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Cuomo and State Legislature Get Tough on Drunk Drivers

Submitted by Joseph W. Milks on Sat, 11/10/14 – 20:27, 0 comments

The New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) will impose harsher penalties on repeat drunk drivers next month, thanks to the combined efforts of Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature. Effective November 1, 2014, individuals who have been convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol 3 or more times within the past 15 years are automatically charged with a felony offense. As a result, repeat offenders now face up to 7 years in jail when they are found guilty of an alcohol related driving offense 3 times within a 15-year period. More time behind bars is not the only change enacted by this legislation. Repeat offenders can expect to take a bigger hit to their wallet with fines ranging from $2,000 up to $10,000 in addition to imprisonment for the 7-year period.

Offenses fall into discrete categories under the VTL. An offense may be classified as a traffic infraction, a violation, a misdemeanor or a felony. Felonies are those offenses for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year may be imposed. Misdemeanor means an offense, other than a “traffic infraction” for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of 15 days may be imposed but to which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year cannot be imposed. An offense other than a traffic infraction for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of fifteen days cannot be imposed is considered a violation under the VTL. Unlike the other offenses described above, a traffic infraction is not a crime and the punishment imposed cannot be deemed a penal or criminal punishment. Thus, the least severe offenses are traffic infractions, while the most egregious offenses are those offenses classified as felonies under the VTL.

Expanding the scope of the felony offense category under the VTL to include offenders with 3 prior convictions within 15 years serves the primary basis of this new legislation- termed “Vince’s Law” after the man who died after a fatal collision with a drunk driver in Liverpool, New York in July 2011. By increasing jail time and imposing higher fines, repeat offenders are kept off the roads, promoting motorist safety overall, laudable goals indeed.

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Title Insurance: A Crash Course

Submitted by Neil Pawlowski on Mon, 22/09/14 – 18:42, 0 comments

We encounter insurance on a day-to-day basis substantially in the form of life insurance policies, car insurance, and homeowners insurance. Just like these more colloquial forms of insurance, title insurance endeavors to afford its holder protection against loss in the event that the condition of title to the land is other than as insured.

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Estate Planning 101: The Basics

Submitted by N. Pawlowski on Thu, 26/09/13 – 14:34, 0 comments

Click on a question below and browse the answers to common questions regarding Wills and Estates in New York State:

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New Driver Cellphone Laws Now In Effect in New York State

Submitted by N. Pawlowski on Thu, 19/09/13 – 20:33, 0 comments

According to the National Highway and Transportation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation, a person is 23x more likely to crash if they text while driving (find out more statistics from the Government studies at www.distraction.gov). Since 2010, the New York State Legislature has taken many measures to curtail distracted driving and has instituted laws to try and stop this behavior. The NYS legislature is at it again and, with a large push by Governor Cuomo, has increased the penalties for cellphone or handheld electronic device use by drivers in New York State.

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New Legislation Requires Homeowner Action for STAR Tax Exemption

Submitted by N. Pawlowski on Wed, 11/09/13 – 15:54, 0 comments

Are you a homeowner that is currently receiving a Basic STAR (School Tax Relief Program) exemption from New York State? Under the New York State tax laws, the Basic STAR tax exemption for school taxes is available for owner- occupied, primary residences where the resident owner’s and their spouse’s income is less than $500,000. This program exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a home from school taxes.

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