Unlicensed Operator, License Suspensions, and License Revocations in Dutchess County

New York State has some of the toughest laws against unlicensed driving in the nation.  It is a crime to drive when your license is suspended or revoked.  The penalties depend on the type of suspension or revocation, and how many you have.  The follow is a list of the top ten (10) ways a person can lose their driver’s license in New York:

  1. Failure to answer a traffic ticket or pay a fine;
  2. Driving without liability insurance or failure to maintain liability insurance on a registered vehicle;
  1. An alcohol or drug related driving violation (eg: DWI or DWAI);
  2. DMV administrative review of a driver’s physical or mental disability;
  3. Three (3) speeding violations and/or misdemeanor traffic violations within 18 months;
  1. Writing a bad check for a DMV fee;
  2. An unsatisfied court judgment from a traffic accident;
  3. Failure to attend or complete the Drinking Driver Program (DDP) or the Victim Impact Panel (VIP);
  1. Failure to file an accident report within ten (10) days of the accident; AND
  2. Any probationary license violation (eg: Speeding or Reckless Driving).

If you are facing a possible license suspension, revocation, or Aggravated Unlicensed Operator (AUO) charge please call my office today so that we can discuss your case in detail.  

Bill Of Rights for Children Whose Parents Are Separated

Divorce is hard on both parents and children.  Many times children get caught in the middle of the battle between the parents.  The following Bill of Rights for Children is a guideline for parent behavior during and after separation.  This list is a helpful tool for children as it provides them with a way to safely and constructively communicate their feelings to a parent during a stressful and tumultuous time.  Parents going through a divorce should invite their children to use the Bill of Rights to remind the parties to rethink their behavior, and not use the children as a “spy” or “weapon” against the other.  We highly encourage parents to conspicuously display the Bill of Rights so that parents are reminded that their behavior affects the children and so that children can remind parents to reconsider their actions.    

  1. The right not to be asked to “choose sides” between their parents.
  2. The right not to be told the details of bitter or nasty legal proceedings going on between their parents.
  3. The right not to be told “bad things” about the other parent’s personality or character.
  4. The right to privacy when talking to either parent on the telephone.
  5. The right not to be cross-examined by one parent after spending time with the other parent.
  6. The right not to be asked to be a messenger from one parent to the other.
  7. The right not to be asked by one parent to tell the other parent untruths.
  8. The right not to be used as a confidant regarding the legal proceedings between the parents.
  9. The right to express feelings, whatever those feelings may be.
  10. The right to choose not to express certain feelings.
  11. The right to be protected from parental warfare.
  12. The right not to be made to feel guilty for loving both parents.

If you are going through a divorce, separation, or child custody/support matter and you are in need of legal representation call us for a free telephone consultation today.

No Distinctive Plate Dutchess County

No Distinctive Plate (VTL § 402(1))

Recently, a number of people have been stopped by police officers for a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) § 402(1), otherwise known as No Distinctive Plate. In relevant part, under this section of the VTL no person shall operate, drive or park a motor vehicle on New York public roads unless that vehicle conspicuously displays a license plate on the front and rear of the vehicle, and each plate is securely fastened so as to prevent it from swinging. This law further requires that the plates shall be kept clean and in a condition that is easily readable, and that the plates cannot be covered by glass or plastic material, nor obstructed by any part of the vehicle or by anything carried thereon.

There has been some debate as to the intent of the Legislature with regard to this law. Many Officers have been instructed that the meaning of this law prohibits license plate frames altogether. However this is false. In a recent decision by the New York Supreme Court, the scope of VTL § 402(1) was defined. They held that “[t]he purpose of VTL § 402(1) is to ensure the readability of information printed on license plates and thereby facilitate the easy identification of vehicles. [This] offense is committed where there is an actual obstruction of information related to vehicle identification [and] a violation [is] established where [only] the name of the state [and/or] license plate [number is] covered by the [frame].” People v. Frederick, 2014 NY Slip Op 24342 (N.Y. App. Term, 2014).

Additionally, the United States Supreme Court has held that there is a First Amendment Free Speech right to cover the State motto. Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705 (1977).

Therefore, it is not illegal to have a license plate frame in New York as long as the frame does not obstruct one’s view of the State name and the plate number.

If you have been ticketed for a violation of VTL § 402(1) or any other traffic infraction please contact my office so that I can help you resolve your matter.


Dutchess County Not Guilty

As an experienced Defensive Attorney, I know the importance of maintaining a client’s not guilty plea until all avenues have been explored to either get the matter dismissed or reduced.

Maintaining the not guilty plea requires the Prosecutor to thoroughly examine the facts and law regarding the criminal charge(s). By maintaining the not guilty plea I require the Prosecutor to provide all discoverable information that can help to show the Prosecutor that there is a lack of proof concerning elements of the charge(s) which would require the Prosecutor to either reduce the charge(s) or dismiss them.

Some Defense Attorneys are too quick to recommend that their client plead guilty in order to close out the file. As a general rule I will advise my client to wait to plead guilty until the facts and law of their particular case are fully reviewed. Then the client can make an informed decision as to whether or not he /she can live with the proposed disposition I worked out. Please call my office to discuss your individual case in detail.

– Gerard J. Pisanelli, Esq.