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Albany personal injury and criminal defense law blog

Do I have to take a Breathalyzer test?

When New York residents first get their driving licenses, they are not likely to know that driving is considered a privilege, not a right. That means these privileges can be revoked and fines can be levied. Additionally, driving privileges can be suspended if a driver refuses to take a Breathalyzer test. This is because drivers have impliedly consented to this test in exchange to drive.

A Breathalyzer is used to determine the blood alcohol content of a suspected drunk driver. If a police officer stops a driver he or she believes has been driving while intoxicated and asks the driver to take a Breathalyzer test, refusal could have serious repercussions. For example, the driver's license could be suspended for a number of months and even jail time could be given. Consequences vary depending on whether the suspected drunk driver has past DUI convictions or not.

What are the elements of a negligence case?

The effects of an accident can be significant. Most personal injury cases hinge on whether the person who caused the plaintiff's personal injuries was exercising reasonable care. When a New York resident fails to behave with the standard of care that an ordinary person would have exercised in similar circumstances, it can be said that he or she was negligent.

When considering if someone was negligent, courts look at the foreseeable likelihood that the person's actions or omissions will result in harm, the probable severity of any harm that might result, and the burden of taking steps to reduce or eliminate the risk of harm. If it can be shown that the person in question was negligent, he or she may be required by law to compensate the accident victim for the injuries caused by their actions or omissions.

Are millennials more likely to use their phone behind the wheel?

Millennials find themselves blamed by many Baby Boomers for many things, including being attached to their phones at all times. They are also accused of being on their phone while driving, but a recent survey indicates they are not the only ones who are engaging in this risky behavior. Gen X and Baby Boomers are also guilty of using their phone while driving.

While New York residents may not be surprised to hear that 86% of Millennials admitted to using their phone behind the wheel, 49% of Baby Boomers also admitted to it. Gen X was second, with 72% admitting to using their phones while driving. However, Baby Boomers are less likely than their Millennial counterparts to ask someone else to check their phone for them while driving.

Avoiding accidents while driving through construction zones

As the summer comes to a close, many construction projects are ramping up to finish before the weather turns bad. Albany certainly faces this on a yearly basis due to the often-violent change of seasons. Drivers must be aware of the high volume of road construction projects as well as construction vehicles leaving a job site and entering the road.

What is an improper police stop?

With Labor Day and the end of summer approaching, many Albany residents are likely to be heading out on the weekend to celebrate. The last thing drivers want to see after a night of relaxing with friends and having a couple of drinks is police lights in one's rear-view mirror. While many drivers may panic and think of going faster to avoid them, they should never do this. If an officer indicates that he or she wants a driver to pull over, that is exactly what they should do.

Additionally, stopping a vehicle at a roadblock and asking questions is legal, as long as the police is using a neutral and non-inconveniencing policy to stop cars. However, as with every situation, it is also important to remember drivers have constitutional rights that need to be upheld.

What must be shown to prove drug possession?

To present a successful criminal defense, understanding the charges one is facing is very important. Knowledge of the law, such as what one is being charged with and what must be proven in a court of law, is crucial for understanding how one can defend against criminal charges.

While New York separates controlled substances and marijuana related offenses into separate categories, their elements are pretty much the same. Elements are those prongs of the law that must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction.

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

If a New York resident is injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident caused by someone else's negligent behavior, they may have been told by loved ones to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, not many know what a personal injury suit is and the basics surrounding it.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is one way to protect one's rights after becoming injured in a crash or through some other incident, such as slipping and falling in someone else's premises. When someone else is responsible for causing that harm, the accident victim can try to hold him or her legally responsible for their behavior by establishing their fault in the incident in question.

New York legalizes e-bikes and e-scooters despite concerns

New York State has finally and unambiguously legalized electric bikes and scooters, despite claims from around the country of an outsized hazard these little vehicles represent.

New York City has cautiously experimented with allowing them, but most of the rest of the state has not yet seen them “in the wild.” Many more e-bikes and e-scooters are likely to appear in the immediate future around the state.

Ex-pitcher arrested on drug possession charges

The last time New Yorkers saw the Mets win the World Series Championships was in 1986, and many may remember Dwight Gooden as the hero pitcher who got them there. Unfortunately, his drug troubles drove him out of the career that got him into the Hall of Fame and made him a household name many years ago.

According to the ex-pitcher, he missed the 1986 World Series parade because he was doing drugs at the time. He tested positive for cocaine before the 1987 season and also the 1994 one. He was suspended for the whole season in 1995 for failing a drug test. He violated his probation in 2006 and also arrived to meet his probation officer high, for which he served time in prison.

What are field sobriety tests?

It is a sight New York drivers probably dread seeing in their rear-view mirror: flashing red and blue lights. Police can either conduct random traffic stops or pull over a driver based on a suspicion that the driver is impaired or drunk while driving. When this happens, the officer usually conducts a three-part field sobriety test to observe the driver's balance, attention level and physical activity.

In the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, officers are trying to see if the suspected drunk driver can follow a moving object smoothly, if the eye jerks when it is at its maximum deviation and if the eye jerks when it is 45 degrees from the center. Eye jerking is exaggerated when someone is impaired by alcohol, which is what the officers are looking for. The walk and turn test is the officer's attempt to see if the driver can complete tasks with undivided attention. The suspected drunk driver is asked to take nine steps along a straight line and then turn back and return in the same way.

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