Friday, April 25, 2014

Ithaca Lawyer Whose Definition is It? The Lie of Truth


Ain't that the Truth
from yalerecord.com


What is the truth about anything? People love to argue over what is and what is not. Definitions come from someone and they come from somewhere but who, what, and where?

Well first off, how something is defined is by more than just one filter but many:

the filter of place (a state, a jurisdiction, a city, a country, a locality have you),
they are also defined by a filter of time (a date),
they are defined further by a filter of culture,
and even further by a filter of personal perspective.

So what we may believe is good or bad, black or white, or variants of legal or illegal, or fair or unfair must pass through all of those filters. What was true yesterday may be untrue or false today. What was good before is now ok or even terrible.

I recently had a person hire me for an appearing simple ticket matter which became more complicated as I learned more of the circumstances surrounding it. As they say, the plot thickened. I was eventually left trying to explain why with all these "new" facts things would be harder.

Complications from Afar

Well their driver's license was from another state. This is usually not a terrible problem with a simple ticket but their state considered any action to their license privileges in New York would also bring the same action and much worse back home. This simple ticket could not be handled without a sit down or two with the District Attorney and Judge. We call these pre-trial conferences.

This action against it in that other state would be on top of any NYS penalties. I was not going to practice in a state where I was not licensed. So I called a lawyer friend in this state, and asked their legal advice. The news was not good or promising. I would have to flex my creativity muscles on this one.
Being creative to package a deal which may or may not have included increased fines, community service hours, a defensive driving course, pleading to multiple smaller violations with lesser points, or nondescript violations or what have you. A deal of sorts.

The Difficulties with Being Your Own Lawyer

I went back to the client, and their parents to relay the news. They first accepted it, and then they decided to do their own legal research. Well not really legal research more like trying to read their state's DMV handbook. Now remember a DMV handbook is NOT the law, it is a watered guideline. It is not even all encompassing or legal speak (definitions).

The difference between understanding law and legal process for a novice is hard enough but to compare a truly unlisted offense with a seemingly similar one is not something that even a lawyer would try and do.

The Bottom Line: Offenses which go beyond standard definitions need local practicing attorneys
for explanation, for context, and for guidance.

The Curse of Knowledge

Sometimes being smart can truly be a curse. I suffer the same fate, thinking that I am smart in some ways and things and then thinking that that I can apply that brain power to other disciplines, ahhh wrong! I have learned to trust the judgement of others. Especially those I hire and have no reason to doubt.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

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

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Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers