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Jacksonville DUI Lawyer Discusses Police Observations of Driving Behaviors

June 16, 2015

drink keys Jacksonville DUI LawyerOur Jacksonville DUI lawyer can explain the defense against an officer’s observation of your driving behavior.

Police Stops Based on Driving Behaviors

In many instances, the police will use your driving behaviors as justification for the traffic stop. This could be the most important issue when the jury makes a decision in your case. The government has conducted studies showing that incidents of weaving or speeding have been statistically less than what could be considered enough to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses behaviors that law enforcement will use to determine whether or not a driver might be operating a vehicle under the influence. Your Jacksonville DUI lawyer can use this NHTSA study that is supposedly based on science to make a counterargument that bad driving does not automatically indicate driving under the influence.

How the NHTSA Detection Guide Is Viewed by Officers

The NHTSA instructs law enforcement in its Detection Guide to categorize driving behaviors with the following:

  1. A problem staying in the correct lane;
  2. Speeding and problems braking;
  3. Issues being vigilant;
  4. Problems with judgment.

It is predicted that if these indicators are present, the driver will be committing a DUI a minimum of 35 percent of the time. If the driver is weaving, there is a 50 percent chance that there is a DUI occurring. If the driver is weaving and also committing another one of the cues in the guide, the probability rises to a minimum of 65 percent. With two cues apart from weaving, the DUI likelihood is a minimum of 50 percent. Certain cues like speeding up without reason, swerving, or driving on the shoulder will have a single cue likelihood of DUI of more than 70 percent. In general, the probability that there is a DUI being committed rises when there is more than one cue indicated. According to the research, these training tactics can help law enforcement to:

  1. Detect drivers who might be impaired;
  2. Explain the behaviors they witnessed when filling out arrest reports;
  3. Provide support to the expert testimony of other officers.

Ironically, as they are giving a probability that a driver will be driving under the influence, the NHTSA is also providing a probability that a DUI is not being committed.

Contact a Jacksonville DUI Lawyer

If you have questions about a law enforcement officer coming to the conclusion that you were driving under the influence and how this can be defended against, call (904) 824-9402 to speak to a Jacksonville DUI lawyer at Canan Law today.

Jacksonville DUI Lawyer Explains the 3 Parts of a Standardized Field Sobriety Test

June 9, 2015

Jacksonville DUI Lawyer police car with lights onLaw enforcement officers in Florida often rely on the results of the standardized field sobriety test to determine if an individual is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This test is composed of three separate tests, and the results of each of these tests could be challenged by a Jacksonville DUI lawyer in certain situations.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

Officers look for involuntary eye movements during the HGN test, which is usually conducted by shining a flashlight into the driver’s eyes and asking them to look at a pen or similar object as it is moved from side to side. The eye movements of an intoxicated individual will likely be more exaggerated than those of someone who has not been drinking, and they may have difficulty completing the test. The results of an HGN test could be challenged by a Jacksonville DUI lawyer if the air contained irritants such as dust or pollen or the suspect performed the test while facing the rotating lights of a police vehicle. Certain medical conditions could also lead a sober individual to perform poorly during this test.

The Walk-and-Turn

This test involves walking heel-to-toe in a straight line before turning on one foot and returning along the same path while still walking heel-to-toe. An intoxicated individual may find it difficult to maintain their balance or walk in a straight line. They may also have difficulty turning. The results of this test could be disputed by a Jacksonville DUI lawyer because the test has been found to accurately predict a BAC level of .10 percent or more only 68 percent of the time.

The One-Leg Stand

During the one-leg stand test, the driver is asked to hold a standing position for about 30 seconds with one foot approximately six inches off the ground. Intoxicated individuals may put their foot down or either swing their arms or hop about as they try to keep their balance. A Jacksonville DUI lawyer may question the results of a one-leg stand test if the ground is uneven or the individual is wearing footwear that would likely make the task difficult to complete successfully. Balance also deteriorates with age, and this test may less accurately indicate impairment when the subject is over 65 years of age.

Contact a Jacksonville DUI Lawyer

For more help understanding the standardized field sobriety tests, contact a Jacksonville DUI lawyer from Canan Law at (904) 824-9402.

 

Our Jacksonville DUI Lawyer Discusses Whether Passengers Drink Alcohol in a Car

June 2, 2015

Pitcher of beer on table, close-up Jacksonville DUI LawyerA Jacksonville DUI lawyer may be able to help shed light on the complicated matter of passengers drinking alcohol in a moving vehicle. While it may be common knowledge that drivers are not permitted to operate vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or other impairing substances, whether passengers are allowed to drink may vary according to state and local laws. Even states that do prohibit open containers in a moving vehicle may have exceptions that can be confusing.

Open Container Laws

Most states prohibit driving with any open cans, bottles, or other unsealed containers of alcohol, even if the driver is not drinking. Even carrying empty alcohol containers on sidewalks and streets is prohibited in many areas. Some states allow the presence of unsealed alcohol containers if they are in a secure location, such as a locked trunk or glove compartment where they may not be easily accessed. An overwhelming majority of 43 states have some type of open container law in place. Of those states, 40 conform to federal guidelines that mandate open container laws. If you are driving with an open container of alcohol on your person or within reach, you may be cited for an open container violation. Even if the container is in possession of a passenger, both you and the passenger may be cited.

Exceptions

There are seven states that do not have open container laws, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, and West Virginia. Alaska, Louisiana, and Tennessee have open container laws that do not conform with federal guidelines. In states which do not ban open alcohol containers in vehicles, passengers may drink alcohol as long as they are not in violation of any local open container ordinances. As long as no local ordinances are being violated, passengers may legally drink alcohol in a moving vehicle. In Mississippi, even drivers are allowed to drink as long as their BAC level remains under the legal limit. Even in states where open container laws are in effect, some municipalities have specific ordinances that offer exemption to open container laws under certain circumstances. These exemptions are designed to boost tourism in areas such as the French Quarter in New Orleans. A DUI lawyer may be able to help clarify these special circumstance exceptions to open container laws.

Contact an Experienced Jacksonville DUI Lawyer

If you were arrested for a DUI, a skilled lawyer may be able to help you evaluate the evidence surrounding your arrest and build a strong defense. A lawyer may also be able to provide you with the representation you need in court and to ensure that your legal rights are protected, from questioning the performance of any field sobriety and chemical tests to evaluating whether you really were in violation of any local or state open container laws at the time of the arrest. Contact Canan Law today at (904) 824-9402 for a consultation with a Jacksonville DUI lawyer who may be able to ensure that you get the representation you deserve.

Our St. Johns County DUI Lawyer Discusses Jurors and Psychology

May 19, 2015

St. Johns County DUI Lawyer Jurors sitting  in courtroom A St. Johns County DUI lawyer may decide to use fundamental psychological principles to help influence jurors. For a number of years, social scientists have evaluated methods that get people to say “yes.” Your DUI lawyer may discuss these principles with you.

Basic Principles

A St. Johns County DUI lawyer can explain that there are generally six principles that are necessary to get people to comply. This research has been conducted by individuals who are influenced by advertisers and sales associates. These principles include the following:

  • Reciprocation
  • Authority
  • Scarcity
  • Consensus
  • Consistency
  • Liking

Reciprocation

The principal of reciprocation is founded on the notion that one will receive something after giving something, such as giving gifts during holidays.

Authority

The psychological principle of authority is based on the notion that individuals who seem to have more authority are more influential.

Scarcity

Individuals are sometimes influenced by things that are in short supply. For example, if they are given confidential or limited information on a subject, this may influence their decision.

Consensus

This means that individuals are more likely to conform with principles because they see others doing them.

Consistency

Consistency is founded on the idea that individuals aspire to be consistent in their attitudes, words, beliefs, and life works. This particular principle comes into play during voir dire. If a DUI lawyer gets jurors to promise to do something, such as keep an open mind or to question how they would have reacted in the same situation, people will want to keep the promise that they made.

Liking

Generally speaking, individuals are more likely to help someone out if they like that individual.

Legal Assistance from a St. Johns County DUI Lawyer

If you would like more information on these psychological principles, contact a St. Johns County DUI lawyer at Canan Law by calling (904) 824-9402.

I Was Injured Tripping on a Sidewalk (Can I Sue?)

May 12, 2015

Have you fallen on a public sidewalk and believe you can sue? To ensure a successful case result, speak with your attorney about the details of the fall so they can explain if suing the city municipality is practical.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in St. Augustine

For more help with understanding your personal injury case, contact a personal injury attorney in St. Augustine from Canan Law at (904) 824-9402.

What Happens to the Defendant after a Civil Trial

May 5, 2015

handcuffs Lawyer in St. AugustineA lawyer in St. Augustine can explain what happens to the individual or entity that was responsible for your accident after your claim is filed. The process begins by the individual or entity being contacted by the appropriate insurance company.

Statements

A lawyer in St. Augustine may review statements that the individual who caused your accident or his or her representative provides to the insurance company. Often, these statements are recorded and may be accompanied by written transcripts of the conversations.

Continuing Contact

After the insurance company conducts its initial investigation, there may be very little contact between the person or entity that caused the accident and the insurance company that is handling the claim. It is uncommon for the insurance company to keep the defendant informed of the daily progress of the claim. However, a lawyer in St. Augustine can explain that this is sometimes not the case in medical malpractice cases. In the majority of personal injury cases, the defendant simply moves on with his or her life and hopes that the case will settle and be resolved.

No Settlement

In cases that do not end in a settlement prior to trial, your lawyer, you, the insurance company and the defendant move forward with litigation. The insurance company contacts the insured individual and provides a legal representative to the insured. However, the technical party of the case is the defendant, not the insurance company. Although the insurance company provides the representation for the defendant, the defendant is the true party. This is true even if the insurance company winds up paying the entire settlement or verdict. However, the insured individual must participate in the litigation process.

Legal Assistance from a Lawyer in St. Augustine

If you would like more information about what happens to the defendant, contact a lawyer in St. Augustine from Canan Law by calling (904) 824-9402.

 

Common Divorce Mistakes

April 23, 2015

Mature man toying with gold wedding ring on finger  St. Augustine AttorneyIf you are planning to file for divorce, our St. Augustine attorney can help. Statistics show that only about 5 percent of divorce cases end up in court, and the majority will settle before a trial. Although emotions are often frazzled during a separation, you can expedite your divorce by approaching it objectively while seeking a fair outcome for both parties. These suggestions can offer you a starting point on what you should not do when you are seeking to end your marriage.

Hiding Your Plans

If you plan to leave your spouse, tell him or her about your plans unless you are in physical danger. You will need to have your financial information available to give to your divorce lawyer and will need an inventory of your property. While some people try to hide what they are doing, it could backfire and break any trust between you and your soon-to-be ex. Your plans will eventually come to the surface, so it’s better to be honest from the start.

Refusing to Talk About the Divorce

Be forthcoming with your plans to end the marriage instead of waiting for your partner to find out from another person or indirectly. If you are not up front, you could increase the length of time and the costs of the divorce since your partner will have reason to question your actions.

Making Rude Remarks

You have already decided to end the marriage. You now need to behave maturely, especially if you have children. You will continue to co-parent them and should limit conflict as much as possible for their best interests. While it may be difficult, take the high road whenever possible.

Admitting Past Mistakes

You may have made some mistakes in your marriage and might think that you should be open about any indiscretions. However, while you might feel better about your guilt, your partner will probably become angry. Assess your reasons behind disclosing any prior sins, such as an affair.

Contact Our St. Augustine Attorney for Help

If you want additional suggestions on navigating the tricky waters of a divorce, talk to the professionals at Canan Law. You can reach our St. Augustine attorney at (904) 824-9402.

Should I Communicate with or Contact the Insurance Company of the Person Who Caused My Injuries?

April 16, 2015

You should not call the claims adjuster for the responsible party after a vehicle accident, especially if you have hired a St. Augustine lawyer to represent you. Instead, talk to your attorney about your concerns. He can find out the needed information for you.


 

Contact a St. Augustine Lawyer

For help with your claim, contact a St. Augustine lawyer from Canan Law at (904) 824-9402.

Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses the Criminal Profiling Process

April 9, 2015

Jacksonville Criminal Attorney handcuffed handsAside from solving crimes, what do the 1990s television show Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the 2005 television series Criminal Minds, and the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs have in common? A Jacksonville criminal attorney observes that the protagonists solved the crimes using criminal profiling.

What is Criminal Profiling?

Criminal profiling, also known as offender profiling, is a behavioral and investigative tool intended to help investigators to accurately predict and profile the characteristics and mindset of unknown criminal subjects or offenders.

How Does It Work?

Almost every factor related to a crime is used in criminal profiling, such as:

  • Forensic evidence;
  • Crime scene characteristics; and,
  • Victim characteristics.

There are multiple steps involved in criminal profiling:

  • Gather all the information.
  • Answer relevant questions with the evidence.
  • Collect the personality through the criminal’s behavior:
    • Antecedent – fantasies and plans the criminal had prior to the crime;
    • Method and manner – the way the criminal committed the crime;
    • Body disposal – whether the body remained or was removed from the crime scene;
    • Post-offense behavior – the criminal’s actions after the crime was committed.
  • Case linkage or linking analysis – process of determining whether or not there are discrete connections between two or more previously unrelated cases through crime analysis.
  • Create the criminal profile – age, race, sex, physiological characteristics, religious beliefs, intelligence, mental stability, etc.

Does It Work?

A Jacksonville criminal attorney understands the benefits to criminal profiling, but also the dangers of relying too much on criminal profiling. Incorrect information from profiling could lead to false positives or negatives. At times, investigators may find a suspect who appears to fit an incorrect profile and ignore or stop investigating other leads.
Another problem is the lack of solid empirical evidence to support its use by investigators or in the courtroom. Several studies or scientific tests revealed that those specialized in criminal profiling did not do any better than those people that did not have this specialized training.

Contact a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney

For more information, contact a Jacksonville criminal attorney with Canan Law at (904) 824-9402.

Lawyers in Palatka Florida Explain Why Proving Medical Malpractice Is So Difficult

March 9, 2015

lawyers in palatka floridaIt is difficult to miss the plethora of stories about successful medical malpractice cases. The legal world is a difficult business, and attorneys compete for cases that they think have a chance of success. Unfortunately, the truth is that most medical malpractice cases do not succeed. There are numerous reasons for this, beginning with finding qualified and experienced lawyers in Palatka Florida.

Finding an Attorney Who Can Fight for You

Medical malpractice is a very specialized area of personal injury law. For this reason, it can be challenging to find a medical malpractice attorney who wants to take your case, let alone one with the background to provide sufficient legal counsel. It is important that you find lawyers in Palatka Florida who specialize in medical malpractice.

The following are some reasons for this:

  • Medical malpractice cases are generally much more expensive than their personal injury counterparts. This is in large part because a successful case almost certainly will require the testimony of one or more medical experts, and these are costly. Your attorney will need to be prepared to bear the burden of these costs should your claim be unsuccessful, and one who does not specialize in this area is unlikely to be willing to do so.
  • Many doctors are unwilling to testify against one of their own; therefore, it is difficult to find such a doctor. A strong and experienced attorney will have a list of doctors who can be relied upon for such testimony.
  • Medical malpractice cases deal with complex issues, thus the need for a medical expert. Unless your attorney is very strong in the field of medical malpractice, she is unlikely to be able to deal with these complex ideas when presenting them to the jury.
  • An insurance company is unlikely to respect an attorney for the plaintiff who has no background in medical malpractice. A settlement is less likely to be forthcoming, therefore.

The Challenge of Proving Your Case

Even with a strong medical malpractice lawyer who specializes in this very technical field, it can be quite challenging to prove your case. One reason for this is that it is difficult to show the doctor’s negligence. Often the only real evidence is the notes kept by the doctor. The doctor is unlikely to acknowledge an error on his part, even in his notes. Such notes, indeed, can often be very difficult to understand. Another challenge you will find is that juries tend to side with the defendant in medical malpractice cases. This may be in part because they realize the difficulty inherent in diagnosing and treating medical conditions. There are often a number of different ways to treat a particular disease, and proving that the doctor was negligent can be problematic unless an obvious error was made.

Don’t Be Discouraged from Seeking Compensation

If you are a victim of medical malpractice, it is important that you don’t become discouraged by the difficulty you may face in proving your case. Knowledgeable lawyers in Palatka Florida may be able to help. Call Canan Law for legal expertise now at 904.824.9402.

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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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