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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.

Buffalo DWI lawyers generally defend charges that involve a driver operating a motor vehicle while either intoxicated or impaired.

For example, a driver may be charged with Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol.

Drug related driving offenses, such as Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, all require proof of impairment.

The language in the statute implies that intoxication is more serious than impairment by making Driving While Intoxicated a more serious charge than Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol.

However, the statute does not provide any definition of either term.

As a result, it has been left to the courts of New York State to determine what the difference is between the two and when someone crosses of the line between impairment and intoxication.

While there is no one set definition of either term, New York’s highest court has defined intoxication as being incapable of employing the physical and mental abilities which a person is expected to possess in order to operate a vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver.

It defined impairment as having actually impaired, to any extent, the physical and mental abilities which a driver is expected to possess in order to operate a vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver.

Even with this guidance, whether a driver was actually incapable of operating a vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver versus only having impaired ability to operate is, in many cases, a very subjective determination that an experienced criminal defense lawyer will use when defending against a DWI charge.

If you have been arrested for DWI and need legal help, please feel free to call us at (716) 542-5444 for a consultation regarding your case.

Most drivers in the Buffalo area are familiar with the idea of being issued to traffic ticket for a moving violation but being able to plead guilty to a reduced charge once you go to court.

For example, in many courts, a driver who is charged with Speeding is frequently allowed to plead guilty to a parking ticket instead.

When it comes to offenses involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, however, New York State sets specific limits on when a charge may be reduced and to what degree.

For a person charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Driving with .08% or Greater Blood Alcohol Content, Driving While Ability Impaired by a Drug, or Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combined Influence of Alcohol and Drugs, any plea of guilty entered in satisfaction of the charge must include at least a plea of guilty to an alcohol or drug related driving offense.

As a result, someone charged with one of these offenses usually cannot, for example, plead guilty to a Speeding ticket instead.

The only circumstances under which a person charged with one of these offenses is allowed to plead guilty to a non-alcohol or drug related driving offense is if the district attorney reviews the evidence and determines that the charge is not warranted.

Under such circumstances, the district attorney may consent to a plea of guilty to another charge.

If the court accepts the plea, it is required to state on the record the basis for it.

Even if the district attorney decides the charge is not warranted, the law still requires the defendant to undergo a drug and alcohol abuse screening and complete any recommended treatment.

Given these limitations on pleading to a lesser charge in a DWI case, it is important to have a good DWI lawyer. If you need help, call us at (716) 542-5444.

As recently as 2010, to get a divorce in New York, parties had to establish elaborate – and often fraudulent – cases against one spouse, who was said to be at fault.

This might involve recruiting a person to testify that they had an extramarital affair with a spouse, or documenting abuse or abandonment that had never really happened.

The fault-based system created enormous problems for courts in New York, not to mention couples whose marriages simply weren’t working.

With significant reforms at the end of the last decade, couples in Rochester now have the option of a no-fault grounds for divorce by filing under Irretrievable Breakdown.

As a no-fault option, it means that no case needs to be built against either party, reducing costs and cutting a lot of the emotional animosity and side-taking that had to happen in order to get a divorce before.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you understand your options, and the advantages of each.

Call us today at (585) 377-5504 for a free consultation with experienced Rochester divorce attorneys.

Yes, you can file for divorce even if your spouse wants to work things out.

In New York, you can’t be forced to remain married to someone, and your spouse won’t succeed by contesting the action on the grounds of, “But I don’t want to get a divorce.”

Cases where a spouse isn’t ready for divorce usually go one of two ways.

In the first, the spouse decides to cooperate, and you have a productive and relatively easy uncontested divorce. In the second, the spouse is furious that you’ve unilaterally taken this step, and decides to make the divorce as difficult as possible for you.

Protect yourself. The experienced Rochester divorce attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can make sure that you – and the issues that matter to you – are shielded from the worst of a divorce.

Call us today at 585-377-5504 for a free consultation.

For most people, being served with divorce papers is an extremely painful and emotionally confusing experience.

In response, they may not behave entirely rationally, and they may also have questions about the appropriate action to take.

For instance, if your spouse wishes to keep the house after the divorce, they may feel that leaving will put them at a disadvantage.

In other cases, they may be unwilling to give the appearance of abandoning their children.

And for some, it’s simply a matter of money. Moving is expensive, and not everyone has a cash reserve to allow for a sudden move.

The best thing your spouse can do once served with divorce papers is to retain an attorney who can guide them through the process, answer their questions, and reassure them that their rights and interests will be protected.

At Friedman & Ranzenhofer, that’s what we do for all our clients, in every case.

Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo divorce lawyer.

After you supply your spouse with your financial information, and they give you theirs, you will attend a Compliance Conference.

If the parties agree that Discovery is complete, then the judge will likely poll the parties to determine which areas remain in dispute, and understand how far apart they are.

If settlement can be reached at the Compliance Conference, no trial will be necessary.

If the parties remain far apart on important matters, a trial will be scheduled. The attorneys will build cases on behalf of their clients, and arguments will be made in court.

The judge will ultimately decide on the disposition of your assets. For many couples, negotiated settlements offer a much better outcome than those that are directed from the judge’s bench.

The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you get the settlement you want. Call us today at 716-542-5444 for a free consultation.

One important part of the divorce process in Buffalo is ensuring that both sides fully understand their own, and their spouse’s, financial position so that an appropriate settlement can be made.

During the Discovery phase of your legal case, you will provide a statement of net worth and relevant financial information to the other side, and they will provide it to you.

This material will be the foundation of the ultimate divorce agreement you sign. By working with experienced divorce attorneys, you’ll have access to a level of expertise that lets you fully understand your own financial picture, and then fights for what is rightfully yours.

The team at Friedman & Ranzenhofer can help you in your Buffalo divorce.

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

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.