Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: It's Official "New" New York GRADUATED Probation Terms

This is NOT Tompkins County Probation, these look like bad a--- SWAT cops!

I love to get good news, who doesn't? Whether it is a Judge's decision to dismiss charges, or a prosecutor's decision to reduce charges or a new offer to a better plea deal, I'm excited. Then I can call my client and report the good news, G-d knows I hate to report bad news.

The newest good decision from Governor Cuomo:

Graduated Probation Sentences for Most Offenses Now Authorized 

On Jan. 10, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that authorizes graduated probation sentences for most felonies and class A misdemeanors, as well as unclassified misdemeanors. (L 2013, ch 556.)

Graduated Sanctions means that New York Judges can now vary the terms of Probation. For DWI cases (misdemeanors and felonies) this means the term can be less than the set in stone:

THREE YEARS on DWI Misdemeanors (NOW 2 or 3 years) 
FIVE YEARS on DWI Felonies (NOW 3 or 4 years)

Most pragmatically I don't think the majority of DWI felony terms will be less than five years BUT I do believe that many town, village, and city court judges will be OPEN to hearing reasons why a person may deserve a LESSER TERM OF PROBATION.

I Love Tompkins County but Being Stuck in
Tompkins County may not be for everyone?


Remember that New York Probation = Probation Supervision = Community Supervision

"Community" meaning in the county you live (reside at time of the offense), you are now pretty much stuck.

Meaning you are locked down to:

 #1 Staying in New York State

IF You or your loved one is offered a job/school/business opportunity in Florida or California you are SOL. That's not good!

#2 Staying under close supervision for drugs and/or alcohol use for three years in the county you lived at the time the crime was committed

It May be much harder to relocate to another NYS county, and get your probation transferred. It also May take awhile to complete your treatment/rehabilitation.

#3 Spending three years in a county and/or a state you were really only intending to pass through can be downright depressing. I like choice, it brings empowerment and a feeling of liberation. Long terms of probation can feel like a form of modified incarceration. Kinda like being married (only joking).

NOW Spending one or two years on (or in) probation supervision is more liveable for you and your loved ones than three years.

Convincing a Judge, Prosecutor, and Probation Department why you deserve a lesser term is a blog post for another day. 

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.