Sunday, November 18, 2012

Horseheads Lawyer Attends Representing the DWI Defendant in New York

From the 2012 Big Apple DWI Seminar

This past week I jumped on a Jetblue flight from Syracuse to JFK on Thursday to attend the Big Apple DWI event in NYC. I have been to it many times before but with all the new interpretations of law and the NEW DMV rules/regulations this was a MUST see event not a maybe. My first stop was out in Great Neck to have a nice Greek style breakfast with one of my mentors Medical Malpractice Attorney Gerry Oginski. Gerry is great to break bread with (actually grilled pita). He is one of the best NY injury attorneys and people I have the privilege to know. Sharing legal ideas and inspired practice knowledge with this man was an amazing start to an even better weekend. I jumped the train from Great Neck to Penn Station, fast and easy, into the city in 20 minutes.

It's 2012, and this was the first time that the Big Apple DWI seminar put on by the NYSBA (New York State Bar Association) sent their materials via pdf files. It's about time! Less books to lug home and less to encumber my leaning bookshelf. I would rather bring my Mac Air than 4 lbs of books.

I love to go to seminars, especially in THE CITY (NYC). I love to eat the foods of my youth. NYC hands down has some of the best of everything. I have traveled the world, and NY has better Greek than Greece, better Chinese than China, better Japanese than Japan, well I think you get my point. So this kid from Bklyn took in a Broadway show with Pacino (yeah, Al Pacino), Glengarry Glen Ross, and ate some real deli and pizza. What a day! I love America!

Ben's Deli, absolutely amazing Corned Beef and Pastrami

Gotham Pizza in Chelsea, they use cornmeal in the crust

Old Ideas and New Perspectives

I always manage to learn something new and more importantly gain new perspectives on things I thought I knew. I've been going to this one since 2006, and even some of the same materials and information can come with a new perspective and insight. I've read some books in my library dozens of times over my years with the same idea,as I mature I see things (read things) differently. You never stop learning, as they say if you are green you are growing and if you are ripe you rot! I like to stay in a state of greenness, greennosity is my made up term for being in a state of greenness!

Going to conferences is also an opportunity to see new places, meet new people, and take in the sites of the "big" city. Most of these get togethers (practically all the DWI ones) do not occur anywhere near to Ithaca, NY or the Fingerlakes region. They are in places like Albany, Rochester, and NYC.

The two main speakers were Peter Gerstenzang and Eric Sills, they are the authors of New York's main DWI bible. It is recognized by almost everyone (including judges) as a reference book. As Peter liked to joke he is "highly acclaimed" and a gracious man to boot.

The New DMV Rules/Regulations 

Recent changes were made to the DMV license rules for "Persistently Dangerous Drivers" (multiple DWs, Serious Traffic Offenses) with lifetime look back periods. These new REGS look back (retroactively) upon the persons lifetime of driving because the DMV keeps a "lifetime" record not merely the 10 year driver's abstract that you can request for $10. It used to be the look back was the 10 year time frame, then a 25 year time frame, and now we are looking back over a person's life history.

I am left to wonder:
Is this a sign of the times? Is this going to be a trend? A dangerous direction to hold things against people for a lifetime, and scarier still things they did in their immature youth.

1st BIG Idea: You Must FOIL  

Going to the DMV and requesting your record is not going to be enough these days. You are going to have to FOIL request your lifetime record with the DMV in Albany, NY.

Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

New York State’s Freedom of Information Law (Public Officers Law §87 et. seq. ) allows members of the public to access records of governmental agencies. FOIL provides a process for the review and copying of an agency’s records. More information about the Freedom of Information Law can be found at: link.

Most people either don't know or can't remember what happened to them last week let alone 25 years ago. DO a FOIL Request 1st!! Get your COMPLETE LIFETIME RECORD. This is always the best starting point. 

Most of what the NYS DMV rules/regs are about are those currently revoked and are looking to get back a driver's license. 

What is unspoken and unwritten (kinda between the lines) is that those with significant histories (either DWs or serious traffic offenses) are one step away from  a permanent lifetime revocation for ANY traffic violation/infraction they will incur in the immediate future. 

2nd Big Idea: The Potential Magic of the Coram Nobis

Sometimes a prior driving history can be re-opened with a Coram Nobis Motion. A Coram Nobis is a Motion to Vacate a prior plea of guilty to some offense. This may be the dividing line between getting a license, losing a license, or never getting a license. Because prior cumulative points, 20 points in 25 years or high point violations (those with 5 or more: like passing a school bus, high speeds, reckless) will count as 
SDOs (serious driving offenses). 

The interpretation of all the new regs is tedious and somewhat complicated. he main point is to get your driving history and review it as to total points, total offenses, total DWs, and timing/dates.

Sometimes it Begins with Correcting the Past

Believe it or not sometimes the Courts write in the wrong dates, the wrong offenses, and a review of the windows (10 year, and 25 year periods) is vital under these cases. 

Remember that the Date of Conviction = Date of the Plea, NOT the date of the Sentencing. Times and dates can make a difference to the overall outcome. Anyway, I could blog away on this and a million other topics today but instead I will re-organize and simply all of it first into bite size pieces.

Lawrence A. Newman, D.C., Esq.

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


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