Canan Law

A Jacksonville Criminal Attorney on Search and Seizure

November 18, 2015

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyThe Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution provides the fundamental protections limiting law enforcement’s power in conducting unreasonable searches of people and their property and unreasonable seizures of illegal contraband. If your Jacksonville criminal attorney can successfully argue a Fourth Amendment violation, it may be possible to exclude evidence and significantly weaken or terminate the prosecution’s case against you.

Warrantless Searches

Although the grounds for the issuance of a search warrant can be challenged as well as the scope of what was seized pursuant to that warrant, the majority of arrests are the result of warrantless searches. Under these circumstances, the district attorney has the burden of proof to show the search was legal. In deciding search and seizure cases, courts must balance law enforcement’s legitimate interest in detecting and preventing crime with a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Probable Cause

It must be proved the police had probable cause to belief you committed a crime or had evidence of a crime in your possession.

Expectation of Privacy

Fourth Amendment issues only apply if, at the time of the search, you had an actual expectation of privacy and, as a Jacksonville criminal attorney emphasizes, that expectation was reasonable under all the facts and circumstances.

Issues to Consider

Some factors to determine whether search and seizure may be an issue in your case include:

  • Were you stopped by police? Were you subsequently arrested? Did the police take anything from you? When did they do so?
  • Did the police inspect any personal property of yours? Did they ask your permission before doing so?
  • Did the police examine any part of your body or take samples of blood, hair or urine?
  • Did the police search the immediate area you were in when stopped? Were you in your car? Someone else’s car? Were you in your home? Someone else’s home?
  • Did the police intercept or monitor any communications, such as private conversations, telephone calls or emails?

Contact a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney for Legal Advice

If it is possible to suppress any evidence illegally seized, it may also be possible to exclude other evidence found as a result. If you have been arrested or are currently under investigation, you need to understand your rights and explore your potential options. Begin with a call to Canan Law, a Jacksonville criminal attorney, at (904) 824-9402.

How a Denial of Your Rights Affects Your Case

St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer Clients sometimes think that their Constitutional rights were denied and ask our St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer what they should do. The following information provides an overview of how your attorney might handle specific issues with your case.

Determining Probable Cause

Law enforcement officers need to have a legitimate reason or probable cause in order to legally arrest a person. Probable cause means that the authorities reasonably think that a person committed a crime, resulting in the alleged offender’s arrest. If there is a question about probable cause, you have the right to a court hearing to determine probable cause, usually in less than 48 hours. In some cases, the court might have sanctioned a warrant, so probable cause was determined at that time.

Dealing with Excessive Delays in a Criminal Case

Your St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer might take the following steps if the courts or the prosecution delayed in providing you with a probable cause review.

  • Filing a writ of habeas corpus – Your attorney might file a writ of habeas corpus in order to secure your release. However, the process is time-consuming as he or she needs to draw up the paperwork and wait for the hearing to be scheduled. By that time, you might have been released. Instead, your St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer might decide to make some telephone calls up the chain of command, all the way to the supervising prosecutor or even to the judge in the case when necessary. Your attorney will explain the circumstances of the case to the judge, who will look at how the court can avoid any litigation as he or she works to expedite your hearing and your case.
  • Federal civil rights violations – Your lawyer might file a lawsuit alleging federal civil rights violations against the police, prosecutors and the court system. Just the threat of legal action will likely bring relief since anyone held liable will need to pay your legal and related fees if you win the case.
  • Suppressing evidence in a confession and related statements – You might not be able to hire an attorney in time to seek relief for a habeas corpus writ or to file a civil rights lawsuit. Even so, any delays in an appearance before the magistrate or the judge at an initial appearance could still negatively impact the prosecution’s case. For example, the authorities might delay your appearance because they are trying to convince you to confess. However, if the court later determines that the delay is illegal, the confession and any related statements will not be admitted in court and cannot be used against you.
  • Seeking release on bail – The courts look at the totality of the situation when granting bail and when determining a final bail amount for your release. If your lawyer addresses this delay, the judge might reduce bail in the case due to the prosecution’s questionable actions.

Call Our St. Augustine Criminal Defense Lawyer

Our St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer at Canan Law can challenge and address any denial of your Constitutional rights. Call (904) 824-9402 today.

How Does the Judge Determine Child Support?

November 17, 2015

Divorce Lawyers in Jacksonville FLIf you are in the process of negotiating a child support agreement, our divorce lawyers in Jacksonville FL may be able to help you. Divorce court lawyers follow state-specific laws to determine a fair child support arrangement and use guidelines and formulas to arrive at a payment calculation. Judges also consider the tax consequences before combining child and spousal support.

Determining Support Payments

The first consideration in child support calculations is eligibility. The judge first determines whether the child is eligible to receive support. Many states only require support until the child reaches a certain age or becomes emancipated. Other states require that one parent offers support throughout college, and children with disabilities may receive ongoing support. Many states treat other care-related expenses, such as medical care, daycare and after school activities as a part of the child support obligation. Others allow parents to work out payment arrangements for such expenses between themselves. In nearly half of all states, your judge will base payments on the amount of time the payor spouse has the children in his or her care. High-income payors are also able to be held to a different standard than the state formula for child support. This means that a high-income payor often pays more than other parents would for child support payments. However, it can also mean that the high-income payor pays less child support than he or she would have under the state payment formulations. This is done to prevent a particularly high support payment from becoming alimony for the non-payor spouse.

Calculating the Support Amount

Before your case ever goes before a judge, there are a variety of calculating programs that divorce lawyers in Jacksonville FL can help you use to determine what you can expect from your custody arrangement. Having a general idea of what your payments will be before going to court can help you make the necessary financial preparations.

Contact Divorce Lawyers in Jacksonville FL

Contact Canan Law today at (904) 824-9402 to speak with divorce lawyers in Jacksonville FL who are experienced in child custody arrangements.


A St. Augustine Car Accident Lawyer Explains How You May be Affected by a Lawsuit

November 4, 2015

gavel scales St. Augustine Car Accident Lawyer When you are working with your St. Augustine car accident lawyer, they will explain what you can expect as you prepare to file your lawsuit. Car accident injury lawsuits normally follow the same procedure. Understanding how your case will progress and what it will entail can help you to better prepare.

Initial Investigation of Your Case

Before filing the lawsuit, your St. Augustine car accident lawyer will first investigate your case. They may do this by reviewing police reports and other documents, such as your medical records. They will then draft the complaint, which is the document needed to commence the lawsuit. Along with the complaint, they will also draft a summons to be served on the defendant.

Filing and Serving the Summons and Complaint

The next step is when the lawyer actually files the summons and complaint with the court. They will then serve the documents on the defendant. The defendant then has time to reply to the complaint and file it with the court.


The discovery process is initiated after the lawsuit is started. This involves both parties exchanging information about the case. During discovery, you may expect such things as written interrogatories in which the party must answer questions. In some cases, you and other witnesses may also be deposed and testify under oath in front of the involved attorneys. Your attorney may also need to send copies of the reports and your medical records to the other party, even if they were already sent to the insurance company. This is done when there has been a request for production of documents. There might also be a request for admissions, which simply means asking parties to agree to certain facts that will not be in dispute during the case.

Trial or Settlement

Leading up to trial, your attorney may file motions in court. They will then prepare the case for trial. During this time, your attorney may work to negotiate a fair settlement in your case so you can recover damages you deserve. If a settlement cannot be reached, you will then proceed to trial in court.

Contact a St. Augustine Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may need help. To speak with a St. Augustine car accident lawyer at Canan Law, call (904) 824-9402.

Our Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney Discusses What Your Case Could Be Worth

October 20, 2015

 Jacksonville Car Accident AttorneyIf you have been injured in a car accident, it is best to discuss your case with your Jacksonville car accident attorney after seeking medical attention. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages that were incurred during the accident. The following information from your Jacksonville car accident attorney discusses the possibility of how much your case could potentially be worth. If you have any further questions after reading the information, contact your Jacksonville car accident attorney to set up a consultation.

How Much Could Your Case Be Worth?

The above question is one that every accident attorney is asked at some point by their client. Most people want to know what their attorney thinks their car accident case may be worth. Unfortunately, there is no exact science to predict what a case could potentially be worth. Instead, there are factors that could help to determine what your case could possibly be worth. Those factors can include the following:

  • How much your medical bills are
  • What type of medical treatment you received and the cost
  • The laws in your state
  • How much income you lost due to your injuries. This includes any sick time, vacation time, wages, or insurance coverage you lost due to being absent from work.
  • How severe your injuries are and how they have impacted your daily life
  • If your injuries are considered to be permanent ones
  • How liable the other driver is for the accident
  • How liable you are for the accident
  • How reliable those who witnessed the accident are
  • What insurance company the other driver has their policy with

Those are just some of the factors in an accident case. While some are more important than others, all will support your case.

Schedule a Consultation from a Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney

For assistance from a skilled professional, contact your Jacksonville car accident attorney today from Canan Law at (904) 824-9402. Canan Law has the Jacksonville car accident attorney who will help you fight for what you deserve in your car accident case. Call today!

Do I Need to Pay Taxes on Damages? Our Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney Explains

October 6, 2015

gavel stethoscope Jacksonville Car Accident AttorneyAsk a Jacksonville car accident attorney whether whoever recovers a settlement or judgment in a car accident case must pay taxes on that recovery, and the short answer in most cases will be “no.” However, “no” is not a hard and fast rule but depends on the nature and circumstances of the settlement or judgment.

While only a tax expert can give advice, facts from this article can help taxpayers prepare appropriate questions to present to a Jacksonville car accident attorney or other qualified adviser for consultation.

Generally, settlements and judgments are the same for tax purposes whether the taxpayer receives the money through either a settlement of claim negotiations or a judgment after a trial.

The Tax Code

The applicable language of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation on the question of taxation on settlements and judgments is at Code of Federal Regulations Title 26 Section 1:

  1. 104-1 Compensation for injuries or sickness.

This includes damages received on account of personal physical injuries or physical sickness or compensations for damages in general. Section 104(a)(2) excludes from gross income the amount of any damages (other than punitive damages) received (whether by suit or agreement and whether as lump sums or as periodic payments) on account of personal physical injuries or physical sickness. Emotional distress is not considered a physical injury or physical sickness. However, damages for emotional distress attributable to a physical injury or physical sickness are excluded from income under section 104(a)(2). Section 104(a)(2) also excludes damages not in excess of the amount paid for medical care for emotional distress.

Medical Expenses and Injuries

Most settlements and judgments are for only compensatory and general damages for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering as direct results from injuries. In such typical settlements, most of the recovery amount is not subject to taxes because that type of settlement or judgment represents reimbursement for actual losses.

Vehicle and Property Damage

Compensation for vehicle damage from car accidents is not taxable. This rule applies to costs of repairs paid and to any reimbursement for rental car expenses while the taxpayer’s vehicle was in the repair shop and unavailable.

Lost Income

Generally, any settlement or judgment amount as compensation for lost income is subject to income tax for the reason that the original income would have been taxable without the loss, and so any compensation to replace that same lost income should be taxable as well. If the settlement or judgment compensates the taxpayer for losses other than income, taxes are due on the prorated portion that compensates for the lost income.

Punitive Damages

Rarely do car accident settlements or judgments award punitive damages, which punish defendants to deter future misconduct in extraordinary circumstances where defendants engage in particularly irresponsible, reckless, outrageous, or egregious behavior. In the rare award of punitive damages in personal injury cases they are usually taxable.

Any personal injury lawyer can offer basic information on the taxability of a settlement or judgment. Most general personal injury lawyers, however, are not experts in tax law. For answers to complex questions about the tax implications of personal injury settlements or judgments, it’s best to consult a tax expert.

Help from a Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney

The precise cause of a car accident is not always immediately apparent. Sometimes one or both drivers are at fault, at other times the state or the city responsible for road maintenance or the manufacturer of unsafe equipment. Our Jacksonville car accident attorney can investigate the claim thoroughly, find the cause(s), and pursue the best result relentlessly in a settlement or judgment for full and fair compensation.

The initial consultation for a car accident claim with a Canan Law attorney is always free. We have years of experience in litigating car accident cases. A Jacksonville car accident attorney at Canan Law can provide a claim evaluation at no cost or obligation. To find out why we are the popular choice for car accident representation, call 904.824.9402 now.

Contacting a St. Augustine Criminal Defense Attorney after an Arrest

September 22, 2015

Man wearing prisoner uniform St. Augustine Criminal Defense AttorneyOur St. Augustine criminal defense attorney can explain that the moments after an arrest can be some of the most critical in a case. Often, criminal defendants are scared and may say things that hurt their case because they mistakenly believe that they will be let go. However, this is usually not the case. A St. Augustine criminal defense attorney may be able to offer information about the arrest procedure that can help a criminal defendant protect his or her legal rights.

What to Expect After an Arrest

After a criminal defendant is arrested, he or she may not have access to a phone until after the initial court appearance. Additionally, his or her spouse and other family may be frantically looking for him or her and be concerned that he or she is being taken care of appropriately. This is the time when many family members place a call to a St. Augustine criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer may attempt to determine the law enforcement agency and officer who arrested you. Additionally, he or she may ask the agency to confirm when you are first due in court.

Finding Your Location

It may be difficult for a St. Augustine criminal defense attorney to initially locate criminal defendants who have just been arrested. However, he or she can usually follow the trail in order to determine the defendant’s location by first checking with the court, the jail, the central booking center and other entities that had contact with the defendant. Once the defendant’s location is determined, his or her lawyer may attempt to find out how long he or she is expected to be there, whether bail is an option and whether anyone can see him or her.

Illegal Arrests

One of the important roles of a criminal defense attorney is to determine whether law enforcement acted within the confines of the law. In order for an arrest to be legal, law enforcement must have probable cause, which means that the law enforcement officer had a reasonable belief that the defendant committed a criminal act. If it is determined by the court that an illegal arrest occurred, the criminal defendant has the right to be released. Additionally, any evidence that directly stems from this primary illegality must be suppressed because it will be considered “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Legal Assistance from a St. Augustine Criminal Defense Attorney

For more information, contact a St. Augustine criminal defense attorney from Canan Law by calling (904) 824-9402.

Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney Explains the Arrest Procedure

September 15, 2015

man under arrest Jacksonville Criminal Defense AttorneyAs any Jacksonville criminal defense attorney will tell you, there are specific procedures that must be followed in any arrest. Being arrested can be frightening and it may seem as if it takes forever from the time you are arrested until you appear in court. Understanding the process can reduce some of the fear and stress as you will better understand the steps that must be followed throughout the procedure.

The Arrest

The first step in the arrest process is the filing of a complaint or other charging document. Often, this occurs after an investigation that may have gone on for a long time or may have been conducted quickly, depending on the circumstances of the case. You may have suspected the arrest was coming based on questions asked in an investigation or the arrest may come as a complete surprise as police do not have to warn a suspect that they plan to issue an arrest warrant. In either case, you will want to discuss your circumstances with a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The complaint or charging document is presented to a judge who then issues the arrest warrant. Once it has been issued, the police arrive at your home or business to put you under arrest.

Booking Process

The booking process after an arrest can vary depending on the location and what agency arrested you, but most follow the same pattern. Once you are arrested, you are transported to the police station and booked. This involves confirming your identity and recording the arrest, which will involve photographing you, known as a mug shot, and taking your fingerprints. You will be asked questions and a database will be used to search for any prior criminal offenses. The questions asked may include:

  • Identity
  • Where you live
  • Your nationality and immigration status
  • Health Issues
  • Employment
  • Associates

Although it may be done as soon as you are arrested, at this point you may be read your Miranda Rights. In some cases, the police may read them at the time of arrest and again once you are booked. Once you have been booked, you may be able to make a phone call to a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney.

Bond or Bail

After you have been processed at the police station, you may be released on what is known as your own recognizance, which means you do not have to post bail and the police believe you will return for your court dates. However, depending on the charge and your risk of flight, you may have to attend a bond hearing at the courthouse. At that time, a judge will determine how much, if any, bond must be posted for your release. If your bond is high, you may need to use the services of a bail bondsman who will require at least ten percent of your bond be paid to them in order to insure your return to court. In some cases, you can use equity in your home or other property as collateral for the bail. In some cases, bail may be set low enough a family member or friend can pay the amount in full. If so, your bond is returned to you as long as you appear in court as ordered. The fee paid to a bail bondsman is not returned to you, but if you do not show up in court, you will be required to pay the bail bondsman your entire bail.

Contact Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been arrested and you don’t know where to turn, contact Canan Law to speak to a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney about your case. You can reach them by phone at 904-824-9402.

Our St. Johns County DUI Attorneys Discuss Getting the Right Attorney

September 9, 2015

stack of books St. Johns County DUI AttorneysDrunk driving is a serious charge with serious consequences, call our St. Johns County DUI attorneys if you want our expert attorneys with the knowledge and experience to fight for you. Find the right attorney, not just any attorney.

  • Experience Matters. Look for an attorney with several years’ experience including at least two years defending DUIs. Many attorneys do some DUI work, so look for one who does DUI defense as a substantial portion of their practice or as a specialty. Former DUI prosecutors are often great DUI defense attorneys.
  • The Meet. You have to work with your attorney, the “best” attorney in the state may not be best for you if you are uncomfortable working with them. The first time you meet with an attorney, it’s important to remember that it is similar to a job interview, and you are doing the hiring! You are picking a representative in a very real sense. Your attorney speaks for you to the prosecutor, the Judge, and possibly a jury. Is the attorney listening to you? Are they responsive to questions? Personal fit isn’t everything, but it does matter.
  • Closing the Deal. DUIs are expensive, so it’s essential to discuss the money up front. There should be a written representation agreement – read it! Most DUI attorney work on a fee schedule. Ask what is, and is not, included in the fee. Many DUI cases include an administrative element with the DMV; is that included? What if the case is dismissed? What if it is re-filed? Does the fee include trial? What about an appeal? Are costs included or billed separately? Note, contingency fees are never allowed in criminal cases in Florida.

Contact Our St. Johns County DUI Attorneys

The right attorney can make a big difference in your case. The experienced St. Johns County DUI attorneys at Canan Law can help, call for a consultation and case evaluation. Call (904) 824-9402 today.

Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney Discusses Bad Faith Insurance Company Negotiation Tactics

August 13, 2015

Insurance claim Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney Our Jacksonville car accident attorney understands that many insurance companies have standard bad faith negotiation policies they use in any effort to get a claim eliminated or drawn out through full court litigation. The typical injured victim should never attempt to negotiate their own insurance coverage settlement because the insurance adjusters are all well-trained in the process of “low-balling” a covered claimant. Anytime an insurance adjuster thinks they can settle a case with the lowest offer possible, they will do so and will even request a release on continuing medical coverage in situations that may involve long-term injury. It is never a good decision to attempt to settle your claim without legal advice or representation from an experienced litigator like a Jacksonville car accident attorney from Canan Law because they are professionally trained negotiators who can recognize bad faith negotiation tactics before they develop.

Art of the Deal

It is acceptable for the claimant to talk with the insurance adjuster before retaining an attorney, and many times the attitude of the adjuster will indicate the company policy on case settlements. Any information gleaned from the adjuster can help your attorney after he is retained. Many times an attorney will assess the value of a claim as high as possible because settlement compromises always shift downwards. The starting points concerning compensatory amounts are important in receiving a maximized settlement.

Dealing with a “Litigation Only” Insurance Company

Many insurance companies will only honor claims on cases that are formally filed in court. This is an immediate sign of a bad faith insurance company. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can often confer with the adjuster and request negotiation hearings directly with the company management officials. This process can entice a hard-line bad faith negotiation insurance company to get reasonable in their offer of settlement. But, some insurance companies will still only make one offer before wanting to go to court.

Going to Court Against Bad Faith Insurance Companies

When negotiations break down between your counsel and the insurance company, it will be necessary to take the insurer to court. This puts all negotiation tactics in the formal court record and can trigger a change in attitude by the insurance carrier, especially if your attorney wants to seek punitive damages from a sympathetic jury. In addition, if the court finds that the insurance provider has used general bad faith in an effort to reduce or deny a claim, there is a distinct possibility that you will have standing for a separate lawsuit against the respondent insurance company. Insurance companies want to avoid bad faith suits at all costs because it can impact operation status of the company. And, they also cringe at the idea of punitive damages for cases they should have settled long ago.

Contact a Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney

Anyone in Florida who suspects they are being dealt with unfairly by an auto insurance company should contact Jacksonville car accident attorney Canan Law at (904) 824-9402 and let them evaluate your car accident claim for maximum value potential.

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 | For emergencies, call 904.716.3450 | Office Hours: 8:30-5:00 Monday through Friday
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