Staten Island Lawyer, Steven Murphy, discusses facts about DWI
You thought it could never happen to you, but suddenly you find yourself in a situation that you did not expect. What do you do? Contact Staten Island drunk driving defense lawyers Steven Murphy or Don Becker to protect your rights! The Staten Island Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your license if you refuse to take a breath test, blood test, or urine test. WARNING! You have a limited amount of time (15 days) in which to appeal this administrative license suspension.
When you have been investigated or arrested for any criminal offense such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), or any Felony Charge, you have an absolute right to be concerned. Facing criminal charges may be one of the most frightening things you have encountered. Some of the possible consequences that can result from a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) conviction include the restriction or loss of a driver’s license, an increase in insurance cost, fines, court costs, and even the possibility of jail. As you can see, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be a very serious charge.
The New York law says that the District Attorney need only to prove that after drinking you were not able to drive your car in a “normal” capacity. That sounds pretty cut and dry, but it is not quite as simple as that.
You see, if challenged, the District Attorney must also show all of the following:
That the arresting officer made the arrest properly,
That you were properly advised of your rights,
That the equipment the officer used to test you was working, accurately,
Also, the office that administered the “standard field sobriety tests” should have successfully completed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Standardized Field Sobriety Testing student first class before administering these tests. We have handled hundreds of (DWI) cases and know every trick and nuance officers use to cause you to fail. Before and at trial we will grade the officers to ensure that he or she conducted the tests properly. If the tests were not conducted properly, this can be disclosed to the District Attorney or the jury to show that the results of the test were unreliable and should not be believed.
When you retain Steven or Don, not some underling, we will insist that the District Attorney provide us with the names and address of anyone he plans to call as a witness as well as copies of every written or recorded statements of their testimony. This will allow us to prepare our questions we ask them.
We will insist on receiving copies of any videos that show your sobriety tests, whether in the field or at the station.
We will insist on receiving copies of records showing that the equipment used for the test was functioning properly and that the person giving the test was properly certified.
As you can see, what looks simple gets pretty complex. As your criminal defense attorney, we will insist that all this information be provided and we will walk through all this information as we discuss and proceed on your case.
Staten Island DRIVER LICENSE SUSPENSION – Your arrest may have included a cancellation of your New York driving privileges for a specific period of time. YOU HAVE ONLY 15 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF YOUR ARREST TO REQUEST A HEARING ON THIS MATTER. We believe that this hearing is extremely important, not only to challenge your suspension but also as an opportunity for your attorney to question the arresting officer to find out exactly what he is going to say in court. If you retain our firm to represent you, part of that representation includes representing you at the driver license suspension. However, remember you must request this hearing no later than 15 days from your arrest so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. If your New York driving privileges are ultimately suspended, in most cases we can get you an Occupational
The Staten Island license that will allow you to drive to and from work.
WARNING Staten Island NEW YORK DRIVER LICENSE SURCHARGE! Beginning with any New York DWI Conviction for an offense committed on or after 09/01/03, the New York Department Of Public Safety is authorized to charge a surcharge on your Driver’s License. This charge will range from $1,000.00 to $2000.000 a year for three years. Depending on whether you provided a breath sample, and the results were positive for intoxication, you could be facing a $6,000.00 fee to keep your license.
The government with all of its resources can frequently make your life miserable; regardless of whether you have actually committed the crime. Real-life criminal law is NOT like television. Cases are not resolved in one hour, and the solutions are normally not simple. Hiring a criminal defense attorney can be the most important decision you make.
Do not expose your family members to mental torture
With the changes in family law over the last 30 years, including the adoption of equitable distribution in place of the old common-law rules, the adoption of laws protecting military spouses, and the adoption of support guidelines and various local rules promulgated within the various circuits, the area of separation and divorce has become much too complicated and specialized for someone who does not regularly handle these types of cases. It distresses us when clients come to us with poorly drafted separation agreements, and/or decrees which other inexperienced attorneys have handled. Just as it is better to win at trial than to have a great appeal issue, it is much better to have the right attorney, one who will get it right the first time, than to have to pay someone to fix problems stemming from errors made in the first place. Sometimes the errors are very costly and cannot be fixed as shown in the series of articles I wrote for The Family Law News, a peer review publication of the Virginia State Bar, Section of Family Law, entitled "Costly Errors in Multi-State Military Divorce; Or a Military Wife's Tale of Woe," which are published in the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 issues of the publication.
The series of articles outlines the legal authorities, strategy and procedural points we used to successfully defend a military retiree, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War. His ex-wife was attempting to obtain half of his military retired pay and spousal support here in Virginia, despite having divorced him six years earlier in Hawaii. While we are always happy to achieve a successful outcome for our clients, we felt sorry for the ex-wife, who had received poor legal advice from hr attorney in the original divorce action in Hawaii, advice that lead to poor decisions which the Virginia Court found to bind her permanently. In ruling for us in the case, the judge told the ex-wife that instead of suing her ex-husband, show should go after the attorney in Hawaii who represented her in the divorce.
So, how do you go about finding a good divorce lawyer? Here are a few suggestions:
Suggestion #1-Ask a Lawyer
If you know a lawyer, ask him/her for a referral to a good divorce lawyer. He or she will probably know someone or several someones who devote a significant portion of the practice of law to separation and divorce and related issues. For example, I have been handling separation and divorce for 30 years and have an excellent reputation among the local legal community. Any divorce attorney worth his/her salt should have established a reputation among other lawyers. Lawyers generally know who is good for a particular type of case; they certainly know who they would see, if they were facing separation and divorce.
Suggestion #2-Yellow Pages/Internet
While not a great source of information, the Yellow Pages and internet can be a beginning source of attorney names. Lawyers who do not mention separation, divorce, military divorce, and related areas like custody and support or property division, are not seeking cases in those areas and certainly don't devote a significant portion of the practice to those areas. Be leery of ads that include a laundry list of everything under the sun. Remember the old saying, "a jack of all trades and master of none"? Wouldn't you rather have someone who takes the time to focus at least a significant amount of time to family law, than someone who maybe devotes 3% of his/her practice to family law issues? Remember not everyone advertises in the Yellow Pages or haw a website or internet presence.. For example, there are more telephone listings than there are attorney ads in the Yellow Pages.
SUGGESTION # 3-VIRGINIA LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE
The Virginia Lawyer Referral Service is operated by the Virginia State Bar. Lawyers must ask to get on the list and must agree to a fixed fee for an initial consultation. A lawyer can be listed under any category he/she asks for. The names are on a rotating list and given to consumers who contact the service. Again, not all attorneys are listed. We are not listed with the referral service. This resource can provide the name of an attorney who is seeking family law cases. This does not mean that the attorney is an expert in these types of cases or that he/she is experienced. All it means is that he or she is seeking divorce cases. Be sure to take the questions I talk about here to the attorney interview.
Suggestion #4-Talk to More Than One Attorney
In fact, interview several attorneys. Ask each attorney who else handles separation and divorce in the area. If they won't give you names, leave the office, when you see names showing up on various lists of recommendations, the odds are probably good that the attorney is doing these cases on a regular basis.
Suggestion #5 - Use a Checklist
I have outlined factors that you should consider when selecting a divorce lawyer.
A. Experience. The longer you have been practicing a particular area of the law, the more you know. There is an old adage that says a good lawyer knows the law and a great lawyer knows the judge! What is the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer? Experience.
B. Experience Trying Cases. Has he/she achieved any trial successes for his/her clients? Can the lawyer point to case results or client testimonial reflecting his/her abilities?
C. Are they willing to settle when appropriate to do so? Trial attorneys sometimes suffer from a hired gun mentality. They like the thrill of trying cases and may not consider other options, such as mediation or arbitration to achieve a resolution. Most good divorce attorneys do not adopt this approach, but see trial as a last resort, when other options have failed to precipitate a fair resolution of the issues. Unlike other areas of the law, family law often entails ongoing relationships and consequently requires a different perspective. I recently read an article by a personal injury attorney, who was writing on how to choose a personal injury lawyer. He said not to choose a lawyer who settles a lot of cases. When it comes to separation and divorce, I believe it is important to try to reach an agreement, if you can.
Going to court about family law unless you have to is like using a sledge hammer on a flea problem; you may kill a few fleas, but you wreak a lot of damage to the structure of the house, too. When individuals settle their own cases outside of court, they can be a lot more creative than the court would be in fashioning a remedy that is fair to both parties. Sometimes, agreement is just not possible. When that is the case, you want an experienced able divorce attorney who can advocate for your position in court and has a proven track record of success.
D. Respect in the legal community. What are other lawyers saying about this lawyer? Has the lawyer lectured or taught? Has he/she taught other lawyers?
E. Publications. Has he/she written anything that has been accepted for publication in legal journals? This is another sign of respect for the lawyer and for his/her skills and experience. Has he/she written or published anything designed to educate the public as to their rights duties and responsibilities under the law?
F. Affiliations and memberships. What professional affiliations does the attorney have? Is he/she a member of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar Association? A member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers? A fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys?
G. Does the attorney limit the number of cases he/she undertakes? We don't take every case that calls in or walks through the door. We limit the number of cases that we undertake to handle at a given point in time so that we an focus on doing the best job for those clients.
H. Relationship issues.
1. How was the telephone answered when you called for an appointment?
2. How were you greeted when you entered the office? Were you offered refreshments?
3. Did the attorney and staff listen to you? Are you sure? Could you tell they were listening?
4. Were you interrupted during your time with the lawyer?
5. Does the attorney use written agreements setting out the parameters of the representation and the financial arrangements?
6. One of the most important aspects of choosing a lawyer is the relationship aspect: you need to be able to work effectively and comfortably with your lawyer. The relationship requires intimacy and trust. Do you feel comfortable with the attorney?
7. Were you introduced to staff?
8. How long does the attorney retain files on closed cases? What happens to the closed file? How is it disposed of? What steps does the attorney take to safeguard your confidential information?
I. Why does he/she practice divorce law? Friends and colleagues think I'm crazy to devote so much time to separation and divorce law. They may be right, I just may be a little crazy. But like the song says, "it just may be a lunatic you're looking for." When interviewing a potential divorce lawyer be sure to ask him/her why they choose to practice family law. Does the lawyer have a life experience that allows him/her to advocate for divorce clients with genuine passion? Is that passion something that is reflected in client testimonials?
J. Cost. Unlike personal injury practice, the best divorce lawyers do not offer "free" consultations. You will notice that cost is last on the list. In our experience, the best divorce lawyers are generally not the cheapest. In the long run, what is it worth to you to retain or acquire your fair share of the assets that have been accumulated over the course of your married life? What is it worth to you to insure that you retain your fair share of time with your children? Some things are worth fighting for and worth the price that you have to pay.
If your attorney does not devote a significant portion of his/her practice to family law issues, has never tried a contested divorce, has never tried a contested custody case or who has never tried an equitable distribution case, or drafted a qualified domestic relations order dividing a pension, or who has no experience in military divorce and has never drafted a military retired pay order, you may want to choose another lawyer for your separation and divorce.
What to Search for in a Separation Legal representative - How to Choose Intelligently
Unfortunately the chances of a married couple splitting up gets higher each year so hiring a divorce lawyer is the next crucial step; some guidelines on what to look for are listed below:
- Fully qualified to deal with your case
- Have the correct bearing for this type of work
- A conscientious person
The best attorney to employ is one who, for at least half their time, is dealing with divorce cases and is fully skilled in mediation techniques. They will need to be someone in whom you can place your trust and feel comfortable working with so if these criteria cannot be met then you will need to look elsewhere.
Mediation minded attorneys are more likely to give you problem solving advice, whereas traditional attorneys tend to be more oriented to conflict and their advice tends to be adversarial. The most important thing is to be very well prepared whenever you contact your divorce lawyer so know your facts, what you want to ask about and exactly what you want the lawyer to explain or do for you.
Plan each conversation by making an agenda and write down the things you want to talk about; take notes on the content of the conversation and the amount of time spent on phone calls. Try to keep actual meetings to a minimum and where points have to be clarified, use the phone or send a letter.
Remember you divorce attorney is there for their expertise in the field and not to act as a counselor, you should hopefully be able to use people close to you for that. Never trouble your divorce lawyer with trivial matters that do not directly concern the divorce.
The most important aspect for you to get sorted out is the control of the situation which should be yours and then you will be able to use your lawyer more effectively. If they are there purely to act in accordance with the legal issue of divorce it will be more efficient utilization of their services and you will be making the decisions. Ask that you be sent copies of all documents and letters and let them know that you expect phone calls to be answered by the next working day after all you are the one paying the bills.
If money is an issue, it may be a preferable for you to only contact a lawyer for legal advice on a marital settlement but not representation. You may decide to carry out research first before you contact them, only asking your lawyer questions you have not been able to find answers too. Some people only use a divorce lawyer to re-read and check a marital settlement they have drafted on their own but at least these people have the backup of using a lawyer if all else fails.
Divorce Attorney in Staten Island NYC