Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ithaca Lawyer Don't Open Pandora's Box: The Legal and Administrative Consequences of Change

Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie 
and
well enough alone 
From http://futuredocsblog.com

I grew up in the City that doesn't sleep. I owe Brooklyn, New York a debt I can never repay. The school of my youth included the one of hard knocks, and good old P.S. 276. Yeah P.S. as in Public School number 276. Fortunately education back in the day included Greek Mythology. I never fully realized it's implications till later in life.

We All Want to Advance and Change

A recent phone consult had a man who was planning to get a professional license. After all, who wants to wake up day after day with the same thing. He wanted to advance himself. Like the Army slogan, he wanted to be more, do more, and have more.

Getting any professional license, certification, permit, or anything which requires volumes of paper can be tricky at best but dangerous at worst. Not to scare you but the amount of investigation and inquiry these days before the issuing of anything to anyone is staggering. In the wake of 911 we have a bureaucratic mess. From a massage license to a nursing license to a gun permit, you can go round and round. As someone licensed in multiple areas in four states I can attest to being literally put through the ringer.

The problem in my phone consult's situation was that his name was not quite right on all his prior paperwork. He went through life using a name not really his "legal" (birth) name. It started with one simple form thirty years ago, and now he is Tony Alberto on his driver's license, instead of the Anthony Albert (made up to protect the innocent) on his certificate of birth and social security card. It became so much a part of his life that he forgot about it. Your full legal name is just that important. Using different names and/or identities can get you in big trouble both legally and administratively.

Opening Pandora's Box

Everything is quiet, well and good until you make a change in your life, then watch out! Everything in Tony's life was fine UNTIL, until the day he was applying for his new professional license which required ALL the paperwork of his life to match, to align, and to be in synch. It is now 2012 and all governmental and quasi governmental agencies do not like or want you to possess multiple names or AKAs (also known as).

Years Ago it was OK (or at least not as dangerous)

Years ago I represented a guy from Philly with a DUI that had four driver's licenses, one from New Jersey, two from Pennsylvania, and one from New York. One was Anthony, Jr., one was Anthony, Sr., one was Anthony Vinny Jr. and the last was Anthony Mario. Our legal defense, he was Anthony Junior, not the Anthony senior that go the DUI, not a great defense but with a guy like this it's worth a shot. You could never get away with that these days. The DMVs even have facial recognition software to prevent this type of fraud.

The Domino Effect in Action

Back to our original story of Tony Alberto wanting his new professional license. He had to now go back to the DMV. He needed to apply for a driver's license renewal because he was changing his name to his official (legal) name. One seemingly simple process was now going to lead to a chain of event reactions.

The applying for the professional license led to the name change led to the license renewal which now takes us to the problem event, this led to filling out of the license renewal form which led to him having to reveal his recent medical problems.

Medical problems which now could impact his ability to drive a car,
Medical problems which could now jeopardize his driving privileges,
Medical problems which could then take away his freedom to move,
Medical problems which could then take away his ability to work,

You see license renewal is a triggering event. A triggering event is any that can cause a domino effect of change. As they say one thing leads to another. This is a prime example of the opening of Pandora's Box (the evils of government intrusion), and the Domino Effect (one event triggering a series).

Key Take Away: Discuss or at least think about (consider) the full ramifications of dealing with any governmental or quasi governmental agency. This is especially true if you are making application for privileges, licensure, permission, or certification of any type. Sometimes the forms can be much like a minefield. A wrong step or inappropriate response can trigger a domino of things unwelcomed and unwanted.

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Lawrence Newman
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

607-229-5184
newman.lawrence@gmail.com

http://www.ithacadwi.com