Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ithaca Lawyer: Michael Jackson's Doctor is on Trial

It's all over the news, it's been 2 years, and it's as fresh as yesterday. I am reminded that the King of Pop is dead, and now the doctor, Michael Jackson's personal physician is on trial for his death. I grew up with MJ, loved his music, and was inspired by his genius. Seeing another high profile trial brings the public to our system. Whether you like it or not, agree with it or not, this is how we "try" people.

Fact: Think about this, MJ's doctor was getting paid $150,000 a month, that works out to 1.8 million a year, what? To me that is incentive enough to want, to deeply desire, to work hard to keep this guy alive. Why would anyone, especially a guy getting paid 150k/month want to see his meal ticket disappear? It makes absolutely no sense to me, but I'm not on the jury, and probably will never be picked for a trial.

Do I believe that he should be found guilty of murder? Granted medical negligence, even recklessness, but murder?

My bottom line: I don't know if we should be holding people criminally liable for "enabling" an addict. Because then the family member that gives money for drugs or gets the drugs is soon to get lumped into that mess and charged. Yes, prosecutors love to charge people, quick to, easy to, and once the door is open watch out.

Charged for assisting suicide, slow suicide but suicide just the same. MJ was playing with fire, he had his issues, he hired this doctor to arrange his medicine. A fix coming from a supplier, a dealer would not get charged with the crime of murder but this doctor is. Just something to think on.

That is my take.

Canadian Drivers Speeding on I-17/86 Get a Break from the Metric System

I love our Canadian neighbors. They visit us, we visit them, and Canada for the most part is a nice excursion for us upper state New Yorkers. I have gotten more calls this year from drivers from Ontario speeding through Steuben County. It is a magnet or more like a trap for the inattentive. The corridor of I-17/86 passes through some bucolic territory, rolling hills, beautiful trees, open roads, and New York State Troopers.

Not a good place to exceed the speed limit. People unknowingly going 20mph to 30mph over the posted limit. Worse NYS has a special agreement with Ontario and Quebec, we exchange point for point "generally",,,

But there is good news for Canadians, especially those from Ontario. The NYS lowest level speed speed violation, 0-9mph over, 3 points, has NO points in Canada. Why?      2 reasons

1. Canada is on the metric system. They (the optimistic NY schools) tried to teach me this when I was a kid, they were wishfully thinking it was going to come to America but we still use inches, yards, feet, and miles per hour.

2. Canada begins speed violations at 16 km/hr. Translation = 10 mph

see here, Canadian Ministry, kinda like our DMV:


So if we can get your speeding ticket reduced to a low level NYS 0-9 mph speed you are golden in Canada.

Lawrence Newman, Esq.   607-229-5184

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is it Forever? DWAI drugs and/or alcohol or DWI and Your New York Insurance Premiums

Insurance law can be a dry affair. The burning question from my DWI clients:
Are my rates from a DWAI (drugs or drugs/alcohol) or DWI going to affect my insurance forever?

Legally NYS Insurance law section 2335 states that they can't raise/increase/charge your rates (based upon that conviction) if your DWI/DWAI was more than 3 years ago. This is based upon date/time of "conviction" not arrest.

Look at the law (highlights and blahs mine),,,

NO Insurer... blah blah blah... shall increase the policy premium (raise the rates) ...blah blah blah... of any person insured by them who ...

has been found guilty of a traffic infraction under any of the provisions of the vehicle and traffic law provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to a conviction for a violation which occurred during the thirty-six month period ending on the last day of the fourth month preceding the month of the effective date of the policy if such conviction consisted of:

-operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired by the consumption of alcohol
-operating a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of a drug, within the meaning of section one thousand one hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law (DWAI drugs)

So if an NYS insurance company wants to dredge up your past and it has been more than 3 years, break out a copy of Insurance Law § 2335 -- Motor vehicle liability insurance rates -- prohibition of surcharges for certain traffic infractions

New York State Speeding Tickets and Insurance Premiums

Many people facing speeding tickets from a little town or village court have one question:

"What's going to happen to my insurance?"

New York State Insurance Law § 2335 can be complicated to read and understand.
It loosely states that an insurance company CANNOT raise your premiums if you have a traffic infraction

UNLESS it is one of the following situations:

1. speeding more than 15 miles per hour;
2. reckless or speeding resulting in a death;
3. 3 speeding tickets;
4. driving drunk (DWI) or impaired (DWAI);
5. leaving an accident w/o reporting it;
6. racing/speeding contests or running from the police;
7. 2 or more moving violations.

so the Interpretation, a ticket less than 15 miles an hour shouldn't trigger a rate increase.

But 10 MPH or more over will be a 4 point ticket, and a speed against your record though. Remember 11 points or 3 speeds within 18 months is an automatic NYS suspension of your driving privileges. So in my opinion better not to have a speed or something with less points.

Often a speed can be reduced (plead down) to a 1110 (a) Failure to Obey a Traffic Device. This shouldn't trigger a rate increase either, it will be a 2 point ticket. Of course depending upon the Court, the prosecutor, your past driving record, your specific situation, and the judge some tickets
will be more difficult or impossible to have reduced.

Is a New York State DWAI (driving while ability impaired) on my record Forever?

As an attorney who publishes a lot of video, articles, etc I get my share of phone calls, texts, and emails. Put yourself out there, and I do, and you get asked questions. Sometimes I have answers, other times I need to find stuff out, and sometimes I'm SOL, I don't know and noone else does either. Frustrating as all that is I believe that people deserve, yes I said it deserve the truth. In the words of a great movie actor, "you can't handle the truth" is often so true because people want lies. They want to be lied to about outcomes, they want to be lied to about the things that hurt, the things that scare and concern them. Either they want to hide their heads in the sand or they look for some slick lawyer to tell them a bunch of BS. It is normal. It is human nature. What it is not is smart. Smart faces the truth head on. Smart deals with reality. Smart doesn't delude or water down "what is." Smart confronts "what is."

"What is" is that people make mistakes. They make mistakes all the time. This is neither good or bad. It is merely a fact of life.

So to the answer to the original question: A NYS DWAI (VTL 1192 (1)) is going to stay ON your record, the record of your NYS arrest, your NYS file, your NYS fingerprints, your NYS mugshots Forever! that's 4ever for those younger than me. It is only a violation but a violation that lingers. Even those most NYS violations get sealed (records destroyed), this one doesn't. It will be there after 30, 40, 50 years of your life.

Guess what, District Attorneys will bring it up, and seek to use if against you in the future if you get another DW (driving while) even if it is it from 30 or 40 years ago. "They" believe you are merely a drunk driver that hasn't been caught in 30 or 40 years. They will seek out jail, probation, and anything else they think you deserve as a "habitual" offender. They do not believe in live and let live, or redemption, or the passage of time, or that you should be given credit for your stable job, four kids, and paying your taxes over those 30 years. You want fair, you better move to another planet.

DWAI is merely a violation (a traffic violation) with no points but some states and Canada will still view it as a crime. States like Florida don't have a DWAI and see our violation/offense in the same light as their DUI.
Canada will not automatically allow you into their country after a NYS DWAI. They don't have one either, an offense like ability impaired.

My final thoughts:

It (a DWAI/DWI) will NOT prevent you from "being or doing" anything of any magnitude, doctor, lawyer, or congressman

Will some people/future employers see it as horrible and bad? yes, but they might also not like something else about you, legally they cannot use any violation or crime against you for employment but your breath, hair, attitude is all open game lol some people/judges even think "pot" is a bad/gateway drug, is it? everyone will have an opinion, don't they always!
Get "educated" both in and out of school about a great many things, life is a school, a DWAI/DWI is a lesson, ask me about the students I represent with MBAs, and Phds that are facing felonies, talk about hurdles, DWAI/DWI is merely a bump

Learn this:

"YOU" will always decide and direct your future not a mistake you had in judgment on one particular moment in time,

DO NOT ever let this or anything else ever stop you from pursuing your dreams
all the best
Larry Newman

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Lawyer's Perspective: The Value of Legal Knowledge

People love to say that "knowledge is power." I will add to or condition that little phrase by stating that legal knowledge is merely potential power when applied at or in the right place, time, and circumstance. So let's look at those qualifiers, one at a time:

1. Timing is everything. Legally, timing is something often overlooked in the equation of problem solving. Opportunities are often missed because of poor timing. Too soon or too late can mean the difference between success and failure.

TOO SOON-If you rush in (make a statement, discuss the case with the Judge or prosecutor, file a motion) before gathering all the information, facts, and context you may leave out an important detail. I have been guilty on more than one occasion of "jumping the gun." Going into a problem, headstrong, without listening, without full disclosure, and without taking the time to know is the first error of the novice.

TOO LATE-That said, motions to challenge, motions to dismiss, motions to compel, and all other legal motions must follow deadlines. I have seen lawyers who were unable to raise issues because they waited too long. Most simply put, "You snooze, you lose."

2. Being at the right place.  In real estate they say, location, location, location. Being in the right place really refers to knowing where you are and who you are dealing with. Depending upon your "forum," where you are located can dictate and/or delineate the limits of your box. In other words, what you can do or not do, say or not say. Different Courts, different judges, and different prosecutors all have their own philosophies, policies, and personal leanings. It is a scary and dangerous thing to go in someplace unfamiliar only to learn too late that one fact in particular will kill your case. I often have other out of state/out of county/out of the area lawyers call me and ask about a Court I go to frequently. No professional wants those kind of surprises.

3. Being in the right circumstance. You can't show up to Court on a day or night when they are only beginning cases, without an assistant District Attorney present, and expect to resolve your case (get an offer). Everyone has to follow that Court's procedures. Most Courts have specific days of the month where cases are discussed and negotiated. 

Keep these things in mind before bringing, applying, and raising knowledge of the law. Using power (knowledge) at the right time, place, and circumstances can tilt the scales in your favor. Remember that overall, in or out of the Courts of law knowledge (infromation) will have greater value and greater weight when leveraged by following the above precepts.