Friday, October 21, 2016

Danger to CDL Holders and New York State Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident

New York State law enforcement can be tough on truck drivers at times. As if making deliveries in and around New York State isn't stressful enough, you gotta be careful because common sense, and doing the right thing don't always go hand in hand. If you make the following common mistakes of judgment you may be facing a loss of CDL, and job for one year.

Why New York DMV Points Don't Matter to Out of State Drivers?

People are obsessed with Department of Motor Vehicle points. They call or email us and the first thing they want to know is, how many points is my ticket for? and then, can you get me a no points ticket?

When I tell them if they are from another state other than New York that points often don't transfer, or that they often don't have any nationwide uniformity or that their car insurance company doesn't care about them, they are confused.
If you have get a New York moving violation, and you are from out of state read on to learn the truth about NYS DMV points.

Monday, October 10, 2016

How New York State Treats Violations Criminally

New York is different, it always has been and unfortunately for better or for worse it will remain. We do have three different levels of offenses. Felony and misdemeanor are called crimes, and violations which are considered NON criminal but NYS treats them for all intents and purposes as "criminal" offenses.

Maybe NYS violations are not "classified" as criminal or called "criminal" but they have many things that make them feel CRIMINAL because of all the following:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New York Ain't Like the Rest When It Comes to Marijuana

The Pot I know and love

Pot in New York is still Evil

As the rest of the United States legalizes, decriminalizes, medicalizes, and promotes the safety of pot New York remains a hold out of the dangers and evils of marijuana. We practice in Ithaca, NY and it's environs and we still hear and see all this old time rhetoric. Pot is evil, weed is bad, and the public must be protected.

This was all recently evidenced by a Upstate New York marijuana case in Lockport, NY. Just for a point of reference Lockport is close to Rochester, NY, and is another one of those sleepy little towns. People v. Miller  (Lockport Court, Niagara County New York) was just decided in September of this year.

The story of the teacher, the bird, and the trooper. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pulling a Jury for a New York DWI Trial

I'm one of those guys, you know the ones who actually like to talk. Who as my kids say talks to anyone and everyone. I generally like people, and am a junior psychologist of sorts. Maybe it comes from my mother or just the fact that I'm happy to be able to talk at all. One of the better things about liking to talk to people is what you can hear. People when they open up tell you exactly how they feel.

Learning to be a Better Defense Attorney Begins with Listening to the Viewpoint of Assistant District Attorneys (prosecutors) 

It's nice to hear a prosecutor's perspective on different cases. Nice to know how, and what they're thinking. Sometimes it's so at odds with what a defense attorney thinks about the same thing. Given an opportunity many ADAs will share openly and honestly about cases.

First Place of Defense Lawyer Prosecutor Agreement: Jury Trials Can Be a Big Suck

We do all agree on one thing: Jury trials are a big deal. It's like going to war. You have to know what you're investing. Lots of time, energy, and money go into a trial.  Anyone that feels otherwise is either one of those delusional types or just likes to waste people's time, energy, and money. There are quite a few attorneys that dare I say fall into both categories.

I'm more a pragmatist. What is truly in my client's best interests? Does this serve my client or merely my own ego? Believe me the large majority of times that I want a trial, would actually love a trial, it is not in my client's best interests.

There is Hell to Pay for an Unwanted or Unnecessary Trial

We may have a great defense but we also may have a judge that will make every single step we take painful. This same judge and prosecutor if we ultimately lose will take it out not on me but on my client. This wrath will be cloaked in many reasons why they deserve the full weight of the court and of justice but believe me when I say it's retribution for the trial.

Even with all that said, so what's really involved with getting a jury into the box.

Trials Begin with Picking a Jury

Remember that of the 6,200 plus little town and villages courts dotted over the landscape of the great state of New York many are run by part-time clerks and part-time judges. That said if there is to be a jury trial, it begins with the clerk. Judges and their clerks have to work closely together to ensure that all the checks, boxes, and balances all align. There is no bigger deal than a jury trial. Everyone is watching and everything is being recorded. Being fair, impartial, and unbiased in these low population (tight knit) towns is no small feat.

STEP ONE: The clerk must Summon the Prospective Jurors by contacting the Commissioner of Jurors Office of that county.

Every county in New York State has a Commissioner of Jurors Office which will administer all jury needs, this includes the jury needs of every town and village Court.   

Generally speaking they will need to begin with a Full Jury Venire of anywhere from 45 to 50 people to get down to 6 jurors and 3 alternates. Why so many people? We need to begin with a lot of people because so many people will not be able to serve for medical reasons, family reasons, religious reasons, and employment reasons.

Not Everyone is the Perfect Juror for a DWI Case

Even after all of that we will go through what is called Voir Dire to ask the jurors questions about their ability to serve on this jury fairly and impartially. This jury will be hearing evidence on a DWI or DWAI drugs case?

Do they have any preformed prejudices or beliefs that would not allow them to just weigh the evidence? Not everyone is the perfect juror for every jury trial. Some people are great jurors but not on every type of case. In their past history they may have had run ins with the justice system, with drunk drivers, with alcoholic husbands, with drug addicts, or with their own children or family members that have struggled with drugs and/or alcohol.

The difficulties with getting a fair and impartial DWI or DWAI drugs jury pool is that many people will hide, will deny, and will even perjure themselves before revealing their own demons. Problems with drugs and alcohol are so prevalent in our society.

Just jury selection or more de-selection on a DWI or DWAI drugs case can take a full day or more. It takes just that long to allow people to finally open up. I have seen those that were convicted of DWI manslaughter and spent years in prison sit in the jury for pool for hours before raising a hand.

"Excuse me I don't think I can be fair and impartial." "I killed someone while DWI about 19 years ago." Another hand goes up, "I run a church group that is against all drinking but I still feel I can be fair and impartial." Another hand goes up, "my brother died of a drug overdose."

Every single person that has a strong charge against drugs and/or alcohol must be screened. As we say "void dired." Next blog post:


Saturday, August 27, 2016

What if Atticus Finch was a DWI Lawyer?

Atticus Finch is the fictional lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird. I'd like to think we as present day DWI defense attorneys could learn a few things from this amazing man of fiction.

It all comes down to understanding yourself, and others.

Atticus has a young daughter, Scout. Like most dads he wants give his daughter a real life education not just an academic one. One line from the movie is most riveting:

If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it

The Truth about Tampering with DWI Evidence in New York

In my surfing on the web I recently ran across this headline, more like link bait:

"Brilliant new DUI defense: Lawyer eats breathalyzer report"

First, the reality is they don't give "the" evidence directly to DWI defense attorneys. Breath test reports and blood test reports are a copy of a copy of a copy so to even think or believe that you have destroyed THE evidence is utter stupidity.

Second, destruction or tampering with evidence in a criminal case in New York State is a Felony level offense. This is punishable by up to four years in state prison not the local county jail.

Lastly, the original inspiration for this article was a Yahoo news story from Russia. This isn't even a United States legal situation. To compare their legal system at any level to ours is in a word absurd.

Imagine these real Tampering with Evidence DWI situations in the good old United States of America in New York State:

  • Guy stopped for speeding, cops smell weed, find a joint in his ashtray (a marijuana violation), and an eighth in  his pocket (possession) a mere misdemeanor at that point then he decides to EAT IT, and is facing a FELONY level offense for destruction of evidence.
  • Person is DWI then hits a parked car, knocks off the car's side view mirror. He gets out and puts the mirror in his car, and drives off.  Later is stopped for DWI, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and evidence tampering/destruction/concealment, A FELONY.
If you have a DWI, DWAI drugs, or other traffic related offense in Ithaca, Watkins Glen, or the surrounding counties, give us a call:



Or find us online!

DISCLAIMER:  If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in NY, we strongly urge you to consult with a local, licensed criminal defense attorney to help lessen the possible negative outcomes of the charge--including the potential loss of your freedom.

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