Canan Law

Should You Accept a Plea Bargain?

May 23, 2016

man under arrest Jacksonville Criminal Defense AttorneyThe decision to accept a plea bargain belongs to the defendant.  Your St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer brings objectivity and experience to the decision-making process; however, it is you, the defendant, who has to live with the decision. What factors should you consider in deciding whether to accept the prosecutor’s plea offer or take your chances at trial?

The stress and uncertainty of a trial

Consider whether you can live with the stress and uncertainty that comes with waiting for a trial date and, later, waiting for the jury’s verdict. If so, then you may want to reject the plea. If, on the other hand, the stress and uncertainty of a trial is negatively affecting your physical, mental and/or emotional health, a plea bargain may be a better option.

Future employment opportunities

All convictions are harmful when you are seeking employment, but a felony conviction can be an absolute no-go for many employers. If the plea agreement allows you to plead to a misdemeanor instead of a felony, or offers deferred prosecution, then you may want to accept in order to preserve future employment opportunities.

Reduced jail time

Through a plea agreement, your active prison time can be reduced or eliminated in three ways;

  1. Stipulate to probation instead of prison or jail time;
  2. Plead to a lesser charge that has lesser penalties;
  3. Plead to the original charge, but stipulate to a limited penalty.

A word of warning about probation: Be sure you understand the conditions of probation.  For example, does it include community service, fines, classes, or drug testing? Will your home be subject to inspection and visitation from a probation officer?

Unfortunately, people with substance abuse issues often have trouble with probation. District Attorneys know this. The District Attorney’s calculation might be, “I just have to wait a little longer, and I will have another charge to hang on the defendant.” Often district attorneys are happy to agree to probation because they know it has a back end; probation violations are easier to prove than the original charge. Accordingly, be honest with yourself and your St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer about substance abuse issues and any other issues that might impact your ability to comply with the terms of probation.

The strength of the evidence against you

Perhaps most importantly, before a decision is made on accepting or rejecting a plea offer, weigh the evidence against you. Weighing the evidence is not an exact science, but an objective and experienced St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer is indispensable in this process.  You and your attorney must assess the evidence for its truthfulness and probative value – that is, how much bearing a particular piece of evidence has on the charges against you.  Likewise, how reliable are the witnesses who might testify against you? Can a witness be discredited because he was intoxicated at the time of the alleged crime? Does another witness have an axe to grind against you that makes him biased and untrustworthy? Your attorney also will examine the record to determine if the police obtained the evidence in a legal manner. Evidence gathered improperly can often be suppressed and will not come in at trial.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, or if you are being investigated and suspect that criminal charges may be imminent, you need a St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer you can trust. Call us today, at 904-824-9402, to arrange a confidential case evaluation.

Your Home is Your Castle

May 3, 2016

St. Augustine criminal defense attorneys explain the exceptions to the warrant requirement for police search and seizure.

Everyone knows that the police cannot force their way into your home, or search your body, or take your property without a search warrant. Right? In most cases, that is right. There are, however, a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement.  In this post, our St. Augustine criminal defense attorneys will explain the scope of those exceptions to help you better understand and assert your rights.

The General Rule

When the government searches or seizes a place or item in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy – such as your home, or your car, or your body – the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires that the search and/or seizure be “reasonable.” This usually means that a warrant must be obtained by the police in advance. The warrant must be specific, and must be based on probable cause that evidence of a crime or contraband will be found. Over time, however, numerous exceptions have been carved out of the Fourth Amendment, allowing the police to act without a warrant.

The Exceptions

Consent
The police may search a person, place or item without a warrant when a person with authority to consent voluntarily consents to the search. To be valid, consent must be truly voluntary and not the result of pressure or scare tactics by the police.

Exigent Circumstances
A warrantless search may be justified by “exigent circumstances” or an emergency situation. If the circumstances are such that a getting a warrant beforehand would be impractical (because, for example, evidence would be destroyed), a warrantless search may be considered reasonable.  There is no clear-cut rule to determine if a warrantless search will be justified under the exigent circumstances exception. The courts consider factors such as evidence of probable cause, the seriousness of the offense, the likelihood of immediate harm to persons or property, the immediate destruction of evidence, or the potential escape of a criminal suspect.

Plain View

The plain view exception allows the police to seize evidence of a crime and/or contraband that is discovered in plain view while the police are lawfully present in a particular place. This could be, for example, drug paraphernalia observed in plain view on the floor of the passenger seat during a lawful traffic stop.

Search Incident to Lawful Arrest

Police may perform a warrantless search of an arrested person and the area within the arrested person’s immediate control to ensure the officers’ safety and to guard against the potential destruction of evidence.  Furthermore, a valid arrest warrant carries with it the limited authority to enter a house if there is a reasonable suspicion that the suspect is within. If the suspect is found inside and arrested, the police may then perform a ‘protective sweep” to ensure the officers’ safety.  While doing the “protective sweep” any evidence of a crime found may be seized without a search warrant. (The plain view exception also might come into play in this situation.)

Automobile Exception

Because of a car’s mobility and the lower expectation of privacy you have in your vehicle, search warrants are not required to search automobiles if police have probable cause to believe an automobile contains evidence of a crime or contraband.  Although this is known as the “automobile exception,” it is not limited to automobiles. It also applies to boats and motor homes which are actually mobile. This is a broad exception, but the scope of the search must be limited to areas of the automobile, boat or motor home which might actually contain evidence of the crime suspected. For example, if the police have probable cause to believe that a boat is being used for human trafficking, they may search places in the boat that a human being might be found but not, for instance, inside a tackle box.

Stop and Frisk

If police have a reasonable suspicion that an individual has committed or is about to commit a crime, the police may perform a brief, non-intrusive stop of that individual.  If the police reasonably suspect that the individual is armed and dangerous, they may conduct a frisk and pat-down of the suspect’s outer clothing.

Other Exceptions

Other exceptions also exist. Depending on the circumstances, a search without a warrant may be reasonable in the context of:

  • Public school searches
  • Searches of public employees
  • Searches of a probationer’s home
  • Drug tests
  • Administrative searches (TSA, border searches)
  • Electronic searches and seizures (laptops, cell phones, email, social media accounts)

Contact Us

If you think your rights may have been violated in connection with a police search and seizure, call or email us today. Depending on the facts of your case, our experienced St. Augustine criminal defense attorneys may be able to have the evidence derived from that police action tossed out.

 

 

 

 

 

Assert Your Miranda Rights

April 15, 2016

man under arrest Jacksonville Criminal Defense AttorneyThe Supreme Court decision in Miranda v Arizona stands for the proposition that police must inform a suspect who is in custody of his constitutional rights to remain silent and consult with a St. Augustine defense lawyer. If you ever have seen a television crime drama, you can probably recite your Miranda rights:

 

  1. You have the right to remain silent;
  2. Your statements can and will be used against you;
  3. You have the right to consult with an attorney and to have an attorney present during interrogation; and
  4. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

 

While most people know these rights, it can be difficult to assert them when confronted by law enforcement. Our St. Augustine defense lawyers explain when and how to assert your constitutional rights.

 

When You Are In Custody Or Under Arrest

You have to be in custody or under arrest for Miranda warnings to be given. If the police encounter occurs when you are in your home, at your job, at a party or a bar, or just walking down the street, police officers are not required to advise you of your rights. Even if the police consider you to be the primary suspect, only when the circumstances are such that a reasonable person would feel he is not free to leave are you considered to be in custody in the eyes of the law. Only then must Miranda warnings be given to you. In addition to being in custody, the police must be actively engaged in behavior that is calculated to produce incriminating statements. Spontaneous statements made by a suspect are not considered the result of an interrogation.

 

Assert Your Rights, then Stop Talking

Almost anything you say or ask will be used as evidence against you, if possible.  On the other hand, if you say nothing, your silence cannot be used as evidence against you. Police know this and use it to their advantage. They know that most people will say something when confronted with serious allegations. They are counting on this to convince or coerce a person to confess to the offense even though the case may be very weak or there may be no evidence against an individual, only suspicions. Unlike most civilians, law enforcement officers are trained in interrogation techniques. Your best defense is your silence and your demand to see a St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer.

 

Tell the interrogating officer:

“I do not want to talk. I wish to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer.”

 

Once you have asserted your rights, stop talking. Do not ask questions or have any further discussion with the police about the immediate matter or anything else. Further communication with the police could be interpreted as relinquishing your rights, and the interrogation process may start anew.  Spontaneously starting a new conversation with the police, even after you have retained a lawyer, also could be interpreted as relinquishing your right to remain silent.

 

When You Know You Are A Suspect In A Crime 

Just because the police are required to advise you of your Miranda rights only when you are in custody does not mean that you cannot take steps to protect yourself and assert those rights when you are not in custody.  If you are approached by a law enforcement officer or if a police officer should leave a card for you to call because you are a suspect in a crime, you should always tell the officer, respectfully and specifically:

  1. “I do not want to talk to you or anyone else at this time”;
  2. “I wish to speak to an attorney”;
  3. “I wish to have an attorney present during any questioning.”

 

Do not get into the officer’s police car if you are not under arrest; do not go to the police station if you are not under arrest.  Write down the date, time and the circumstances under which the officer tried to talk to you, and call your St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer immediately.

 

Contact Us

The Miranda warnings are interpreted to protect all persons against the naturally coercive and intimidating effects of interrogation by law enforcement officers. To learn more about your rights in the criminal justice system or to talk about your particular situation, contact our St. Augustine criminal defense lawyers today.

Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Double Jeopardy

March 17, 2016

One of the key points that our Jacksonville criminal defense attorney emphasizes to clients is their constitutional rights, including the Fifth Amendment, which states that a person cannot be placed in double jeopardy or tried more than once for the same offense. However, the logistics of what double jeopardy looks like can be confusing.

A Definition of Double Jeopardy

Double jeopardy means that a person is put at risk again from prosecution. The writers of the Constitution determined that a person cannot be punished again for the same crime. Technically, prohibitions against double jeopardy include:

  • Re-prosecuting a person for the same crime after he or she was acquitted
  • Re-prosecuting a person for the same crime after he or she was convicted and
  • Punishing a person for the same crime more than once.

Even when the prosecution finds additional evidence of a defendant’s guilt after a trial, the state or district attorney cannot prosecute the defendant again. In addition, a judge cannot sentence a person again when he or she already completed a sentence for the offense in question. However, the courts have implemented specific guidelines about when double jeopardy applies.

Criminal Cases

Administrative and civil proceedings are exempt from double jeopardy as it only applies to criminal law. For example, if someone is convicted of a crime, he or she might still be exposed to a civil case from the crime victims. A classic example of this was when O.J. Simpson was acquitted of criminal charges but was found liable in a civil case. In addition, the Department of Motor Vehicles has the right to take action, such as suspend or revoke a driver’s license in a criminal case. For this reason, in a drunk driving case, the courts and the DMV will impose separate sanctions.

Attachment of Jeopardy

The case must progress beyond a certain point in order for double jeopardy to apply. Just because the prosecution re-files criminal charges does not mean that the person is in jeopardy. In cases before a judge, attachment happens when the first witness takes the stand. In jury trials, attachment happens when the jury is sworn in.

Double Jeopardy for the Same Crime

While you can only be prosecuted once for the same offense, you can be prosecuted separately for other related offenses. For example, if a defendant wins an acquittal for murder, he or she might still be prosecuted for assault with a deadly weapon, a separate charge.

Different Jurisdictions

In addition, the double jeopardy guarantee only applies in cases in the same jurisdiction. The state and federal government can both prosecute a person for the same offense, such as transportation of marijuana over a certain amount. Another example is the state prosecution of the police officers in the Rodney King beating in California. While the state lost its case, the federal government picked up the case when they claimed that King’s civil rights were violated. Double jeopardy did not apply because two different jurisdictions, also labeled sovereigns, acted. In the 2013 case when George Zimmerman was acquitted of the death of Trayvon Martin, the public wanted the federal government to pursue the case. However, the feds declined, likely because the question of Zimmerman’s racial animosity was in question.

Separate Punishments Stemming from the Same Crime

Prosecutors sometimes file numerous charges against a person for the same offenses. For example, the defendant might face charges for assault and assault with a deadly weapon for using a knife in the attack. However, if the defendant is convicted of both offenses, he or she can only be sentenced for the more serious offense or assault with a knife in this case.

The Question of Fairness

If double jeopardy is a question in a case during an appeal, the appellate court will consider how it applies on a case-by-case basis. They look at the bottom line regarding fairness, depending on the situation.

Call Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney at (904) 824-9402

Our Jacksonville criminal attorney at Canan Law can clarify if double jeopardy is a factor in your case.

St Augustine Divorce Attorney Helps Spouses Who Are Not Receiving Spousal Support

March 6, 2016

A St Augustine divorce attorney can likely recount many stories about why spouses fall behind on alimony. Sometimes it is due to an unexpected job loss and difficulty finding a new job. In other cases, the paying spouse may suffer from medical conditions that affect his or her ability to work. However, sometimes a paying spouse simply resents having to pay support, is bitter or wants to get back at an ex by stopping expected support. Fortunately, the recipient spouse has a number of remedies to help ensure that he or she receives court-ordered spousal support.

Investigation

The first thing that a St Augustine divorce attorney will want to do in a case of this nature is to determine why the spouse has stopped paying support. He or she will want to uncover whether the spouse involuntarily lost a job or experienced a reduction in income due to illness or injury. If the paying spouse is unable to make support payments, the spouses may be able to work out an agreement that reduces the amount of payments or suspends them for a certain period of time. A St Augustine divorce attorney can help draft an agreement to this effect and ensure that the recipient spouse’s legal interests are fully protected. However, if it is determined that the paying spouse simply wants to avoid his or her obligation to pay spousal support, the recipient spouse will likely need to pursue a remedy provided by the court.

Available Remedies

If there is a court-ordered spousal support order, the recipient spouse can file a petition with the court asking it to force the paying spouse to pay off the amount that he or she is behind on support. Courts do not like it when parties deliberately disobey their orders. Courts have much discretion when it comes to punishing individuals for not obeying their orders.

Some court remedies include:

Contempt

The recipient spouse may file a motion for contempt against the paying spouse. The court may hear testimony and analyze evidence to determine if the paying spouse has intentionally disobeyed the court order. If the court finds that he or she did, the spouse may be ordered to pay off the back-due support within a specific period of time. The court may impose an additional fine. If the spouse still refuses to honor his or her obligation, the court may have the paying spouse jailed.

Confiscation of Funds

Another remedy that the court has is to confiscate funds from the spouse’s financial estate such as rents and profits derived from real estate that he or she owns. The court can have these amounts taken and applied toward the spousal support obligation if it determines such action is reasonable and just.

Income Withholding

An income withholding order is often sent to a paying spouse’s employer. This order requires the employer to withhold the amount of spousal support and forward it to the recipient spouse. Such an order is often effective because it removes the paying spouse’s ability to simply keep these funds for himself or herself rather than pay spousal support. However, the order is only effective while the spouse is employed. Likewise, a withholding order does not work in cases in which the paying spouse is self-employed.

If the original spousal support order did not include an income withholding order, the recipient spouse can request that such an order be imposed. While this will not help regain the payments that were not received, it can help ensure that future payments are received. If the paying spouse is self-employed, the recipient spouse can ask the court to order the paying spouse to establish a trust that will provide access to funds to the recipient spouse if payments are not made in a timely manner.

Order to Find Work

If the paying spouse is unemployed, the recipient spouse can ask the court to order the spouse to find work. Additionally, the recipient spouse can ask the judge to impute income for the spouse if he or she is willfully unemployed. This requires the court to make an assessment of how much money the paying spouse would be earning if he or she had a job based on the individual’s earning capacity, including his or her education, work history and skills. The amount of spousal support is then based off of the imputed income.

Writ of Execution

Another potential remedy is for the court to issue a writ of execution against assets owned by the paying spouse, such as checking accounts, CDs and other financial assets.

Legal Assistance

If a recipient spouse is not receiving spousal support that was ordered by the court, he or she may need legal assistance. Contact a St Augustine divorce attorney from Canan Law by calling (904) 824-9402 to set up a confidential consultation.

Our Augustine Auto Accident Attorney Discusses Common Causes of Auto Accidents

February 4, 2016

car accidentSometimes an auto accident is just that; an accident. In many instances, however, a crash occurs due to someone’s negligence. The more miles you drive, the greater the chance you will be involved in an automobile accident, but by being aware of some of the more common causes, you may be able to develop some strategies to avoid being involved in one.

Distracted Driving

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 50 percent of all accidents on the American roadways are due to some form of distracted driving, which may be defined as any activity that diverts the drivers attention away from the task of driving. When you consider all the activities that occur inside a car during a drive, it is no wonder distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions. Common examples include talking on a cell phone, speaking with a passenger, adjusting a navigation device and eating. However, perhaps the most dangerous distraction as reported by an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Augustine is the one that is caused by texting while driving.

The Unique Dangers of Texting

Breaking down the elements of distracted driving, researchers have found three components:

  • Visual distraction
  • Manual distraction
  • Cognitive distraction

That is, a driver is distracted if he or she is not looking at the road, does not have his or her hands on the wheel or if his or her attention is focused somewhere other than on the road. Texting involves all three.

Speeding

Today’s world operates at a rapid pace, and everyone seems to be in a hurry all the time. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the road. Almost every driver speeds at one time or another, but that doesn’t justify doing so. Speed limits are set on each road for a reason; exceeding the posted limit can be deadly. While most people would agree that driving extremely fast, say 100 mph, is foolish and reckless, driving even five or ten miles over the speed limit can be just as dangerous depending on the conditions. For example, if an average motor vehicle is traveling at 30 mph, it will take approximately 45 feet to some to a complete stop. But if that vehicle is traveling at 35 mph, at a distance of 45 feet the car will still be moving at about 18 mph. Hitting another moving car, a stationary object, or worse, a pedestrian, at that speed can result in significant damage.

Drunk Driving

Despite much publicity and aggressive efforts by law enforcement, drunk driving remains a big problem. A startling report by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers indicates that despite the fact that as many as 4000 people a day in the country are arrested for drunk driving, up to 300,000 drunk driving incidences occur each day. Some say there is no reason to ever get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, but the science is clear that the dangers exponentially increase with the consumption of more alcohol. A NHTSA study found that drivers who were found to have a BAC of 0.08 percent, the legal limit for most drivers, were four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than sober drivers. With a BAC of 0.15 percent, that number jumps to 12 times more likely.

Aggressive Driving

An overly aggressive driver poses risks to others who share the road. Behavior such as following too closely, honking the car’s horn, tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes and running stop signs and red lights can result in accidents, many of which may not involve the aggressive driver.

Fatigue

Driver fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel are not merely problems for those who drive during nighttime hours. Although certainly true for the hours between 2:00 am and 6:00 am, there is also statistical evidence that many drivers exhibit similar symptoms of fatigue around what is known as the “2:00 pm slump.” Long journeys without appropriate rest are the main cause, and drivers often become fatigued without realizing that fact. In many instances, a personal injury attorney in St. Augustine reports that those who drive commercially are pressed into long hours by the trucking companies’ unrealistic schedule requirements.

Weather

Weather, particularly wet or icy roads, remains a leading cause of accidents. While curtailing driving during certain conditions may not be practical or possible, drivers who must venture out should adjust their driving speed to the road conditions, and be certain their vehicles are maintained properly for the type of driving required.

Contact a St. Augustine Auto Accident Attorney for Legal Advice

Whatever the cause of an auto accident, you need to be certain your legal rights are protected. For an evaluation of your case, call Canan Law, a St. Augustine auto accident attorney, at (904) 824-9402.

St. Augustine Divorce Attorney Explains 10 Common Divorce Mistakes

January 20, 2016

St. Augustine Divorce AttorneyYour St Augustine divorce attorney will explain to you that divorces usually involve a lot of emotion. Good or bad, these emotions can hinder the case, especially if there are children involved. The following ten items are things that can delay the divorce process and cause the finalization to be delayed.

Leaving in Secret

If you decide that you want to leave your marriage, you should do so openly. Gathering information about finances and assets in secret and then leaving without notice will cause a lot of distrust between both parties during the negotiations.

Discuss the Divorce First

If you surprise your spouse with divorce papers, you will most likely be met with aggression. It is nearly guaranteed that their St. Augustine lawyer will want to examine everything regarding the marriage extensively to determine the cause of the divorce and how long it was being planned. These issues can be very damaging in a proceeding.

Avoid Nasty Interactions

As your St Augustine divorce attorney will explain, nasty and snide comments towards each other during the negotiations will only cause more trouble and delay closure.

Keep Past Transgressions to Yourself

Relieving yourself of a guilty conscious may make you feel better, but it will only encourage your spouse to be more aggressive towards the divorce as an act of revenge.

Bad Financial Decisions

Emptying the bank accounts or maxing out the credit cards will be harmful to your case. If you do need money, only withdraw half of the bank account and leave the credit cards alone.

Hiding Financial Information

Refusing to divulge all of your financial information during the divorce process will only lead to headaches. It will lengthen the time of the process and increase all legal and accounting fees.

Hiding Assets

Disposing of assets or hiding assets is never a good idea. As your St. Augustine lawyer will explain, private investigators and forensic accountants have a way of finding these items and the Court will frown upon, and most likely punish, the offender.

New Relationships

If you decide to start a new relationship during the divorce process, you will most likely experience anger and jealously from your spouse. This will make the the divorce a lot harder to complete.

Trying to Make It Difficult

It is easy to want to make things difficult for your spouse because of the anger and betrayal you feel. However, being difficult during the settlement process will only delay the inevitable and cause legal fees to increase.

Arguing After the Divorce

Arguing after the divorce about the settlement agreement, or more seriously, about the children, will be very damaging to your children and very costly in legal and court expenses.

Speak to a St Augustine Divorce Attorney Today

If you need to file divorce, or have been served divorce papers, you are encourage to speak with an attorney at Canan Law. Call 904.824.9402 and schedule your appointment with a St Augustine divorce attorney today.

Our St. Augustine Divorce Attorney Explains Depositions in Divorce and Child Support Cases

January 12, 2016

St. Augustine Divorce Attorney If you are involved in a divorce or child support case, your St. Augustine divorce attorney may want to depose your spouse. Likewise, your spouse’s attorney may want to depose you. Depositions are a normal part of civil litigation that can help child support lawyers in Jacksonville, FL prepare for both settlement negotiations and trial.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is a way for your divorce attorney or child support lawyers in Jacksonville, FL to gather information from the opposing party prior to trial. Depositions usually happen at the attorney’s office – never in court. However, this does not mean a deposition is an informal proceeding.

Depositions are conducted under oath, so you must answer each question truthfully. A transcriptionist will be present to record your answers. Your attorney will also be present and may object if opposing counsel asks any improper questions. Both attorneys will receive a copy of the deposition once it is completed.

Why Take a Deposition?

Depositions help your attorney:

  • Elicit information from your spouse that he has failed to provide;
  • Learn more about opposing counsel’s trial strategy;
  • Point out weaknesses in your case;
  • Get an idea of how you perform under pressure, and;
  • Have a way to counter any later lies or misstatements made by your spouse, since deposition statements are admissible in court.

What Can I Expect During a Deposition?

Although each case is different, you should expect your spouse’s attorney to ask you questions regarding your:

  • Finances (i.e. value of checking/savings accounts, real property, investments, etc.);
  • Educational background;
  • Employment and work history;
  • Health;
  • Information regarding your children, and;
  • Proposed custody plan.

We will ask your spouse similar questions during her deposition.

Contact a St. Augustine Divorce Attorney Today

If you are considering filing for divorce or child custody, an experienced divorce attorney can help. Call Canan Law‘s St. Augustine divorce attorneys or child custody lawyers in Jacksonville, FL today at (904) 824-9402.

 

Our Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney Discusses Negotiating with a Bad Faith Insurance Carrier

January 6, 2016

 Jacksonville Car Accident AttorneyYour Jacksonville car accident attorney at Canan Law understands that all automobile insurance carriers are not equal, even though it may appear that way when a potential customer is deciding on an insurance provider. The same is true when an injured motorist is attempting to file a claim with a car insurance company that regularly uses borderline bad faith tactics when handling a personal injury or accident claim. The truth is that many insurance companies will attempt to postpone a claim settlement for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the insurance adjuster is overwhelmed with cases. Sometimes they are merely forcing the claimant to take a case to court before acting. Actually, many times the difference in the expediency of a claim settlement is based on the size of the responsible insurance company and the conservative payout approach employed in standard negotiations. Regardless of insurance company size or negotiation policy, it is always a good decision to retain an experienced St. Augustine car accident attorney like the legal professionals at Canan Law.

Bad Faith Procrastination

Purposely procrastinating a car accident claim is a typical tactic used by many insurance carriers. While some insurance companies prefer to mediate an injury or accident claim, others will force all claimants to retain an attorney and file the case in court. The responsible insurance company has very little incentive for settling a case early unless a claimant is attempting to settle the case themselves without representation and have no idea of their damage recovery possibilities. The only responsibility the insurance carrier claims adjuster has is in protecting the company by reducing an obviously covered claim or protecting the actual negligent driver and client. Otherwise, the adjuster will wait the claimant out either in an effort to get them to cease the claim or force their legal counsel to establish the potential for a separate bad faith lawsuit. Your reputable Jacksonville car accident attorney will recognize when the insurance provider is stalling for some unacceptable reason.

Bad Faith Lawsuits and Punitive Damage Awards

Most car accident cases only include compensatory damages for personal injury and physical property damage. This is why good faith insurance companies would just as soon settle a case when possible. Cases involving long-term injury and ongoing medical coverage can still be problematic and aggressively defended. Also, claims for pain and suffering are considered non-economic compensatory damages, and claims that fit within the limits of the negligent driver’s coverage policy are often sufficient damage awards. But, when this cannot be negotiated, your St. Augustine car accident attorney can begin the process of a potential bad faith lawsuit or taking the accident to trial in hopes of a punitive damage award. All insurance companies want to avoid punitive damage awards from a sympathetic jury, and this can be a very effective leverage tool for your attorney when settling the case.

Contact a Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney

Anyone in Florida who is dealing with a procrastinating insurance carrier should contact Canan Law at (904) 824-9402 for a free and full evaluation of your accident claim.

Our Jacksonville DUI Lawyer Helps Drivers Rattled by Police Questioning

December 16, 2015

Jacksonville DUI Lawyer When police officers stop or detain a Florida motorist, they usually ask a series of questions designed to find out information, which is why you should consult with a Jacksonville DUI lawyer when it happens to you. Officers use their interrogation skills to ascertain if you, the driver, are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Of course, few people will admit to being unfit to drive, so the police ask questions in a manner purposely designed to confuse you. These divided-attention questions force you to focus intently. An inability to do so could provide the evidence needed for officers to heighten up the interrogation, perhaps even leading to an arrest, necessitating you contact a Jacksonville DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

Legality of Divided-Attention Questioning by the Police

You may believe such divided-attention questions a bit underhanded and sneaky. However, the authorities claim to have the public interest in mind. Drivers, or others, under the influence of an inebriating substance pose a danger to all in their vicinity. By asking questions that force you to do or think about more than one thing at the same time, the police replicate the type of attention required to handle a motor vehicle, work on the job or care for children. If you cannot handle this series of questions to their satisfaction, the police might assume you unable to be engaged in whatever activity you had been presently doing.

Common Types of Divided-Attention Questions and Tests Posed by Police

Police will often ask for a driver to produce two things at the same time; perhaps, a drivers license and vehicle registration. During standard questioning, they may also begin posing distracting questions that have little to do with the situation at hand. A drunk driver, for example, may lose their train of thought under any of these forms of interrogation. There is also the walk-and-turn test. During this exercise, you will have to perform a physical task, along with answering difficult questions. Likewise, the one-leg test has you maintain your balance while counting large numbers. In general, the police may stop you and apply these techniques in any form or combination. Again, the overall aim is to distract you, so that they can discern whether or not you have been drinking or using drugs. The next step, assuming there is some degree of suspicion, will be the field sobriety test, as provided under state law.

Get Legal Help with Traffic Stops from a Compassionate Jacksonville DUI Lawyer

If during a traffic stop, the police asked questions to rattle you, contact a Jacksonville DUI lawyer, such as one at Canan Law, at (904) 824-9402, today.

The Law Offices of Patrick T. Canan in St. Augustine, Florida represents clients throughout St. Johns County, Duval County, Flagler County, Putman County, Clay County,
and the cities of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach, Palm Coast, Palatka, Green Cove Springs, Bunnell, Flagler Beach, Hastings, Crescent City, Interlachen, and Jacksonville.

The Offices of Patrick T. Canan | 1030 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd | St. Augustine, FL 32084 | Telephone 904.824.9402 | Fax 904.824.9269
Email generalinquiries@cananlaw.com | For emergencies, call 904.716.3450 | Office Hours: 8:30-5:00 Monday through Friday
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