Innocent 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.

Criminal Case? Adjudication Withheld?

Posted by | Criminal Defense | No Comments

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.

 

 

 

 

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

DUI

Accessory To A Crime

Posted by | Criminal Defense | No Comments

Sometimes we get caught up in the moment, or are with the wrong people at the wrong time.  If you are charged with being an accessory to a crime, you need to contact an attorney immediately to help defend against this charge.

Being an accessory to a crime can be defined as:

In Criminal Law, contributing to or aiding in the commission of a crime. One who, without being present at the commission of an offense, becomes guilty of such offense, not as a chief actor, but as a participant, as by command, advice, instigation, or concealment; either before or after the fact or commission.[1]

Let’s take a closer look at this definition.  It says that a person isn’t the one committing the crime, but contributing to or aiding in the crime.  It also states that a person who is an accessory to a crime does not have to be present at the time of the offense.  The accessory person can give the command, help plan, instigate (encourage) the crime, and even cover it up.

Accessory after the fact is someone who knows that a crime has occurred and helped conceal it.  It is also referred to as obstructing justice.

One very important fact to understand is that the person being accused of being an accessory to a crime must knowingly contribute to the crime, not accidently.  The prosecutor must prove that the person knew about the crime and intentionally helped commit or conceal it.

A new 2014 Florida statute (777.03) states that a person who commits an offense against the state, even as an accessory, may be charged as if they are a principle in the first degree and will be sentenced as such, even if they were not present at the time of the crime.

If the crime committed is a capital felony offense, then a person found guilty of accessory after the fact will also be charged with a 1st degree felony – punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.00.  If the crime committed is a 2nd or 3rd degree felony, the person found guilty of accessory after the fact can be charged with a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.00.

Being an accessory to a crime is a serious offense.  A person can back out of being an accessory of a crime by denouncing the plans, refusing to assist with the crime, contacting the police or trying to stop the crime from happening.

If you find yourself being charged as an accessory to a crime, please call one of our offices immediately.  The Office of Travis Koon consists of top notch Florida criminal defense attorneys.  We have offices in Miami, Gainesville, and Lake City– several locations to help you.  Call us today!

[1] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/accessory

Self Defense

Posted by | Attorney, Criminal Defense | No Comments

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

Police Stop

What does Innocent Until Proven Guilty Mean in Florida?

Posted by | Assault, Attorney, Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, DUI, Seizure, Stop & Frisk, Uncategorized | No Comments

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