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Buffalo New York Law Q & A

In this of section our website, we’ve answered hundreds of questions we’ve been asked over the years. So if you have a question, we might have the answer right here.

There are four ways to get an answer to your question.

One, type your question in the search box to the right and click “Search” – every page we have related to that question will then be shown.

Two, below and to the right, you’ll see a section called “Categories”. Just click the section related to your question and every page we have that is applicable to your question will be presented for your review.

Three, the links at the bottom of this page will take you to a web page that can answer many of the questions you might have.

And four, if we don’t have your answer here, or if you’d like to speak with us, feel free to call and arrange a free consultation – either on the phone or in-person.

We can be reached at 716-542-5444, or if the call is long distance, please call 1-800-729-4571.

There are many Buffalo workers who rely upon a Commercial Driver’s License to perform their jobs.

Unfortunately for such drivers, a conviction for any offense involving drinking and driving or driving under the influence of drugs will, in almost all cases, result in the loss of all driving privileges related to commercial motor vehicles.

Most first time offenders convicted of a drug or alcohol related driving offense are eligible for a conditional license that will allow them to drive for work.

New York law, however, specifically states that any such conditional license is not valid for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

As a result, even if the defendant was not driving a commercial motor vehicle at the time of arrest, he or she will be barred from holding a Commercial Driver License following a conviction for any alcohol or drug related driving offense.

This bar will remain in effect until the defendant’s full driving privileges are reinstated.

The law also specifically states that any effort by the sentencing judge to allow continued driving of a commercial motor vehicle, such as issuing a certificate of relief from disabilities stating that the defendant is allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle, is not valid.

As a result, the only manner in which a person arrested for an alcohol or drug related driving offense may continue to drive a commercial motor vehicle is through complete acquittal of all such charges.

Holders of a Commercial Driver License also should be aware that refusal to submit to a chemical test (such as a breath test) will result in commercial driving privileges being revoked for eighteen months.

This revocation applies regardless of the outcome of the case in criminal court.

Protecting your driving privileges following a DWI arrest is important.

If you need legal help, call us at 716-631-9999.


What Is A Suspension Pending Prosecution?

Most Buffalo drivers are aware that a conviction for drinking and driving will result in a loss of the defendant’s driving privileges.

Many drivers may not be aware, however, that New York law authorizes the Court to suspend a defendant’s driving privileges before any conviction even occurs.

This pre-conviction suspension is usually referred to as a suspension pending prosecution.

Any driver arrested for DWI or a similar charge is required to submit to a chemical test to determine blood alcohol content.

This usually takes the form of a breath test.

If the test determines that the driver’s blood alcohol content was .08% or higher, his or her driver’s license will be suspended at arraignment.

Arraignment is the court appearance where the defendant is formally charged by the Court.

This usually occurs at the first court appearance.

A driver who had a valid driver’s license prior to the suspension pending prosecution and did not complete the Drinking Driver Program within the proceeding five (5) years may be eligible for a conditional license after the expiration of 30 days.

The conditional license is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles and allows the defendant to drive for work, school, and medical treatment of the defendant or a family member.

There is a different procedure for drivers who refuse a chemical test.

For such drivers, any suspension or revocation will largely be handled through the Department of Motor Vehicles in a proceeding independent of the criminal court charges.

If you have been arrested for DWI and need legal help, we are experienced DWI lawyers who can be reached at 716-631-9999.

A Buffalo driver charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs as a Class D Felony faces very serious criminal penalties. These include a permanent criminal record, the possibility of extensive jail time, and a very high fine.

If convicted of this offense, a driver may be incarcerated in a New York State prison for up to seven years.

If the Court decides a sentence of imprisonment is not necessary, it may impose up to five years of probation.

If the jail sentence is six months or less, the Court may impose a sentence combining incarceration and probation.

Aside from jail, the fine associated with this offense is between $2,000 and $10,000.

In addition to the fine, there is a mandatory surcharge of $520 and a Driver Responsibility Assessment of $250 per year for three years payable to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Court is also required to revoke the driver’s license of the defendant for at least one year.

If at least one of the two earlier convictions was for Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, the minimum revocation period rises to eighteen months.

While most drivers charged with this offense are not eligible for a conditional license because of their prior convictions, a driver who is eligible will have to pay additional fees to obtain a conditional license.

There are also fees to obtain a full license at the end of the revocation.

These penalties are severe, and a person charged with this offense needs an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

If you need an attorney, we can be reached at 716-631-9999.

A driver who has been arrested multiple times for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs requires the help of an experienced Buffalo criminal defense attorney.

Repeat offenders usually will face enhanced criminal charges and increased penalties.

For a repeat offender accused of driving under the influence of drugs, Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs as a Class D Felony is one of the most severe crimes he or she may be charged with.

The basic proof required to establish this charge is the same as for a misdemeanor offense of Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs.

It requires proof that the driver operated a motor vehicle while his or her ability to do so was impaired – to any extent – by a drug.

While the drug may be an illegal “street” drug such as marihuana or cocaine, the offense also includes the use of a prescription medication that impairs the ability to drive.

Having a prescription for the drug that caused the impaired driving is not a defense to the charge.

For this charge to be enhanced from a misdemeanor to a Class D Felony, it must also be proven that the defendant had prior alcohol or drug related driving offenses.

When it can be proven that the driver charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs previously had been convicted on two separate occasions of Driving While Intoxicated; Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08% or Greater; Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated; Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs; Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Alcohol and Drugs; or any of various vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges arising from driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver may be convicted of a class D felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Both prior convictions must have occurred within ten years of the current charge.

Repeatedly driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has serious consequences.

If you need legal help, call us at 716-631-9999.

Sometimes divorce settlements end up lumping most of the debt on one spouse, and not necessarily the one who ran it up in the first place.

It never feels good to be stuck paying bills you didn’t create, so the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer go to great lengths to ensure that your financial responsibility during the marriage isn’t rewarded with your spouse’s reckless spending habits.

First, if there is evidence that the debt was run up fraudulently or maliciously, we can ask the judge to treat it as a separate asset and not be included in the settlement.

Elements to support this include debt that was generated after the divorce was filed, or immediately before filing, when the purchases in question were never intended to be used jointly.

Second, if the debt is allowed, we can make sure that the balance of the debt counts dollar for dollar against other cash portions of the settlement, reducing costs like spousal maintenance that you may also carry from the marriage.

Call us today at 585-377-5504 and work with attorneys who can protect you from unfair settlements in your Rochester divorce.

It’s an unfortunate situation when one spouse supports the other through years of advanced training, only to see their investment walk out with the valuable license they feel they paid for.

New York is one of just two states in the country that recognize your contribution, and require that the financial settlement ending the marriage include compensation for the earning power you paid for.

Proper valuation of medical and other professional licenses is a requirement to make sure that you receive everything you are due at the conclusion of your marriage.

The experienced divorce attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can make a huge difference in the final settlement amount.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation.

No, Buffalo’s bankruptcy courts consider spousal maintenance and child support to be a priority form of debt, and priority debts are not dischargeable.

There are many reasons why a person might need to modify a spousal maintenance order, including unemployment, serious illness, or significant injuries that prevent you from working for a long period.

When you need help protecting yourself financially, the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer are there for you.

From producing a settlement agreement you can live with during the divorce, to obtaining relief from ordered payments when you experience major life changes, our experienced team of divorce and family lawyers make sure you have what you need.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation.

Your prenuptial agreement may not be enforceable in Buffalo divorce court if you didn’t have an independent attorney review it before you signed.

While recognizing and enforcing contracts is an important legal principle that the courts try to uphold, judges are leery of contracts entered into without representation by one party.

This hesitation becomes caution when the agreement appears to be overly one-sided.

Experienced legal representation can make the difference between being trapped by a prenup that shouldn’t be permitted, and being free to negotiate a new deal at the end of your marriage.

Call the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation with some of Buffalo’s most experience divorce attorneys.

No, child support is a priority debt obligation that can’t be discharged in a bankruptcy filing.

Similarly to spousal support, these court orders can’t be wiped away with your credit card and other debt.

However, because these support obligations are durable, it is possible to use a bankruptcy filing to clear away other debt, making required payments more affordable to you.

You can also ask the court for a modification in your child support payments if you’ve experienced a significant life change.

The State of New York applies a formula to your income to develop what it considers an appropriate child support payment.

If your income has suddenly fallen or stopped altogether, different arrangements can be made so that you provide for your children without wrecking yourself financially.

Call the Rochester child support attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 585-377-5504 for a free consultation.

Although the fines associated with a drinking and driving conviction are already very high, most Buffalo DWI lawyers are aware that over the years, New York State has added several different surcharges and fees that defendants are required to pay.

These financial charges are in addition to any “fine” imposed by the Court. The Driver Responsibility Assessment is the most expensive of these additional fees that must be paid.

The Driver Responsibility Assessment is not paid to the Court.

Instead, following a conviction for any of New York’s laws prohibiting driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the defendant will be notified by the Department of Motor Vehicles through the US mail that he or she must pay the DMV $250 per year for three years.

The potential convictions leading to this payment include Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, DWI, Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, and operating a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .04% or more.

This assessment is also imposed for refusing to take a breath test.

The assessment may be paid over three years, or the entire $750 may be paid the first year.

Failure to pay any portion of this assessment results in a suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license.

If the driver’s license is already suspended or revoked, the defendant is barred from reinstatement of his or her driving privileging until the assessment is paid.

If you have been arrested for DWI, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand all the potential fines, fees and other financial penalties involved. We can be reached at 716-631-9999.