Archives for December 2015
The trials and subsequent convictions of State Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on corruption charges were, together, the biggest legal event in NYS in 2015. And they have the potential to change how things are done in state government.
“The swift convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos beg an important question — how many prosecutions will it take before Albany gives the people of New York the honest government they deserve?”, U.S. Attorney Prett Bharara said, following the back-to-back jury decisions against two of the most powerful leaders in the state.
Will these convictions lead to actual change in everything from the compensation of legislators to the makeup of the body to how it functions? It’s too soon to tell. To be honest, there’s a chance that they will have no effect, and Albany will continue to operate “business as usual”. But the potential for important changes is finally here.
According to the group Citizens Union, 33 NYS lawmakers have left office in handcuffs or under an ethical cloud since 2000, with Silver and Skelos clearly the biggest fish in that group. Certainly citizens of NY and the ethical politicians in Albany and around the state hope that 2016 marks the beginning of a new era in NYS government. Only time will tell if that turns-out to be the case.
It’s the time of year for holiday office parties, family celebrations, going out with friends. And the instances of DUI/DWI, and subsequent arrests , increase dramatically. If you get pulled-over for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influences of alcohol/drugs, or are questioned at a DUI/DWI check-point, you do have options on how to deal with the situation:
There is “small print” when you get a NYS drivers license that states that officers can ask you to take a breathalyzer test. If you refuse, your license is typically taken at the scene and you are scheduled for a hearing before DMV. The local judge is not involved. DMV determines in an administrative hearing if you can continue your privilege to drive. You have the “right” to refuse the test but this is the consequence.
There are two DWI charges: one is that you are acting impaired (no BAC required) and the other is for a BAC reading of .08 or higher.
You can always request to make a call to a lawyer before taking the test. Sometimes the arresting agency will let you and sometimes they won’t. Often it depends on your behavior and how you treat the officers.
There are two breath screenings. The one administered at the scene (a Pre-Breath Test) is to determine a preliminary reading and partially for probable cause, but results are not permissible in court. The second is done at a police station. Typically blood tests are only used if the accused is in a hospital setting and therefore cannot blow into a breathalyzer. There are very strict rules about how these tests must be administered – timing, procedures, rights warnings, etc. This is why a lawyer is absolutely needed in all DUI/DWI cases.
Clearly, the best thing to do is not drive if you have been drinking. Period. But if you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been charged with DUI/DWI you do have rights and deserve solid legal representation.
Results of the latest Siena College poll show 66% of New Yorkers agree with NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that Daily Fantasy Sports are a form of gambling and therefore are illegal.
DFS’s two main players, DraftKings and FanDuel, were ordered to cease and desist in NYS, contending they were running illegal internet gambling operations. Draftkings and FanDuel, the two largest DFS betting companies and who handle approximately 90 to 95 of all DFS betting, contend they are operating games of skill; where the Schneiderman contends they are games of very limited skill and predominately games of chance – the outcome dependent on a player or team rather than the bettor himself – and therefore is substantially illegal gambling in the eyes of NYS regulators. An injunction was issued which now allows DraftKings and FanDuel to continue with their DFS operation pending a future determination by the Court to review a lower court decision to not allow DraftKings or FanDuel to accept any betting on DFS. A Supreme Court Appellate Division judge said the companies could continue operating into January, until a full panel of judges decides whether the companies can keep going while the appeals process unfolds which could take well into January, 2016.
There are many New Yorker’s who play DFS and some who have lost significantly large amounts of monies in the DFS betting process. Proposed legislation in the NYS Legislature regarding DFS will hopefully pass sometime after the legislature returns after the holiday season in order to legalize and control DFS betting within NYS. NYS desires to want to protect the bettors which would also allow the state to regulate the monies being bet on daily DFS as well as collecting their share of taxes that the DFS betting would generate.
Legalizing DFS betting in NY may run into a problem, with the past history of the NYS Legislature acting upon new legislation in a timely fashion, the proposed legislation may get bogged down because of partisan political reasons which could delay the DFS legalization, similar to the proposal to allow professional MMA bouts in NYS. Also, it must be considered that the legislature may propose that an Amendment is required to the NYS Constitution to legalized DFS which would require considerable time and delay in any legalization effort.
Each year thousands of holiday shoppers are injured while at stores and malls, and thousands more make personal-injury claims that are not legitimate. Dealing safely with the crowds and stores packed with merchandise during this “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” can be a challenge. Here are the most common shopping-related injuries:
Slipping/Falling – Commonly due to wet floors, items in aisles, torn carpets, poor lighting.
Head and Body Injuries – From falling objects, collisions with large displays.
Overcrowding Injuries – Making physical contact with other another shopper, trampling.
Shopping Cart Injuries – Being struck by another cart, cart flipping over.
Parking Lot Injuries – Falls on slippery or cracked pavement, being struck by a vehicle.
Not every injury that happens on a store’s premises is the fault of the owner and therefore rises to the level of a claim. If you’ve suffered an injury while shopping you need to discuss your potential case with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
And, please, be safe out there!
The Proskin Law Firm: The Experience You Need – The Expertise You Deserve.
Results of a recent survey show that, amazingly, 62% of people 45-54 DO NOT have a will. If you fall into this category you need to take care of this issue – now. Here are the Top 5 Reasons why you need to have a will in place before the start of 2016:
1) You decide who gets what you have when you die – and who doesn’t get anything. We’re all going to die (Father Time is undefeated). A will specifically and legally lays-out your wishes, which must be followed to the letter. Without a will in place everything you have may be up for grabs.
2) You avoid a lengthy probate situation. Without a will the state gets involved in the process of deciding who gets your assets. This is often a lengthy and expensive process.
3) You get to pick who will take care of your minor child. Absent a will, the court will appoint a family member who will raise your child or, in some cases, will choose a state-appointed guardian. A will makes sure children ends-up with someone the parents have selected and someone who actually wants the child.
4) You can minimize taxes that will be due on your estate. A will allows you to legally designate gifts and donations to your heirs, which can greatly reduce the size of the tax hit on your estate, leaving more assets for your beneficiaries to enjoy.
5) Father Time is undefeated. Having a plan in place for when the inevitable occurs will not only give you piece of mind, but make life much easier for those you leave behind, a wonderful final act.
If you’re interested in discussing setting-up a Will and/or Living Trust give us a call – (518) 436-0775