Illegal Search Archives - The Law Offices of Travis Koon, PLLC

6th Amendment

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“We the People, in order to form a more perfect union…” Most of us today know that these are the first words of the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution established America’s government and laws, and it outlined certain basic rights for the citizens of our country.

Prior to the U.S. Constitution, the states operated independently, the goal was to bring together the states and ensure certain alienable rights of the people, not allowing the government to become too strong or powerful. It was signed on September 17, 1787, and was amended in 1789. These first 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.

The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes several provisions protecting those being charged with a crime. It states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Let’s look at each one of these rights.

The Right to a Speedy and Public Trial
The right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State; this part of the amendment means that the defendant must be brought to trial for his/her alleged crime within a reasonable short time after the arrest. The defendant also has the right to be tried by a jury of his peers. This gives the person on trial the chance to stand before an impartial jury that is a representation of his community and declare his innocence.

To Be Confronted with the Witnesses against Him
This gives the accused the right to confront the witness who is testifying against him. Not a physical confrontation, but it does allow his defense attorney to cross-examine the witness. This part of the Constitution ties closely with the idea of “innocent until proven guilty”. If it is found that the witness’s accusations are false, then that person will then be charged with perjury – and could face up to 5 years in prison and fines. The penalties are harsh because it is believed that perjury can erode the foundation of the judicial system.

To Have the Assistance of Counsel for his Defense
We have all head the line in the Miranda Rights that states “if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.” This is not something that is offered by the state because they are being nice, it is a person’s right to have a knowledgeable attorney defend you in a court of law.

Having an Attorney
If you are given a court appointed attorney, be sure to tell him/her all the points of your case, and make sure they understand what happened and what you want from them. But if you can afford a Florida criminal defense attorney, then find one that has a proven track record of negotiations as well as court wins. At the Law Office of Travis Koon, we will take the time to completely discuss your case and the best way to approach your defense. We are defense attorneys located throughout the State of Florida, with offices located in Lake City, Gainesville and Miami. Call us regarding your case and we will work diligently to defend you.

Entrapment

Posted by | Attorney, Criminal Defense | No Comments

Every so often a case comes to one of our offices that just does not seem right, the facts don’t add up. We have seen instances of arrest being made, and our correct defense is entrapment. This defense is based on the universally accepted fact that it is unjust for law enforcement to encourage an individual to perform a criminal activity for the basis of arresting that individual.

Florida statute 777.201 defines entrapment as:

(1) A law enforcement officer, … induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.

Basically, this says that law enforcement is not allowed to encourage or induce an individual into committing a crime.

Once the defense of entrapment has been shown, it is up to the prosecutors to prove entrapment did not occur. The prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual was predisposed to commit the particular crime.

There are several questions that need to be answered to determine if entrapment tactics were utilized:

• Was the individual ready to commit the crime they are being charged with?
• Was it a law enforcement officer or agent that inducted the individual to commit the crime?
• Did the individual engage in criminal conduct as a direct result of law enforcement engagement?
• Was the individual encouraged by law enforcement to engage in criminal conduct in order to obtain evidence?
• Did law enforcement provide the individual with the opportunity or means to facilitate the crime?

In Jacobson v. United States (1991) The Supreme Court of the United States found that Jacobson was induced into the crime due to entrapment. In 1985 government agencies became interested in Jacobson’s interest in child pornography and over the next 2 ½ years sent him mailings for fictitious organizations and one non-existent pen pal, all promoting sexual liberation and challenging censorship. Once Jacobson begin to show interest, they began to offer child pornography material, which he eventually purchased – for which he was arrested.

The prosecution was unable to prove that Jacobson would have committed this crime without their direct involvement, and Jacobson’s charges were reversed due to entrapment.

It is illegal for law enforcement or their agents (undercover, informants…) to induce or engage an individual to commit a crime for the sole purpose of arresting them; they cannot create criminals.

At The Law Office of Travis Koon, we understand that there are times when an individual is persuaded to do something they wouldn’t normally do, and we are here to protect those people. As Florida criminal defense attorneys, we will make sure your rights are not infringed upon. Call any one of our offices today (Miami, Lake City, and Gainesville) today to set up a meeting with one of our dedicated attorneys.

Criminal Case? Adjudication Withheld?

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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

 

WHAT DOES ADJUDICATION WITHHELD MEAN? 

As sad and unfair as it may seem, a momentary lapse in judgment can have ripple effects for the rest of your life.  Having an open container of alcohol while on a Florida beach or a loud and frustrating argument in public that results in a disturbance or altercation can get you arrested in the state of Florida.

 

It seems all laws have a side note; one interesting fact is that it is possible that a person can be found guilty of a crime, but not convicted of committing that crime.

 

Once a person is arrested, the following sequence of events normally happens.  You would be formally charged, in which case you should hire a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney like The Law Offices of Travis Koon, PLLC. Thereafter, the judge will preside over your case and may have to make a ruling of either adjudicated guilty (found guilty), you plea bargain to a lesser sentence, the case is dropped or dismissed, or the judge withholds adjudication (depending on the crime).

 

Not all states follow this chain of events, but Florida is a state in which the judge is has the authority to withhold adjudication.

 

Basically, withholding adjudication is an interesting option that gives first time offenders, and sometimes those with a minimal history of prior convictions a second chance.  This is done by avoiding a formal conviction of the crime.  There are some crimes in which adjudication cannot be withheld, but hiring a strong Florida criminal defense attorney may help you understand if this is an option in your case.

 

Having a felony (or even a misdemeanor) conviction on your records can haunt you for life.  With a felony conviction, you may:

  • Lose your right to vote
  • Lose your right to possess a firearm
  • Never serve on a jury
  • Incur foreign travel restrictions (put in place by other countries)
  • Potential employers and housing authorities may conduct background searches and withhold employment or housing based on your past criminal record
  • Hold the social stigma of being a convicted felon

 

If the judge rules that adjudication is withheld, this normally means that if the person can pay any fines levied and successfully complete the terms of probation with no subsequent offense, no further action will be taken in the case and there will be no formal conviction of the crime.  Also, this offense is normally not considered a prior conviction in future cases.

 

But if the terms of the probation are not successfully met, a finding of guilty may be entered and the person may be sentenced according to the punishments defined for the offense.  So if the person had adjudication withheld for a 3rd degree felony, and failed the terms of probation, they could then face up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.00.

 

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

 

Criminal Mischief

Posted by | Attorney, Criminal Defense | One Comment

Criminal mischief… it is one of those charges that are usually accompanied by other charges.  Since it is a charge that carries defined consequences, it is best to have a top-notch criminal defense attorney help fight to reduce or remove this charge.

The State of Florida defines criminal mischief as: when a person willfully and maliciously injures or damages any real or personal property belong to another, including graffiti and other acts of vandalism.   In fact, the damage doesn’t have to be intentional.  If an individual is arrested for driving while intoxicated, and happens to drive through someone’s fence, beside the DUI charge, they may also be charged with criminal mischief.

Criminal mischief includes real property (home, yard, fence…) but also personal property as well.  If during an argument the accused individual grabs the other person’s cell phone and throws it do the ground, destroying it – they can be charged with criminal mischief for damage to personal property.

In order for the accused to be found guilty of criminal mischief, the prosecutor must show that either real or personal property was damaged, and it was done willfully or maliciously.  There are several ways to defend against this charge, but a criminal defense attorney is the best person to decide which route to take.

A couple defenses to be looked at:  Is the accused the person that actually caused the damage?  Does the victim own the property or does it belong to both parties?   Was it a willful act or an accident that happened during an argument?  And of course… what are all the circumstances of the instance.

Depending on the amount of damage done, a criminal mischief charge can be either a misdemeanor or even a felony.

  • Property damage of less than $200 = 2nd degree misdemeanor = up to 60 days in jail and fines
  • Property damage of $200 – $1000 = 1st degree misdemeanor = up to 1 year in jail and fines
  • Property damage of over $1000 = 3rd degree felony = up to 5 years in jail and fines

And if there are prior convictions of criminal mischief, it can instantly become a 3rd degree felony.    This is not a charge you want to try to fight without the help of an attorney.

Graffiti is also considered criminal mischief, but carries different sentencing.  Besides paying the fines, an individual will usually incur community service to make retribution for the crime.  While it may not seem like much damage is happening at the time, causing graffiti can have expense consequences.

  • 1st conviction of graffiti = $250 fine
  • 2nd conviction of graffiti is $500 fine
  • 3rd conviction of graffiti is $1000 fine

At The Law Office of Travis Koon, we will talk with you to understand the entire situation and how you came to be charged with criminal mischief.  We have successfully fought this charge in the past and will fight for you too.  We are Florida attorneys that understand the laws and defenses that are needed to help you through the maze of the criminal justice system.  Call us today.  We have offices throughout Florida, in Lake City, Gainesville and Miami, and are here to speak with you.

 

 

 

 

Motion to Dismiss

Posted by | Attorney, Criminal Defense | No Comments

These are scary times, made even worse if you are arrested and convicted of a crime.  Your mind is reeling, your heart is beating hard, and you are trying not to panic.  Thankfully, you have called a top notch criminal defense attorney (like those found at the Law Office of Travis Koon) and start to feel relieved.

Your attorney will sit down with you and review your case in its entirety, including all the details that led up to the arrest, during the arrest, and even after the arrest.  The issues will be weighed and the defense will take shape.  Perhaps it is a situation of mistaken identity, maybe this is your first offence and it can be plea bargained or request that the adjudication be withheld.  Under the correct circumstances, another option may be to file a motion to dismiss your case.

A motion to dismiss is filed to terminate a criminal prosecution through court action because of some legal or technical defect in the proceeding.  This motion is filed before or during the arraignment and is a formal request for the court to dismiss your case.

There are many instances in which a motion to dismiss can be filed; the following is a list of some, but by no means all, of these instances:

  • Statute of limitation has run out
  • Double jeopardy
  • Defendant didn’t receive the summons in time
  • Case is filed in the wrong court or in the wrong county
  • Due processes violation
  • Discovery violation
  • Defendant has immunity
  • Defendant is pardoned

Do you see that the motion to dismiss is based on technical issues?  This is not the place to raise disputes regarding the facts of the case, such as “the law enforcement officer is lying”.

As with any legal document, there are several details that must be adhered to when filing a motion to dismiss; it must be in writing, signed by the party or attorney making the motion, it must state the grounds for which it is based, and must be served to the opposing party.  This motion must also include: an allegation that the material facts of the case that are undisputed, a description of these undisputed facts and a demonstration of them.

A skilled and decisive attorney will know when to file a motion to dismiss; the common person is not expected to understand all the legal situations.  This is why it is extremely important to immediately call an attorney if you have been arrested; and if you have been arrested in Florida, call us at the Law Office of Travis Koon.  We have offices in Lake City, Gainesville, and Miami.  We understand how the courts work and how to best defend you in a court of law.  Do not leave your future to chance, call us today.

Expert Witness

Posted by | Attorney, Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, DUI, Personal Injury | No Comments

The prosecutor is trying hard to make a case against the defendant; he/she is desperately explaining how the insignificant details actually do apply to the case.  But now it is the defense’s turn to take center stage and defend their client.  An expert witness is brought in to show why the prosecutor’s argument doesn’t make sense.  The expert witness is the turning point of the case and the trial is over.

So what makes this person an expert witness?

An expert witness is someone who specializes in a particular field or discipline who may present their opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the case; and they have become qualified in their field through training, accomplishments and special knowledge.  This is the only time when an opinion is admissible in court.

According to Federal Rules of Evidence, rule number 702 states that an expert witness may testify in the form of an opinion if the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data, the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, the experts knowledge will help the court understand the evidence or to determine the fact in issue, and the expert has applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.[1]

A series of landmark decisions, commonly called the Daubert Trio (taken from the Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals case), by the Supreme Court has established criteria for the admissibility of an expert witness’s testimony in federal courts.  All the following needs to be established:

  • The reliability of the techniques underlying a proposed testimony
  • Peer-reviewed publications supporting it
  • General acceptance of the thoughts and ideas in the relevant field

The attorney may inquire into the reliability in order “to make certain that an expert, whether basing testimony upon professional studies or personal experience, employs in the courtroom the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field.”[2]

How they can help you

An expert witness can help establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant was not able to perform the crime they are accused of doing. The lawyers at the Law Office of Travis Koon are criminal defense attorneys who have the knowledge and skills needed find and properly use expert witnesses.  The opinion of these people can determine the outcome of a case.

Speak with one of our attorneys today to help fight your legal battles.  We are Florida criminal defense attorneys that will help you every step of the way.  We have offices in Miami, Gainesville, and Lake City; let our experience work in your favor.

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_702

[2] http://federalpracticemanual.org/node/38

Arrested for Possession of a Concealed Weapon?

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HAVE YOU BEEN ARREST FOR A CONCEALED WEAPON CHARGE AND IN NEED OF A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY? 

In the state of Florida it is illegal to knowingly carry a concealed firearm without having a valid license and concealed weapons permit.  In fact, it is a 3rd degree felony to do so, which is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and carries hefty fines.   This makes it a serious crime, even for first time offenders.

There are many questions surrounding carrying a concealed weapon, this article in no way covers all instances, nor does it completely answer every question… it is here to give you a broad overview of the topic.  If you are arrested for carrying a concealed weapon (either in your car or on your body), please call an attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Travis Koon, PLLC have highly experienced attorneys that may be able to help you If you are charged with such a crime, with offices in Lake City, Gainesville and Miami.

Questions

If I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, do I still need to go through a background check to buy a firearm?

Yes, each person in the state of Florida must always abide by the 3 day wait period and background check before purchasing a firearm.  You will need the permit and license to carry your newly purchased firearm.

What is needed to obtain a permit?

There are several stipulations that are required to obtain a permit to carry a firearm, and there are several stipulations that will usually cause your request to be rejected.

Must:

  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Demonstrate competency with a firearm
  • Reside in the US or be a US Citizen

Reasons that could reject your request:

  • Prior felony conviction
  • Misdemeanor crime of violence within the last 3 years
  • 2 or more DUI’s within the last 3 years
  • A record of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Dishonorable discharge from the US Armed Forces
  • Physical inability to safely handle a firearm

Again, this list is does not include all requirements or limitations.

Can I carry a concealed weapon in my car?

Yes, but it must be “securely encased” and kept away from immediate use.  This means that if you have it under your seat it must be in a snapped holster, a zipped bag, or otherwise encased where it cannot accidently discharge.  It can be kept in the glove compartment or enclosed arm rest.  If you are pulled over by police, you must notify them of the weapon in the car.

Where can’t I carry a concealed weapon?

You cannot carry a concealed weapon, even with a license and permit, in government buildings (post office, schools, courtrooms…) or establishments that sell mostly alcohol (bars).  Many private buildings display signs that say to not bring weapons onto their premise.  It is not illegal for you to bring a firearm into these buildings, but if they ask you to leave, you must politely do so, if you do not leave they can cite you for trespassing, and trespassing with a firearm has very harsh penalties.  It is best not to carry a firearm into a building that displays a sign asking you not to do so.

Learn All You Can

Carrying a concealed weapon is a huge responsibility.  It is up to you to take the proper courses, learn how to properly handle a firearm, and learn all the laws that accompany it.  Understand that you are not free to go everywhere with a weapon, and know what buildings you can and cannot enter.

If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, you must notify them immediately that you have a weapon and a permit to carry it.  If you are arrested always be polite, answer the basic questions of your name and address, but do not say anything that may incriminate you.  Call an attorney to help you through this situation.

The Law Offices of Travis Koon have helped straighten out misunderstood situations with police officers before, and we can talk to you regarding your instance.  We are Florida attorneys with offices in Miami, Lake City, and Gainesville.  Call us today and speak with a top notch attorney.

 

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

Do you have the right to bear arms in Florida?

Posted by | Attorney, Criminal Defense | No Comments

DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS OR OWN A GUN IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA?  DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS AND NEED A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been shortened to be understood as ‘the right to bear arms’.  That is misleading.  As an individual, you do not have the right to legally carry a firearm without some restrictions.  The 2nd Amendment reads:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The meaning of this one sentence has been the topic of many discussions in and out of court.

In 1939 the Supreme Court heard the case United States v. Miller, in which Jack Miller and another person were arrested and indicted for transporting unregistered sawed-off shotguns across state lines.  Miller had several arguments to back his case, one of which was that the National Firearms Act, which regulated the interstate transport of certain firearms, violated the second amendment.  Miller won with the lower district courts, but the case was taken to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled against Miller and upheld that the fact that the second amendment does not guarantee the right to keep and bear such firearms.   Part of the statement was “…in the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession of use of [sawed-off] shotgun… has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument” 307 U.S. at 178[1].  Thus, the Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment as preserving the authority of the states to maintain militias.

 

The Supreme Court did not hear a ruling concerning the Second Amendment again until 2007 with the Parker v. District of Columbia case.  Previously, the District of Columbia had laws concerning a ban on carrying a pistol without a license, new registration of handguns, and firearms being kept unloaded an locked.  In the Parker case, the lower D.C. courts ruled against these laws and found that a person has the right to own handguns for their own personal protection and keep them in their homes without placing a trigger lock on them.

The case was appealed by Heller to the Supreme Court (D.C. v. Heller) and the Court agreed with the lower court that the D.C. banning of handguns and requiring firearms in the home to be disassembled or locked did violate the Second Amendment.  The Court stated that although the amendment stated “a well regulated Militia…” that this does not limit the action, or use of, firearms.

 

However, the Court did acknowledge that the right to bear arms is subject to regulations.  Regulations such as licenses, matters concerning concealed weapons, limiting the rights of felons or mentally ill individuals,  and prohibiting of carrying weapons in certain places.

The issues and arguments of the Second Amendment still arise today, and the interpretation of this amendment is constantly being scrutinized.  If you are arrested and charged with any crime regarding carrying or being in possession of a handgun, call an attorney immediately.  In Florida the criminal defense office of The Law Office of Travis Koon has handled cases regarding the issue of handguns, and may be able to handle your case.  Call any one of our offices today (in Gainesville, Lake City, or Miami) to schedule an appointment.  Do not wait until it is too late!  We are Florida criminal defense attorneys that are here to protect your rights.

 

[1] http://www.loc.gov/law/help/second-amendment.php

 

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

 

DUI

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.