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Breathalyzer

DUI? Field Sobriety Exercises? Attorney Travis Koon

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DO YOU HAVE TO PERFORM FIELD SOBRIETY EXERCISE?  HAVE YOU BEEN ARRESTED FOR DUI AND NEED TO SPEAK TO A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY? 

DUI-Don’t Walk, Talk or Audition for Your Freedom

Lake City, Miami, and Gainesville, Florida Attorney

The charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is usually a misdemeanor, but depending on circumstances may be charged as a felony.  To be considered a DUI, the driver needs to be found with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher and be in control of a vehicle.  But other than that, each state differs in their charges and laws.

 

A DUI may be a felony charge if bodily harm is inflicted onto another person, having a child in the vehicle, having prior DUI convictions, or if driving on a restricted, suspended, or revoked license… again, these laws differ from state to state.  There are too many unknowns for a person to try to fight a DUI conviction alone, please don’t attempt to defend yourself.  If a person cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint one for you.

 

Because of the differences from state to state and that the ramifications of a DUI charge are severe, it is extremely important to hire a good criminal defense attorney in the state of the offense.  Attorney Travis Koon is a member of the Florida and Georgia Bar.  We encourage each individual to hire an attorney experienced with the laws in the State the person is accused of committing the crime.

ATTORNEY TRAVIS KOON-DUI & CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

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Florida law states that if a person is driving a vehicle, they have given consent to submit to a chemical test to determine the blood alcohol content, this is known as implied consent; but the driver does have the right to refuse the test.  If the driver refuses the test, the driver could loose his license up to one year.  On the other hand, if the driver does refuse to submit to the breath, blood or urine test, Attorney Travis Koon can assist the individual and help the person obtain a business purpose license in specific circumstances.  Just because a person fails to blow, provide a blood and/or urine sample does not mean the person is automatically going to jail and/or will not be able to drive forever.  Contacting a criminal defense attorney to advise you of your rights is recommended because the process is difficult to understand, the procedure is complicated and being properly advised as to how to fight your case are important.

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There are consequences when refusing a breathalyzer test, the following are a possibility:

1st offense of refusal = driver’s license suspended for 1 year (you can obtain a business purpose permit to driver to and from work, to and from school and to and from church but you must follow a very strict procedure to do so in Florida)

2nd offense of refusal = driver’s license suspended for 18 months and minimum 10 days jail time (no hardship allowed in Florida.)

3rd offense of refusal = driver’s license suspended for 18 months and minimum 30 days jail time (no hardship.)

 

An arraignment is when the defendant appears before a judge to be formally charged with a crime and have the court appoint an attorney if the person cannot afford one on their own.  It is at this time the defendant, or their attorney, can enter a plea of either guilty, ask for a trial by judge, ask for a trial by jury, or try to plea bargain down the charges.

 

In some circumstances, a DUI can be pleaded down to a “wet reckless” charge.  This is considered a reckless driving involving alcohol charge and has less severe penalties than a DUI conviction.

 

On the flip side, if you are pulled over and the officer has the suspicion of DUI, but you know you have not been drinking alcohol, it is well within your right to ask for a breathalyzer test to assert your innocence.

 

A DUI conviction can have harsh and long lasting repercussions; it is in your best interest to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney.  The Law Offices of Travis Koon are highly qualified Florida attorneys that have the knowledge and experience you need.    We have attorneys in Miami, attorneys in Gainesville, and attorneys in Lake City – giving people several location options.  Being charged with a DUI is an intimidating situation to be in, let us help guide you through this trying time.

 

EXPERIENCED GAINESVILLE AND LAKE CITY, FLORIDA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

 

At www.koonlegal.com and Attorney Travis Koon, we know that if found guilty, some of these charges can change your life completely.

 

At www.koonlegal.com , Criminal Defense Attorney Travis Koon, is a trained and skilled attorney that will assess your situation and argue the best defense for your case. Attorney Travis Koon has represented people charged with crimes his entire career. Criminal Defense Attorney Travis Koon has helped over 1,500 clients avoid jail time and the loss of their freedom. Attorney Travis Koon has conducted over 40 criminal trials and many of those trials were in the immediately area surrounding Live Oak, Florida, Lake City, Florida and Gainesville, Florida. Attorney Travis Koon is a member of the Florida Bar and Georgia Bar. In addition, Attorney Travis Koon is a member of the Federal Middle District and Northern District. Attorney Travis Koon is experienced in criminal cases in State and Federal Court.

 

Koonlegal

Travis Koon, Attorney

Criminal Attorney

Live Oak, Lake City & Gainesville, Florida

Live Oak and Lake City-386-597-0000

Gainesville-352-729-1211

traviskoon@koonlegal.com

www.koonlegal.com

Police Stop

What does Innocent Until Proven Guilty Mean in Florida?

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Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

The justice system was built upon the theory that all people are innocent until proven guilty.   In order to convict a person the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime.  This is all good and well, unless a person is found guilty when they are truly innocent.

 

It is scary to think that this happens at all, much less more than we like to think.  Some feel that knowing about all the wrongful convictions can undermine the public’s confidence in the judicial system.    In 1996, C. Ronald Huff, Arye Rattner, and Edward Sagarin wrote a book that estimated about 10,000 people were in jail for crimes they didn’t commit[1].

 

Take William Jackson for example; a Columbus, OH man who was found guilty of raping several women in the 1980’s.  After serving 5 years, it was found that a physician was responsible for the crimes.  The physician was similar in appearance and had the same last name.[2]

 

So how does this happen?  How are this many innocent people found guilty?  Huff’s research found that many of the convictions were based on eye witness’s wrong identification, followed by perjury and the public pressure to solve cases can result in overzealous police officers.

 

In an instance such as this, it is more important to have an attorney on your team.  The attorneys at The Law Office of Travis Koon understand that it is possible for a person to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  We fight for our clients start to finish, our goal is leave no rock unturned and to provide our clients with the best defense under the law.

 

Anytime you are being charged with a crime, you need an attorney by your side.  Don’t try to navigate the court system alone, let those who have studied and understand all aspects of the law fight for you.  Our attorneys at The Law Office of Travis Koon have the experience in the courtroom and the negotiation table that you deserve.  Visit one of our locations at either Lake City, Gainesville, or Miami.  We are here to fight on your side.

 

Travis Koon

Attorney

386-597-0000

352-729-1211

www.koonlegal.com

 

When is the time right to file for Bankruptcy?

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Is it Time to File for Bankruptcy?

 Sitting down with the checkbook and a stack of bills each month can be a daunting experience.  When the money going out of the bank account is more than the money coming in – it’s time to look for a way out of debt.

What is Bankruptcy?

Federal laws have been established to help individuals and companies find relief from debts and to be able to make a fresh start.  These laws were created to help honest but unfortunate debtors that have fallen into financial hardships with little to no reprieve.

There are 2 different types of bankruptcy that can be filed, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates all non-exempt assets to pay off the creditors.  This is preferred if a debtor has little income and large unsecured debts such as medical bills and credit cards.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganizes debt and uses a payment plan to pay down the creditors.  This is preferred if a debtor has income but wants to avoid foreclosure or needs time to catch up on all financial obligations.

You need to understand that bankruptcy may not clear you of all financial responsibilities.  You may be required to pay secured loans such as the mortgage, student loans, alimony, and child support.

When to File

There are times we would all like to walk away and start new; it is time to seriously consider bankruptcy when:

  • You have been out of work for an extended period of time with little to no unemployment or other income.
  • You are very delinquent on taxes.
  • You are near foreclosure.
  • Your wages are being garnished to pay creditors.
  • There are pending law suits to pay creditors.

Advantages and Disadvantages

As with any decision, it is best to weigh the pros and cons against each other with filing bankruptcy.

 

Bankruptcy Attorney

Some advantages to filing for bankruptcy are:

  • Automatic Stay – creditors must stop calling and trying to collect on debts owed once an Automatic Stay is filed.
  • Some properties may be exempt from being sold – depending on the properties owned and how the debt is laid out, you may be able to keep ownership of some properties.
  • Begin to fix credit score – bankruptcy adversely affects your credit score, but it is probably already low due to being behind on payments.  You will be able to move ahead and start rebuilding your credit again.
  • Mental relief – The knowledge that you are able to stop the harassing calls and ready to move forward in life will allow you to sleep again at night.

Some disadvantages to filing bankruptcy are:

  • Negatively affects your credit score – albeit your score may already be affected, but this will remain on record for a number of years.  Chapter 7 remains on your credit history for 10 years and Chapter 13 for 7 years.
  • Other affects of credit score – Many employers and housing agencies check your credit score, and bankruptcy may negatively affect your chance at housing or employment.
  • Not all property is exempt and may need to be sold to fulfill some of the financial obligations.
  • Mental impact – although you may relieved to be out from underneath the mountain of debt, some people have trouble accepting the fact that they had to file for bankruptcy, and don’t like knowing that this is now public record for anyone to see.
  • Higher interest rates – if you are granted loans or lines of credit, your interest may be higher due to this past history.

The Next Step

Once you have checked all your options, understand the advantages and disadvantages, and have decided that filing for bankruptcy is in your best interest, the next step is to file.  You can either file for bankruptcy yourself, or hire a skilled bankruptcy attorney to ensure all creditors are notified and handled properly.

The Law Offices of Travis Koon have handled many bankruptcy claims and does so with the knowledge and sensitivity that you deserve.   When filing for bankruptcy in Florida, you deserve an attorney that  understands bankruptcy and will help you through this difficult time.  We represent individuals in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, and Lake City; call us today to start down the road to recovery.

Travis Koon, Esquire

Eduardo Fons, Esquire

The Law Office of Travis Koon, PLLC

291 NW Main Blvd

Lake City, Florida 32055

traviskoon@koonlegal.com

Phone: 352-729-1211

Phone: 386-597-0000

Fax: 866-497-1103

Traffic Ticket Defense

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When You Should Fight a Traffic Ticket

 

DUI Attorney Travis Koon

Traffic Ticket Defense

While driving through Florida, you may incur a traffic ticket; this happens to many people, and if handled properly, doesn’t have to be detrimental to your driver’s license.  The majority of traffic violations is speeding tickets, but can also include situations such as improper lane change, running a red light or stop sign and careless driving.  In most Florida counties you have 30 days to address your ticket by choosing to pay the fine, attend traffic school or fight the ticket.

The trouble starts when several violations are committed within a certain period of time, you may incur fines and even have your license suspended.  Florida’s traffic infractions are tallied on a point system.  The severity of the violation determines the points applied to your license; for instance: speeding but under 15 MPH over the limit equals 3 points, and passing a stopped school bus equals 4 points.

The following chart shows how long your license may be suspended for the given number of points:

12 points within 12 months causes your license to be suspended for 30 days

18 points within 18 months causes your license to be suspended for 3 months

24 points within 36 months causes your license to be suspended for 1 year

 Certain violations can lead to the driver’s license to be suspended, revoked or cancelled.  When a license is suspended it means that it can be taken away for a predetermined amount of time, a revoked license is more severe and fines can be imposed.   Driver’s licenses are not normally cancelled unless false information is given to obtain it.

There are several penalties for Florida commercial drivers, including all CDL holders must notify their employer after receiving a traffic ticket and may result in the commercial license being suspended or revoked.

A person doesn’t have to be facing criminal charges in order to hire a criminal defense attorney; at the Law Offices of Travis Koon we have helped individuals decrease or completely wipe away traffic citation from the client’s record.  Having the right criminal defense attorney on your side can make all the difference.

 

With offices in Miami, Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Lake City, the Law Offices of Travis Koon has the knowledge and experience to make sure you don’t enter the courtroom alone.  But you need to decide quickly because if your allot time expires you license may be automatically suspended.  Call us and we will fight on your behalf.

DUI Arrest? What do I do if I am arrested for a DUI Offense?

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Traffic Ticket Attorney Florida

Traffic Ticket Attorney Florida

What to do if You Receive a DUI

While driving the roads, highways and byways of Florida you may have noticed an increase of police stopping motorist; the officers are out in full force to stop drivers suspected of driving under the influence.  At The Law Offices of Travis Koon, we understand that sometimes good people make mistakes.  If you are arrested for a DUI it is in your best interest to call us as soon as possible.

A blood alcohol level of .08% or higher is considered to be driving while impaired, and can result in harsh penalties such as: fines of $500 – $1,000, community service, your vehicle being impounded, your license being revoked, an ignition interlock device, and even jail time – and that is just for the first offense.  Subsequent DUI charges can result in jail time of up to 1 year, fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, and a driver’s license suspension from 1 year and even as high as 10 years.

One of the most important choices a person in this situation can make is hiring the right criminal defense attorney.  A DUI criminal charge can affect a person’s life now and in the future.

Being convicted of a DUI may have long term effects; any subsequent DUI charges will be a felony charge.  Since a DUI conviction will remain on your record for several years, it may cause problems when you apply for a job, housing or even financial aid.  And of course your insurance rates will increase with a DUI conviction.

Being charged with a DUI is very serious, but it is exponentially worse when property damage or bodily injury occurs.  A felony DUI occurs when a person is charged with 3 DUIs within 10 years, or a 4th DUI.  It also occurs if serious bodily injury or death occurs due to driving under the influence.  Being charged with a violent felony crime puts a person at risk of being caught in the ‘3 Strikes and You’re Out’ cycle, as well as the possibility of losing some personal freedoms such as the right to vote and obtaining a passport.

But not every arrest necessarily leads to a conviction.  Having a top rated criminal defense attorney, such as The Law Offices of Travis Koon, can affect the outcome of whether the charge is DUI felony, DUI misdemeanor, or even less.  Let us help you navigate the legal system and be by your side during this time of uncertainty.

Travis Koon

Criminal Cases and Felony Crimes: 3 Strikes and You’re Out Law

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3 Strikes and You’re Out Law

In July 1995 Florida introduced the three-time violent felony offender law, or better known as the ‘3 Strikes’ law.  This law was established to set minimum and consistent punishments for convicted repeat felony offenders.  28 states have adopted similar sentences for repeat crimes.

The public incorrectly assumes that the ‘3 Strikes’ law applies to any person who commits any type of crime 3 times in a given period.  For a person to be convicted under this law, certain criteria must be met for it to be enforced.  The criteria include:

  • Violent felony crimes, such as murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, arson or felony DUI.
  • All three felonies must occur separately.
  • The person must be convicted of a felony, not just arrested and charged, and not pardoned.
  • The third offense must be committed within 5 years of the last conviction.

The minimum sentences to be given are as follows:

If the 3rd offense is a:

  • 1st degree felony, the minimum sentence is 30 years
  • 2nd degree felony, the minimum sentence is 15 years
  • 3rd degree felony, the minimum sentence is 5 years

Remember, this is the minimum sentence and the ruling judge can hand down a life time sentence as a maximum penalty.  Because the judge is only mandated to rule on a minimum sentence and has leeway on the maximum punishment, some individuals’ feel this law can be wielded as cruel and unusual punishment; in California it was challenged because of this reason.  The Supreme Court upheld the law but this has not stopped the concern of leniency towards some individuals and harsher penalties towards others based on gender, race, or prior appearances in front of the same judge.

It is extremely important to hire a top criminal defense attorney not only when the ‘3rd strike’ occurs, but before it gets to this point;  each client needs someone that can review their case and fight on their behalf.   The Law Offices of Travis Koon has offices in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami and Lake City, offering our clients several location options.

Hiring a top criminal defense law firm, such as The Law Offices of Travis Koon, can help ensure each person receives a fair trial and is not given a sentence beyond what the charge calls for.   Any person that cannot afford to hire an attorney should always ask for a public defender, no one should enter the courtroom without the guidance of someone who has knowledge of the Florida law.

 

 

Eyewitness-Ferguson

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Criminal Defense Attorney

The Ferguson case illustrates some of the shortcomings with eyewitness testimony that I believe is relevant to many criminal cases in the State of Florida. In many instances, eyewitness testimony is the only way that a person accused of a crime is convicted. In many circumstances, there is only one eyewitness to the crime and that eye witness could be the sole reason a person is convicted of a criminal offense in Florida.

I am not here to debate the ruling but rather to shed light on the controversies surrounding such eyewitness testimony and how innocent individuals could be convicted of crimes in the State of Florida and sent to prison.

The real question is whether the eyewitness testimony is the product of the conditions under which the eyewitness made the observation and his or her ability to recall what he or she observed. There are many different things that can affect an eyewitnesses account of the events. For example: What was the lighting like, was it raining, was it foggy out, and were there obstacles that could impede the eyewitnesses view of the alleged crime? Our goal as a criminal defense attorney when we defend our clients in criminal cases in the State of Florida is to shed light on these issues and point them out to the Jury and to the Judge. Another issue with eye witness testimony as opposed to DNA or other forms of evidence is that the eyewitness has subjective bias or preconceived thoughts that could affect what the eyewitness saw. An example of this is that an event could trigger memories of a past event, fears that are real or imagined based upon the eyewitnesses life.

Another issue with eyewitness testimony is that in many circumstances the eyewitnesses account of the events could be changed by the suggestions of officers or pressure that has been applied to the eyewitness. The list of how eyewitness testimony can be inaccurate is endless but I believe the article below sheds some light on the issues and how the related to the Ferguson ruling.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ferguson_eyewitness_testimony_demonstrates_its_shortcomings/?utm_source=maestro&utm_campaign=weekly_email&utm_medium=email&job_id=141125CI

Prison

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Attorney  Lake City, Florida

Attorney
Lake City, Florida

I am a Criminal Defense Attorney in the State of Florida. I am concerned that many young people end up on prison for Drug Offenses and/or other crimes without a lengthly criminal history. I believe that many of the issues surrounding lengthly prison sentences are minimum mandatory sentences that must be followed by the Criminal Courts because the Florida Legislature has enacted laws that the Florida Judiciary must follow. In many instances, the Judge does not even have the power or authority to depart from the mandatory minimum guideline sentence. I believe that Judges, State Attorney’s and Assistant State Attorneys should be made aware of alternative programs so that our youth can be reformed, educated and made productive working members of society. However, the Florida Legislature would have to make changes to the Florida Punishment Code for Courts to change how they sentence in those cases where the accused faces a minimum mandatory sentence. On the other hand, many of my clients do not face minimum mandatory sentences and attorneys should advocate for alternatives that do not include incarceration.
The Florida Department of Corrections does offer education classes for inmates. However, many of the classes are overbooked and underfunded.
Below is an article from a member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorney’s that I think would bring insight into many of the issues that I have discussed in this blog.

 

Travis Koon
352-729-1211 Office/Cell
386-597-0000 Office/Cell
1-866-497-1103 Fax
traviskoon@koonlegal.com
www.koonlegal.com

Federal Criminal Drug Cases

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The U.S. Sentencing Commission unanimously voted to allow delayed retroactive reduction in drug trafficking sentences. On July 18th, 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission all agreed to a reduction in the sentencing guideline levels applicable to most drug trafficking offenders retroactively, meaning that many offenders currently incarcerated and being held in a Federal Prison Facility could be illegible for a sentence reduction if they were sentenced to drug charges.

In April, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to amend the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to lower the base level offense in the Federal Drug Quantity Table across drug types. The result of the U.S. Sentencing Commissions vote could drastically change the landscape of Federal Sentences in Florida and throughout the United States. Specifically, those individuals that are charged with non-violent drug offenses in Florida and through the United States could face shorter Federal Prison Sentences as a result of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s ruling.

On July 18th, 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission rules that the sentencing reduction could not take affect until November 1st, 2015. Under the new ruling, Federal prisoners or inmates throughout Florida and the United States must file a motion to seek release or a sentence reduction by a Judge. If an individual has previously been sentenced and is currently incarcerated in a Federal Prison, the individual sentenced must be sentenced to a non-violent drug offense, and the individual must seek review by a Federal Judge. The Federal Judge will then review the Judgement and Sentence along with the facts of the case to determine if a sentence reduction is warranted. The Judge will then determine if the individual sentenced in the drug case qualifies for a reduced sentence, if the individual poses a risk to public safety and if the sentence reduction in the drug case is otherwise appropriate.

Please note, the United States Congress has until November 1st, 2014 to disapprove the amendment to reduce the Federal Drug Guidelines.

The Law Office of Travis Koon represents clients charged with State & Federal Drug Offenses throughout Florida. The sentencing change does not affect the type of controlled substance. For example, one could apply for a sentence reduction in Federal Court if the individual was sentenced for marijuana, cocaine, mdma, meth, or any other type of controlled substance.

Travis Koon, esq.
www.koonlegal.com
386-597-0000

Possession of a Controlled Substance-Pills/Perscription Defense

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In Florida, there are strict rules concerning having a valid prescription medication. Therefore, you should never transport a controlled substance such as pills in a container other than the labeled bottle provided by the pharmacist.

In Florida, a person accused of a crime of possession of a controlled substance such as pills is facing a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Should you be caught driving down a Florida Highway by the Florida Highway Patrol or a local law enforcement agency with a controlled substance such as pills that are not in the labeled bottle there is a strong chance you will be arrested & face criminal charges. The Court is required to allow you to assert the defense that you have a valid prescription. However, the accused will likely have to spend thousands of dollars defending the case.

In Romanyuk v. State, 2D12-4697 (Fla. 2d DCA July 9, 2014) the Defendant appealed a conviction for possession of a controlled substance. In Florida, the Court is required to allow the Defendant to argue that the individual arrested held a valid prescription.