plead Not Guilty

It may seem counterintuitive to plead not guilty at your first arraignment hearing, but doing so gives you the most leverage throughout the DUI defense process. If you do not have a defense attorney by your side during your first hearing, a not guilty plea also buys you time to hire a lawyer and begin negotiating with the city prosecutor to lessen your charges.

Know Your Rights

The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Specifically, this means that the police must have a valid search warrant, an arrest warrant, or reason to believe that you are committing a crime when they pull you over. If you are ever arrested, you must be read your Miranda rights. These notify you that you have the right to remain silent and opt out of making any incriminating statements.

Contact An Experienced Criminal Defense Law Firm For Best Representation

If you were pulled over and charged for a DUI in California, know that you are not alone. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help reduce your charges and generally minimize the negative consequences of this arrest.

According to a Southern California DUI attorney Abby Erbz, one of the top reasons while people ending up having DUI convictions is that they do not seek an experienced lawyer help instead they try to fight fight the charges alone or by hiring a cheap attorney. By contacting a Criminal DUI defense law firm you can minimize the effects of DUI charges and arrests. The law firm you choose should know the law and how to make the best of a bad situation. Most driving while under the influence law offices offer Free Consultation.

How to Find a Top Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

In a Southern California city such as Ventura, Pasadena, or Los Angeles, criminal lawyers are a dime a dozen. But how do you find the most qualified counsel out of the many expert lawyers in California? Which defense counselor in San Bernardino is immensely educated in forgery law, DUI/DWI law, writs and appeals law, or assault law? A person wanting to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney has to ask himself/herself these questions! People are stunned to realize that many of my clients are first time lawbreakers, who because of dubious circumstances are arrested and charged with a criminality. Sound familiar?

Many of my customers are word of mouth referrals, referred by acquaintances, people in their network or their lawyer. Being referred is the starting step, but how do I, as a prospective client, know if this criminal defense attorney is most appropriate for me? My administrative assistant, Cynthia, is the first person who has communication with a prospective customer. Cynthia is frequently asked if the criminal attorney has any experience handling criminal court trials just like theirs and what is my success rate? Often the client will directly ask me those same question.

Those are terrific questions that need to be answered honestly. But how do you know if your criminal defense attorney is honestly telling you the truth? “Buyer beware”- there are a lot of attorneys out there who will exaggerate the facts when it comes to their qualifications and previous experience – my investigator, refers to this puff as the attorney at law “selling wolf tickets”.

To help you find a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who is suitable for you and your criminal court case, here are five easy steps to help you choose a competent criminal defense attorney.

5 steps to find a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles

Know the crime you have been arraigned with. Ask colleagues and friends for recommendations to criminal lawyers. Word of mouth is a great way to find an lawyer that’s right for you. You will feel more confident hiring a criminal defense legal representation who was recommended by someone you trust.
Go online to expand your list. A good site to find good criminal lawyers is lawyers.com. Simply type in the area of law and location to determine your query. For example, “Riverside criminal attorney”, or to be even more precise, “drug trafficking attorney San Diego”.
Research the list of attorneys you’ve put together. Find out how long they have been practicing criminal law (general rule of thumb is at least 15 years), how many criminal law court litigations they have won/lost. In California, you can look up an attorney’s undergraduate and law school schooling and how long they have been admitted to the bar at The State Bar of California website. More importantly, check whether the lawyer has an AV Peer Review Rating on lawyers.com website. This rating is a recognition of the attorney’s legal competence and adherence to the highest level of professional ethics as judged by other attorneys and judges.
Ask the legal representation about the fees. Depending on the counsel, rates can vary greatly from $100/hour to over $750/hour. Get his/her costs schedules up front to know precisely what you will be paying. Never be in agreement to work with an attorney that charges a percentage of the total settlement he/she gets for you. It is unethical for the attorney to do so.
Meet with the attorney in person. But before meeting, make sure you find out whether there is an initial consultation fee. Ask as many questions that pertain to your criminal case as possible. Get an overall sense of how comfortable you feel and whether or not he/she is competent enough to represent you in the court of law. Does the defense counselor ask appropriate, sensible questions? Will he/she handle the case or let junior associates do the work? To hire the best Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, ask to see their track record in writing and then go to the court and check them out!

Pepper Spray Possession and Usage – Is It Allowed in Southern California?

With the prevalence of crimes nowadays, there is absolutely nothing more important than knowing how to effectively defend yourself from vicious criminals who will not think twice to hurt you. Law offenders can strike anywhere and everywhere so you need to be equipped with at least one self defense item to defend yourself, your family and even your property. For this reason, more and more individuals turn to non-lethal self defense items such as pepper spray and stun gun. Let’s talk about pepper sprays.

Pepper sprays contain oleoresin capsicum, a byproduct of cayenne pepper, known to be one of the hottest peppers in the world. If you blast a spray or two onto the face of your attacker, his eyes will tear and it will involuntary close. He will also have difficulty breathing due to inflamed airways. He will also feel an enormous stinging sensation on the other parts of his body that got affected. You need not worry though since it will not permanently damage the body of your attacker. The effects of this devicer can last for a few minutes so you need to get away as fast you can and seek help.

Though there is no training provided or needed to own this kind of protection, there are still places on the globe which do not allow the possession and usage of this pepper spray. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in Southern California, the law allows the handling and using of this device, as long as the owner abides by the rules. Units of 2.5 ounces aerosol-propelled spray can be carried in California as long as they are to be used for self-defense. Each container of this device must come with instructions, first aid information as well as an expiration date.

The state of California imposes penalties upon those who will exploit the use of a defensive spray. Penalties are imposed if such device is used out of anger or as a means to get revenge. You also can’t use it as a gag or joke where other people can get hurt. Also, not all residents of Southern California may possess and use this device. Drug addicts, minors and those who are legally prohibited are not allowed to possess this self defense device. Up to a thousand dollar fine and three years imprisonment are the penalties for the misuse of pepper spray. Aside from that, the person can even be convicted.

Moreover, in California it is an element of the law that when you buy or own a pepper spray, you must check if there is a caution that states “WARNING: The use of this substance or device for any purpose other than self-defense is a crime under the law. The contents are dangerous–use with care.” This label is very relevant because this explains the main purpose of having the spray which is to defend yourself only. As a responsible owner, you are expected to use it with caution because the contents can be harmful.

Having a defensive spray on hand can work wonders when it comes to your personal safety and security. But with this great power also comes great responsibility.

Swoosh Defense! Can Young Players Learn the Flat Back Four Zone Defense?

was recently asked, “Coach Hardy, why are you coaching youth soccer teams
to play a flat back four zone defense?” The perception being that a sweeper/
stopper system is a ‘safer’ defense for younger teams. First of all, any defense
will have its strengths and weaknesses. A knowledgeable coach will know those
weaknesses and will encourage their team to break it down. All disclaimers
aside, the flat back four is the preferred system of most modern teams. A
youth soccer coach should emphasize the development of players within the
context of modern soccer.

When properly executed, a flat back four will provide excellent
defensive pressure, cover and balance. Young soccer players should be
developed to play at their highest potential level and nearly all higher level
teams play a flat four or three system. Coaching a flat back four defense gives
players a foundation for future success in soccer. Even a team as young as U11
team can successfully play a flat back four zone defense. A team may give up
‘break-away’ goals in the short term, while they learn the system, but in the
long run they will have the ability to confidently step into a modern defensive
system.

A team can successfully play a flat back four after just a few training
sessions and a handful of games. I use the pre-season practices, tournaments
and scrimmages as a time for a team to learn the player roles and team shape
of a flat back four zone defense.

To help players visually understand the team shape of the defense I
call it the ‘Swoosh’ defense. As the back four defenders shift left and right
across the field, the shape of the defense unit looks like the Nike “Swoosh”
logo. If the players drift out of shape I can just say “Swoosh” and immediately
the players know where to position themselves. As the players feel comfortable
with the system they will remind each other to “Swoosh”. Here are four basic
ideas to be aware of when coaching the Swoosh defense.

1. Swoosh Defense

The back four defensive shape will prevent the other team from having
‘break away chances’ by making sure the far-side outside defender and the
far-side central defender shift and cover diagonally behind the pressuring
near-side defenders. It sounds complicated but it’s actually pretty simple. The
defenders shift diagonally to the position of the ball.

With this correct positioning the ‘Swoosh’ defense is denying ball
penetration, the dangerous attacking players are marked and the covering
defenders will ‘sweep’ any ball that gets played through. If the ball is switched
to the far side of the field, the defending four players will shift the ‘Swoosh’
accordingly. I have found that young players can easily remember to ‘Swoosh!’
more that ‘Pressure, Cover, Balance’.

It is important for players to remember that the diagonal cover shape
is why the team doesn’t need a sweeper. The most common defensive mistake
is for the team to stand totally ‘flat’. This is especially common at the half-field
line when the team with the ball has been maintaining possession in the
opponent’s half of the field. Which explains why teams that are learning the
Swoosh defense will usually give up their goals from half-field breakaways.

If the defenders stand flat at half field then any ball played behind the
defense will result in a breakaway race without anyone to stop a goal but the
goalkeeper.

2. Marking A Man In Your Zone

In addition to the Swoosh shape, the four defenders need to become
aware of the attacking player in their area of responsibility. Young players
often focus all of their attention on the ball. This bad habit is called ‘ball
watching’. Young players will often ball watch until the ball comes near them
and only then will they try and get it. But getting the ball is only part of the job
of defending. The Swoosh defense requires that players be in a good defensive
position while marking the opponent ‘goal-side and ball-side’.

When defenders ‘ball-watch’, opponents will move into unmarked
positions. The basic rule for defenders is to mark the most dangerous player in
your zone and stay ball-side and goal-side of them.

The break-aways against the Swoosh defense usually happen when a
defender is “caught flat ” and doesn’t react to the open opponent in their zone
until it’s too late. If a defenders waits until after the pass is played forward to
move towards the mark in their zone then there is often a foot race to the goal.
90% of good defense is positioning away from the ball.

(Note: Another reason I use the “Swoosh” term is to because young players will
often stay “flat” if the defense is called a “flat back four”.)

Ball watching
is pretty normal behavior for young soccer players, however, a defender is a
very important position and that player must be alert and mature enough to
not ball watch. Learning to mark correctly is a skill that will come with
commitment to learning.

3. Line Of Restraint And Compactness During Transition

The basic principle of good defending is to create ‘compactness’. I
encourage the defense to create compactness when we transition to offense or
when the opponent passes the ball backwards. We do this because (a)
compacting the space that the other team has to work with creates pressure
and (b) we can catch them off-sides. I do not encourage a sophisticated off-
sides trap below U14, but moving up the field to create compactness will catch
unaware forwards off-sides.

If we are slow in our own transition to offense (for example, after we
just cleared the ball from the defensive third) and our defenders just stay deep
in our own half then we are giving the other team lots of room to move the ball
back towards our goal. The general rule I coach is if the ball goes up the field 5
yards then we move the defense up 5 yards – 20 yards up the field means we
move 20 yards up the field. This is true until we cross half field. At half field,
the back four step a few yards into the opponents half of the field.

If our defense stays back in our own half of the field then there is less
pressure and with less pressure the other team will spend the game in our half.
I believe it is a better idea to try and defend the half line than your goal.

The key to successfully compacting the space is that all of the
defenders must move up together. If just one defender stays back then the
other team will exploit that. The line of defenders moving up the field is called
our ‘Line of Restraint’. Our goal is to have our ‘Line of Restraint’ no more than
35 yards from our forwards until our defenders reach the half line.

Again, a secondary bonus of compacting the space during transition is
that the other team is often off-sides because their forwards are caught
standing around after the ball has been cleared.

4. Off-Sides And Referees

A common concern when playing the Swoosh defense is that referees
can make mistakes with the off0sides call and the other team will have easy
break-aways. As far as the referees missing offsides calls, well, that’s the
nature of the game. The key is to control the controllables. As coaches, we
can’t control the referee’s decisions but we can control the team’s ability to
have good positioning and marking. Furthermore, if a team plays good defense
and scores goals then they will not be in a position that will allow the referee to
determine the outcome of the game.

In summary, if we coach to have defenders compact in transition, get
in our proper ‘Swoosh’ shape, and mark their opponent goal-side and ball-
side, then I am confident that the flat back four zone defense can be successful
even with young teams.

What You Need To Know When Learning Self Defense

Looking for more information on self defense? You have come to the right place. Self defense is the best way to prepare yourself to fend off an attacker. Regardless of where you live and how safe your neighbourhood, a good self defense class is always great idea for you and your whole family. Throughout this article we will speak about what self defense is, different types of self defense, and how a self defense class can help you.

As said previously, the best way to prepare yourself in the case of an attacker is through self defense. Self defense is a countermeasure that prepares one to protect themselves or their property from physical harm. In court, self defense is legally justified if the defendant rightfully saw themselves in a dangerous situation. In order to use the self defense justification in court, one must prove that they were in a position, against another person, that could have potentially led to serious injuries or death. Learning self defense typically involves 3 components: techniques, training methods, and strategies. Techniques focus on avoiding the use of self defense if possible, learning movements, blocks, and counter attacks. Training methods are the drills that are used to learn the techniques, and strategies show people when to use them.

There are many styles of martial arts that teach self defense. These usually teach unarmed self defense in which you learn to defend yourself without any weapons. They typically teach you a variety of motor skills and ways to increase confidence and awareness. Some countries, in which it is legal to carry weapons, also allow for armed self defense methods. Included in armed self defense is the use of pepper spray, stun guns, and everyday objects such as baseball bats. When considering armed self defense keep in mind that it is not legal in many countries and could result in severe punishment. Another, less physical, form of self defense is called de-escalation. This teaches individuals to use their words in order to prevent, deescalate, or end an assault. It is more of a conflict management style and uses voice, tone, and body language to prevent a situation from escalating from bad to worse. Avoidance is also considered a form of self defense. Avoidance allows you to become more aware of your surroundings and prevent yourself from being put into dangerous situations.

Although there are many online articles and videos about self defense, the best way to learn self defense methods are through actual self defense classes. Self defense classes usually focus on unarmed self defense but may also teach people avoidance and conflict management techniques. A good self defense class will teach you how to become more aware of your surroundings and how to handle a situation should you ever be put in a dangerous position. On top of actual self defense moves, most people also take away an increased level of self confidence that may have been missing before.

Self defense is a great activity for you and your family to engage in together. Not only is it fun, it also teaches you defense skills that would help if you or your family was ever put into a dangerous situation. Whether you are just looking for something to keep you busy or are seriously interested in learning self defense methods, taking a self defense class is never a waste of time. Begin searching for a self defense class in your area and gain the confidence you need to defend yourself in a dangerous situation!

Tough or Smart – What’s Your Most Powerful Self-Defense Weapon: Mind or Body?

There are as many approaches to self-defense as there are reasons why people study it.

What are YOUR reasons and what approach are YOU using? How confident are you that your efforts will produce the results what you want?

What is it about self-defense that interests you?

You must be looking for something or you wouldn’t be reading this, right?

Some people learn self-defense to defend themselves from the violent actions of others! Duh!!!) They want to satisfy the essential need for security and control.

Others are after self-confidence and an improved self-image.

Then there are those who don’t care much about “fighting” at all. They’re just looking for an enjoyable, functional and “cool” 😉 way to get into great shape.

Maybe you’re after “ALL OF THE ABOVE.” (like me 😉 Well then keep reading friend… because I’ve got some thoughts to throw at ya…

===== Two Approaches To Self-Defense =====

There are two broad categories of self-defense information. Whether they spell it out or not, all self-defense books, articles, classes and seminars are based on one or both of two “themes”… a MENTAL APPROACH or a PHYSICAL APPROACH.

The “Physical Approach” is based on “EFFICIENCY.” It pursues physical skill development as a self-defense solution. It involves learning punches, kicks, grappling and defensive techniques. Although avoiding a physical altercation is given “passing attention,” EXACTLY how to do that is often glazed over or not addressed at all.

Whether you enroll in a martial arts class, sign up for a self-defense seminar or join a boxing club, the focus is to teach you how to physically perform “fight-related” techniques.

“Fitness-based” training, such as Tae Bo, Cardio Kickboxing and Boxercise also fall in this category.

The assumption here is that your BODY is your weapon and the harder you train and the better you get at performing self-defense techniques, the safer and more capable you will be to defend yourself.

The “Mental Approach” is based on “Effectiveness.” It is focused on “PersonalSafety” theories, concepts and strategies.

This theory-based approach involves gaining an understanding of predatory situations; how they happen, how they can be anticipated and recognized, how they can be avoided and how to respond if you encounter one.

Your BRAIN is considered your most powerful self-defense weapon, and this training (hypothetically) makes you “SMARTER” and more capable of wise decisions in the stress and chaos of threatening situations.

“Efficiency and Effectiveness” What’s the Difference?

Perhaps the point I am trying to make will be clearer if we come to a common understanding of exactly what I mean by these two terms. Before you read on… think for a moment and come up with your own definition of these terms… Done? Here’s mine…

————————————————-

Efficiency Is Doing Things Right

Effectiveness Is Doing The Right Things

————————————————-

Can you see the difference? I hope so, because it’s HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!!! Here’s how those terms relate to self-defense training.

===== The Physical Approach To Self-Defense ======

The Physical Approach involves learning and practicing physical skills “efficiently.” The faster, more coordinated, more powerful your striking, kicking, grappling and defensive techniques are, the more “successful” you consider yourself.

There are many self-defense courses that deal exclusively with learning techniques, with and without training partners, as a TOTAL solution for all your self-defense problems.

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not criticizing this approach in any way. I teach physical skills classes and seminars myself.

Learning physical skills can dramatically improve your odds of surviving and escaping a violent situation. It can even reduce the probability of being confronted or attacked.

If done properly, on a regular basis (which I highly recommend), self-defense conditioning and skills training like sparring or hitting a heavy bag, will provide a ton of physical, mental and emotional benefits.

BUT is the exclusive practice of techniques a sufficient “self-defense solution?”

===== Benefits Of The Physical Approach =====

Physical skills training is a GREAT way to get in shape and stay there. If properly done, ongoing self-defense training is a fun and functional, full-body workout.

The self-confidence, fitness, and athletic qualities gained through regular self-defense training will have a positive influence on your “victim profile” (behavior and body language) that you project to a potential predator. It can decrease the probability of being targeted. (Dirt bags don’t pick fights with people they perceive are likely and capable to fight back)

Unlike “single-exposure” self-defense training (where you learn a technique once and never practice it again,) ONGOING self-defense training is proactive.

Regular self-defense training “rewards” you in many ways, even if you NEVER have to defend yourself.

Regular self-defense training “defends and protects” you against more probable and legitimate “threats” to your life, your health and well-being. You are at more risk from poor lifestyle habits and a lack of exercise than you are from a mugger or rapist.

===== Drawbacks to a Physical Only Approach =====

If you limit your self-defense efforts exclusively to physical skills training, you also limit your response options in a volatile situation. You are limited to a “Fight/Don’t Fight” decision. There are more ways to resolve a volatile situations than that (there are 5 actually). Doing the “wrong thing” well (like fighting when you don’t have to) can get you injured, arrested or sued.

Regular self-defense training makes you feel great. You’ll feel confident, energetic and fit. (so how is that a drawback?) Don’t make the mistake of over estimating your potential of defeating an attacker and end up over your head in an encounter with someone who is tougher, meaner and more malicious than you are.

Don’t think that your weekly cardio-kickboxing class has turned you into a “trained killer!”

Even the “best” fighter will be dropped like a bag of dirt if he or she doesn’t develop appropriate awareness and avoidance skills and is caught off guard. Physical skills don’t protect you from unanticipated acts of violence.

===== The Mental Approach To Self-Defense =====

The Mental Approach addresses the “big picture” of predatory situations. In my self-defense system for example, there are “SEVEN” separate and interrelated aspects of a comprehensive personal safety or self-defense system.

The intent of this mental approach is to make you “smarter” and more capable of avoiding, diffusing and responding EFFECTIVELY by doing the RIGHT THINGS in a volatile situation. By the “RIGHT THINGS,” I’m referring to the most effective response strategies to successfully resolve a threatening or volatile situation.

Fighting back with physical self-defense techniques is only part of staying safe.

===== Benefits Of The Mental Approach =====

An accurate understanding of the dynamics of predatory situations increases the odds of anticipating, avoiding, recognizing and responding to them. The “best” result to a violent encounter is not when you manage to fight your way out of it. It’s when it doesn’t happen in the first place!

Not all volatile situations can be solved by fighting. Effectiveness in a self-defense situation allows you to assess and evaluate the circumstances and select the most effective response strategy to implement to gain or regain control.

A sense of control that accompanies proper mental training decreases the stress and fear associated with volatile or predatory situations. And that increased sense of control and self-confidence can reduce the potential of being victimized.

===== Drawbacks To A Mental Only Approach =====

An “information-only” approach does not significantly change the body language that you project to a potential assailant. Although some self-defense instructors imply that you can “fake” non-victim body language by walking briskly, standing straight, and “pretending to be confident.” That will only go so far. Pretending to be coordinated, strong and physically fit is easier said than done.

Knowing the best response option in a given situation, be it running away or fighting back, is of little value if you can’t successfully pull it off. If you haven’t developed your skills and fitness levels by ongoing self-defense practice, how likely are you to out-run or out-fight an assailant?

===== One OR The Other Is Incomplete =====

You’ve probably figured out by now that ONE OR THE OTHER of these two approaches is an incomplete approach to being able to defend yourself. An optimal strategy is to combine and balance your ability to make smart, effective decisions with the ability to carry those decisions through to a successful conclusion. BOTH mental AND physical elements are required for optimal self-defense success.

Be effective first, then be efficient. A medical equivalent might be to “Diagnose First The Perscribe.” To successfully resolve a volatile situation, you need sound judgement to decide on the best course of action AND the physical skills and ability to implement your game plan.

The degree to which you pursue each approach has a lot to do with your capabilities, limitations and the goals you have in relation to your study of self-defense.

If you are smaller, weaker, older for example, your emphasis should lean more toward personal safety strategies and be supplemented with physical skills training. If your self-defense goals are simply to avoid victimization and to stay out of trouble, then learn everything you can about the dynamics of volatile situations.

On the other hand, maybe you are fit, athletic and skillful. Perhaps you already train regularly and feel capable of “holding your own” if you have to defend yourself. If thats the case, here are a couple pieces of advice to consider:

There’s always someone tougher and meaner than you are! Even highly skilled fighters and martial artists need awareness and avoidance skills. Physical techniuqes are of little value if you are set up, sucker punched, or ambushed. NOBODY wins a fight. You may defeat your adversary and “still” be injured yourself. Also, just because you didn’t instigate the confrontation doesn’t mean that you won’t find yourself being criminally charged or civilly sued for defending yourself.

The point I’m trying to make is that the BEST approach to self-defense training is to learn to do the right thing by learning everything you can about the dynamics of predatory situations AND engage in regular self-defense training so that you can “do things right” by developing the skills and conditioning to carry out a desired self-defense strategy.

===== Two Approaches? Two Resources! =====

The questions I get by email and in person, can be divided into two clear categories… “What-Should-I-Do-If…questions” and “How-Do-I…questions.” Or in otherwords effectiveness and efficiency.

It is because of these different but complimentary aspects of self-defense that I’ve decided to “split” the focus of my web sites so I can address each in greater detail.

I’m in the process of restructuring of my web sites to assist you in finding the information you are looking for.

http://www.ProtectiveStrategies.com will continue to be “home base” for my self-defense articles and newsletter. The site will maintain a “Get Smart Focus” by dealing with the Big Picture of personal safety concepts and will address all seven components of self-defense:

=> Self-Defense Psychology

=> Self-Defense Intelligence

=> Victim Selection

=> Predatory Recognition

=> Self-Defense Response Options

=> Prevention and Avoidance

=> Self-Defense Training Methods

Special Defensive Strategic Situations in Basketball

A number of strategic situations may not occur in every game, but they do pop up throughout a season, requiring the coach to be well versed in the correct combative strategy. Several of these strategic situations are:

DEFENSING THE BIG CENTER

Fortunately, a team usually does not have to face a high-scoring, big opponent in every game. However, special defensive strategy mustDE be employed when facing such a tall player.

As elementary as it is to state that the big center CANNOT SCORE WITHOUT POSSESSION OF THE BALL, this fact is the key to defensing that player. Once the big center gets the ball underneath, preventing a shot from this high-percentage area is virtually impossible and defensive fouls are often made. Consequently, the defense must be designed to stop the big, fast player from receiving the ball.
The following defenses restrict ball possession by the post player and, therefore, are recommended techniques for defensing this major threat:

1. The 1-3-1 zone defense
2. The 2-1-2 zone defense
3. The “sagging” man-for-man defense
4. The box-and-one combination defense
5. The full court press

Any of these defenses can prove effective against the high-scoring center. Most involve keeping a defensive player in front of the center to prevent him from receiving the ball. When using the full-court press, the object is to force ball-handling errors prior to getting the ball into position to pass into the big center. The full-court press can also cause the offense to set up its alignment so far from the basket that a pass in to the post player is more difficult.

In the event the post player receives the ball, some type of double-team strategy must be employed.

DEFENSING THE FAST BREAK

The key to a successful fast break is the speed with which the outlet pass is made after a rebound. Thus, strategy designed to stop the fast break begins with DELAYING THE OUTLET PASS. The best method of preventing the quick outlet is to press the rebounder and the outlet receiver. Force the rebounder to be cautious with the outlet pass or to take a dribble. Play so close to the outlet receiver that the rebounder fears an interception. This gives the other members of the defensive team sufficient time to retreat into proper defensive positions.

When opposing the fast breaking team, designate two players to check defense on every offensive play. One can take deep defensive position, while the other can press the outlet pass receiver. If two players do not remain back on defense, the opponent will undoubtedly get many 2-on-1 and 3-on-1 situations, which are quite hopeless if reasonably good ball-handlers are executing the break. When two players are kept back for defense, odds favor that at least one other player can retreat fast enough to get into defensive position.

The most successful strategic maneuver against the fast-breaking team is the use of ball-control or “slow break” tactics. The fast-breaking team loves to run and, when forced to play a slower game, can become nervous and overeager. Once they do gain possession, they tend to run and shoot as quickly as possible-in the majority of cases, too quickly. This over-eagerness to break often causes the fast-breaking team to take hurried and wild shots with no board strength and to make more fundamental mistakes. If fast breakers did not dislike facing slow-breaking opponents, they would not try to force the slow-breaking team to play a faster game. I have often seen a slow-breaking, methodical team, greatly inferior in talent, upset a fast-breaking team by refusing to run with them.

DEFENSING THE SLOW BREAK
One axiom that makes sense to many coaches is DON’T PLAY YOUR OPPONENTS’ GAME; FORCE THEM TO PLAY YOURS. This is an important point to remember in mapping basketball strategy, particularly for the fast-breaking team who faces a methodical, slow-breaking team. But it is very difficult to force a slow-breaking opponent to play a different type of game.

The fast-breaking team must try to force the slow-breaking team to speed up play. Therefore, some type of full of half-court pressing defense must be used. A full-court man-for-man press may prove successful. If not, changing to a zone press or some type of half-court press is sound strategy. Keep in mind that the pressing defense can gamble more with a slow-breaking team. This is because the methodical team does not count on taking advantage of errors that might be made by the pressing defensive team.

Another tactic is to double-team the opponents’ point guard or best ball handler and then deny him a return pass. This often improves the effectiveness of a press because it forces lesser ball-handlers to handle the basketball.

If pressing tactics are unsuccessful, emphasize the importance of OBTAINING GOOD SHOTS ONCE THE TEAM GETS THE BALL! Attempt to run if possible; however, do not run helter-skelter down the court and shoot the bad shot. If the ball-control team keeps the ball for 30 seconds before shooting (or longer if no shot clock is used) and the fast-breaking team throws it at the basket within 5 to 10 seconds after gaining possession, the fast-breaking team is playing directly into the hands of the slow-breaking team. The fast-breaking team will find themselves playing defense for three times as much as the methodical opponent is playing defense. Throughout a game, this can amount to the fast-breaking team being forced to play defense over three-quarters of the game.

ATTACKING THE STAR PLAYER
Quite often your opponents will boast of one player who is considered their star, and you will be faced with the problem of defensing this player. It is wise to have a battle plan for such an opponent that not only includes special defensive emphasis to stop this player, but an offensive pay directed at him as well. Many stars refuse to play defense. In fact, some coaches feel that placing a tough defensive assignment on their top scorer is too much of a burden. They believe that the star’s scoring effectiveness can be reduced this way. For this reason, direct your attack at the star to make the player play defense or give up an easy shot. On defense the star may commit more personal fouls than normal, possibly fouling out of the game.

Build defensive plans for the star player around reducing the number of times he gets the ball. The few the scoring opportunities, the less effective the player. If you are using a man-for-man defense, assign your best defensive player to the star and make sure the defensive player overplays and denies passes to the star. Once the star does receive the ball, the defensive player must exert constant pressure, and the other players must be ready to help. In a zone defense, the zone must constantly let each other know where the high-scoring player is so he can be properly pressured.

DEFENSING INDIVIDUAL WEAKNESSES
Because basketball requires the mastery of so many fundamentals, it is doubtful that even the most polished player has mastered them all. There are always individual weaknesses, and by careful observation, a coach can detect these weaknesses and adapt defenses to take advantage of them.

Possible individual weaknesses are too numerous to even attempt to list. A poor dribbler could be pressed into losing the ball often. A poor passer could be rushed after becoming “dead” (finished with the dribble). A good outside shooter who is a poor driver could be pressed. A player’s speed determines how close the defense should play. If a player is a good outside shooter but slow, the defense would guard tightly. If the player is a poor outside shooter, regardless of speed, the defense should drop off and help clog the area around the basket.

Many players are guilty of being “one-way drivers”. They establish the undesirable habit of driving only to the left or to the right. Once you detect the habit, the one-way driver is very easy to defend. When you know relatively little about your opponents, it is good strategy to play right-handers a half-step to their right and left-handers a half-step to their left. If one does drive the other way, change the defensive plan on that individual. However, if the player proves to be a one-way driver, there is no logic in playing straight away and allowing that player four or five drives before overplaying to one side.

Occasionally drivers are found who do not pass off on their drives. In this instance, defensive players can pick up the player with little fear of the driver passing off to someone else.

Post players often shoot with only one hand. When you notice this, have the defense overplay this post player accordingly.

These few weaknesses point out are selected only to stimulate thought as to the many possibilities the alert coach may be able to use to advantage.

Foreclosure Defense Strategy – Clients in Search of a New Paradigm

Documentary Clearing House and Associates (“DCH”) has pioneered a new strategy for attorneys who defend foreclosure cases. To date, DCH has produced three motions to assist attorneys implement the new strategy.

Viewed from afar, the short, unpleasant history of foreclosure during the last three years presents a sorry spectacle. Far too many judges in foreclosure proceedings have stopped behaving like judges and instead become advocates for the foreclosure mills. The parties that foreclose continue to ignore and avoid alternate dispute resolutions.

The government’s efforts to stem the tide of foreclosure and encourage alternate dispute resolutions have been feckless and dissipated. Most people being foreclosed have not discharged their legal obligation to defend themselves. Instead, many if not most foreclosure cases go to summary judgment uncontested. The resulting assault upon American homeownership has been systemic and overwhelming.

Many homeowners in foreclosure believe that legal representation is unaffordable. Unable to make monthly mortgage payments, they conclude that they have no means to hire a lawyer. The public sector which defends people who cannot afford a lawyer has been unable to mount an effective counter- response to foreclosure.

Too much time has been spent on tactics; too little time has been spent on strategy. Foreclosure defense is preoccupied with finding omissions, defects and deficiencies. The tactics tend to show that a rule has been violated.

Too many courts are inclined to forgive and forget. The courts dream up notions such as finding the non-compliance merely “technical” or that the foreclosure is within the “four corners of the loan agreement”.

DCH is calling for a change in strategy. What is needed is a new strategy which is effective and affordable. DCH’s new motion addresses both these requirements.

1. Employ generic defenses to make defense against foreclosure affordable to most of those facing foreclosure.

Instead of a case specific defense custom designed to meet the unique questions of fact and law unique to each case, a defense which most clients confronted by foreclosure can ill afford, DCH is providing pleadings and discovery where one size fits all. DCH is creating generic defenses. The foreclosure mills have declared war on defaulting mortgagors. The cost effective response to litigation filed by the foreclosure mills is counter-measures from a defense mill. DCH provides the bullets for attorneys to fire. By putting foreclosure one the assembly line, every client can afford to retain his or her own hired gun in a foreclosure battle..

There is a conundrum caused by the litigation protocol used in defense litigation to represent clients in foreclosure: It is effective and counterproductive at the same time. Lawyers are taught to approach each case as unique and upon its own merits. We are also taught to employ tactics to complicate the other side’s case and discover damaging information. Lawyers also try to use discovery to find errors and omissions in the other side’s case. A proficient litigator wages war upon the other side with motions, depositions, production of documents, interrogatories and requests for admissions and stipulations. Attorneys are taught that litigation cases are won and lost in pretrial preparation. Many believe that a successful outcome is predicated upon pre-trial strategy. Such tactics are p[art of the litigation protocol and have over time proven themselves to be effective and productive.

The problem lies neither with the tactics nor the strategy. Lawyers approach a litigation case like a tailor making a custom suit. Each case is entitled to receive its unique defense to custom fit the facts and law applicable to the case. The problem when it comes to foreclosure cases is the client. A client who cannot make mortgage payment can ill afford a custom suit. One reason so many cases go to uncontested adjudication is that the client has no way to pay for a custom tailored defense. Three of the four major areas for defense- a defective or fraudulent note, the provenance of the note and consumer protection and consumer fraud statutes and regulations- require an extensive proof of facts. No matter how meritorious the defense, it is not serviceable if a client cannot financially afford it.

Too many foreclosure defendants find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They lack the money required for a custom tailored defense; they cannot obtain legal services pro bono publico; and there are no neighborhood services available for which the defendants qualify financially. Many of these defendants wind up having to appear pro se and lack the ability to do so. A trained attorney litigating against a lay person is an unfair contest for which the lay person is ill equipped to succeed. For every individual who can manage competently to defend against foreclosure, there are countless scores who cannot. Compelled by foreclosure to defend themselves and unable to do so, these homeowners are buried by the judicial system without having a day in court before they lose their homes.

Under these circumstances, lawyers must begin to consider a different strategy. Maybe if a client cannot afford a custom suit, it behooves counsel to take a suit off the rack. To accommodate a wider base of foreclosure defense cases, it is necessary to develop and implement generic strategies where one size fits all. Such strategies would not be dependent upon the facts, circumstances and laws unique to each case. Instead, such a strategy would be dependent upon facts, circumstances and laws which a large number of foreclosure cases have in common.

In this connection, DCH has concluded that the fourth area of defense, securitization, provides a uniquely fruitful field for generic defenses. Factors common to and endemic in all securitizations of mortgages are vulnerable to attack in cases after case where a mortgage has been securitized. A one size fits all defense tactic which is replicable in case after case becomes exponentially more cost effective than a client specific, one time use defense.

The foreclosure mills have stolen a march on the mortgage defense bar. The client base of the foreclosure mill is determined to foreclose at the lowest possible expense. Accordingly they have provided a large number of cases at a fixed rate of compensation per case. This has caused the foreclosure mills to put foreclosure on the assembly line. The tendency to file the same pleadings in case after case irrespective of the facts of the case has led to untold abuses of foreclosure. Nonetheless, by treating foreclosure pleadings as scalable, the foreclosure mills achieve the economies of scale. This serves to reduce the average cost per case.

Defense counsel can succeed by following the example of the foreclosure mills. Instead of custom designed defense, counsel must substitute off the rack, scalable defenses. Such a change in strategy opens up a new and different set of tactics. To date, DCH has produced two motions attacking securitization. One argues that the mortgage is unenforceable. The second argue that the mortgage note is unenforceable. Both apply to any mortgage which has been securitized. DCH has developed a third motion to use in Florida which asserts that the trust is unregistered and therefore unenforceable. All three motions are generic and are not unique to a specific case.

2. Proactively anticipate and address the concern of most judges regarding unjust enrichment if the debtor prevails in a foreclosure defense.

What the courts are saying is that foreclosure defenses as presented defend the indefensible. That a creditor should forfeit the loan because of a technical defect is an inequitable outcome. The debtor is not entitled to an unearned windfall which is precisely the result for which the defense consistently argues. So long as nullification of the debt is the outcome if defendant wins, defendants will continue to lose. Defendants will not succeed in overturning foreclosures unless and until defendants explicitly seek a remedy other than cancellation of the debt.

To succeed, a defense against foreclosure cannot be a one way ticket to a free lunch for the debtor. Most judges will not render a judgment they deem to have an inequitable outcome. Unjust enrichment of the debtor from an undeserved windfall often is used as a rationale which justifies disregarding defects in the foreclosure proceedings. Most judges believe that the debtor borrowed and received the money and should be obligated to repay the loan.

DCH’s most recent motion explicitly states that if the motion is granted, the court should use its equitable authority to declare a constructive trust or constructive mortgage and afford defendant a viable opportunity to effect an alternate dispute resolution. In short, instead of leaving the decision concerning modification at the sole discretion of the parties controlling the securitization, the court would now makes its own determination and more equitably protect the rights of all parties concerned. This affords the defense the proactive opportunity to address the issue of unjust enrichment. It also allows the court order an alternate dispute resolution where the outcome would reduce the loss inflicted upon the creditor.

The judicial choice is not limited to either conferring a windfall upon a defaulted “deadbeat” or allowing large financial institutions to flout existing laws. There is no reason that the note does not properly evidence a debt which has not been paid-even if the note holder is not evident.

Even if the note is legally unenforceable, the court may declare a constructive trust. The court can declare a constructive trust or constructive mortgage and assure payment of the trust and certificate holders. As a constructive trust or mortgage, the court may impose conditions. For example:

(a) Review foreclosure fees and charges.
(b) Consider compliance with consumer protection laws and avoidance of consumer fraud. Where damages have been suffered by the debtor, the court may allow a set-off.
(c) The Court may order mandatory mediation or arbitration.
(d) The Court may modify in any way deemed equitable and appropriate, the mortgage to enable the debtor to make timely payments and the creditor to recover payment of the debt.

The court may consider a wide range of modifications to the note to allow an alternate dispute resolution. This would go a long way to mitigating financial loss to the creditor and moving foreclosure from a first resort to a last recourse.

3. In an adversarial system the person sued is under a legal obligation to defend against the cause of action. Every person in foreclosure requires a competent legal defense; and an affordable legal defense is available.

Our adversarial system of justice legally obligates a person who is sued to appear and defend. A defendant who fails to appear and defend loses the case by default. In civil proceedings, the law provides each defendant only with the opportunity to defend, not a defense. Judges preside to hear a case and make judgment. The judge does not represent or defend the rights of the party filing suit or the defendant. It is shocking and saddening to realize how many Adult Americans do not realize and understand their legal obligation to defend when they are sued. Such ignorance is a function of an inadequate educational system and an indifferent media.

The avalanche of foreclosures resulting by adjudication in uncontested cases demonstrates how many homeowners fail to realize that they have an opportunity, duty and obligation to appear and defend against foreclosure. The message is lot that effective, affordable and realistic defense of foreclosure has the highest likelihood of achieving an alternate dispute resolution whose consequences to the debtor are significantly preferable to foreclosure.

The members of the bar who want to defend clients against foreclosure need to get out a message. Every person in foreclosure requires a competent legal defense; and an affordable legal defense is available. Most families in foreclosure believe they are helpless victims, overwhelmed by forces beyond their control. The foreclosure mills are posed to exploit this state of mind.

A different message needs to be published and widely disseminated. Most people today have learned that with the advances in modern medicine it is far better to treat a disease than succumb to it. The same principal applies to defense against foreclosure. Most people, however, are unaware that affordable “treatments” for foreclosure ailments are available.

There are many public spirited people, including members of the bar, who have selflessly given their times and work product to enable individuals to act pro se and represent themselves. In many places, people in foreclosure are invited to participate in symposia which are aimed at educating defaulting debtors regarding their rights and remedies. To the extent these programs educate the public about the choices and expectations relating to foreclosure of a home, they perform a valuable public service. The non-profit mortgage counseling conducted by HUD affiliated counselors is an excellent example of public education about debtor’s options and choices in foreclosure.

To the extent, these symposia try to empower a debtor to defend pro se against counsel from a foreclosure mill, the undertaking is an exercise in futility. The average homeowner is unable to effectively defend against a foreclosure in a judicial proceeding. Busy, overworked judges have no patience with quixotic tyros tilting against windmills.

4. Use asymmetric defense tactics to thwart foreclosure mills.

The profitability of foreclosure mill operations is a function of the number of cases resulting in uncontested foreclosure. For these operations, time is money. The less time allocated to successful adjudication of a case, given the fact that compensation is capped, the more profitable. Conversely, the more time required to prosecute a case, the less profitable it becomes. DCH’s motions to dismiss require opposing counsel to do extensive, time consuming legal research. A response will consume substantial legal resources and billable hours which are not billable.

In defending a foreclosure, every attorney should have an off the shelf, standardized discovery package. Where a mortgage is securitized, DCH is working on a discovery package of requests for production of documents, requests for admissions and interrogatories, motions to compel answers and production if required, document checklists and annotations and notes explaining why a specific document is required or question needs to be answered.

The ultimate goal is to bring down the cost of legal care, just like health care, to make it affordable to one and all.

Conclusion