Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ithaca Horseheads Lawyer Real Estate Comps and Your DWI (Criminal) Case

Tunnel Vision (the danger of being in a Vacuum)

People love to see things as black or white, as yes or no, as good or bad. Easy and fast answers to your most important decisions are not going to work that way. There are many shades of grey. Unfortunately most people can only view "their" DWI or criminal case in a vacuum. Without being able to make an accurate comparison to similar cases with similar fact scenarios will make it difficult to impossible to fully comprehend how your case is going to play out.

Criminal Defense vs. Buying a House

Buying a house is a huge decision (I think getting married maybe easier). Before you make the biggest purchase decision of your adult life you should have a realtor run COMPS. Comps are comparisons to other homes that have sold within a given time period and within a given neighborhood. For these housing comps to be accurate (and helpful) they must be homes that are of the same or similar: size, age, and type. You don't compare the price of a 1000 sq. ft. home in the city with another located 50 miles away in the woods with 3000 sq. ft. sitting on 20 acres. In addition, you don't compare what a home sold for in 1950 compared to what it may sell for in 2012.

THE Factors in a Criminal Case

Criminal defense of any case first involves taking many different factors into consideration. Your attorney must think about The Court (location), the Judge, the prosecutor, the weight of the evidence, and the relevance of your unique situation. He or she must look at the matter from different angles and perspectives to be able to completely protect you. These are kinda like real estate COMPS. He or she should have familiarity with the factors, and how they may apply in this particular court.

The YOU Factor

The big question is always going to be, "how YOU are going to be affected by all this now and in the future?" This is really where an attorney is most helpful. How is this case, and all it's consequences and costs going to affect my life? Are there things I can do to mitigate the damages?

Besides the criminal defense of the charges you must always look at the total cost in time, money, energy, and risk.

Exposure is More than the Sun

I don't like exposing my clients to great risks that are costly. Misdemeanors in New York State can expose you to up to one year in jail (local county), and three years of county probation. Felony charges and Federal charges expose people to long terms in prison (state facilities).

Can this be avoided? What is YOUR EXPOSURE to these charges? What are you specifically being exposed to? Is jail an option? Is probation an option? Are any of these likely outcomes?

Understanding your criminal case begins here. Make sure you choose a "counselor" at law (not merely an attorney) to guide you, explain the options, and help you to make the right decisions for YOU.

NOTE: Any attorney can call themselves counselors at law. Whether they actually carry out that mission is another story entirely.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Ithaca Cortland Lawyer What is the Value of a Professional?

One common question before hiring a professional is, "do I need you?"
Does anyone really need a doctor, a lawyer, or a CPA (tax professional)?
Does anyone need a plumber, electrician, contractor, or carpenter?

The D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) Mentality

I love to go to Home Depot, and Lowes. They didn't exist years ago. The local hardware store wasn't on that level or scale. I have attempted plumbing, painting, scraping, fixing, and repairing my home. It has not always worked out as well as I would have liked or imagined. Sometimes (really often) it was messy and as my wife would say, I made it worse.

Plumbers, Electricians, and Carpenters

You can DIY (do it yourself) but should you? Is it really a smart way to go? Do you always save time and money? I tried scraping off old wall paper, I couldn't move my arm for a week.

I admit I am not handy. Hanging a picture can be challenging for me. Maybe other people are handy. Maybe they enjoy learning new things. I'm at a point in my life where I would rather support other professions, and let the professionals do their job. Besides the thought of going up a ladder, playing with electricity, or opening a pipe is scary to me.

With an Ithaca, NY home in Fall Creek that is 123 years old having professionals to do upkeep, maintenance, and repair is not an option for us, it is a necessity. I say thank G-d for these professionals, I would be cold, knee deep in crap, and in the dark without them.

OF Doctors, Lawyers, and Accountants

You can be your own doctor, lawyer, or CPA. There is no law against it. But what a professional brings to the table is their experience, their knowledge, and their assessment of your particular (unique/specific) situation.

This level of assurance or insurance that the decisions you make will be made with a full understanding. That you understand the direct and indirect consequences of any action is always of paramount importance. Fools make uniformed decisions. Especially when the government is involved you should not take these things lightly.

Professional Representation comes in different shades, colors, and sizes. Not all professional representation is the same. Doctors are not all the same. CPAs are not all the same. And lawyers are most definitely not all the same. They can do the same things (with their licenses) but they are not all equally knowledgeable, experienced, or skilled.

Some professionals are into what they do, they are passionate about their field, they are contributors, they stay involved, they remain learners, while others do the very least to remain as licensed professionals, they can't wait to retire and play golf, they hate what they do, they live for the weekend.

I guess it all comes down to this, who would you choose to represent you and your interests? I can tell you that the cheapest professionals are those barely interested in their fields. They seem bothered and annoyed.

If you see a "I'd rather be ...     ing" bumper sticker on their cars you better go find another professional.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor or Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


Sunday, March 25, 2012

ITHACA Cortland Lawyer Says It's Not the Injury It's the Impact


People always like to compare things. They love to talk, and contrast their lives with the lives of people around them. They compare what they paid for things (like cars and homes), they compare what their kids are doing or not doing (married, pregnant, divorced), and they compare their medical problems and injuries. So and so has a "blank-itis" or a "growth" or a "pain in their blank."

But what has all this got to do with injury law?
Sometimes in their comparing people make the mistake of trying to match up an apple and an orange.

What is the value of a herniated disc in your cervical spine? If your neighbor got $50,000.
What is the true cost of a fractured scaphoid bone in your hand? If your friend got $25,000.
What can you collect for a dislocated shoulder? If your brother got nothing.

All of these can be serious injuries but without knowing more they are stand in a vacuum.
In the legal field of personal injury (accident-negligence cases), more important than the physical injury or damages you suffer is the impact it has on YOU.


How has this injury IMPACTED YOUT LIFE? Has it prevented you from doing specific activities you loved and enjoyed? Did you bowl, golf, knit, run, or do any physical activities that you can no longer do?

Can you sleep? Can you work? Can you care for yourself?

The Dental Hygienist

I represented a beautiful young lady who car was t-boned while she waited for the light to change at a downtown intersection. Her neck x-rays and MRI findings were not horrible. They didn't show or indicate the presence of any disc herniations or protrusions. Over the ensuing months after her accident she started to get terrible headaches and pain down into her hands. The pain became so unbearable to her that she could no longer work.

The insurance company denied her claim, and basically called her a faker. This was a case that needed to go to trial. She needed to express the nature and degree of her problems openly. The impact of her injuries was devastating to her. She testified and we were successful. Her emotional and articulate explanation of what she had gone through after the accident was the crux of her case. This accident impacted her and her life in a big way. People are not all the same. One person's tolerance of pain and another person's can be completely different.


How is your life different after your injury? What has "changed" since your accident?

In all ways big and small, the effects of an accident and the injuries you have suffered can have far reaching consequences. These can range from being unable to work to being irritable and tired all the time.

It's not the injury, it's the person, and people come in different shapes, sizes, and pain tolerances.
Remember that the effects of the exact same injury on one person may be far different to someone else.

Remember the true value of YOUR injury = the degree that the injury has impacted YOUR LIFE.

Lawrence A. Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney at Law

504 N. Aurora St.
Ithaca, NY 14850

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ithaca Lawyer: Collateral Damage in a NYS DWI

I love Arnold, one of his more exciting flicks was Collateral Damage. Just the idea of a ripple effect, the pebble dropped into the pond, and then the visual of dominos put in motion can set the mind spinning. One thing almost always leads to another, and in the world of DWI this can often be true as well.

How Can Just One Event Set a String of Events in Motion?

The following is merely one relevant example but there are many others within the field of criminal defense.

Your criminal DWI case goes into Court for sentencing, it is an agreed upon plea (one negotiated between your lawyer and the ADA). The Judge agrees as well a CD (conditional discharge) with ONE of the conditions being that you complete the DMV DDP (drinking driver program).

It all seems simple enough. So you go to the (DDP) program. While in the DDP, they feel (the instructors use a matrix) that you need a drug/alcohol evaluation. Then their evaluator says you need treatment for your problem. They make a recommendation for twelve group therapy sessions. You go to two, you decide it's BS (a waste of your time and money), and you don't follow through. A report of this goes back to the Court (to the Judge) who then violates you because you (unknowingly) violated his conditions. You now must return to Court for your case to be re-opened, and for you to be re-sentenced.

Does this happen? More often than you may imagine. I get phone calls on this and more.

Ways to Protect from Collateral Damage (consequences)

1. Listen carefully to any Court ordered conditions.
2. Read carefully any list or rendition of Court ordered conditions.
3. Are there any "special" (added) conditions?
4. Do any of them open you up to further collateral consequences?
5. Are any of them open ended?
6. Do you need to get an mental and/or drug evaluation (and follow through with any and all recommendations)?
7. Are there any specific time periods or time limits placed upon the conditions?
8. Do you need to show the Court proof of completion?

Remember forewarned is forearmed. Prepare for all of it. Look and read before proceeding to sign and agree.

Law Office of Lawrence Newman
504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ithaca DWI Defense: It Can Be as Simple or as Complicated as a Specific Day

We mark the seasons, the days of the week, and especially the holidays by specific dates. Apparently time passes by more quickly as we age. I almost stopped my wife from taking down the tree this past year because I thought wow Christmas came so fast this year why bother (let's just keep it up).

What does all this have to do with criminal law or even DWI defense?

Well imagine we are sitting in a Courtroom and the prosecutor is about to begin their opening statement in a DWI case, they will have a theme, it was New Year's eve, it was Super Bowl Sunday, it was a Holiday! And folks what do we do on Holy-days, we Celebrate! We celebrate special occasions with spirits (both real and imagined). Everyone knows this, it is common knowledge, which makes it that much more relevant. Get it? drinking to excess naturally runs with this special date/day.

So the defense of a DWI has to take this into consideration. To negate it wouldn't be smart. Like all things, everything must be considered when planning and executing a defense.

I prefer my DWIs on non-holidays if possible. It may seem like an innocuous point but people are people. Defending DWI is just better any old day just more difficult on that special occasion.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney at Law

504 N. Aurora St.
Ithaca, NY 14850

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tests, Tests, and Still More Tests: Do I Have To Take Police Tests?

The police (including troopers, deputies) are worse than teachers when it comes to giving tests. In college you usually get time to study. You may also receive an outline, a list of books, a course syllabus, and/or a list of potential testable subject matter. Not so with law enforcement.

Police/law enforcement tests given at roadside or back at the station are some of the most difficult tests you will ever take because:

You don't know what's on the test.
You can't prepare for the test.
You can't practice the test.
You can't take the test over.
You don't really know if you passed or why you failed the test?

In fact many tests may be graded upon the officer's subjectivity (how they perceive your responses to their commands, directions, and instructions). What if they are poor instructors? What if they are unclear in their communication?

On top of all of that some police tests are just made up. They have no standardization. For the record there are only three SFSTs (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests): the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the walk and turn, and the one leg stand.

Your Performance

You probably will not be at your best physically or mentally when taking them.
It may be late at night, you may tired, you may be scared, you may be anxious, and you may be under the influence of something.

So what tests must you take:

Alco-sensor Test (out in field breath test): Don't have to take but if you don't it is a traffic violation.

Field Sobriety Tests: Don't have to take them at all.

Breath Test: Have to take it (implied consent law) but if you decline license ramifications (revocation for one year)

Blood Test: Have to take it (will be forced if a personal injury accident) but you can decline (if not an accident with injuries to others) and face license revocation.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
Larry Newman, Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Ithaca iLawyer: Communication at a New Level

New School Communicator: The Iphone Lawyer

I just finished reading Steve Jobs life story. It was a fascinating read. Whether you liked or disliked the man, whether you agree he made or didn't make any contributions to technology, you have to admire his inspiration and work ethic. The products he helped launch and bring to life are marvels of design. They are beautiful and useful.

The Ipractice

I have become an ijunkie over the course of many years. I would not have been able to build the practice I currently have and enjoy without the internet. It's funny how a little guy with a shingle in a relatively small town (like Ithaca, NY) can create a personal, focused, and local hands on criminal defense and personal injury practice (legal business) by strictly using the internet.

Paper is For Dinosaurs

I have no yellow page ad. I use no print media. I blog (3 years, 290+ blogs), I video (210 videos and counting), I publish (dozens of articles and books), and I express myself daily. Because of all of this I have been recognized by my peers (Co-authored a NYS DWI Defense Book in 2011) and had an amazingly successful practice. In practical terms, I can communicate with my legal clients from anyplace and at anytime. They can relay police reports, medical records, documents, updates, car information, etc. My practice is virtual on this level.

I believe others can also create successful businesses but to do it does take interest and inspiration. I am very interested in learning, growing, and sharing. I am inspired to leave a meaningful contribution.

An ilawyer needs an iphone

I love my Iphone, there I said it. It is amazing.

How much do I love this incredible tool (please don't refer to it as a phone)?
If my Iphone cheated on me, I wouldn't divorce it.
If my iphone owed me money, I wouldn't sue it.
If I had to choose between my Iphone and my kids, I would have to take a moment.
The iphone has allowed me to stay in touch, and to communicate at a level far beyond anything of days past.

Does your lawyer or other professional have an Iphone? With electronic fax I Can get my faxes, emails, texts, calls, pictures, documents, and videos from anywhere in the world? How can anyone not love the power, the ease of portability, and the shear access to vast resources at your fingertips? The Iphone is the ultimate communication tool. If your lawyer has an Iphone the chances are that they place a high (or higher) value on communication. Accessibility relates to reachability relates to connectability. Feeling connected, in touch, and only a message away brings a level of comfort only a warm blanket on a cold night can touch.

My Tech History

People need comparison and context to really (fully) appreciate the world we currently live in.

My first cell phone was an NEC P9000, for those unfamiliar with such things, the NEC was the size of a brick, 3lbs, 5 inch antenna. Can you imagine? I paid $1800 for this phone in 1987. I was a Chiropractor with a big phone. My wife used to love lugging it for me in her purse. My cell phone bills ran from $400 to $600 a month.

In line with this big phone was my first computer. It was a big purchase in 1986. We used to write all our bills by hand, and submit them to the insurance companies until this modern miracle of science. It was an IBM 386. It was designed to strictly do office billing with a dot matrix printer. It cost $6000 with the software. No mouse back then.

Jump to 1993, I purchased my first windows based computer for the office. It was a IBM 486 with software, still no mouse, at a purchase price of $15,000. We were doing word processing now. Still using the dot matrix printer and then the laser printer. The company I purchased this from also sold us a software update package for $2000/year. This was the state of union back in the early 1990s.

So looking over my life and the technology I am now privy to enjoy I am overjoyed. My kids may tire of my Abraham Lincoln stories but the reality is that these are truly miraculous times we live in. Anyone with an internet connection and some creativity can express themselves globally. Anyone with the interest and inspiration can harness these tools and create an amazing life.

Lawrence Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Solving The Number One Client Complaint: Does Your Lawyer Communicate?

Momma's Rules

The number one complaint that people have about lawyers is that they do not return calls. My mother taught me a great many things about manners. She was not academically educated or from the upper crust of society but number one was always return a call, number two, call if you were running late, number three do the right thing (don't treat people with disrespect), number four, always bring something to dinner, don't show up empty handed. Basic rules for getting along or as my parents quipped acting like people not low class animals.

Back then class had less to do with how much you made, or what you were (your job/profession), or where you went to school. Whether you had or didn't have "Class" had more to do with how you treated other people.

The Un-informed

In my law practice I get calls and emails all the time from people after they have been represented (by other lawyers) that they still don't know what happened. In other words, they were represented, they went to Court multiple times, and they were left wondering and wandering about the outcome, about their future, and about their licenses. They don't know about their conditional discharges (what's that), probation, drug/alcohol evaluations and treatment, Court obligations, and what happens next.

They usually say, "my lawyer never told me anything." Well that's probably not true, after all I am sure the lawyers told them something. These lawyers just maybe didn't ensure that their clients understood everything or maybe they didn't explain it in their clients unique language. Was their client more visual, auditory, or kinesthetic? I'll save the basics of NLP (neuro linguistic programming), and clients modes of communication for another day.

The Ostrich Syndrome

In days long past doctors and lawyers would just take people's papers, and problems at face value. They would tell them not to worry, just let me handle it, and do as I say. Take this pill, stop eating grapes, avoid the sun, and show up at 9:00 on this date. Clients and patients were treated as mushrooms. Left in the dark. Not fully knowing or engaging in the solutions. They were in my mind spectators at the game, and never treated as participants. Fast forward to 2012, I believe that most people want information, they want options, and they want engagement. I say "most" people because there are those that still don't want to know. They believe that not knowing will be better than knowing. I call this "Ostrich Syndrome." Stick your head in the sand, and wait for it all to be over.

Ostrich Syndrome is truly a childish mentality that is still given a level of support from either dinosaur lawyers and old school doctors.

Relationship Success

In all my relationships I have found a common denominator for success: regular, meaningful, and focused communication. Let's break these up one at a time.

Regular Communication: As much as parents and spouses love to talk about "quality" time, I don't believe that you can make quality time happen. You don't know when a moment will be a moment. That sounds pretty Zen but the truth is you don't know when your kids are going to walk, or ask a big question, or say "mama or dada." You just don't know. Likewise, clients just want updates. Regular to me means "Is anything happening?" If it's not fine, but let me know. Or if we are waiting for something or someone I'd like to know about that as well. I call it "checking in." Checking in regularly demonstrates you care, you are there, and things are moving. The refrain, I haven't heard from you in so long, whether from your lover or your mother is not just guilt. Not hearing from someone (that you supposedly have a relationship with) for long stretches of time makes you feel distant and alone.

Meaningful Communication: Are all your questions being answered? You may just want an answer to something that just came up or you just considered. Have your fears been allayed or at the very least been given a context? Things always need background, a wall or a field to place them upon. Nobody discusses problems or situations in a vacuum. In football, we have a playing field and yard lines. We have quarters, time periods, rules to follow, this is all context. Law has a similar playing field. When discussing matters with those I care about I ask what their concerns are. Maybe they have a different perspective then I do. What they may feel is important may be different than what I believe matters.

Focused Communication: People want to know what things mean "specifically" for them. Situations are infinitely different if someone is 19 years old versus 51 years old, if someone has a government clearance or work's at BK, if someone is applying for an internship or leaving the state, or planning to get a professional license or getting a new position, what does all this mean to them? Legal problems can affect not only the here and now but can also have a ripple effect upon their future. Within the timeline of this person's life (job, school, family, children) how are things proceeding or going to proceed?

Why Do So Many Relationships Not Work? 

Some may disagree with me (they are probably not in long term healthy relationships) but relationships are hard. I believe a great many fail because they require nurturing and effort. Communication is work. Like regular eating and exercise for a healthy body, a relationship without good (regular, meaningful, focused) communication will whither and die. It is not something that can be left to chance. I've been with my wife for 25 years. Before you give me any credit realize that that is less a kudos to me then a testament to her ability to put up with me. I have been working on communicating better my entire life.

For every excellent communicator there are probably 100 who barely explain anything. It is both an art and science. There are plenty of lawyers but not so many counselors at law. I believe it is the number ONE killer of all relationships, not just professional ones. But I also believe that when it is done well it is beautiful. There is nothing better than having good relationships with those around you. I believe that the true measure of pain or pleasure in your life (and practice) is in equal measure to the quality of your ongoing communication with those you care about.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ithaca Lawyer Tells A Tale of Two Conditionals

You are arrested for a DWI, if you took a breath or a blood test or refused testing then you will be facing a driver's license suspension.

The NYS DMV DWI conditional licenses are most definitely a confusing matter.

The laws, the statutes, the integration or lack thereof between the Courts and the DMV, and lastly the practical application make it a mess to understand.


Basically it works like this:

You are driving in New York State with a FULL license or Privilege (if you don't possess a NYS driver's license you still have a privilege to drive here). For those out of staters, instead of taking your license physically the Court will merely suspend your privilege to drive in NYS. It all goes into the computer.

It all begins here: You are arrested for a Common Law DWI (at roadside), VTL 1192(3)  AND

If you have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 or more based upon a blood or breathalyzer test then,

Your FULL license or Privilege is suspended at COURT arraignment (the initial/first appearance).

NOTE: if you have less than a BAC of .08 or they don't have a blood test then they should not suspend. Judges do have a catch all exception to suspend under NYS Vehicle Traffic Law section 510, but is is rarely used and only for those that are dangerous or reckless.


You may be entitled (can apply for) a HARDSHIP PRIVILEGE (this is not a Conditional license). People including Judges and attorneys call this a conditional license (it is NOT). Legally the hardship application by law must be within 3 days of the suspension but upstate it generally happens at the initial appearance.

It is strictly construed for 3 things:

TO and FROM privileges to drive to and from a job
TO and FROM privileges to drive to and from school
TO and FROM privileges to drive to and from medical care

NADA MAS (nothing more)!!!

NOTE: Some judges want more proof than others, ie. specific dates, times, pay stubs, school schedules. Other judges give open (no specifics to and from a place) privileges. I have represented the gamut of people in 9 different counties, from farmers to contractors, and the diversity of driving allowance most definitely varies from place to place.

THEN AFTER 30 days from the arraignment (the initial appearance) then you can go to the DMV,

- AND APPLY FOR A PCCL (pre-conviction conditional license), this is where the first of TWO conditional licenses begin:

IT allows the following types of driving:

SCOPE and/or Course of employment privileges to drive FOR work
TO and FROM privileges to drive to and from school
TO and FROM privileges to drive to Court and proceedings
TO and FROM privileges to drive to treatment, evaluations, and rehabilitation
TO and FROM privileges to drive to during a pre-selected three hour window per week

After Sentencing on the final charges (plea of guilty or a finding of guilt after trial)

Your attorney will likely request a 20 day STAY of the suspension period to begin. This allows the paperwork to process through Albany (main DMV), and trickle down to the local branches. You will at this point have back FULL license privileges for 20 days. The Court will issue the suspension paperwork which states when the suspension is to begin. They should date this 20 days from the final Court date to be effective.


You should (but don't count on it) get a letter from the NYS DMV after about 2 weeks (from sentencing) stating, "you are now eligible for a conditional license and to take the DDP (drinking driver program)."

AND YOU CAN THEN APPLY FOR A PRCL (post-revocation conditional license), this is the second of TWO conditional licenses. Called the PRCL because it comes after your license has been revoked by the Court (DWIs get revocations of licenses, DWAIs get suspensions of licenses).

Is there a difference between the PCCL and the PRCL?

Only that they are set and designed for two different time periods. In terms of privileges they are exactly the same.

Most confusion comes between hardship privileges, and conditionals.

Can you just keep and use your hardship privilege until the end of your case (matter)?

Yes you can but I think it is better to change it over for a number of reasons:

1. if you violate the hardship (go off the grid), ie. wind up at a bar in Rochester instead of work, then that is an
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (a crime). If you violate the conditional license, it is merely a traffic offense, not a crime.

2. the conditional will give you vastly greater driving privileges, and more importantly if you are pulled over law enforcement views the conditional license differently than the hardship privilege.

Lastly, please remember that when you finally get your license back it is a PROBATIONARY license for six months, it is as if you just got a brand new license and your 17 again. IF you violate (speed, careless, etc.) then it will be taken away. Drive like a Saint because being upstate without a license can make for a long winter.

see my video, the two conditional licenses here:

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The 2012 How and When of New York DWI Ignition Interlock Devices

Time flies! Looking back over 2011 and Leandra's law I am amazed once again that it has less to do with the law than with the Application of law. How laws are applied, how statutes are construed, in other words it's all about Interpretation. How are the Courts, the Judges, the DMV, and the powers that be going to "effectuate"... put into effect these new regulations.

The Death of Common Sense

You would think that common sense would prevail, sad to inform you that it doesn't. Many things don't make sense. Some laws and rules are not well thought out or thought through practically. The intent in back of them is good but as they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It used to be that IIDs (ignition interlock devices) were spared but only for the repeat offender or someone on probation supervision. The Judges had discretion to their application. Many who truly needed to have these devices installed in their cars received them. In August 2010 that was all lost to Leandra's law, when ALL DWI convictions had to have a mandatory order for a minimum time of six months. Some Judges mandate 12 months.


If someone got a NYS DWI while driving a rental car, a borrowed car, or totalled their car, WHAT If that someone does not have a car at time of sentencing?

1. There is still a Court Order for a device to be placed for a minimum time period.
2. That order will stand the test of time. (it is on your NYS DMV record)
So ANY time in the future that that person eventually gets a car they will need to install the IID.
3. If that person moves to another state or is from another state this still applies.
4. The county in which the NY DWI occurred will have to do the monitoring as well.

So regardless of where or when it is placed, the monitor of the county of conviction will need to be contacted. They will be given all the downloaded information every month when you return to the installer. The county monitor has the power to take off the device, and check that your obligation (Court Order) has been served.

Regardless of your driver's license issues this interlock issue will need to be dealt with as well. Word to the wise you can run but you can't hide. The piper will need to be paid. Avoidance is merely delay. Like a great many things this one is not going to go away on it's own.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ithaca Lawyer The Triple Play of Bad Decision Making

People fascinate and amaze me. Where do we get the Beerita (a combo of a margarita and a beer)? Did two people in a bar fall into each other?

Actually I have always been interested in the psychology of human behavior. What makes people tick? What are their motivations? How do they make decisions?

If you look hard enough at any problem you will eventually see a pattern or patterns. I love to discover things. I have noticed a pattern that I often see play out within my criminal defense, and DWI practice. A coming together of three things prior to a bad decision being made.

They are: 

1. lateness of night or day
2. emotional stress or stressor
3. under the influence of a drug or substance whether illegal or legal

Seeing this pattern occur over and over led me to ask the following questions:

Why do these three things lead people to poor judgment? 
Why do very bright and intelligent people find themselves in horrible situations when this pattern emerges?


The above quote is engraved on the Statute of Liberty. It is the symbol of salvation and of hope. It brings to together three things often found in College parties on a Saturday night: tired, poor (probably hungry as well), and unable to breathe (lack of oxygen from drinking).

We are always at our best when fully charged, fed, and rested. As they say, make your choices in the clear light of day. Your physical batteries will be running low if you are hungry and/or tired. Car dealerships use this to their advantage when taking your keys prior to negotiating. They wear you down, and keep you captive for hours. Tired people tend to make bad or poor decisions because they don't have the energy to fully engage, to think, or to focus. This is how the person you thought was prince charming (beautiful, smart, funny) at 3:00am turns out to be a toad at 10:00am.


In the heat of passion, blinded by love, these phrases speak to the fact that when we are polarized, whether up or down, you are out of balance. Your best decisions will not be made if you are emotionally worked up.
I can't even begin to tell you the number of people I have represented for crimes that occurred soon after a fight or break up. You want a bad idea, have a serious relationship discussion late, and after drinking. 


Many preferred drugs (including alcohol) will first alter our state of mind. They tend to loosen us up. This relaxation effect feels good in our bodies but it also lets down our mental guard. You see our natural state is one with controls. We control what we do and say. This requires energy and effort. This is also requires consciousness. As we slip into oxygen debt (how alcohol works), our brains work less, and our impulses (urges) are released. This is how the guy that normally can't talk to women has a few too many drinks, and is now being aggressive and saying inappropriate things. 


Take one relatively stable, intelligent, and well adjusted person
Bring them to party after a full day of work and/or school
Mix in some marijuana and alcohol (the more the better)
Get them either riled up or depressed (relationship breakups work best here)

Now get into an argument with them or have them try to make an important decision

Guaranteed this will not turn out well. Have you ever tried to argue or reason with a drunk, stoned, emotionally charged, and tired person at 2:00am? Not fun or funny (well maybe)!


So the lesson here is to always prepare yourself in advance. Do not place yourself in a weak position. Much like chess, you must play the game in your head before engaging the real game. This is the best way to win.

Have the phone numbers of taxis, people, & car services on your phone.
Arrange rides prior to making any plans.
Arrange safety nets, places you can go to crash, rest, and sleep.
Leave your car, and your car keys home.
Limit the number of bar, and party hops (the more nightly movement the higher the chances of issues)
Many DWIs come as a result of people going from one location to another location to drink and then another.
Nothing takes the place of food, and rest.
Generally, drugs make you weak and vulnerable, don't assume you are above this.
If drinking, stay with safe company, with people you know and trust.

Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
504 N. Aurora St.
Ithaca, NY 14850


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ithaca Cortland Lawyer Protecting Yourself from the Police

Ithaca is a college town. That has it's fair share of positives and negatives. One of the things that higher education fails to provide (even to young lawyers) is that the police have a dual role. Understanding the dynamics of this dual role allows us the confidence to invoke our rights. Our right to remain silent and to have an attorney are our only true protection from the overwhelming power of the government.

Role One: To Protect and Serve

They (law enforcement) are there to protect us from crime, and criminals. They stand guard around us, to watch over our daily life, and to calm any caustic incidents. They also act to investigate and deal with car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Their role often involves helping people who have been robbed, taken advantage of, and hurt by others. Sometimes this can also involve assisting paramedics, and dealing with natural disasters. In addition, they can act as a para-military organization when terrorism is a threat.

Role Two: To Investigate, Charge, and Arrest for Crimes

They also have a sworn duty to uphold the law. They have a great deal of discretion in deciding who and what crimes get charged. They also decide when crimes are to be charged. They often work hand in hand with the prosecutor's office in their longer and more in depth investigations. 

The Psychology of Trusting the Protector

We are ingrained in school. The mantra, "the police are my friend" and "trust the police to help you." 
Psychologically people often forget that the same police being called to investigate your car accident and help you may turn around and accuse you of driving while under the influence of something. The same police you call to your home to report a burglary or domestic incident with a neighbor will also be looking at everything in and around your home. I can't even begin to tell you the number of people who have gotten charged with possession of drugs under these circumstances. 

I spent a law school term working as an assistant in the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office in Woodbury, New Jersey. The office was only one floor up from the police department. There the district attorney, and the detectives worked closely on many cases. Watching their interaction together was an invaluable experience.


If asked to talk to the police or any law enforcement agency (anytime and anyplace) you should always have an attorney present.

I do not use the word always lightly. 

WHY Always? Why do I need a lawyer? They have the ultimate advantage. 

The one asking the questions always has the power position. 
Consider their resources (information about anyone and everyone).
They can get warrants to get at anyone's private information. 
Consider their ability to lie and deceive you in the name of justice. 
Consider their ability to charge you with crimes based upon merely PC (probable cause). 
Finally, Consider that anything you say can and will be used against you in a Court of Law.

You need something to level the playing field. Your own protector.That is why a lawyer is a must. 

Lawrence Newman, D.C., J.D.
Law Offices of Lawrence Newman
504 N. Aurora Street 
Ithaca, NY 14850