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Understanding the Difference Between DWI and DWAI in New York

Driving While Impaired (DWAI – in lay terms “buzzed driving”) means your ability to operate a motor vehicle has been affected to any extent by the consumption of alcohol. DWAI is a violation, not a crime. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI – in lay terms “drunk driving”) means you are physically and mentally incapable of driving as a reasonable and prudent person due to the consumption of alcohol. Driving While Intoxicated is a crime.

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Bill Would Provide New Procedures for Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

As Americans, we owe a tremendous debt to our veterans for our liberty and safety. We need to keep in mind that many veterans returning home from combat relive the devastating effects of war each day, and many suffer major psychological illnesses.

One in four veterans returns from the warfront with mental illness such as PTSD, addiction, and depression. Half of these vets are left untreated and often find themselves in conflict with the law. In New York State alone, it is estimated that there are at least 27,000 veterans who suffer from mental illness.

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“Raise the Age” Bill Would Stop Treatment of 16 and 17 Year Olds as Adults in the Justice System

New York remains one of only two states that have not yet increased the age of criminal responsibility to 18. However, a new bill backed by Mayor DeBlasio and New York City top law enforcement officials could change that. The proposed “Raise the Age” legislation, if passed, would cease treating 16 and 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system.

Opponents to the bill have expressed that they are concerned that the bill sends the wrong message and the crime will increase. They point out that “some of the most heinous crimes are committed by 16 and 17 year olds.” In New York in 2014, out of 30,286 crimes committed by 16 and 17 year olds, 22,200 were misdemeanors and 4,160 were non-violent felonies.

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What is a Plea Bargain?

In a criminal case, you always have the option of proceeding to trial, and it is the prosecutor’s burden to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Notwithstanding this fact, the vast majority of cases are resolved by plea bargain.  A plea bargain is a negotiated resolution of your criminal case.  If you are charged with a crime, in many cases, you will be given an opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge.  Many defendants choose to accept a plea deal to avoid the cost and uncertainty of proceeding to trial and to ensure a guaranteed result.

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How Do I Get My Security Deposit Back?

A landlord may deduct from a tenant’s security deposit for wear and tear beyond normal damages for reasonable wear and tear.  Typically a landlord may deduct expenses from your security deposit for excessive wear and tear beyond normal use.  This has been decided by courts to include broken walls or windows, excessive filth, and damage to carpeting as a result of fish tanks.

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New Law Would Equip School Bus Stop Arms with Cameras

A new bill recently introduced in Suffolk County would allow school bus stop arms to be equipped with cameras.  Lawmakers hope that the cameras would deter drivers from passing school busses when the stop arms are deployed.  Additionally, the drivers who have been caught on camera passing the school bus when the stop arm sign is up would be subject to high fines.

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Historic ruling allows wife to serve divorce papers through Facebook

Sometimes an individual seeking a divorce has trouble serving their spouse with divorce papers.  A Manhattan Supreme Court has ruled that Facebook may be used to serve a spouse via private message.

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Understanding Leandra’s Law

Signed into law on November 18, 2009, Leandra’s Law was enacted in honor of Leandra Rosado, an 11-year old killed while she rode in a vehicle with her intoxicated mother. Leandra’s Law creates harsher penalties against motorists who drink and drive while transporting children.

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Criminal Convictions and Employment Opportunities

If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you need an experienced criminal attorney to handle your case to ensure that all aspects of your matter are considered and addressed.

Most people know that criminal convictions can result in jail and probation sentences, but many people are not aware that a criminal conviction can also lead to collateral (secondary) consequences.

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What Is the Difference Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

A divorce is considered contested if either you or your spouse do not want a divorce, disagree about the legal grounds for the divorce, or disagree about what will happen with your children, your finances, or your property after the divorce.

Contested divorces generally necessitate the court to decide issues that you and your spouse disagree about. Because the judge presiding over your case will require detailed information to decide the issues you disagree about, your contested divorce will require you and your spouse to go to Court numerous times. A contested divorce can be very expensive because attorneys are typically paid by the hour.  In addition, these types of divorces can be very stressful for the parties involved, and the process can take months or even years to resolve.

Conversely, a divorce is considered uncontested if two factors are met. First, you and your spouse both want to get a divorce. Second, both you and your spouse agree about what will happen with your children, your finances, and your property after divorce.

An uncontested divorce provides a few advantages. An uncontested divorce is relatively inexpensive, less stressful on the parties, and typically can be resolved within several months. Continue reading “What Is the Difference Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?”