Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

I am a Geek and proud of it. I love Yoda, Star Trek, Star Wars, non-fiction books (ie. philosophy, psychology, sociology, relationships, etc.), studying ancient cultures, watching documentaries about bridges, canals, buildings, cities, ... well you get the picture. I know absolutely nothing about players or teams. I have no interest in watching any sporting events, like Monday Night Football.

What I am is a Geek who is obsessed with learning and understanding everything about the things that interest and fascinate me. My parents watched in amazement as I took apart radios and my toy cars. I wanted to know how things worked. When I was a teen I fell in love with magic and photography. I spent hours upon hours practicing magic, reading magic books, attending magic conventions, and performing magic shows. By the age of fourteen I invented a trick, and had it published by one of the largest magic dealers in the world, Tannens of NYC. I had a darkroom in my basement and would takes hundreds of pictures of everything large and small. I would spend days developing, enlarging, and creating photographs of icicles in trees. My older sisters said I was too intense. They thought my obsessive behavior was a bad thing.

I was not popular or cool. I was a short, curly haired, little guy, with braces who loved to read. A recipe for getting beaten up, especially in Brooklyn. Well that little boy grew into a highly educated man. But I am still am obsessed man, with a love for the law. I awake each day with an inspiration to improve my practice in the area of DWI criminal defense. I want to know all the details of the inner workings of the breath machine. I want to pour over every word and every box in each piece of paper seeking creative defenses. That burning desire to know about how things work has been focused, directed, and transformed. Life mastery and practice mastery are at the forefront of my mind. People do not really change who they are inside. Now, I am merely a DWI Geek.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lucky Ithaca Lawyer Preparation Meets Opportunity

Seneca Said Luck equals Preparation meeting opportunity
I'm currently reading a book about how to make luck. It's called How Luck Happens by Janice Murphy. Interestingly many of the ideas that Janice proclaims about making luck I've used in my legal practice and life. You see I really think I'm lucky (one of Janice's ideas) so I have been lucky. But the truth goes much deeper than that.

I think about how I can make my case outcomes better.

What Can I do daily, weekly, and monthly to improve our legal practice?
Can those we defend benefit from my luck?

Monday, April 27, 2009

New York DWI Defense and Google Fights

I love the internet. My kids are constantly pushing the online envelope. Between my son posting Utube videos, or my daughter proving me wrong with Wikipedia, we are a family flowing with, and creating media. Recently my other son (yah I got four kids) started an argument with my wife over who was more popular Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. It led to my son telling my wife to have a "Google Fight" ... I said, "what?"... so he showed us (how clever of Google)that he was right about Kelly. Anyway, it is an incredible tool, and I believe being able to access and share information instantly is changing the world we live in.

My son "proving" us wrong with the Google Fight brings to mind levels of legal proof. We do not have the ease or luxury of determining guilt or innocence via the internet (thank God!!).

People love to talk about guilt and innocence. Who is guilty and who is not guilty? But what are they really discussing? Are they discussing legal guilt or factual guilt? I work in the world of legal guilt. Whether someone did the crime is a big unknown for all of us? I was not there, we do not have a time machine, and honestly it does not matter to the legal system. In the legal world we deal in levels of legal proof. That is what the Government (the prosecutors) need to provide, to prove their case. Yeah, they have "the Burden of Proof."

There are different levels assigned to different situations, and types/areas of law. Under the Fourth Amendment (in our Bill of Rights) of the Constitution, we are to be Free from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures.

So the First level of proof is did the police have a "Reasonable Suspicion" to make a STOP.
That is enough evidence to stop a car. A moving violation or a non moving equipment violation will generally qualify here. BTW A stop is a seizure of your person. Reasonable suspicion comes from the case of Ohio v. Terry. A short rendition of the facts: A Police Sgt. of 25 years experience, who patrols the same neighborhood for years, notices people who in his opinion do not belong there (they happen to be African Americans in a white area but they could have been Asian Americans in a Mexican area). He sees them going up and down the block of a group of stores. He notices them stopping, and looking into the front of one particular store.

In the Supreme Court's opinion this was enough PROOF to stop these people, investigate (ask questions), and frisk them for weapons.

Second level of Proof is called "Probable Cause." It is enough evidence to make an arrest. This is enough evidence to strip search your wife or girlfriend (just so it hits close to home). It means the Police believe a crime is either happening or about to happen. Also referred to as Reasonable Cause, would it be reasonable to believe based upon the facts presented that a crime was happening. In the DWI context this is your odor of alcohol, bad driving pattern, failure at Field Sobriety Exercises, open bottle in the car, etc.

Third level of Proof is called "Preponderance of the Evidence." This is a civil standard (not a criminal standard) and is used to give money from one person or company to someone else. It is a little bit more than 50%. The scales are just tipping abit to one side. This is how O.J. Simpson can lose at the Civil Trial level but win (be found Not Guilty Legally) at the Criminal Trial level.

Fourth level of Proof is called "Substantial Evidence." This is reserved for license issues which are called Administrative Hearings. Professional licenses (which are considered legally as property) would fall into this category. So an instance of Professional Misconduct against a professional license of a CPA, Nurse, Podiatrist, etc. would be assessed using this standard. Some states use a little higher standard called, "Clear and Convincing Evidence."

Fifth level of Proof is "Clear and Convincing Evidence." This is enough evidence to commit someone to a mental institution or take away their child (declare them an unfit parent). Giving any of these levels a specific number is almost impossible, but we know that it is more than 50% certainty but something less than 100% certainty. Also, proof of evidence something more than a Preponderance Standard but less than BRD (Beyond a Reasonable Doubt).

Sixth level of Proof is called "Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt." It is truly the foundation of our country's rich history, and liberation. It is the highest standard of proof. It is the level of proof required to declare someone is guilty of a crime. They are now and forever a criminal. New York State does not have an expungement statute so the black mark stays on their permanent record forever. It is a higher level than Clear and Convincing Evidence but less than 100% certainty. Where that might fall is up to a Jury or in the case of a Bench Trial (a non-jury Trial) a Judge.

So there you have it, no Google Fight is going to resolve legal guilt or legal innocence. At least not yet anyway. So we are still left to doing things the old fashioned way with Judges and Juries, and criminal defense lawyers protecting the accused in Court of Laws.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ducks, Probation, and New York DWI

As I sit here alone with my coffee on a lovely Sunday morning I await the Ninth Annual Cascadilla Duck Race. Every year this marks for me and my family the true beginning of Summer in Ithaca. If you have never been to the event it is both fun, and funny. It is held in Fall Creek (where I live and work) and what I feel is one of the most beautiful parts of Ithaca. The day's events (Quacktivities) include a 5k race, food, games for kids, and the "piece de la resistance" ... a race where thousands (3,600 actually) of little cute bright yellow rubber ducks go down over the Cascadilla Falls and bob down the creek. Everyone races after the ducks (participants buy ducks to benefit the 4-H)and owners of the winning ducks (they all have numbers) win fabulous prizes. First prize is a "nest egg" of $500.00.

When I am not watching ducks I am pondering over New York DWI law, studying the DataMaster Breath test machine manual, or preparing defenses. So often people think the worst part of a DWI conviction is a potential jail sentence, which by the way is unlikely with most first time DWIs barring serious injuries or other offsetting circumstances.

I feel that a term of probation would for many people create a very difficult situation. For those adults that value freedom over their own lives and behaviors, having a probation officer supervise and dictate terms and conditions of your lifestyle would not be pleasant or welcome.

Probation usually entails:

Reporting to a probation officer (frequency is dependent upon complaince with conditions)
NO alcohol consumption, NO alcohol in your home, you can not patronize clubs, bars, or taverns that serve alcohol, NO drugs, you must obtain permission to leave the state, you must submit to regular drug screen and/or tests, supervision of mental and drug and/or alcohol counseling and treatment, and you must obtain permission from Probation to get back your full driving privileges (driver's license).

A usual Probation term that the prosecution asks for on a first time DWI is for a 3 year period.
Having a supervisor (probation officer) over see your life is onerous. I had one client that had to submit to a liver function blood test because the Probation department thought he was drinking on the weekends and coming up clean on their tests on Mondays. I thought this was unfair considering that many other factors could cause his liver enzymes to come up high not just the consumption of alcohol. But that is Probation, you lose alot of your rights. I had another client that wanted to leave Tompkins County for a better job opportunity in NJ. Probation would not give him permission to go because they "suspected" drug use.

I am in the protection business, kinda like the mafia, but in a good and legal way. I do not like probation for those who do not need it. I have had the government and their lawyers (the prosecutors) want a sentence to include probation on some of my college educated (professionals, masters degrees, and Phds), clean cut, and hard working clients who merely had a blip on the radar with their DWI arrests. This I feel is an unnecessary and harsh punishment. There are some repeat DWI offenders that have benefited from a term of probation (versus going to jail), and in those situations probation is not a bad option.

Anyway, off to the ducks and the day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Going to Canada and New York DWI-DWAI

I love to visit Toronto, especially in the summer months. To us Upstate New Yorkers, Canada is our closest foreign neighbor, and the exchange rates of late have been incredible. I recently went on a Niagara Falls/Toronto weekend with my wife. The package with a jacuzzi suite (with the biggest bed we have ever seen) overlooking the falls, dinner, 2 drinks each night, and breakfast was less than a weekend at the Super 8 in my little Ithaca. Go figure. Which brings me to our special relationship with Ontario and Quebec.

New York State has a very tight agreement with Canada legally. We have an open exchange of information on DMV points (Canada tickets and points count on your NYS driving record and vice versa) which seems weird because NYS DMV does not count points from moving violations in other states. In addition, if you get a DWI or DWAI conviction in the states Canada will not allow you to enter without special permission. In fact, any misdemeanor (or anything considered a crime in Canada) will bar entry. You have options, but neither is particularly exciting, and most definitely onerous.

So you have TWO OPTIONS after a New York DWI or DWAI conviction:

OPTION ONE: Apply for an Approval of Rehabilitation at the Canadian Consulate or Embassy

You must show you are living a clean and stable life but unfortunately you can only apply after 5 years have passed since the date sentence was imposed and/or your period of probation has ended.

OPTION TWO: Obtain a Temporary Resident Permit, Go to:

You will need: 2 passport photos, a criminal clearance certificate, 3 letters of reference

NOTE: You will need to obtain a criminal clearance certificate from ALL police authorities from ALL countries you have lived since age 18.

To obtain a criminal clearance certificate in the United States:

1. You will need a set of fingerprints (go to a local police department or a regional DMV office)
2. A letter of request for a criminal background check with a check (go to FBI website for latest rates)
3. Send to:

FBI/Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Attn: Records Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

Canada does not automatically grant Temporary Resident Permits to anyone with a DWI or DWAI conviction. They (Canada) will weigh 4 main factors:

1. If the applicant has a reason to visit Canada beyond pleasure pursuits. ie. Relatives who reside in Canada that may be ill.
2. If the applicant has property interests in Canada or a business relationship in Canada
3. The nature of the applicant's criminal offense in the States and it's severity.
4. The time that has passed since the offense was committed.

So I caution all my clients (in advance) to be aware and mindful of the consequences of New York State DWI and DWAI convictions in regards to visiting beautiful Canada.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Value of Being a Learner Lawyer

I have been immersing myself in Success philosophy since 1986. I have a deep and unabiding conviction that what we talk about, study about, think about, learn about, write about, read about, and act on we will eventually bring about. Thats alot of "abouts" but the point is a focus and an inspiration will attract dramatic results and manifestation. I love the law. I find it challenging, stimulating, exciting, and inspiring. I meet tons of lawyers (as well as other people) that hate what they do, they hate practice. Sometime long ago they traded inspiration for desperation. How sad to wake up each day and dislike your life and your life's service.

How can you stay excited about what you do everyday?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ithaca Lawyer Larry Newman: Why I Choose to Practice DWI Defense?

Often I am asked why I do DWI Defense or the more common question, "how do you defend "those" people." As if "those" people were some pariah to society.

Well to begin, my great grandfather brought my grandmother here from Russia in 1906 to escape the religious persecution and the pograms of destruction. He had hopes of a better life for his family (seven children), and the opportunities that democracy and freedom would afford them. I am the first generation or first wave, along with my sisters of college educated Newmans. I was raised to believe in this country, the American dream, and the rights provided to us through the bill of rights. My father brought me to Washington DC at a young age and often would tell me to appreciate what we have in a government that even with all it's problems (at that time Watergate) was still the best the world had to offer. He would remark no one was risking life and limb to get into any other country but ours.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -- Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777.

So why do I practice criminal defense and specifically DWI defense?
Why do I truly defend THOSE people?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

College Applications, DWAI Violations, and DWI Misdemeanors

us and college applications
Applications need to be answered carefully. Especially if you have had any prior contact with the law.

Filling out applications can be like navigating a minefield...

Ithaca Lawyer Professional Licenses and New York DWI

Yesterday I did a talk/powerpoint for a group of surgical nurses on Professional Discipline. New York like many states these days has an extensive list of behaviors both on and off the job that are considered professional misconduct. Any instances of this misconduct trigger an investigation and potential hearing concerning your licensure as a professional within the state. The list of licenses includes: Pharmacists, Nurses, Massage Therapists, and many others. NYS Board of Regents monitors these professions. See list here:

Under NYS Education Law 6509 (5) (a) (1), any violation of law is professional misconduct. Any DWI or other misdemeanor would be considered a violation and therefore an instance of professional misconduct. For further reading under New York State Education
§ 6530 there are 48 Definitions of Professional Misconduct.

I discussed with the nurses a few main points:

1. The State's burden of proof to suspend, revoke, or censure a professional license is far less than the criminal standard of "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt." It is in fact less than the "Clear and Convincing" standard required to take someone's kids or declare someone mentally incompetent. It is called, "substantial evidence" which is something a little higher than the civil standard for money damges, "Preponderance of the Evidence" or the little more than 50%. An excellent and interesting New York case highlighting the burden administratively is Shuman v. New York State Racing and Wagering Board:

2. They should never talk to an investigator, the police, or the prosecutor concerning any allegations of misconduct without an attorney present. Anything they say will be used against them. Even if they are innocent they stand nothing to gain by talking, and everything to lose. You know the line in the Miranda warnings that says, "Can be used against you" well guess what under the Federal Rules of Evidence it can not be used "for you" so why talk.

3. Someone with a Professional license can be facing three different legal problems and three different standards of proof with an instance of misconduct. A nurse allegedly (I love that word)causes an accident that involves damage to people and property. She has alcohol on her breath and is charged with a Common Law NYS Section 1192 (3) DWI even though she refuses the Breath Test. Now she has criminal charges with the prosecutor facing jail and fines, a potential civil lawsuit where she is facing a verdict for people and property damages, and a potential nurse licensure suspension for the DWI. Now remember, all three have different burdens of proof, and all three will require legal counsel and advisement. NOTE: Common Law NY Driving While Intoxicated 1192 (3) is proof of intoxication based upon the police officer's observations, road side testing (Field Sobriety Tests), and notes.

Those with professional licensure should be mindful of the minefield that awaits them if they accused of a crime or an act of misconduct. My million dollar advice is never say anything to anyone without first counseling with a lawyer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

How to Deal with The Grief of a DWI

I have counseled and represented clients as an attorney for twenty years, and prior to that practiced as a Chiropractic Physician for another ten years. Over all this time I have noticed a parallel pattern between the stages of grief with those patients with physical illness, and those people who have been charged with the crime of DWI.

Do the people charged with DWI and other crime cycle through these stages to final acceptance?

Do some people get hung up on one or more stages in the process?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ithaca Cortland DWI Lawyer Explains The Anatomy of H.O.P.E.

Don't Lose HOPE with your DWI Case

The leaving of the long and bitter Ithaca winter, and of the seeming unending dismality (my word) of the season finally is bringing forth flowers, farmer's markets, and brighter days to the Southern Tier. Doctors, Clergy, and lawyers (you can start the jokes anytime now) all offer HOPE.

For as much as the Laws change, the times change, and people change, some things never change.

"I truly believe that Every single DWI case contains H.O.P.E." 

Hope is in discovering the truth, and all the weaknesses in the prosecution's case.

This brings HOPE to every single DWI case.

Hopelessness is a feeling that nothing will get better in the future. It is a sign of utter futility and giving up. To me it is the saddest, and most despondent of emotions. The truth of H.O.P.E is:

H: The Human Body (your body and it's physiology) is one of a kind, variable, and special. It is never average or normal or the same as everyone else's. How you performed on any machine or any test is based on this dynamic unique body. How your eyes, feet, balance, and coordination function are as different as your fingerprints.

O: Ommissions are as important as commissions. What was left out of the Police report? Fill in the details of everything you did right that night. Did you understand the police officer's Instructions? Could you follow them? Did you follow them? Did you act, and behave appropriately based on those directions? The truth is you did alot right. How much or how little of what you did right was recorded is another story. Proof of intoxication requires proving mental and physical incapacity. Where were you capable? Could you walk unassisted? Could you talk, and be understood? Were your verbal repsonses appropriate for the questions asked?

P: Patterns of Driving are another crucial component of HOPE. What were you stopped for? Was it a failure to use a turn signal? Was it an expired inspection? Was it speeding? In and of themselves, none of these DRIVING PATTERNS indicate an intoxicated driver. Did you pull over safely, responsibly, and correctly when the emergency lights flashed? All good driving patterns before the stop demonstrate "mental and physical capacity to drive as a reasonably prudent driver." People v. Cruz (48 NY2d 419, 423 NYS2d 625).

E: Evidence comes from two main sources in any DWI case, the Breath Machine (the Breathalyzer) and the Police Officer. That is it. The breath machine does not measure alcohol. It measures methyl groups, and adds them all together. There are hundreds of compounds, slovents, paints, and substances that contain the methyl group. The Methyl group also has a varying half life. You might have used paint or paint thinner last week or last month, and still have remnants in your system. Machines have flaws. Machines have limitations. This machine has a Range of Error of 40%. Think about that. Finding people guilty of a crime just based upon a Machine is a dangerous and false use of science.

So in the Anatomy of H.O.P.E. recognize "the truth will never change" and my job is seeking the truth in the evidence being defended.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

Originally, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. My father was a NYS corrections officer, and my mother a waitress. I now live in Ithaca, NY with my wife (of 25 years), and four kids. I have a B.S. in Human Biology, Doctorates in Law and Chiropractic, and a Post Graduate in Acupuncture. I practiced as a Chiropractic Physician in Florida from 1986 to 1995. I graduated law school in 1997, and went on to practice trial law in FL, NY, NJ, and PA. I love practicing criminal defense and injury law within the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Over 90% of the cases that I take on are New York DWI defense cases. I am certified as a breath tester by the Department of Transportation, the guidelines of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). I am certified in Field Sobriety Tests, and an active member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD). My online materials include over 450 blog posts, dozens of articles, and over 440 informative videos on my youtube channel.
I have co-authored Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, in both 2011 and 2013. These are West Thomson legal manuals on New York State DWI defense, and focus on the best practices for other lawyers handling a New York DWI case. Included in Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York are materials I provide clients, such as my fee agreement and ways to avoid misdemeanor probation. I was selected by Super Lawyers as a Upstate New York 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI Defense based on my experience, contributions, and professional standing.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Ithaca DWI Lawyer Questions Police Assumptions and YOUR BAC Number

Police and the Government Love to Just Assume

I get DWI phone calls all the time asking me about the breathalyzer, and what "the number" really means. The BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) number that gets spit out of "the machine" is merely a number in space until we have context. Context refers to the circumstances regarding the individual tested. Are we are exactly the same?

Are YOU an Average Person?

The "average" person in the world is a 28 year old, right handed, Chinese man.

There are a lot of assumptions that need to be made to say that the BAC number is an accurate measurement of the person's level of intoxication at the time of vehicle operation. Let us begin...

1. Assuming that the accused did not burp, belch, or regurgitate any stomach contents?
2. Assuming that the accused was "observed" for 20 minutes prior to testing to ensure this?
3. Assuming that the accused BAC was falling, so a lower rating at the station than when driving?
4. Assuming that the accused is "normal"... 98.6, BP of 120/80, no infirmities, diseases, meds?
5. Assuming a "normal" metabolism for an average individual because the machine is set at a ratio (via software) of 2100 ml of breath to 1 ml of blood alcohol?
6. Assuming an accurate breath sample from the deep lung tissues, no hyper ventilation or hypoventilation?
7. Assuming an accurate and reliable machine that has been checked every six months?
8. Assuming an accurate machine temperature?
9. Assuming no RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) , ie. police walkie talkies in the room?
10. Assuming a currently licensed BTO (Breath Test Operator)?
11. Assuming that the number is consistent with what the accused ate that day and drank?
12. Assuming that the number is consistent with the drinking pattern, quantity and quality of alcohol, and times consumed?

So what can a "good" lawyer do? A good lawyer can ask questions. A prepared lawyer can discover, uncover, and investigate the facts, and then dissect them. Does everything jive?
Does the story seem plausible? What needs to be challenged? There are many stages, and parts to a DWI case, and you never know when you begin to dig what can be found.

Our job as defense attorneys is to challenge the government's case, to put it to the test. Into the crucible of fire, to remove any impurities, and to allow stand only that which is irrefutable.

Too often we ASSUME too much, and as I learned as a boy growing up in the 1970s "IF" we ASSUME, we make an ASS of U and ME.

I have co-authored Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, in both 2011 and 2013. These are West Thomson legal manuals on New York State DWI defense, and focus on the best practices for other lawyers handling a New York DWI case. Included in Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York are materials I provide clients, such as my fee agreement and ways to avoid misdemeanor probation. I was selected by Super Lawyers as a Upstate New York 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI Defense based on my experience, contributions, and professional standing.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Do Crime Scene Investigation, Easter, and Passover Have in Common?

A Lawyer's Job is to Bring LIGHT into the Cases He Defends

Today is Easter Sunday, and after taking my dog for that long walk up to Collegetown gazing down Lake Cayuga I came back home with an interesting thought. Long thoughts on cold days sometimes bring forth creativity.

What do Easter, Passover, and CSI have in common? 

My wife and I love CSI. The original Vegas version often fascinates us with insightful story lines, great dialogue, and biting humor. But.... there is one glaring thing that bothers me to no end, the CSI team never turns on lights in homes, basements, or pulls up window shades. They are forever relying upon flashlights to investigate crime scenes. Whether for dramatic effect or to increase suspense they refuse to use any electric lighting.

Easter brings the story of the coming of the light of the world, the rising of the Christ. Passover encapsulates the liberation of the Jews from slavery, of bondage, and the darkness of their times.

What we as criminal defense attorneys seek to do is bring "light" into our cases. 

Because light casts out darkness, removes fear, and brings us a more complete picture. The monsters always lurk in dark places. It is common knowledge that Vampires can't handle sun light. Themes of blackness rule scary movies. Light can reveal strengths and weaknesses. The lawyers tools that bring sight, and more importantly insight are: the examination of the evidence, the cross examination of the witnesses, and the facts held up to the light of day. All of this evaluating, weighing, and interpreting demands a strong light.

The Light Can Liberate (Free) YOU

So on this day, I am thankful to celebrate the liberation that comes from the light. In our home, my wife a converted Catholic, and me a little Jew from Brooklyn merge our faiths to embrace a unifying principle. We have gratitude as a family that we have the privilege to live in a country where we can practice and believe in whatever religion we decide upon. Today and everyday. let's all be mindful of the light we live in.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
Ithaca, NY 14850

fax: 866-381-3122
ph: 607- 229-5184

Reviews and Endorsements of Larry Newman:

Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

I am a co-author of Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, both 2011 and 2013 editions:

Leading Lawyers on Understanding Today's DWI Environment, Constructing a Defense Strategy, and Counseling Clients (Inside the Minds) New Edition

Friday, April 10, 2009

New York DWI Charges Brings Your Drug Use Under Suspicion

A great song with an even greater message
from motivational

People often ask me, "so what kind of law do you practice?"... my response is generally...well, I love cars and drugs, so anything that involves them, especially together are my favorite practice area.

Now don't get me wrong, when I say I love drugs it's because I see their value. I understand their place in society, and when used with respect, they can be incredibly useful. Love to me means they are neither good or bad, or evil without place, they a valuable tool and an asset to society. They have played a vital role in many cultures and societies. To discount that value I believe would be ludicrous.

"I'm Joking"

Socially, alcohol and marijuana allows people to loosen up, and communicate more freely. In this day and age, there are people who disagree with my position. They feel alcohol, and other drugs are an evil which needs to be purged from our landscape. This to me is the new prohibition.

When I think of drugs, alcohol, and pot (you can see how dated I can be) that Huey Lewis song comes to mind...

"I want a new drug. One that wont make me sick. One that wont make me crash my car Or make me feel three feet thick.

I want a new drug. One that wont hurt my head. One that wont make my mouth too dry. Or make my eyes too red."

Is there a Perfect Drug?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sometimes It's Not What You Know But Who You Know in an Ithaca DWI

Not "Just" But it Can Help Greatly 

One of the wonderful things about working in a college community is the diversity of people I have the opportunity to interact with and help. In any one week I have clients from Russia, Nigeria, India, and Nebraska. Sometimes it can prove challenging to explain the laws, and more importantly their application here in Upstate Central New York.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that knowing the New York laws is most important thing. But is it?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why I Investigate The DWI Crime Scene


Uneven Surfaces abound in this area
Can You See the Imaginary Line?
Cayuga Heights, New York DWI Reduced to a DWAI

Some Police Officers Like to Argue it's a "Pretend" Line. 

Is there Really a difference between a "pretend" and an"imaginary" Line?

A Gravel Surface, Imagine Walking this Barefoot?
That's what the police had my client do

DWI Case by The Boatyard Grill, Ithaca, NY

In my practice of DWI defense law no two cases are exactly the same. Any lawyer who says well it's just a "garden variety" DWI is sadly mistaken. A successful DWI defense, or any defense for that matter is a question of looking through, or at the details of the day, the driving, the stop, the arrest, and the post arrest police documentation.

Events NEVER take place in a vacuum. Some lawyers read the police report in five minutes, and then are done with their case analysis.

There is ALWAYS a DWI Story

There is always a chronology, and there are "stories." One version of the story will be through the eyes, ears, and nose (the senses) of the arresting officer, another version of the events will be through the eyes of the accused. Something in between those two versions may reside the truth.

Law enforcement often tells a biased and prejudiced DWI story. One that makes the person being arrested look, smell, and act badly. Opinions are always SUBJECTIVE not OBJECTIVE. I like to say somewhere between your client's version of the events and the police officer's version of the events lies the TRUTH of what really took place.

My teacher, Robert Deniro

My Best Criminal Defense Lessons Come from the Movies  

I am a big movie fan. I love Robert DeNiro. When great actors like Deniro are coupled with amazing dialogue movie magic happens.

In the film Ronin, DeNiro is going over the details of a bank heist, all the guys are gathered round, and as he is going over the map he STATES loudly and slowly,

  "The map is not the territory" 

DeNiro wants his men to canvas the scene, he wants them to walk, drive, and feel the target location. Looking at a map (2 dimensions) will never replace the 3 D of going and being there.

KEY Takeaway: On DWI Cases I Defend I Visit the Street/Road/Place of the DWI Arrest

In order to completely defend the charges of a DWI (or any crime) an attorney MUST visit the scene. This is the place of the FSTs (Field Sobriety Tests), and the arrest area. I cannot emphasize this enough. I cannot and will not begin to cross examine a police officer on a location I have not first visited. It is a big error that many attorneys often commit. Not going to the location and doing the walk through and drive through limits you on many levels.

How was the road? How was the sidewalk? What were the lighting conditions? How many street lights were overhead? Was there any trees, bushes, and foliage blocking anything? What was the weather like? I want to know the type of clothing worn. I want to know the type of shoes worn.

The REAL Question

Under what conditions and location did the accused have to perform these tests? 

If I go too late in the season things can change, like the trees and the views.

My mind races as I ponder questions I want to ask the cop for this is the beginning of the raising of reasonable doubts. These things are what I consider the potential and the possible, the many common sense reasons besides intoxication for BAD performance which in the Police Officer's estimation led to an arrest for DWI.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

Reviews of Larry Newman:

Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers