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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.

Judges understand that however solid an initial agreement is between two spouses at the time of a divorce, situations change, and sometimes these agreements require review and modification to be realistic in a new context.

When your support payments become unmanageable, it may be time to ask for help.

In Buffalo, courts are open to reviewing prior orders when you’ve been forced to take a lower paying job, your child has come to live with you full time, your child’s medical or educational needs have changed, or when your child becomes emancipated.

Other situations may meet the court’s definition. The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer help families in Buffalo make agreements they can live with.

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

Eventually, a professional or occupational license issued by the State of New York will fall into jeopardy if you fail to meet your child support obligation in Buffalo.

The state has numerous administrative tools at its disposal to encourage parents to provide for their children, from wage garnishment to driver’s license suspension to assuming control of a payor’s bank accounts.

When administrative measures haven’t met with success, Buffalo’s Division of Child Support Enforcement can go to court and ask a judge to take even further steps, including suspension of your professional license.

You will be notified of these proceedings and asked to respond. There is absolutely no reason why a child support case should get this far.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help. Call us today at 716-542-5444 and talk to a Buffalo child support attorney for free.


Are My Divorce Records In Buffalo Available To The Public?

No, your divorce records will not be available to the public, and Buffalo courts will only grant access to you, your spouse, and your attorneys.

This way, individuals don’t have to worry that financial information or allegations of misconduct will fall into the wrong hands, and identifying information like the name of minor children won’t be there for others to find.

Courts in New York are reliable stewards of our most personal matters, and when you work with the experienced legal team at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, you can count on attorneys who understand the real value of the material in question.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free, private consultation with experienced Buffalo divorce lawyers.


What Is The New York State Assigned Risk Program?

A Buffalo driver arrested for DWI or driving under the influence of drugs faces many consequences aside from a possible court conviction.

There are many financial repercussions to a conviction for drinking and driving on top of any fine that may be imposed by the court.

One of the most expensive of these financial repercussions is an increase in auto insurance premiums following a conviction.

Many insurance companies, once they become aware of a drinking and driving conviction, will not renew the defendant’s policy at the end of the policy period.

When this happens, the driver will be forced into the New York State Assigned Risk Program (the “risk pool”).

New York State requires that all automobile insurance companies that provide policies in this state provide coverage for a certain number of people who are considered to be a risk by the insurer based on their driving record.

New York State sets the premium rate for these drivers and regulates the coverage that must be provided.

A driver forced into the risk pool because his or her coverage was not renewed does not get to choose an insurance company.

Instead, the insurer who will be required to provide coverage will be assigned by the state.

Insurance premiums in the risk pool are much higher than for drivers with clean driving records.

Even in cases where an insurance company chooses not to end coverage and the driver is not forced into the risk pool, the driver’s insurance premiums are almost guaranteed to dramatically increase once the insurance company becomes aware of the conviction.

It is not unusual for someone convicted of DWI to see their insurance premiums double or even triple for several years following a conviction.

A conviction for DWI results in expenses that will continue for years following the arrest.

If you need an experienced DWI lawyer to help with your case, call us at 716- 631-9999.

Under New York’s Zero Tolerance Law, a Buffalo driver under the age of twenty-one may be penalized if found to have operated a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content of between 0.02% and 0.07%.

Violations of this law for having low levels of alcohol are not handled in criminal court, but instead at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

While there certainly are benefits to not facing a criminal charge and being in criminal court, this also means the underage driver does not have all the rights he or she would have in criminal court.

There is no right to a jury, and all decisions will be made by the ALJ. More importantly, in criminal court any charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The standard of proof at a Department of Motor Vehicle hearing is much lower.

The arresting officer only needs to prove the allegation that the underage driver had consumed alcohol before driving by “clear and convincing evidence” for the ALJ to impose a penalty.

At the hearing, it must be established that the driver was under the age of 21 and operating a motor vehicle on a public highway when stopped.

The officer must have a valid reason for making the stop, such as having observed a moving violation.

Aside from this, all that must be established is that the officer made a valid request of the driver to submit to a breath test, the test was properly administered, and the result of the test was a blood alcohol content between 0.02% and 0.07%.

If the ALJ finds that all of these criteria have been met, the underage driver will be found in violation of the Zero Tolerance Law.

Underage drinking and driving may result in a fine and loss of driving privileges, even when only a small amount of alcohol was consumed.

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

Repeat or extremely intoxicated DWI offenders who are charged with Vehicular Assault in the First Degree face serious penalties and need the help of an experienced Buffalo criminal defense lawyer.

Vehicular Assault in the First Degree is a class D felony. A conviction will lead to a permanent criminal record and is likely to result in the defendant having to serve time in jail.

A driver convicted of this offense may be sentenced to serve a term of incarceration in a New York State prison of up to 7 years.

While incarceration is common when a person is convicted of this charge, it is not mandatory.

If the court decides incarceration is not necessary, it is authorized to impose a sentence of up to five years of probation.

If the court limits any jail term to less than six months, it may impose a sentence combining incarceration and probation.

In addition to these penalties, the court may require the defendant to pay a fine of up to $5,000.

There also are additional financial penalties on top of any fine consisting of a mandatory surcharge of $300, a Crime Victim Assistance fee of $25, and a DNA fee of $50.

The law requires that the driver’s license of anyone convicted of Vehicular Assault in the First Degree be revoked for a minimum period of six months.

Unlike some DWI charges, the law does not allow a driver convicted of this offense to obtain a conditional license to drive for work or school.

When the defendant’s license is reinstated, he or she will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle driven if the court’s sentence included either probation or a conditional discharge.

This offense carries severe penalties. If you have been arrested for a DWI related offense and need help, we can be reached at 716-631-9999.


What Is Vehicular Assault in the First Degree?

There are several different criminal charges a Buffalo driver who is accused of causing an injury in a motor vehicle accident may face.

Vehicular Assault in the First Degree is a very serious criminal charge that applies in cases where there are multiple injured parties or the driver is accused of either being extremely intoxicated or having repeatedly driven while intoxicated.

The basic elements of this offense are the same as Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree, which requires proof that a driver caused a motor vehicle accident while guilty of Driving While Intoxicated, Driving While Intoxicated per se (usually called Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08% or Greater), Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, or Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combined Influence of Alcohol and Drugs.

The accident must have caused a serious physical injury to another person.

For the offense to be enhanced to Vehicular Assault in the First Degree, the prosecution must be able to prove at least one of the following additional factors:

(1) the driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.18% or greater (more than twice the legal limit);
(2) the driver’s license was either suspended or revoked at the time of the accident for previously having driven under the influence of alcohol or drugs or for refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test;
(3) within the past ten years, the driver had a prior conviction for violating any of New York’s anti-drinking and driving or anti-driving under the influence of drugs offenses;
(4) the driver has a prior conviction for vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter;
(5) more than one person suffered a serious physical injury; or
(6) someone 15 years of age or less was a passenger in the defendant’s car and suffered a serious physical injury.

Accidents involving DWI lead to serious criminal charges. If you need legal help, call us at 716-631-9999.

You do. When your former spouse is the primary caretaker of your children, you may feel like the long summer break is your time to cut loose with your kids and spend that money directly on them.

From the perspective of Rochester courts though, you’d be in violation of your child support order if you don’t pay during those months.

Even if your kids are with you for an extended stay, your former spouse remains the custodial parent, and they are still liable for the overhead costs related to housing your children – a mortgage or rent payment, utilities that you contribute to, and the other costs that go with providing a safe and stable home for your kids the rest of the year.

It may not feel fair, but even during the summer, you’re responsible for paying child support.

If you have reason to believe that the payments are inappropriate, or if your life circumstances have changed and you need to seek a modification, call the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer today at 585-377-5504 for a free consultation.


How Can I Keep Costs Down In My Divorce In Rochester?

One significant way to keep costs down in a Rochester divorce is to be willing to negotiate and keep items of contention to a minimum.

A negotiated settlement will be much less expensive than a litigated one. Beyond that, keep things organized. When you have calls or meetings related to your divorce, have a set agenda and stick to it.

When documents or other exhibits are required, locate them on your own rather than using other resources to track them down.

It is possible to have a cost effective divorce in Rochester.

When your marriage is ending, call the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 585-377-5504 and work with experienced, prompt, professional attorneys right here in Rochester.

It may be. While inheritances are generally understood to be separate assets, they are the separate asset of the person to whom they were bequeathed.

If your relative left an inheritance to you and your spouse, the court may well take your relative at their word, and allow it to be a marital asset and subject to equitable distribution.

Depending on the nature of the inheritance, it may also be viewed as two separate assets, one belonging to each of you.

If you believe this is not what your relative intended, the attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help build a case to show the court that the inheritance should be treated as a separate item belonging to you.

There are always arguments to be made, and the more evidence that exists to support your claim, the stronger your case will be.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 and talk to an experienced Buffalo divorce attorney for free.