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Arrested? 4th Amendment Illegal Search and Seizure

Posted by | Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, DUI | No Comments

The 4th Amendment-Illegal Search & Seizures

On September 25, 1789 the First Congress of the United States proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution. On December 15, 1791 10 amendments were ratified and constitute the first 10 amendments, or the Bill of Rights.
The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution protects against unwarranted searches and seizures. It states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmations, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This amendment protects against arbitrary arrest, and is the basis of laws regarding search warrants, being stopped and frisked, and even wires taps and other forms of surveillance; as well as other privacy laws. It was originally thought of as the notion that ‘each man’s home is his castle’ and protected him and his information while in the home, but today it is also expanded upon to protect a person’s privacy even while in public.
There are arguments for and against the idea that the US Constitution is a ‘living and breathing’ document. The proponents for this idea believe that the US Constitution needs to be interpreted in the modern societal text, while the opponents believe that it is a distinct set of rights that is the cornerstone of our society and shouldn’t continually be changed.
According to West’s Florida Practice Series TM, in order for a search to fall within the coverage of the Fourth Amendment, “a governmental search must either intrude upon an individual’s ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ or amount to trespass upon an individual’s person, house, papers, or effects in an attempt to find something or obtain information’.
It is the reasonable expectation of privacy that the Court handed down a landmark decision in Katz v. United States in 1967 that the Fourth Amendments protects people, not places. Katz was accused of placing bets and receiving wagering information by telephone, he used a public telephone booth to make interstate wages. FBI agents placed a wiretap outside of the telephone booth and could hear his side of the conversations. Katz argued that this violated his rights because he had the reasonable expectation of privacy, even while in public. It is a value judgment ‘as to the extent to which a free and open society will permit governmental intrusion upon personal privacy in order to facilitate other societal objectives such as effective enforcement of criminal laws’.

Justice Stewart’s assessment was that the Fourth Amendment “protects people, not places” shows the fine line that is walked by law enforcement daily.
Moving forward to 2014, but still using the same example of obtaining information from telephones, Riley, in Riley v. California, was stopped on a traffic violation. While searching him incident to the arrest, the police officer seized a cell phone from his pants pocket and eventually accessed photos and videos that seemed to be in connection with a shooting that occurred weeks earlier. Riley’s motion to suppress was denied. This was eventually reversed when it was decided that police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.
With ever-changing technology, the laws are constantly being revised to take this into account. No one should have to attempt to maneuver the court systems alone. Hiring a top criminal defense attorney such as The Law Offices of Travis Koon is in the best interest of the charged individual. We will fight for the rights of our clients.

What do you need to know about filing for Bankruptcy?

Posted by | Bankruptcy | No Comments

 

Are you ready to file for Bankruptcy; Do You Have Everything in Order? What do you need? 

The Law Office of Travis Koon, PLLC

Bankruptcy Attorney

Once a person has looked at all other options and decided it is time to file for bankruptcy, the next step is important.  At The Law Offices of Travis Koon, we understand that this is a stressful and scary time for you and we are here to help you through this.

The first thing you want to do is to talk with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney, such as those at The Law Offices of Travis Koon.  You can file for bankruptcy alone, but there is no reason you should; the attorneys at our offices have experience in working with creditors and all other people that will become involved.

Gathering paperwork is a tedious yet extremely important task.  You will need:

  • To request a copy of your credit report – you will want to verify all information on the report is correct and fix any inconsistencies.
  • Taxes – make sure you have filed taxes for the last two years and have copies of those returns.
  • Collect paperwork on all debts – this includes account numbers and amount owed on all credit cards, loans, and even debts that have been recently paid in full.
  • Bank accounts – checking and saving account numbers with the balances for the last couple years.
  • Lawsuits or garnishments – gather all paperwork regarding any and all legal actions against you.
  • Income – gather all paystubs, interest earned, rental/property income, business income, disability, social security, and any other income information for the past 6 months.
  • Expenses – gather all monthly expenses such as rent/mortgage, utilities, car insurance, health care, taxes, commuting, and all other expenses you have.
  • Show your attorney all assets you have – anything you own such as your home, property, vehicles, stocks, bonds, boats and any other assets.
  • All other information your attorney may ask of you.

There are a couple more ways you can prepare, but again, consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney before taking any steps towards bankruptcy.

You will need to take a credit counseling course; your attorney will advise you on where to take this course and how to obtain the needed certificate.

One important thing to remember is not to hide, borrow or sell your money or assets; in fact don’t make any large changes at all.

Besides hiring experienced bankruptcy attorneys, such as The Law Office of Travis Koon, the most important piece of information to know is to be completely open and honest with your attorney.  Do not try to withhold any information, no matter how inconsequential it may seem.

The Law Offices of Travis Koon are represent clients in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami and Lake City; making it easy to contact us for any of your bankruptcy questions.

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