self defense 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 Mischief

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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

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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.

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

Battery

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When push comes to shove – it becomes battery.

Battery can be defined as;

Actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against the will of the other; or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person.

Battery can be a misdemeanor (simple battery) or aggravated battery (which carries harsher consequences).   A simple battery charge may carry penalties of up to 1 year in jail or 1 year of probation, along with fines up to $1,000.  Injury is not required for a battery charge to be levied against a person.   In fact, touching is not necessary to be charged with battery in the state of Florida; a purse being snatched or an object thrown at another is enough to be considered battery.  This is not a charge to be taken lightly!

A person’s past history of violence, run-ins with the law, and the relationship between the defendant and victim will all be assessed when the penalty is decided.  Aggravated battery involves intentional infliction of great bodily harm, use of a deadly weapon, or battering of a pregnant person.  Aggravated battery carries penalties of up to 15 years in jail or 15 years’ probation, and fines up to $10,000.

The levels of seriousness of the charges are Assault – Battery – Aggravated Assault – Aggregated Battery.  As you can see, being charged with battery is a serious charge and one that definitely needs an attorney to help argue the defendants case.

The testimony of the alleged victim is not always needed to be charged with battery.  If eye witnesses see a person be hit as they back away and cry, battery can be charged.  If 911 is called and the caller tells who hit them, and when they police arrive and see a red mark left by the hit – battery can be charged.  Even if the victim wants to drop the charges, the state can arrest the defendant and build a case around what they believe occurred.

But battery is a highly defendable case, there are many questions the criminal defense attorney will ask, and the state must answer these questions and prove these charges.  Some question asked might be:

  • What is the history of the relationship between the two people?
  • Are there injuries?
  • Were photos taken, when and by whom?
  • Was 911 called?
  • Does the defendant have a history of violence?
  • Was there motive?
  • Are there any inconsistencies of the statements?

These questions show why a skilled criminal defense attorney is needed to help defend against charges.

The Law Office of Travis Koon is made up of skilled Florida criminal defense attorneys that have successfully defended battery cases in the past, and can speak with you about your case.  We have offices throughout State of Florida, with offices located in Lake City, Gainesville and Miami, and can help you fight for your freedom.   Call us today to defend any charges pending against you.

Do you have the right to bear arms in Florida?

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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

 

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