Ask Our Lawyer – September 2019

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services


 What do you do when the men and women in blue show up? What are your rights and what should happen? We get many inquiries from parents, neighbors, and concerned friends about their rights and what to expect. The following tips should help:

  1. When am I arrested? You are arrested (or considered under arrest) when officers deprive you of your freedom of movement in order to have you answer for an alleged crime.
  2. They want to question me – what are my rights? Just like in those TV shows, you have the right to remain silent. If you don’t keep silent, anything you say can be used in court against you. If you start answering questions, you can stop at any time. You have the right to speak with your lawyer and have them with you during questioning.
  3. The cops won’t let me go, but they haven’t arrested me. Can they do that? An officer can temporarily detain you in order to ask for identification and to get an explanation of your presence at a particular time. You can be subject to a limited pat-down search to ensure that you have no weapons if the officer believes you are armed. You have the right not to answer the questions, but if you refuse to give any identification, the officer may have grounds to arrest you. Once this temporary detention is over, the officer must either arrest you or let you proceed on your way.
  4. They want to arrest me, but don’t have a warrant. Officers can make an arrest without a warrant if they witness the offense being committed. They can also make an arrest if they receive information from a credible person that the suspect committed a felony and is about to escape.
  5. I got hurt when I was arrested. How much force can they use? An officer is entitled to use reasonable and necessary force to overcome resistance. These terms are relative, so the amount of force they can use depends on the situation.
  6. They want to search my house. Do I have to let them? An officer may conduct a limited search of the surroundings without a warrant. If you are in your home, they may seize contraband, stolen property, or evidence of a crime in plain sight. They may also check the residence for accomplices. If you are in your car, they can search for weapons that could be used against them. They may not conduct a broader search without a warrant, unless they reasonably believe that the vehicle has evidence of crime or contraband.
  7. I’ve been arrested. Now what? You are going to be taken to the detention facility, where you will be able to talk to an attorney. They should also tell you the charge being alleged. You can be required to participate in a lineup, give a handwriting sample, give a blood or urine sample, or perform certain other tasks.
  8. I want out! Bail may or may not be set for your case, depending on the seriousness of the charge. If the charge is relatively minor, you may be released on your own recognizance. You can also petition the court to reduce the amount of bail set.
  9. Where can I get a lawyer? If you don’t already know one, you can call your state or county bar association or us for a referral to criminal lawyers. If you can’t afford to hire an attorney, you should tell the judge, who will ask you questions to determine if you qualify for a public defender.
  10. My kid just called from jail. What rights do they have? Children have the same substantive rights as adults. In addition, they have the right to have a parent with them when being questioned. Also, the procedures in juvenile court are generally closed to the public.


A reader reports: I participated in the ABATE course in Indianapolis. I was hesitant to try something so new and extreme, but found it to be an amazing experience. I would like to share what I gained from this experience that you, so generously, support. Before taking this class, I had no experience riding motorcycles, but sought to become a safe rider. With energy, enthusiasm, and some anxious nerves, I opened myself up for a long and exciting weekend. From the very start, I knew my instructors would make this the best experience I could ask for. They were thorough, patient, and enthusiastic about everything they taught me and my fellow students. With every step we took and skill we practiced, the instructors were by our sides guiding us, but also letting us learn how to do things ourselves. I not only enhanced my skills and knowledge about safe riding, but my confidence grew, too. The instructors saw that growing confidence, and had me lead the group in activities to support it. I had such a wonderful weekend with my ABATE friends. I learned how to be a safe, efficient rider, but developed relationships and met friends, too. I cannot thank you enough for supporting such an amazing cause. Please continue to do whatever you can to keep the ABATE courses running so well. I would hate to see what would happen if the only means of learning safe riding was no longer in existence. Again, I thank you for your continued support!

Sincerely, an ABATE student

ABATE LEGAL is proud to be a sponsor of the ABATE Motorcycle Safety Training course and plan to be involved for many years to come. 


 Many bikers go off the road violently and do not make it. Many assume they just lost it. I have another theory – weird wind.  I have a friend who is a member of ABATE, and a biker’s biker – a motorcyclist perfected. He also happens to be a pilot – not just a pilot, but an airline transport commercial pilot. When it comes to wind, he knows all you need to know. Except a while back, Mother Nature threw him a new one – “weird wind.” It was a really hot, gusty day, on the flats of Illinois, just perfect for dust devils, wind shear – all the weird winds. Running with good speed down the state highway, he noticed the violent wind from the left and the front end climb up first, then the rear wheel oscillation, and finally, a violent high side to the right. He may have been shoved to the right and just lost it. Who knows?

Looks like he may be back to walking, riding and flying in a few, if he is lucky. What happened, and how do we learn from his experience?  Some blame the incident on a microburst that nailed

him. Whatever it was – it was invisible. Bikers and pilots suffer the same exposure. Years ago, I was flying with a buddy in a Cessna 140. He too is a hard core biker. I asked him about his greatest fear with flying. He said “weird wind.” What can you do to avoid it? Be aware of weather that causes wind shear and microbursts, but other than that, it is like getting hit by lightning. To avoid that, you have to stay home, but that is not like us, is it?


Cary Scott stayed at a hotel recently, La Quinta Inn.   He is a good customer and will be returning in a couple of weeks.  His job as a project engineer takes him all over the U.S., an ABATE member, and regularly reads this column.  He is a stand tall, pays his bills, supports his family, votes, never been sued or ever sued anyone kind of guy, and a pretty good pool player.  And he needed some help from ABATE LEGAL.

Here is the problem.  In early December, he was leaving the Inn, minding his own business, watching where he was going and slipped on the wet tile at the exit door all the while wearing Wolverine boots with one of the best non slip soles God ever made.  Partially catching himself in the fall, Scott injured himself and tore a leather coat. The staff at the hotel quickly placed a weather mat at the hotel entry to take care of the slippery nature of the tile. ADMISSION NUMBER ONE. There is also a video camera at this entrance area.  ADMISSION NUMBER TWO.  After the treating doc examined him, a prescription for pain pills was given and he went about his way.  Hopefully he just got shot at and missed and would be ok in a few.   All of this was communicated to the folks at the hotel and they promised that they would get with him regarding his medical bills and damaged coat – over a month ago. ADMISSION NUMBER THREE.


After getting no response from La Quinta, Scott called ABATE LEGAL as he suspected they were ignoring him.  In today’s world many companies pass their responsibilities to companies with nefarious names like “risk pool managers, risk assessment evaluators, risk adjustment bureaus” etc.  You get the idea.  Just like in a John Wayne movie – they went that away.  My experience is that delay, avoidance and the like are part of the strategy – “if we don’t call them back maybe THEY will go away and we don’t have to pay THEM.”  “Let’s make it too hard to deal with us.”  Hopefully that will not be the case with La Quinta – but we shall see.

Scott is a straight shooter and only wants to be reimbursed for his losses.  He has read my previous article on signing releases and so he knows that nothing should be signed that would waive any right to claims he may have for permanent injuries.  He needs to continue with his medical treatment to make sure that his problems are not permanent and that he will not need surgery in the future.  Nothing worse than having signed a full and complete release for a few hundred bucks, only find out a couple of months later that you need shoulder surgery and may not be able to do your job – or worse.

In the meantime Scott will copy me on all correspondence to La Quinta and their “risk pool manager.”  Hopefully that will help; and hopefully his injuries are temporary; and hopefully the hotel will do the right thing and that I will not be needed.  But if I am needed, we are prepared to help him to the next step because it is the right thing to do.  And he wants his experience published so that others can benefit from his efforts.  We will keep you posted as his case develops.  Remember that America is one of the safest countries in the world according to my theory.  First, we don’t want to get hurt ourselves, Second, we don’t want to hurt others, and finally, if you have to pay for what you break you are that much more careful.  It is that simple.

Postscript — Scott had to sue to get the matter resolved.


Q: I have been married for 22 years, but we are no longer getting along. She is my sole beneficiary under my Last Will and Testament – CAN I CUT HER OUT OF MY WILL?

A: Most states let you do what you want with your stuff [personal property and real estate] when you die. However, most states will not let you cut out your spouse completely unless they agree. In many states, including Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, a surviving spouse can renounce your Will if you have cut her out and elect to receive a percentage of your assets, regardless of what you provide for in your Will. And you thought you got rid of him/her!


 Q: I want to do my will, but I’m not sure what I should put in it or what I need to consider when I’m doing my will.

A: Anybody who’s ever heard me speak at one of the state seminars  knows that I think everybody should have a will. They don’t have to be complex, and they don’t have to be expensive. We do wills for ABATE members for free!

When you are ready to make a will, there are several things you will need to think about and come to a decision on:

  • Who should receive my property?
  • Who should take care of my minor children?
  • Do I need to create a trust for my spouse or minor/adult children?
  • Do I want to make any charitable gifts?
  • Should my life insurance go to a trustee or directly to the beneficiaries?
  • Who do I want to administer my will?
  • What about taxes?

If you already have a will, you should review it to make sure it is up to date and reflects changes in your marital status or changes in the beneficiaries you named.

And by the way, there are several requirements that have to be met to ensure that the will is valid. In general, the will has to be made by some over 18 and of sound mind and memory. Also, it must be in writing, signed by the maker, and witnessed (with signatures) of two disinterested persons (not anyone who would benefit from or is named in the will). Upon the death of the person who made the will, it is presented to the court, who will make sure it is valid and provide appropriate orders to make sure the instructions are carried out.

If you don’t have a will, or want to make changes to your will, call ABATE  LEGAL SERVICES. We will do your will for you, free of charge!

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery motorcycle crash cases, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery.  In those cases, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to their motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: © 2019.

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