Q: What will happen on my first court date and do I have to be there if I have a Lawyer or Criminal Defense Attorney?
A: The first Criminal Court date is called an arraignment. On this day a plea will be entered to the charges (guilty, not guilty). Usually, the police reports and a list of charges (Complaint) are obtained. The defendant in misdemeanor cases will usually not have to be present if represented by an attorney. At arraignment, issues of bail are raised. For example, license suspensions may be discussed in DWI cases. This is just one example of why it is always important to have an attorney present at your arraignment.
Q: The police did not read me my rights, will my case be dismissed?
A: Law enforcement personnel are required to read you your “Miranda rights” only if two criteria are met. You must be in custody (usually “arrested”), and you must be interrogated (questioned about the details of the crime).
Miranda warning violation does not automatically result in the dismissal of a case. The statements that you made after the violation would be suppressed and not admissible as evidence if a lawyer is not provided.
Q: The police said I blew a .07%. Why was I still arrested and charged with a DWI?
A: An arrest for DWI can be made at any blood alcohol level. Some counties routinely prosecute people with blood alcohol levels below a .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Often the decision to arrest is dependent upon the performance on the field sobriety tests (balance & coordination) and the driving pattern (weaving, speeding or an accident, etc.). An officer can arrest for simply being under the influence of alcohol or drugs with no reference to your blood alcohol level at all! The District Attorney would then file a charge, which is simply driving under the influence of alcohol. Again, this would likely be based on the police observations of your driving pattern and performance on the field sobriety tests.
Q: What is a DMV administrative hearing?
A: In most circumstances where DMV orders a discretionary action against a person’s driving privilege, that person has the right to a hearing before the department to contest the action and review the evidence supporting it. You must request a hearing within a set period of time of receiving notice of the action against the driving privilege. The hearing is held before a Driver Safety Hearing Officer of the department. At the hearing, the driver is informed of the legal grounds for the action, and has the opportunity to review and challenge the evidence of the department, and to present evidence, witnesses and testimony to persuade the department to modify or rescind the action. A Lawyer is essential.
Q: What are my legal rights at a DMV administrative hearing?
A: You have the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative. We have helped our clients keep their driver license. You have the right to review the evidence and to cross examine the testimony of any witnesses for the department, and to present evidence and witnesses on your own behalf, as well as the right to testify on your own behalf. Following the hearing, you have the right to be provided a decision in writing. Should the decision resulting from the hearing be against you, you have the right to appeal the decision. The time periods and other specific information concerning your rights will be stated on the notice containing the hearing decision.
Q: Why am I being charged with DWI if I did not drink, I only smoked a little marijuana?
A: In New York State DWI includes drugs as well as alcohol. Suspicion of driving while impaired by drugs, including marijuana, may be proper grounds for a charge of DWI.
Q: How can they charge me with DWI if they pulled me over for speeding?
A: The speeding offense provided the probable cause (valid reason) for the stop. If the law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence after you are stopped (based on admissions, smell of alcohol or drugs etc.) you can be arrested for DWI. There is no requirement that police suspect you of driving under the influence prior to the stop in order to arrest you for DWI.
Q: The police spelled my name wrong on the citation, will my charges be dismissed?
A: No, a harmless error of this type on a traffic citation will not result in a dismissal of the charges.
Q: If the officer does not show up at my initial court date will my DUI be dismissed?
A: No, a DUI is a misdemeanor not a traffic infraction. The initial court date is an arraignment and the police officer will not be present. In fact the police officer may never be present during the court proceedings until the date of trial if any.
Q: Shouldn’t I just plead guilty if my test results were over .08% BAC?
A: No, there could have been an error during the testing process that can only be uncovered during the discovery process. If you simply plead guilty based on the original test results you may be giving up your opportunity for a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. Alcohol testing is not always accurate. Procedural errors, faulty machinery, improper testing methods are always a possibility in a DWI case. Your attorney should explore all of your options and opportunities.
Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?
A: : Many different situations can result in a personal injury a claim, but there are two primary factors that must be present. First, you must be able to prove that you have been injured, whether physically or emotionally. Second, you must be able to prove that someone else is at fault for your injury (or, if you have some responsibility, you must prove that someone else was more at fault than you were). Here are some of the most common accidents that cause personal injury:
Q: If I have been hurt in an accident and want to file a personal injury claim, what is the first thing I should do?
A: :The first thing you should do is to obtain prompt medical treatment for your injuries. An attorney can help protect your legal rights, but medical care must be your first priority. Once you have received medical attention, there are several steps you can take in order to make the process of filing a claim easier:
Write down as much as you can about the accident - list your injuries and any other losses you have suffered as a result.
Document any conversations that you have with people involved in the accident or the injury claim. Photograph the accident scene as soon as possible. Try to include the scene of the accident from all angles, the surrounding area, your injuries, and any property damage.
Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all potential witnesses of the accident.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Q: Can I still file a personal injury claim if the accident is partially my fault?
A:: You may still have a personal injury claim even if an accident or injury was partially your fault - this is known as the concept of Contributory Negligence or Comparative Negligence.
Contributory negligence occurs when your actions only contributed to the accident, they were not solely at fault. This happens if you failed to exercise due care and that failure, along with someone else’s negligence, contributed to your injury. Under comparative negligence, each person involved is held accountable for the amount of damage their negligence caused. So your actions and the actions of anyone else involved are compared to determine how much responsibility each party owes - and then your financial damages are reduced based upon how much fault you bear for the accident.
Q: Why do I need a lawyer if I have suffered a personal injury?
A: An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate the circumstances in which you were injured, identify all negligent parties, interview any witnesses, and provide professional advice about your legal options. A lawyer will also help you recover financial compensation for your injuries and obtain payment for your medical expenses.laim easier:
Many personal injury victims have lost wages and adequate compensation for medical care because they relied solely on the insurance company. Remember that the only person working to protect your best interests is the lawyer you hire - not the insurance company trying to minimize their own damages.
Q: What is a statue of limitations and how long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
A: statute of limitations is a time period within which legal action must be brought. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim varies by state and usually ranges from 1 to 6 years. If legal action is not initiated within the specified time period, you lose the right to make any claims. Different types of personal injuries have different statutes of limitations - in some cases, such as illnesses caused by chemical exposure or medical malpractice, there may be a delay in the discovery of the injury that allows for an extension. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the time period applicable for your type of injury.
Q: What kind of financial compensation could I expect to receive in a personal injury claim?
A: Federal and state laws impact the financial compensation a victim can receive for personal injury claims, and they vary according to the type of claim. There are two primary types of damages for a personal injury claim - compensatory damages and punitive damages:
Compensatory Damages are intended to compensate the victim for costs incurred as a result of the injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, physical, mental/emotional disability and property damage.
Punitive Damages are intended to ‘punish’ the offender, in cases when the defendant’s conduct has been especially malicious or oppressive.
Q: If I have been hurt on someone else’s property, can I file a personal injury claim?
A:In general, a property owner has a duty to protect the public from injury on his or her property. So, if you suffer an injury and can prove that the owner failed to meet that duty, you may have a case. However, the property owner’s responsibility depends on the situation, who was injured, and the state in which the injury occurred. Personal injury claims can be very complex - more than one person may be at fault, and more than one law may be involved. If you have a serious injury that you believe was caused someone else’s negligence, you should consult a personal injury attorney for legal advice specific to your case.
Q: The claims adjustor from the insurance company wants me to provide a statement - what should I do?
A:Dealing with insurance companies can be intimidating - they may inundate you with a lot of questions and pressure you into accepting a settlement when you’re still trying to recover from your injuries. Remember that the claims adjustor - and the company he or she works for - has an interest that differs from yours. They want to pay you the minimal amount of damages, regardless of how much compensation you may need.
Do not provide a statement, sign any papers or accept a settlement from an insurance company without consulting an attorney first. Insurance companies will often ask you to sign a general release, which prevents you from suing anyone who might be responsible for your injuries - and they will not hesitate to talk you into a settlement before you are completely aware of the extent of your injuries.
Q: What is a slip and fall action?
A: A slip and fall action is a personal injury lawsuit filed by someone who has been injured by a slip and fall accident, usually on the defendant’s property. An example would be if you slipped on the wet floor of a grocery store and fell, causing an injury. In order to recover any damages, you must show that the property owner was aware of the condition that caused the “slip” and failed to correct it within a reasonable amount of time - and this can be difficult to prove. You should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether your claim merits legal action.
Q: What is a ‘tort’?
A: “Tort” comes from the French word for “wrong” and it means a wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, which results in an injury to another. Tort law is broken into three categories:
Intentional tort - the defendant knew, or should have known, that injury could occur as a result of his/her actions or inactions.
Negligent tort - the defendant was unaware that an injury could occur as a result of his/her actions; however he/she was not acting in a safe manner.
Strict liability tort - a specific action caused the damages, rather than negligence