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JulieHowe
09-10-2009, 05:21 AM
My main character just torched her ex-husband's car, and now she's being formally interviewed by the police. Her lawyer's in the room with her. As a suspect, would she also be allowed to have an advocate in the room with her, or is that a privilege reserved only for crime victims? If so, can the advocate also act as her foreign language interpreter, or would the police department bring in their own interpreter?

Also, a second question. She doused the inside of the car - the upholstery and floor mats - with lighter fluid and then ignited it by tossing lit matches through the open windows. Am I correct that this fire will take at least a few minutes to fully ignite, giving her enough time to get away? Is there a better way to torch the inside of a car? It's a four-door luxury sedan.

Thanks!

hammerklavier
09-10-2009, 07:19 AM
Certain flammables would be slow burning enough that she should be able to get away before it becomes an inferno. Especially if the windows are just "cracked" rather than full down. However, the light from the fire would be evident very quickly if this occurs at night. Are you talking about lighter fluid for starting a charcoal barbecue? That should work fine.

JulieHowe
09-10-2009, 08:15 AM
Certain flammables would be slow burning enough that she should be able to get away before it becomes an inferno. Especially if the windows are just "cracked" rather than full down. However, the light from the fire would be evident very quickly if this occurs at night. Are you talking about lighter fluid for starting a charcoal barbecue? That should work fine.

Yes, lighter fluid for a barbecue. Thanks for the mention about the windows being cracked open rather than rolled all the way down. I'll change that detail in my story. Thanks!

The Lonely One
09-10-2009, 08:34 AM
Where I live you can have a lawyer present during a police interview. As I recall one of our department's cases got thrown out because they recorded a confidential conversation between a man and his lawyer as part of their evidence against him.

The State Attorney's Office wasn't happy. The media had a field day.

PeterL
09-10-2009, 04:51 PM
My main character just torched her ex-husband's car, and now she's being formally interviewed by the police. Her lawyer's in the room with her. As a suspect, would she also be allowed to have an advocate in the room with her, or is that a privilege reserved only for crime victims? If so, can the advocate also act as her foreign language interpreter, or would the police department bring in their own interpreter?



As the Miranda warning goes, someone can have a lawyer present during any questioning. One does not have to answer any police questions without a lawyer present. The police would allow a lawyer as an interpreter, and in most places they would be happy that they didn't have to provide an interpreter.

jclarkdawe
09-10-2009, 06:10 PM
My main character just torched her ex-husband's car, and now she's being formally interviewed by the police. Her lawyer's in the room with her. As a suspect, would she also be allowed to have an advocate in the room with her, or is that a privilege reserved only for crime victims? If so, can the advocate also act as her foreign language interpreter, or would the police department bring in their own interpreter? The lawyer is her advocate. The police would not allow another person, not an attorney, into the room to act as a advocate. If the police didn't have an interpreter easily available, they'd be in seventh heaven to have her supply one. But she would need a significant level of inability to understand English before they would want an interpreter. An interpreter allows someone time in coming up with an answer and produces mistakes.

Also, a second question. She doused the inside of the car - the upholstery and floor mats - with lighter fluid and then ignited it by tossing lit matches through the open windows. Am I correct that this fire will take at least a few minutes to fully ignite, giving her enough time to get away? Is there a better way to torch the inside of a car? It's a four-door luxury sedan. Cars burn fairly easily, including the interior. All those plastics.

First off, an amateur would take the entire can of lighter fluid and spread it over the interior. Most people use too much of this sort of stuff rather than too little. It's actually the fumes that burn, so the interior of the car would fill with fumes.

If the car windows were up, this means that she probably would throw the match through the door and then shut the door. Car would catch with a "Whoop!" and probably the entire interior would erupt in flames, with some shooting out the door. If she gets the door shut, fire would then die down, as smoke starts to fill the car. Interior of car would become more and more filled with smoke and heat until it became hot enough for the pressure and heat to blow out the windows, at which point the car would burst into flames again, and would become fully involved in about 30 seconds.

If the windows are down, as per the Idiots Guide to Torching Cars, she'll stand in front of the window and toss a match in. (Better position is to stand behind the rear roof posts and face away from the car as you toss the match.) Car would flash with flames shooting out the windows, then settle back to a steady burn.

Either way, potential is to get some serious burns, but God loves idiots, so usually you walk away free and clear, although with the crap scared out of you. Her clothes would receive a fine layer of ash and probably some of the lighter fluid would be discoverable under a microscope.

Gas tank would cook off, with the gasoline evaporating and burning that way. You would not have the explosion you see on TV. After the first two seconds, biggest danger would be the bumpers, which are on cylinders which can explode, sending the bumpers flying.

Of course, being an idiot, she'll toss the empty can of lighter fluid in the car before the match. Otherwise, the likelihood of an arson investigation in a car is unlikely. However, if an arson investigation is done, the accelerate will be discovered.

Thanks!

Have fun if you try this at home.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

RJK
09-10-2009, 06:43 PM
If you're story takes place in the U.S., the Miranda decision requires that the police offer and make an attorney available to ANYONE before they question them about a crime. Normally, if the person is a witness, and they do not suspect the person of any crime, they don't give the Miranda warning. The criteria, for requiring the Miranda warning, is:

The police must have the person in custody - this could be simply forcing him to answer questions while standing on a street corner.
The police must ask questions about a crime or criminal activity. Asking for identification or a persons address, etc. doesn't fall under Miranda.
The person must feel he is being compelled to answer. The authority of the badge and gun have been found to be enough to satisfy this criteria.


To answer your question, Yes, the lawyer would be present, and he most likely, would advise his client to say nothing, which is her right under the 5th amendment.

smcc360
09-10-2009, 08:41 PM
If she's a suspect, she gets to have a lawyer present if she wants one. Another person present, as an 'advocate'? No.

If it were my case, I'd want to supply the interpreter. I don't want to hear any nonsense at trial about how what I asked or what she said was conveniently 'mis-translated' by the interpreter she/her lawyer provided.

She'd be better off dousing the car and tossing in a lit road flare from a little distance away, to avoid flash-up. Gasoline would work better, because of the fumes. But it's more dangerous, because of the fumes.

JulieHowe
09-11-2009, 03:51 AM
Have fun if you try this at home.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

It's all for research. :) Great information. Thanks!

JulieHowe
09-11-2009, 03:53 AM
If she's a suspect, she gets to have a lawyer present if she wants one. Another person present, as an 'advocate'? No.

If it were my case, I'd want to supply the interpreter. I don't want to hear any nonsense at trial about how what I asked or what she said was conveniently 'mis-translated' by the interpreter she/her lawyer provided.

She'd be better off dousing the car and tossing in a lit road flare from a little distance away, to avoid flash-up. Gasoline would work better, because of the fumes. But it's more dangerous, because of the fumes.

Thanks!