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DUI Stops: Be Informed

Every DUI stop stems from a traffic stop. Whether an officer stops you for an unrelated offense, such as speeding or a burned-out headlight, or stops you for suspicion of drunk driving, that traffic stop can lead to a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge. Reasonable suspicion can be aroused by a variety of driving irregularities. Although the Fourth Amendment does indeed protect citizens from unlawful search and seizure, it is rarely in your best interest not to cooperate if you’ve been stopped.

DUI Checkpoints

Officers in many states, including New York, occasionally set DUI checkpoints or sobriety checkpoints to scout out impaired drivers – usually on busy thoroughfares during those holidays and events that invite over-indulgences (think 4th of July and the Super Bowl). While such checkpoints remain controversial – and are even prohibited in several states – federal law supports their legality.

Reasonable Suspicion

There are many factors that might provide an officer with the reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired:

  • Straddling the centerline;
  • Making an illegal turn;
  • Drifting in and out of lanes;
  • Coming too close to other cars or roadside objects;
  • Driving erratically or too slowly;
  • Braking frequently; and
  • Stopping for no reason.

This list is in no way exhaustive. There are innumerable reasons that can lead to a reasonable suspicion stop. It’s important to remember, however, that while reasonable suspicion is enough for an officer to stop you and investigate further, the officer must have probable cause – the higher standard of having enough evidence to make the officer believe that you probably committed a crime – before taking you in.

Once You’ve Been Stopped

If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test, it can present a difficult decision. The law of implied consent states that you, upon obtaining your driver’s license and as a precondition of that license, consent in advance to submitting to either a blood, urine, or Breathalyzer test if requested to do so by an officer. However, your refusal to do so can lead to far fewer penalties than those incurred by a DUI. This remains a complicated issue.

Your Next Step

Because the process can move very quickly once you’ve been arrested, it is highly advisable that you request the counsel of an experienced New York DUI attorney early in the arrest process.

Contact an experienced New York DUI Lawyer Today

If you have been arrested for DUI, your best line of defense is to invoke your right to counsel. It’s your right, and by employing it, you improve your chances of obtaining justice. Contact an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney at Hirsch & Hirsch. We have the skill, the expertise, and the dedication to fight for you and for your case’s best possible outcome, so give us a call at 516-486-8500 or contact us online today.

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New Ticket Laws Enacted for Brokers

After years of investigation, both Congress and the state of New York have rendered automated ticket purchasing software (known as bots) illegal. This is in an effort to halt ticket brokers from swiftly purchasing all of those prime real estate seats that everyone wants at concerts, sporting events, and Broadway shows. By using bots, the brokers were able to prevent huge numbers of customers from buying tickets at their face value cost. Instead, brokers resold those tickets at a price many times their face value. The new laws provide far heavier penalties for those who use computer software to bypass the security controls on retail ticket platforms in order to work around purchase limits and other rules. New York has taken the law further and has criminalized the practice of purchasing tickets through ticket purchasing software.

But Can I get a Ticket to Hamilton?

Although would-be ticket purchasers agree that it’s infuriating not to be able to see a show or attend a game for the face-value of their tickets, it’s difficult to say exactly how the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law is going to help. Consumers are not likely to reap any discernable benefits from the new law.

Although the new federal law does not carry criminal penalties, it does prohibit anyone from bypassing online control mechanisms that have been put in place by the ticket issuer in an effort to enforce purchase limits and maintain the integrity of ticket purchase rules. However, the language of the law is both broad and vague, and it fails to address head on some of the issues endemic to ticket scalping, such as collusion with – or at least the turning of a blind eye by – giant ticket brokerages like Ticketmaster, the consumer confusion regarding who the official ticket seller actually is, and outright scalping by some events’ major players.

What’s Next?

Because there have been relatively few charges brought against ticket brokers, very few legal firms have experience in the area, and even fewer attorneys have experience in their successful litigation. It’s important to remember that New York has criminalized the use of bots for ticket purchasing, so if you’ve been charged with a ticket industry crime in New York, you need to know your rights and you need to protect your rights.

Contact a New York Attorney with Ticket Industry Experience Today

A ticket industry charge regarding the use of bots for ticket purchases is now a criminal charge. If you’ve been charged, contact one of the skilled defense attorneys at Hirsch & Hirsch. We have years of experience and we are here to help you. Give us a call at 516-486-8500 or contact us online today.

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More Bike Lanes Mean More Right of Way Tickets

Late last year, New York City announced a plan to complete an additional 75 miles of bike lanes throughout the city. These lanes will extend out through all five boroughs and should be completed by the year’s end. While the bicycling community is looking forward to the improvements, drivers need to heighten their bicycle awareness. More cyclists on the road mean more potential driving hazards and more right of way tickets.

Remember the Rules of the Road

When you are driving, it’s always imperative to exercise extreme caution for your own and for other’s safety, but when you’re dealing with unfamiliar new bike paths, you also need to be hyper aware. New York City traffic enforcement agents take bicycle safety very seriously, and in May 2016, officers implemented a Bicycle Safe Passage initiative, which imposed a stricter watch over drivers who stray into bike lanes or fail to yield the right of way to cyclists.

What to Expect

With the opening of the new lanes, it is highly likely that traffic police will increase their patrols to ensure that drivers are not only yielding the right of way but also leaving enough room between cars and bikes. Although you are not always obligated to yield the right of way before crossing or merging into bike lanes, it may be necessary to allow any cyclists in the area to continue past before you continue on your way. As you acclimate to the inclusion of the new bike lanes on your daily trek, make a conscious effort to look for yield signs that will alert you to the safety procedures that apply to the intersections that you travel. And keep in mind that these same rules apply to yielding for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Bike Lane Violations

If you’ve been issued a failure to yield ticket for a bike lane violation, it may seem like a minor infraction, but it can present serious complications and should never be taken lightly. Such a ticket can add three points to your driving record, and under New York traffic law, you can’t have more than 10 points on your record in any given 18-month period; more than 10 can lead to a temporary suspension of your license.

Contact an Experienced New York Traffic Lawyer Today

If you are facing a failure to yield violation that involves either a cyclist or a bike lane violation, do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced defense attorneys at Hirsch & Hirsch. We have the skill, the experience, and the expertise to keep you on the road, so give us a call at 516-486-8500 or contact us online today.

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Most Common Traffic Tickets in New York

Each year, New York State Police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state issue to drivers a countless number of traffic violations. Most traffic violations are considered moving violations. Moving violations most often have a fine attached to the charge and a number of points are assessed against the driver’s license.

New York’s most common traffic violations are issued on highways. This includes violations for speeding, traffic device violations, and seat belt violations.

Speeding Violations

New York State’s most common traffic violation is for speeding. Speeding occurs whenever a driver operates his or her vehicle at a rate of speed greater than posted. Certain factors–such as construction zones, school zones, or others–can result in a more serious violation. Therefore, it is important that drivers be aware of the differences.

General speeding violations are quite common. Fines are assessed on a graduated scale, meaning that fines increase as the rate of speed becomes more excessive.

A conviction for speeding also results in points being assessed against a driver’s license. The more excessive the speed, the greater the points. New York’s point system breaks down as follows:

  • 1 – 10 MPH 3 points
  • 11 – 20 MPH 4 points
  • 21 – 30 MPH 6 points
  • 31 – 40 MPH 8 points
  • More than 40 MPH 11 points

New York State’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can suspend driving privileges whenever a driver accumulates an excessive amount of points against his or her license. The DMV can suspend driving privileges for those drivers accumulating 11 points within an 18-month period. Therefore, a single speeding conviction, albeit one of traveling more than 40 miles over the speed limit, can lead to the suspension of driving privileges.

Speeding in work zones is a more serious traffic violation. Fines for work zone speeding convictions are doubled; a regular $200 fine would be $400! Moreover, receiving two work zone speeding convictions within an 18-month period will result in a driver’s license being suspended.

Seatbelt Violations

Many drivers either forget or choose not to wear their seatbelt while driving. New York law requires that all drivers and passengers wear a seatbelt. A seatbelt violation can result in a driver being issued fines, points, or both.

Drivers over the age of 21 will not receive points against their license if they are found to drive without a seatbelt. Instead, they must pay a fine, typically between $75 to $125. A surcharge will also be assessed.

A driver may also be issued a citation for a child passenger that is without a seatbelt. These violations will result in both 3 points and a fine.

Cell phone and Texting Violations

The ever-connectedness of modern society makes it easier to call, text, and check email while driving. However, this practice is prohibited by New York law. Cell phone violations result in the assessment of 5 against one’s driving record. New York law also covers texting while driving as well as the use of a “personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.”

CONTACT A NEW YORK TRAFFIC LAWYER TODAY
If you have been issued traffic tickets of any kind, you should contact a skilled and experienced defense attorney. The lawyers of Hirsch & Hirsch may be able to help negotiate a reduced charge or a plea in your case. Call 516-486-8500 today for more information.

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