Can an attorney contact the police without my permission? 17 Answers as of February 13, 2012

I received a "Legal Marketing" letter from a lawyer I never heard of 2 days after an incident (no arrest) which said he got my name from public records and he suspected I was arrested and that a case was probably being put together against me right now. I've heard he could've got my name/address from public records but for him to send me a letter like this just seems wrong to me. Can this lawyer pursue to incident further or get info like my social security number or drivers license? Identify theft is such a concern as is someone sending an unsolicited letter like this with veiled threats.

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Law Office of Mark Bruce
Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
This is something you need to report to the state bar. It's called solicitation and it's contrry to the rules of ethics. But no, the attorney likely will not get private information from the police.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2012
Law Offices of James A Bates
Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
"Jail mail" has been allowed for several years. I do not engage in that because I think it is sleasy. Also, if some family members who you would rather not hear about the charges may open the mail. But there is no way to stop "jail mail". It is just a service lawyers can buy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/6/2012
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Never, ever consider hiring an Attorney who tries to scare you, or talks about how bad the case could be unless you pay him or her large sums of money (particularly, e.g., paying all the way through trial ("That way you'll be covered!") up front). Ever. The solicitation you received is called "Jail Mail", and is a common method of advertising services. Many Attorneys do not use "Jail Mail". Some Attorneys who use Jail Mail are good, decent attorneys. Some are very poor lawyers, and you will even receive solicitations from Attorneys who are not really Criminal Defense practitioners, but who practice Civil Law, or Bankruptcy, or Immigration, or Family Law, but who solicit Criminal Law cases (particularly DUI cases) for... What else? Money. You have to do a little digging. It will be hard for your to tell if the Attorney is any good, or not. Find out how many kinds of law they practice. More than about two? Keep looking. Never respect scare tactics. Talk to more than one potential Attorney before hiring anyone. Shop around. Unfortunately, it is difficult to ask other lawyers about a competing colleague. Backbiting is common, as competition is fierce, particularly in this economy. The most expensive is absolutely not the best. Huge, color expensive ad? Massive, expensive website with tons of Search Engine Optimization? Guess who will be paying for all of that? That's right - you will. Look for an experienced local Attorney who knows the area of law thoroughly, who focuses on the type of law you need help with, and who handles their cases personally. What do you expect if you hire an Attorney out of Orange County orLos Angeles, for example, for a case in Southwestern Riverside County? They typicallypay another attorney a small fee to appear on the case. The appearingattorney does not really work for the other lawyer. It is just a Special Appearance, even if they go on record as your lawyer. They do not share a significant portion of your retainer. How effectively do you think you will be represented if the Attorney you paid money to never appears in Court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/5/2012
Law Offices of James H. Dippery, Jr. | James H. Dippery, Jr.
Unfortunately, 'anyone' can contact law enforcement without your permission. But the value of doing so by someone who 'knows nothing about anything' would be extremely limited. I share your concern about such unsolicited contact as the letter your received, but there is little you can do about it. Some attorneys will, without regard to their ability or qualifications, try to do whatever they can to make the buck. Attorney's like that give us all a bad name.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/5/2012
Rizio & Nelson
Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
Yes, a lot of sleazy attorneys pay money for "jail mail" (access to arrest records) and pepper people with unsolicited ads. Common practice, but not one that most reputable lawyers engage in.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/5/2012
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
    This is what lawyers call "jail mail." Some lawyers or their agents search through recent arrest and jail records to get the names of people arrested, then send them letters trying to get business. Unfortunately, it is not illegal unless they cross the line. No, your social security number and other private information is not accessible. If you feel any lawyer is acting unethically you can contact the State Bar.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    The attorney can send you advertisements to your address, which is a public record (so is your DL#). However, your social security number is off limits.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Don't know that there were threats. However, the letter may be an inappropriate solicitation. Send it to the California State Bar.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    this contact is perfectly legal in California. Lawyers are generally not allowed to contact potential clients unless they have reason to believe that the person is in need of their services. As far as how they obtain the information, it is public information. there is a good reason for that. imagine that a family member of yours is snatched by the government with no word of what happened to them. That would seem fair, so instead of hiding the information we make it available to anyone who wants the information.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    An attorney is able to retrieve information on your arrest or charge. This is available form public sources and part of public record as you said. There are numerous law offices that send out unsolicited letters seeking a client. If you receive solicitations that you think are unethical you should throw them away and select an attorney you like or use the public defender. An attorney cannot retrieve the information that is required for ID theft.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Usually these letters are obtained through public records. The attorney is soliciting business and does probably does not have access to other sensitive information.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Law Offices of Paula Drake
    Law Offices of Paula Drake | Paula Drake
    It sounds like a form of advertising. Some lawyers pay companies to provide them with a list of names of arrestees and they send out bulk advertising. You are probably one of hundreds that got the same form letter. If you think it is something other than that, you may want to consult a reputable criminal attorney to look into it for you. I do not believe that lawyers who use that form of advertising plan to contact the police or do anything else regarding a case unless and until they are retained by the client; it is usually just an advertising campaign.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Thomas C. Brandstrader Attorney At Law | Thomas C. Brandstrader
    It is wrong. It is solicitation of a client and this lawyer should be reported to your state bar association.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    This is very very common. Lawyers call this "Jail Mail." The lawyer gets information from public records and sends out letters to all the people that were arrested for a given offense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    I seriously doubt he/she will contact the police or get the information you are concerned with. There are companies that go to the police station of every town and write the names and addressesof those arrested; they sell them to lawyers who then send them one of these bullshit letters. Usually it happens in DUI cases. I have a DUI client who got NINE (9) of these solicitations. Any lawyer who has to pay for names to get clients is not someone I would ever hire. These guys are whores. Years ago it wasa Bar offense to do any sort of advertising by lawyers of course including this. But then the court started agreeing that it was a First Amendment right. This is the only time I have ever cursed the First Amendment for allowing this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Arrest and other police reports are (within some guidelines) available. There are companies that comb those records, sell the information to attorneys to send out what's known as "jail mail". Attorneys that use these services will often try to strike quickly and get their fliers, letters and even coupons in front of people recently arrested, hoping to sign them up quickly. They are often sent out by large firms that then farm out the actual representation to junior attorneys. You're not the only one that's been offended by such advertising. It's legal. You can certainly call the firm that sent you the letter and give them a piece of your mind.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/4/2012
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