Criminal Archives - Page 2 of 2 - The Law Offices of Travis Koon, PLLC

Talking About Your Case On Social Media

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If you have an open case, stop posting to social media.

Please believe me when I tell you this… posting on social media will harm your case!  If you are arrested and waiting trial, stop posting on all social media sites.  Never, never, never post anything about your case; I recommend you stop posting all together.

Even if you think you are saying something completely irrelevant, the prosecuting attorneys are watching your sites closely to find anything they can use against you; a picture of you with a drink, a picture of you with a friend, a comment on someone else’s photo… they will find it all.

If you have an open case, stop posting to social media.

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that only your friends will see these posts, nothing is private on social media; the entire reason for social media is to share information.  Several courts have ruled that even though the privacy settings are on, social media postings are not private.  Facebook and Twitter even warn users of this in their privacy policies.

Let’s say you are fighting a DUI case, and on your Facebook page there was a picture, taken years ago, of you holding a drink… maybe it’s a good picture and you decide to change it to your profile picture.  The attorney for the other side may see you holding the drink and now he will ask the judge for full access to all you social media accounts.

“A survey of over 1,200 police agencies around the country showed that a whopping 80 percent of officials said they’ve used social media to collect evidence in criminal cases––the majority of which indicating that the information they find there helps them solve crimes faster than they would otherwise.”[1]

Some information that can be obtained from social media is:

  • Background information, witnesses and suspects
  • What the suspect was doing in the weeks, days, or hours before the incident
  • A possible location of a suspect
  • Incriminating photos
  • Information that may support the argument that your actions were planned or thought about prior to the incident
  • Posts or pictures that may incriminate you in a more serious crime or illegal activity

Something so little can have huge ramifications on your case.

If you have an open case, stop posting to social media.

Some real-world universal laws also hold true in social media.  If you post something that may be damaging to your case and then delete it, you can be charged with destruction of evidence, this is a serious charge.

In the case Lester v. Allied Concrete Co., it was argued that Lester and his attorney had removed evidence from Facebook that showed his prior use of anti-depressants and his medical history.  The court granted a warrant for Facebook to release all information, and a complete search was done of Lester’s Facebook account.  A 32-page report was written and presented to the courts.  Imagine a detailed account of everything you have ever put on social media.

So I say to you one last time… If you have an open case, stop posting to social media.

If you need a Florida attorney, call us at The Law Office of Travis Koon.  We deal with criminal defense cases all throughout Florida with offices in Lake City, Gainesville and Miami, and may be able to help you with yours.

[1] http://stangllaw.com/facebook-posts-can-hurt-criminal-case-wisconsin/

Self Defense

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It seems to be a universally accepted fact that a person has the right to defend themselves against the perceived threat of bodily harm or death, even when the force used in defense would normally considered to be crime to do so.

Many laws vary from state to state, this article is giving a general overview, and an attorney should always be consulted in any legal issue.

Findlaw defines the argument of self-defense as:  “The right to prevent suffering force or violence through the use of a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence”.  [1]

This may seem like a straight-forward means of defense, but it rarely is.  There are many questions that surround this definition and need to be answered in each case.  What is considered a sufficient level of force?  At what point has the perceived victim gone beyond that point?  Could and/or should the person first attempted to retreat?  What if the victim provoked the attack?  What if the threat wasn’t really there?  This defense is more complicated that it seems on the surface.

The use of self-defense must be similar to the level of threat in question.  In other words, a person can only use as much force as needed to stop or remove the threat.  A victim cannot kill a person for slapping them across the face.

Self-defense justifies the use of force when it is used in response to an immediate threat, but one must stop using force once the threat has ended.  Any use of force by the victim after this point is considered to be retaliation and not self-defense.

Some states say the victim should first make an attempt to avoid the violence before using forces, but many have removed this clause and the “stand your ground” defense can be used.

The state of Florida condones the stand your ground defense and can be found in statute 776.012, which states:

…a person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have the duty to retreat before using or threating to use such force.

A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm…[2]

As stated earlier, the laws have many interpretations to each person and each situation, and an attorney should always be consulted when a person is being charged with a crime.  The Law Offices of Travis Koon are Florida attorneys that understand the ins and outs of Florida law, with offices located in Lake City, Miami, and Gainesville.  Call us today if you need legal consultation or have questions regarding your case.

[1] http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/self-defense-overview.html

[2] http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/0776.html

Statute of Limitations

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It is amazing how a mistake from your past can still haunt you today. A ‘statute of limitations’ is the deadline for filing a lawsuit or being charged with a crime. Most must be filed within a certain amount of time and once the time on a case runs out, the legal claim is no longer valid.

The reasoning behind a statute of limitations is to ensure convictions only happen when the physical or eye witness evidence has not deteriorated over time; people’s memories fade, or change as the years pass. It is believed by some that if the criminal has been living in the public and maintaining a ‘reformed’ life, that after a reasonable amount of time, he/she is to be free from arrest and conviction.

The time that a person can file a lawsuit varies on the type of claim and the state in which it will be filed. For criminal charges, prosecutors cannot charge a person for a crime after the specified number of years has passed. But some crimes, such as murder, are considered so serious that there is no statute of limitations.

The case against the famous filmmaker Roman Polanski is still on-going. He is accused of a child sex crime that occurred in Poland in 1977, and he is still fighting this charge. In the same year, he pled guilty and served 42 days in jail. In 1978 he moved to the United States for fear a judge may overrule his plea bargain and sentence him for a longer period of time.

Some examples of a crime committed in Florida and that statute of limitation associated with each are listed below. Please remember this is just an example; contact a qualified attorney for questions regarding your specific situation.

• Felony crimes that result in death, or felony crimes that are punishable by life in prison = no statute of limitations
• First degree felony = 4 years after the crime has been committed
• Other felonies = 3 years after the crime is committed
• First degree misdemeanor = 2 years after the crime is committed
• Second degree misdemeanor = 1 year after the crime is committed

Please don’t assume that just because the statute of limitations has expired that you cannot be charged with a crime; in certain instances the statute of limitations clock stops running and can be restarted again at a later date this is referred to as “Tolling,” meaning a person can be charged of a crime even after the allotted years have expired.

The laws can be very confusing. If you are charged with a crime that happened years ago, contact our office immediately. We are The Law Office of Travis Koon and are Florida attorneys that handle criminal cases. We have offices in several cities that can evaluate your case. If you need a top notch criminal defense attorney in Gainesville, Lake City, or Miami, you need to call us now.

Criminal Appeal

Do you need a Criminal Appeal Attorney in Florida for a DUI Conviction?

Posted by | Attorney, Criminal Defense, DUI | No Comments

Appealing Your DUI Case from a Conviction in Florida

Have you been convicted of a criminal case and need to appeal your criminal conviction in the state of Florida? The Law Office of Travis Koon appeals cases from all counties in Florida, not just Gainesville, Lake City and/or Miami.  If you have been convicted, speak to an attorney immediately.  You have very specific time requirements after you have been sentenced and the Judge places you in jail, prison and/or on probation to appeal your criminal case in Florida.  You need to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

You have been charged and convicted of a DUI… now what?  If you have read my other blog/articles, you know that a DUI conviction can wreak havoc on your life; but you still have one more chance to fix this… you can appeal your DUI.  I also hope that you have taken my advice and retained the services of a highly qualified DUI attorney.  Our attorneys at The Law Office of Travis Koon have appealed many cases to higher Court to help win our clients cases if there is a legal issue to appeal.  We cannot guarantee a win for you, but we can promise to look closely at your case and zealously fight on your behalf if there is a legal issue to appeal.

After your conviction & sentence, immediately speak with your attorney to discuss the possibilities filing an appeal.  Just because you don’t want a DUI conviction on your record doesn’t mean you can automatically file an appeal; but if you feel that that an error was made, then you need to file one, and quickly.  In most states, your attorney has only 10-30 days to file on your behalf.  In Florida, you have 30 days in most criminal cases but our advice is to immediately consult an attorney as soon as you have been sentenced.

How does the appeal process work in a DUI criminal case in the State of Florida? 

 Your attorney will file a brief to the appeals court arguing that mistakes and/or legal errors were made either during the arrest, during the trial and/or during the sentencing, and you feel these errors negatively affected the outcome of your case.  Your attorney will file a notice of appeal, statement of judicial acts, and write the appellate motion on your behalf.  The appeal process takes hours to complete because the attorney must review all evidence, depositions and trial transcripts.  Next, the attorney will conduct case research regarding any legal issues that the attorney has spotted while reviewing the evidence, testimony, trial transcripts and sentencing documents.  The attorney can many hours of research because the client usually has only one chance to win on appeal.  The attorney must insure that the proper research is conducted prior to the appellate brief being filed because the client must raise all legal issues in the appeal.

The appeals court will not hear any new evidence unless there is newly discovered evidence; they will read the transcripts from your trial and take a close look at the process and facts surrounding your case to determine if a legal error was made. They will then make a ruling on your case.

Your Role in the criminal appeal process in Florida

An appeal trial can take several weeks or months to be heard, you must wait your turn.  During this time you many need to be paying any fines you incurred and even serve your sentenced jail time, speak with your attorney to be sure.  This may be extremely inconvenient to do(to say the least) – but you need to be sure to follow all of the judge’s orders so as not to incur any more fines or problems by not abiding by the orders.    You want to be able to stand in front of the appeals court judge and show that you are cooperating and truly trying.

With all the briefs and paperwork being filed by your attorney and the prosecuting attorney, your DUI paperwork file will start to stack up; be sure you keep everything.  Of course your attorney will have a file for you at their office, but this is something that will affect your life… be sure you stay responsible and keep copies of everything as well.

In the End, what should you do if you want to appeal your criminal case? 

It is horrible to find yourself in the situation of being charged and convicted of a DUI.  Any of the lawyers in our Florida offices (Gainesville, Lake City, or Miami) can help you fight this conviction on appeal. Your knowledgeable attorneys have years of experience with the court systems and know how to best help you.  Most attorneys are good at what they do, but you want to make sure you hire an attorney that practices in criminal defense and has went to trial and appealed many cases.  At The Law Office of Travis Koon, this is what we do… and we are good at what we do.

Travis Koon

www.koonlegal.com

386-597-0000

352-729-1211

305-365-8821

traviskoon@koonlegal.com