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East Aurora New York Legal Blog

When catastrophic injuries result from car accidents

Cars crash every day on New York highways. Those who have experienced a motor vehicle accident can attest to the pain and trauma that often follow even minor road incidents. Although drivers may walk away from an accident scene seemingly unscathed, symptoms of injury can appear several days or weeks after the incident.

Minor effects may include scrapes and bruises while catastrophic injuries may involve spine and brain trauma. In fact, the U.S. Center for Disease Control says motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the country. In those statistics, the CDC includes TBIs serious enough to cause fatalities as well as those that require hospitalizations or, at the very least, a visit to the emergency room. 

Reasons why establishing paternity is important

Children born to unmarried parents in New York have no legal father under state law, which can put them at a number of disadvantages compared to other children whose fathers are known. This does not have to remain the case, however. According to the child support section on the New York state government website, unmarried parents can try to establish paternity for their child. There are several reasons why establishing paternity is important for any New York child.

As a result of establishing paternity, a child can enjoy access to greater financial support since the child now has two known parents. While one of the obvious benefits is that the father will have the responsibility of paying child support, the financial benefits to the child can go much deeper. Such benefits include drawing upon the father’s Social Security benefits, the father’s medical insurance, or veterans’ benefits if the father had served in the military.

What is equitable distribution?

When it comes to divorce, one of the important aspects is the division of property. There are two kinds of property distribution, but each state sets its own standards. New York is an equitable distribution state, which according to the Huffington Post is what most states in the country are. The other is a community property state, of which there is only nine in the country.

In a community property state, property division is kept simple. The court just divides all property evenly between you and your spouse. While this makes things really easy, it is often seen as unfair.

Should I refuse a breath test?

The answer to the question of whether or not you should submit to a breath blood alcohol content test during a New York traffic or boating stop is, unfortunately, very difficult to answer with any certainty. Your best course of action would probably depend on any number of details of the circumstances of your incident. 

Of course, as FindLaw underscores, the best thing to do is often to simply avoid driving or boating while intoxicated. However, if you are stopped and an officer requests that you comply with an alcohol test, it could be a good idea in some situations to comply. Refusing a BAC breath test has various consequences, and not all of them will benefit you if you decide to contest the claims of the officer.

Child support orders must be followed, even after a disability

Divorced parents often find themselves struggling in various ways. While you may immensely enjoy the ability to take care of your children and see them grow, you may also have a difficult time with finances. However, at the time of your divorce, the court ordered that your ex-spouse pay child support, which you feel helps provide for your kids.

Now that the other parent has recently developed a disability, you may worry about the impact that issue will have on your child support payments. While the other parent may not have the ability to work or work at the same job, it does not mean that he or she is completely excused from making support payments as dictated in the court order.

What is considered a DUI?

It is well-known that you cannot drive under the influence of alcohol, but do you really know when you could be charged with a DUI? There are many situations where you could end up with this charge even if you do not think you have drunk much or you have drunk nothing at all. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, a DUI charge may be levied against you if you drink only a couple servings of alcohol. It all depends on the situation  and its factors as to whether you will get charged.

The legal blood alcohol limit in the state is .08 percent. This is the point at which you can be charged with an offense. Your BAC is based on a few factors. Obviously, the more you drink, the higher it will be. However, how much you can drink and still be under the limit depends on the type of alcohol you are drinking, your body weight and how long you have been drinking.

When is child support ordered by the court?

There is a general understanding that when you have a child you and the other parent are financially responsible for caring for that child. This is the stance of the court in New York. According to the New York Courts, you actually are responsible for the financial care of your child until he or she is 21 years old. What you may not clearly understand is when the court gets involved in child support matters.

Child support can be ordered by the court or created in an agreement between parents. Usually, though, the court is involved in some way to legalize the agreement and ensure enforcement of the child support payment arrangements. 

Holographic wills and New York law

We use personal computers for drafting documents so commonly that it may not occur to us to handwrite a legal document, such as will. Yet every now and then, we may wonder if state law will recognize a handwritten will, since at one time people did not have access to computers or even typewriters. The fact is that in the modern era, New York law does recognize handwritten wills, but to a limited degree.

As Findlaw points out, handwritten wills are formally known as holographic wills. Close to half of the fifty states in the U.S. permit holographic wills to be valid, and while requirements may vary from state to state, generally holographic wills must be completely handwritten by the testator. These wills must be signed and dated by the testator, but unlike other wills, they do not require the signatures of witnesses.

Did an officer lack reasonable suspicion in your DWI stop?

Though law enforcement officers work to keep New York residents safe, they are not perfect. Because of this imperfection, they could potentially fail to correctly follow procedures when making a traffic stop or subsequent arrest. If you face a charge of driving while intoxicated, you may want to determine whether the arresting officer involved in your case made any mistakes.

In particular, officers need to have reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle and probable cause to make an actual arrest. If your case does not have one or either of these factors, the specific evidence against you may prove inadmissible in court, which could work in your favor.

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