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Tag Archives: reckless driving

Off Duty NYPD Officer Kills One and Injures Three Others While Driving Drunk.

An NYPD officer is out on bail after driving drunk and killing a pedestrian and injuring three others in Brooklyn over the weekend. No matter who you are, when you get behind the wheel you should never be under the influence. Driving while under the influence can change your life and the lives of others in the blink of an eye. Always exercise good judgement and when in doubt call a designated driver or a cab home.

Please read the full article below:

Bystanders corralled a drunken off-duty cop after his speeding SUV killed a Brooklyn pedestrian and horribly injured three of his college pals in a gruesome wreck, cops and eyewitnesses said.

Officer Nicholas Batka’s vehicle was seen swerving in the seconds before impact. His runaway SUV tore the leg off one victim and left another impaled on a fence, witnesses said.

“The EMTs had to get a saw to remove the man impaled on the railing,” said witness Jaminah Kang, 35. “Another man (looked) like he took a chain saw to the knee.”

The inebriated second-year cop flashed his badge and slipped into his SUV’s passenger’s seat about 3 a.m. Saturday as the mangled victims writhed in agony on a bloodstained sidewalk in Williamsburg.

A cell phone video captured a man in a red shirt wagging a menacing finger at Batka, keeping the SUV door shut tight and the off-duty cop pinned inside.

“Don’t let him get out!” someone else shouted. “He’s going to run away!”

The sloshed cop was trapped inside the SUV — on the driver’s side by a utility pole he crashed into and on the passenger side by the enraged onlookers.

A 21-year-old man died at Bellevue Hospital after Batka lost control and the gray 2012 SUV Dodge Durango careened off Bedford Ave. just after making a right-hand turn from N. Eighth St.

Prosecutors identified the victim as Andrew Esquivel in charging documents, along with three survivors of the late night crash.

Sophia Tabachoun, 20, was listed in stable condition, while Divya Menezes, 23, was hospitalized at Bellevue in critical condition. She underwent surgery late Saturday after breaking both legs in the crash, officials said.

James Balchaunas, 24, was also hurt, but his condition was not immediately known.

Batka was charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, three counts of assault, driving while intoxicated, driving with impaired ability and driving on a sidewalk.

In a white T-shirt and blue jeans, he appeared somber with his head down at his arraignment late Saturday night in Brooklyn Criminal Court. He posted $300,000 bond, and was released. A judge ordered his driving license suspended.

Witnesses described a nightmarish scene of chaos and carnage in the darkness once the SUV jumped the curb and plowed into the group walking together along the sidewalk.

“I ran over and this girl’s leg was in half,” said Ryan Carpenter, 27, who was heading home when he spied the bloody crash scene.

“I took my shirt off and tried to stop her from bleeding while trying to calm her. She kept screaming.”

At least three of the victims were Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates living in Williamsburg and headed for home after getting off the L train, said the sister of one victim.

“Help! Help! Help!” one anguished victim is heard howling during a chaotic six-minute video. “I don’t want to lose my leg! Help!”

An employee from the Bedford Gourmet Food store across the street rushed over with ice and towels.

“I didn’t know what to do,” said the store worker, who declined to give his name. “Everyone panicked. (The driver) was trying to back out, too, and kept going into the building. People were holding the driver from leaving.”

The shocking crash occurred just four hours before Batka was due to start a 7 a.m. shift with the Manhattan Transit Task Force following two days off, cops said.

Batka, 28, a former city correction officer, was arrested at the scene and suspended from the force, NYPD Inspector Scott Shanley told reporters at the accident site.

The officer refused to take a Breathalyzer test, sources told the Daily News. After denying he had been behind the wheel, he then asked to speak with his union rep from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, prosecutors said.

Some other friends walking with the four victims escaped unscathed when the SUV missed them by inches.

“The other two friends were literally one step ahead of them, so they didn’t get hit,” said eyewitness Kang, who called 911. “It was unreal. It was like an episode of TV come to life.

“I wasn’t even thinking about what I was doing.”

Police sources echoed the stories of witnesses, reporting that the force of the impact led investigators to believe Batka was speeding before jumping the curb.

According to witnesses, the drunken cop first attempted to throw the SUV in reverse after the vehicle crashed — but the car instead kept lurching forward, slamming into a townhouse stoop.

Batka, who joined the NYPD in January 2015, was listed in stable condition, police said.

Batka’s aunt and uncle said there were never any indications that the young cop had a problem with alcohol — and they appeared shocked by word of his arrest.

“I know a lot of people who shouldn’t be cops … that have the wrong attitude, but Nick is mellow Jell-O,” said his uncle Walter Leonick, a retired NYPD officer. “I never worried about him doing anything wrong.”

Batka took guardianship of his niece last year when his older brother died of a heart attack, and spent time caring for his mother. His brother, just 35 years old, keeled over during a Christmas party.

Leonick knew immediately that the Saturday accident was a bad situation, saying “He’s in a lot of trouble.”

Photo: NY Daily News

Conducción Temeraria o Conducción Peligrosa en Nueva York-Lo Que Significa Para Usted

Ejemplos de Conducir de manera imprudente se Virar hacia fuera de su carril porque estás usando las piernas para dirigir, balanceándose y tejido a través de tráfico y en un caso extremo, haciendo acrobacias automovilísticas. cuentas de conducir de manera imprudente el 40% de las personas que murieron en accidentes automovilísticos en la ciudad de Nueva York. Cada vez que maneje en una mansión inseguro que usted o cualquier otro motorista pone en dangerit puede considerarse Conducir de manera imprudente o peligroso. Es muy fácil de ser detenido por conducción temeraria en la ciudad de Nueva York. ¿Cuántas veces nos vemos automovilistas se impaciente porque otra persona está conduciendo demasiado despacio? Ellos viajan alrededor de ellos o saltar rápidamente a otro carril, cortando otra persona fuera. Como Tráfico Fiscal entradas New York,He representado a los automovilistas sobre muchas de estas citaciones.

VTL 1212 Conducir de manera imprudente define como la conducción o el uso de cualquier vehículo de motor, motocicleta o cualquier otro vehículo propulsado por cualquier otra energía distinta de la fuerza muscular o cualquier aparato o accesorio del mismo en forma injustificada pone en peligro a los usuarios de la vía pública. Está prohibido conducir de manera imprudente. Una condena por conducción temeraria en Nueva York es un delito menor. Las multas pueden alcanzar de $ 300. También recibirá 5 puntos en su registro de conducción.

Está dentro de la discreción del oficial de policía si emitir una citación por conducción temeraria o conducción peligrosa.

El oficial emitirá una citación amarillo por conducción peligrosa y la audiencia será en una Oficina Violaciónes de Tráfico NYC. Una condena conlleva dos (2) puntos y una multa mínima de $ 138. Violaciónes de tráfico Oficina escuchará estos casos.

Si recibe una citación de conducción temeraria, el oficial emitirá un billete rosa. La citación es devolverse a Nueva York Citación de piezas. Están ubicados en el 346 de Broadway (Nueva York), 120 Schermerhorn Street (Brooklyn), 125-01 Queens Blvd (Queens), 215 Este de la calle 161 (Bronx) y 26 de la avenida central (Staten Island).

En Nueva York, conducción temeraria es un delito menor y este delito va a ir en su registro. También podría ser posible encarcelamiento; 30 días por la primera ofensa, 90 días para el segundo y 130 para una tercera ofensa.

Desde la conducción peligrosa e imprudente parece ser la misma violación, el billete que recibe es realmente depende de la policía y de la situación. Es importante obedecer las reglas de tráfico siempre que esté detrás del volante. Si usted ha recibido una citación por conducir de manera imprudente o peligroso que es imprescindible que conserve un experimentado Fiscal de Nueva York del tráfico de entradas.  Estos son violaciónes graves y deben ser manejados inmediatamente. Puede ponerse en contacto conmigo por teléfono al 212-227-9008 o por correo electrónico a michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

This Social Media App Could Kill Your Kids

Technology is constantly evolving and new forms of social media are being created every day. Snapchat is the newest and most popular social network; just about everyone has it on their phone or knows someone who actively uses it. It’s a combination of a video and photo app complete with the ability to add and write captions, filters and even a speedometer filter. Users, who are largely made up of teens are living in the super connected age; they never want to miss a thing, so they’re always logged on. This means snapping while in school, out with friends and even in the car. The biggest problem with this app is that users are “snapping” while behind the wheel.

According to Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students against Destructive Driving (SADD) a survey that was taken of 11th and 12th graders across the country proved that teens are using snapchat more than any other form of social media when driving. Out of all other possible digital distractions, Snapchat ranked highest at 38%. There are an alarming number of car accidents and fatalities being caused by users that were snapping while driving. The speedometer filter is also a major factor in users snapping while driving. There have been reports of teens in car accidents who were snapping while their speeds were maxing over 100 MPH.

snap and drive

It’s important that parents have conversations about distracted driving and the consequences of using Snapchat and other social media apps while driving.  With Snapchat’s growing popularity and constant updates making it even more enticing to use whenever and where ever; teens need to know that it’s okay to put the phone down. In New York, lawmakers are pushing for Text and Driving/Distracted Driving tickets to be treated like DWIs. A conviction may result in license suspension. Snapchat’s core users are under the age of 24 and new drivers cannot afford a five point ticket (Improper use of Portable Electronic Device).

Make sure you speak to your children about their phone usage while behind the wheel. Remind them that it is against the law, can cost them (or you the parent) money, points on their record or even worse, their life. If you or someone in your family has received a summons for using an electronic device while driving, please do not hesitate to contact me. Young drivers should not have any infractions on their records, and as an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney I can fight for them. Contact me at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

 

Photo: NY Times 

Reckless Driving or Dangerous Driving in New York City- What it Means To You

Examples of Reckless Driving are swerving out of your lane because you’re using your legs to steer, bobbing and weaving through traffic and in an extreme case, doing car stunts. Reckless Driving accounts for 40% of people killed in car crashes in New York City. Whenever you drive in an unsafe manor that puts you or any other motorist in danger it can be considered Reckless or Dangerous Driving. It’s very easy to be stopped for reckless driving in New York City. How often do we see motorists get impatient because someone else is driving too slowly? They whip around them or quickly jump into another lane, cutting someone else off. As a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney, I’ve represented motorists on many of these summonses.

VTL 1212 defines Reckless Driving as driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any other power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited.  A conviction for Reckless Driving in New York is a misdemeanor. Fines can reach $300. You also will receive 5 points on your driving record.

It is within the Police Officer’s discretion whether to issue a summons for Reckless Driving or Dangerous Driving.  

The officer will issue a yellow summons for Dangerous Driving and the hearing will be at an NYC Traffic Violations Bureau. A conviction carries two (2) points and a minimum fine of $138. Traffic Violations Bureau will hear these cases.

If you receive a Reckless Driving summons, the officer will issue a pink ticket. The summons is returnable to New York City Summons Parts. They are located at 346 Broadway (NYC), 120 Schermerhorn Street (Brooklyn), 125-01 Queens Blvd (Queens), 215 East 161st Street (Bronx) and 26 Central Ave (Staten Island).

In New York, Reckless driving is a misdemeanor and this offense will go on your record. There also could be possible jail time; 30 days for the first offense, 90 days for the second and 130 for a third offense.

Since Dangerous and Reckless Driving appear to be the same violation, the ticket you receive is really dependent on the police officer and the situation. It’s important to obey all traffic rules whenever you’re behind the wheel. If you have received a summons for Reckless or Dangerous Driving it’s imperative that you retain an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney. These are serious violations and should be handled immediately.  You can contact me by phone at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

2 Point Disobey Device and Aggravated Unlicensed Reduced to 0 Point Violation in Rockland County

Another happy client had 2 points dismissed on a disobey traffic device and no criminal charges for aggravated driving unlicensed!

The law defines disobeying a traffic control device as violating any sign, marking, or device (placed by authority) that regulates, warns and guides traffic.  This means that disobeying any marking on the pavement and any traffic signs (such as a STOP or YIELD) are considered a “traffic device” offense.  The fine for disobeying a traffic control device starts at $138 in New York City.

Aggravated Driving Unlicensed carries no points but is considered a misdemeanor criminal offense.  If you are pulled over by a police officer for a traffic violation, such as speeding, and the police officer realizes that your license is suspended or revoked, you can be charged for aggravated driving unlicensed.   In our client’s case, we were able to reduce the misdemeanor to a no-point traffic violation.  As a result, our client has no points and no criminal record!

If you are ticketed for disobeying a traffic device or have an aggravated unlicensed violation, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  A  Disobey Traffic Device lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.  We always work for the best possible outcome.

 We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

5 Point Reckless Driving Ticket in NYC Reduced to 0 Point Violation

Another happy client had a 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation Reduced to a 0 Point Public Health Law Violation in NYC Criminal Court.

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in New York City. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

If you are ticketed for Reckless Driving, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice on Reckless Driving Violations at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  The most important advice we can offer at this moment is to fight the ticket.  Do not simply mail in a payment or pay the DMV online.  This will result in a guilty plea and points on your license which can raise the cost of your insurance.

A reckless driving lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients.  If you are charged with reckless driving, let us help you!  Email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

Bronx Reckless Driving Reduced to 0 Point Violation

Another happy client had a 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation Reduced to a 0 Point Public Health Law Violation in Bronx Criminal Court.

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in the Bronx. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

If you are ticketed for Reckless Driving, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice on Reckless Driving Violations at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  The most important advice we can offer at this moment is to fight the ticket.  Do not simply mail in a payment or pay the DMV online.  This will result in a guilty plea and points on your license which can raise the cost of your insurance.

A reckless driving lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients.  If you are charged with reckless driving, let us help you!  Email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

5 Point Reckless Driving Ticket in Queens Reduced to 0 Points

Another happy client had a 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation dismissed in Queens County Criminal Court.  Our client’s Reckless Driving summons was reduced to a 0 Point Disorderly Conduct Violation.

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in Queens. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

If you are ticketed for Reckless Driving, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice on Reckless Driving Violations at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  The most important advice we can offer at this moment is to fight the ticket.  Do not simply mail in a payment or pay the DMV online.  This will result in a guilty plea and points on your license which can raise the cost of your insurance.

A reckless driving lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients.  If you are charged with reckless driving, let us help you!  Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

A 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation in NYC was Dismissed

A 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation in NYC was dismissed!

Another happy client had a 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation dismissed in NYC Criminal Court.  Our client received a Reckless Driving Summons while Driving Northbound on FDR Drive at East 161st Street.

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in New York City. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

If you are ticketed for Reckless Driving, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice on Reckless Driving Violations at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  The most important advice we can offer at this moment is to fight the ticket.  Do not simply mail in a payment or pay the DMV online.  This will result in a guilty plea and points on your license which can raise the cost of your insurance.

A reckless driving lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients.  If you are charged with reckless driving, let us help you!  Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

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NYC Traffic Tickets: Reckless Driving

Reckless Driving Ticket in New York

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most serious tickets you can receive in New York.  Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle… in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of public highway,” and the court or judge who hears the case.  This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket.  Some examples are: driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

Penalties

Conviction of a reckless driving ticket in New York will result in five (5) points.  Many drivers also fail to realize that a reckless driving charge is actually a misdemeanor offense.  This means that a motorist charged with reckless driving cannot simply plead guilty and pay the fine, but an appearance must be made in criminal court.  If convicted of reckless driving the motorist will then have a criminal record.

Depending on the severity of the offense, you could go to jail for up to 30 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third offense.

It’s important to note that if you accumulate 11 points in 18 months your driving privileges may be suspended.  In addition, if you receive another traffic ticket in conjunction with the one for reckless driving in NY and a total of six (6) or more points would go on your record, you will be required to pay a “Driver Assessment Fee” to the DMV.  That amounts to $300 for six (6) points and an additional $75 for every point above six (6).

Financial Impact

A reckless driving conviction will put 5 points on your driver’s license and will incur a fine of up to $300.  Reckless driving charges can also have a serious impact on your auto insurance premiums.  Insurance companies often view reckless driving convictions as being just as bad as DUI or DWI convictions, and will raise your premiums accordingly.  So, in addition to paying the reckless driving fine and the possibility of the NYS Driver Responsibility Assessment, you could also be forced to pay a lot of extra money just to be able to continue driving. An attorney with experience defending reckless driving charge may be able to help you save your hard earned money instead of handing it over to your insurance company.

By working with an attorney with experience defending reckless driving tickets may keep your driving and criminal record clean.  In addition, a lawyer can also appear in court without you, to defend you against reckless driving charges.  If you have received a reckless driving ticket, or any other traffic ticket, please contact our office at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com to see how we can help you.

*Photo Credit: “up with the sun” By: Nancy> I’m gonna SNAP!/Source: Flickr

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5 Point Reckless Driving Violation in Queens is reduced to a 0 Point Disorderly Contact Violation

5 Point Reckless Driving Violation in Queens is reduced to a 0 Point Disorderly Contact Violation

Another happy client has a 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation reduced to a 0 point Disorderly Conduct violation.

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in Brooklyn. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

If you are ticketed for Reckless Driving, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice on Reckless Driving Violations at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  The most important advice we can offer at this moment is to fight the ticket.  Do not simply mail in a payment or pay the DMV online.  This will result in a guilty plea and points on your license which can raise the cost of your insurance.

A reckless driving lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

 

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients.  If you are charged with reckless driving, let us help you!  Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

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Blood-Alcohol Estimates Questioned In Drunken-Driving Cases, Including In Deadly Long Island Crash

Blood-Alcohol Estimates Questioned In Drunken-Driving Cases, Including In Deadly Long Island Crash

Original Article Featured on CBS

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The way prosecutors see it, Oneil Sharpe Jr. was drunk when he raced down a Long Island highway at nearly 100 mph this summer and slammed into a car carrying a family home from a church gathering, causing a fiery wreck that killed a father and his two children.

Sharpe’s blood-alcohol reading, taken about four hours later, was 0.06 percent — below the legal threshold of 0.08. But he was still charged with drunken driving and vehicular homicide because a forensic technique estimated that his blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash actually was 0.12.

That technique, known as “retrograde extrapolation,” has been used to win convictions nationwide for decades, but has increasingly come under scrutiny by drunken-driving experts as an unreliable measure of a person’s intoxication. Some defense attorneys have even labeled it junk science.

“Government lawyers and puppet scientists know retrograde extrapolation is hogwash and will say so when it benefits them, but mostly they pretend otherwise because it is useful in gaining convictions,” said D. Timothy Huey, a Columbus, Ohio, attorney specializing in drunken-driving cases.

“Retrograde extrapolation is about as scientifically reliable as astrology,” added Jonathan Manley, a former prosecutor who is representing Sharpe in the Long Island crash. “It relies on the assumption that a person’s blood-alcohol content peaked prior to the arrest without any basis to prove that.”

Sharpe pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, leaving the scene and driving while intoxicated. He also is charged with having 23 fraudulent credit cards in his vehicle.

While there are no national statistics to document the use of retrograde extrapolation, prosecutors in many states, including New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado and Illinois, have offered evidence of estimated intoxication levels at trial. But courts in some other states have severely restricted its use, requiring prosecutors to use only the blood-alcohol readings taken at the time of a person’s arrest.

“The general rule in virtually every state is that it is up to a jury to decide its relevance,” said attorney Patrick Barone, who has written a textbook titled “Defending Drinking Drivers” and teaches a class at Western Michigan University’s law school that includes a two-hour lecture on retrograde extrapolation.

“I challenge it every time it comes up,” Barone said. “Juries are too frequently bedazzled by science because science as a whole is not well understood or taught.”

In the Long Island case this summer on the Southern State Parkway, the 24-year-old Sharpe wasn’t tested immediately, because a friend allegedly whisked him away from the scene. Prosecutors believe Sharpe fled because he knew he was drunk, and they bolstered their case by releasing a cellphone video purportedly showing him tossing a bottle of tequila into the woods after the crash.

Prosecutors who have used retrograde extrapolation swear by it as a proven technique that doesn’t reward drunken-driving suspects for fleeing the scene and avoiding immediate blood-alcohol testing.

“It’s been standard procedure for many years in many states across the country,” said Beadle County, South Dakota, State’s Attorney Michael Moore, a past president of the National District Attorneys Association. “It’s been proven to be reliable and upheld by courts all across the country.”

It was most famously, if not successfully, used after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989, when Capt. Joseph Hazelwood was given a blood test 10 1/2 hours after the grounding and recorded a 0.06. A toxicologist estimated his reading at the time of the accident was 0.14.

Hazelwood was ultimately convicted of negligent discharge of oil and fined $50,000, but was cleared of charges of being drunk.

Experts say the intoxicating effects of alcohol are not experienced until it is absorbed into the bloodstream. After a person stops drinking, the blood-alcohol level peaks when the most alcohol has been absorbed and the least amount of alcohol has been eliminated.

Defense attorneys argue alcohol absorption and elimination rates vary widely depending on a person’s gender, drinking habits, the type of beverage, what a person ate and how much, and whether a person had experienced trauma, which sometimes slows the rate.

Leonard R. Stamm, a Maryland attorney and dean of the National College for DUI Defense, said prosecutors should avoid retrograde extrapolation “unless they’re able to line up every conceivable factor, and I don’t know that they’re ever able to do that.”

Mary Catherine McMurray, a forensic expert who once worked for the Wisconsin state patrol, says she has seen increased use of retrograde extrapolation in the past five years, but cautions “the further away from a person’s last drink, the less useful retrograde is, and prosecutors usually have to take the word of the person on when that last drink occurred.”

“It’s hard for me to call it junk science, because it’s got merits,” she said, “but I understand why people say it is junk science.”

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

Reckless Driving in Bronx Criminal Court

Another happy client has had 5 points dismissed for reckless driving in Bronx!  Our client went from 5 points to 0 points.  Reckless driving tickets require appearance in criminal court.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are thrilled about these results.  Let us help you!  Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets anywhere in New York: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island and many more!

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Long Island Traffic Lawyer - Distracted Driving can be Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Everyone knows that driving while intoxicated is one of the most dangerous things a person could do, but what about driving while you have to go to the bathroom? Or driving while daydreaming? Numerous studies have been conducted that show how some of these other activities can be just as dangerous as drunk driving:

Drowsiness and Congestion

Sleeping while drowsy can be brought on by either not having enough sleep or taking medication such as sleeping pills or muscle relaxers before you drive. The TV show Mythbusters conducted a test that showed driving after being awake for 30 hours to be 10 times as dangerous as driving after having 2 drinks. Studies have also shown that teenagers are less likely to pull over and take a nap if they are feeling tired than adults. As far as medication is concerned, many drivers don’t realize that driving after taking a sleeping pill or other medication that causes drowsiness could lead to them being arrested for DUI – Driving Under the Influence. The FDA mandates that warnings be put on all bottles that contain sleeping pills to let drivers know the danger they face if they get in the car after taking the pills. Many times, drivers will take non-drowsy cough or cold medicine to get through the day – but a recent study found that motorists who drive with the flu or a bad head cold have their reaction time cut in half, which is about the same as those who drank 4 shots of double whiskey. Even more disturbing though is that almost half of all drivers have driven while sick.

Cell Phones

Research has shown that texting while driving can be twice as dangerous as drunk driving. Other studies report that texting while driving can be four to six times as distracting as drunk driving. A texting ticket in New York carries 5 points, which is one of the highest point tickets you can receive in New York. However, it does not carry a criminal charge like DWI or DUI. And while it is still legal to speak on a hands-free phone while driving, studies tend to agree that talking on the phone, whether hands-free or not, is still an extremely dangerous practice. A University of Utah study found that drivers with a .08 BAL actually drove better than those who were on a phone. In fact, during the course of the study, three drivers who were using hands-free phones actually crashed into their pace cars. The issue may not be so much about what is in your hands, but rather what is on your mind.

Road Rage and Arguments

Driving while angry increases the chances of speeding, weaving and out of lanes, tailgating, and engaging in other aggressive driving behaviors. All of these things combined have killed anywhere from two to four times as many people as drunk driving. Road rage can cause drivers to act in ways they normally wouldn’t and can cause many problems on the road. While road rage is directed at drivers in other cars, arguments with people inside your car can be just as dangerous. Whether it’s on the phone or with your spouse sitting next to you, these arguments can lead to unsafe speeds and delayed reactions. A study in England found that drivers arguing with their spouse over the phone fared slightly better than those who were arguing in person, with the thought being that it is easier to ignore your spouse over the phone. Nonetheless, just like road rage, arguing with a spouse leads to distracted driving, which in turn can lead to auto fatalities.

Other Distractions

The next time you are on a long road trip, you may want to take advantage of rest areas to relieve yourself. A recent study had volunteers drink many glasses of water and then take basic cognitive tests – without being allowed to use the restroom. The results showed that people who have to use the bathroom performed just as poorly as those with a .05 Blood Alcohol Level, or 2 ½ drinks. Researchers determined that this was a form of distracted driving, since your mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Another thing common to long road trips – or even heavy traffic on your commute – is daydreaming. An analysis of distracted driving fatalities that occurred over a 2-year period – roughly 6,500 – showed that 62% involved daydreaming. This percentage is even higher than texting or talking on a cell phone.

On a side note

This may seem like common sense, but you probably should not drive if you have been smoking marijuana. Legal marijuana use is growing in the United States, whether it’s through state-legalization efforts or medical use and proponents say that driving under the influence of marijuana is relatively safe. This is because drivers who smoke marijuana tend to drive slower and pass field sobriety tests. However, the fact still remains that marijuana causes a delay in reaction time for drivers, which is extremely dangerous since drivers are required to make split-second decisions while on the road. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that marijuana use was present in 10% of all auto fatalities over the past decade. Police officers can charge drivers who are under the effects of marijuana with DUI, which is a criminal charge.

All of the actions listed above are forms of distracted driving – a practice so bad that there is a month (April) known as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Even so, all throughout the year police officers often engage in week or month-long crackdowns to combat distracted driving. Reaction times are cut, sometimes in half, which can lead to rear end accidents, running stop signs or stop lights, or driving at unsafe speeds.

If you receive a speeding ticket, cell phone ticket, or are arrested for DWI or DUI, please contact us immediately so we can begin working on your case and help you achieve the best outcome possible.

Long Island Traffic Lawyer: Rules for the Roadways and the Waterways

It’s that time of year again where people start getting their boats ready to go out on the water. Summer is a fun time of the year, and one of the best ways to spend it is out on the water. But a lot of people think that taking a boat out on the water will subject them to less rules than when they take a car out on the road – this is wrong! Many of the same rules apply on the waterways that apply on the roadways, including speeding laws, unlicensed operation laws, drug and alcohol laws, and reckless operation laws.

Speeding
Everyone thinks of speed limits on roads and highways, but did you know that speeding laws can be even stricter on the water? For example, no wake zones impose a 5 mph speed limit on all boats – these usually are in place in areas such as canals where the passageway is narrow and the wake caused by boats can send other boats careening into the walls. The 5 mph speed limit also applies to 100-200ft off the shore, docks, pier, rafts, floats, and anchored boats. There are also 45 mph and 25 mph speed limits in Long Island waters for the daytime and nighttime. Some local municipalities have their own speed limits and if there are no speed limits posted, boaters must operate in a manner that does not endanger other boaters. Boaters are also responsible for any damage caused by their wakes. Just like on the roads and highways, boaters can receive speeding tickets from the Coast Guard or Bay Constables if they violate the speeding laws.

Unlicensed Operation
On Long Island, drivers must possess a driver’s license or a permit in order to operate an automobile. The rule is almost the same on Long Island for boats: all individuals born after 5/1/1996 must successfully complete an approved course in boater education in order to operate a boat. After completing the safety course, boaters will receive a boating safety certificate that they must have anytime they operate a boat. New York has made this a little bit easier on boaters as they can now have the safety certificate displayed on their driver’s license or state issued ID as an anchor icon. If convicted of operating a boat without a safety certificate, boaters can be fined anywhere from $100 to $250 for the first offense and, while not likely, can face jail time of no more than 7 days. The fines and penalties increase for subsequent offenses. Driving a motor vehicle on Long Island without a license can result in a misdemeanor charge if convicted and can also bring about heavy fines and penalties.

DWI / BWI
Just the same as DWI laws, Long Island has BWI laws – Boating While Intoxicated. Most of the same rules apply to BWI as DWI – boaters cannot have a Blood Alcohol Level higher than .08, and if convicted, boaters can be subject to heavy fines, penalties, and even the possibility of jail time. A person can also lose their boat operating privileges if convicted of BWI, though they will not lose their driving privileges. Marine officers making a BWI stop often use the same tactics and equipment to make as they would in a DWI stop, including a field sobriety test and a chemical test. If a boater refuses a chemical test, their boating privileges can be immediately suspended pending a hearing regarding the refusal. This is the same thing for drivers, as they must attend a Refusal Hearing if they do not submit to a chemical test administered by a police officer. New York has an “Implied Consent” law, which means that drivers and boaters alike give up their right to refuse a chemical test by getting behind the wheel of a car or a boat. BWI convictions range from misdemeanors to felonies for repeat offenders and could end up costing thousands of dollars in fines and fees.

Reckless Operation
A reckless driving conviction on Long Island can have a huge, negative impact. Besides heavy fines, a penalty of 5 points on your license, and the possibility of losing your driver’s license, a reckless driving conviction will also give you a criminal record because it is a misdemeanor offense. The same is true for the boating equivalent – reckless operation. Reckless operation covers a lot of different boating violations, including speeding in a crowded area, operating too close to swimmers or dams, overloading a boat, riding the wake in a dangerous area, and disrupting regattas or parades. Just like in a motor vehicle, reckless operation can have dangerous consequences for boaters and their passengers, so please obey all rules of the water.

Boating and driving may seem like two very different activities, but they share a lot of similarities when it comes to the types of offenses that can lead to heavy fines, suspended licenses, and even possibly criminal charges.

Long Island Man Charged with DWI, Reckless Driving

A Long Island man is in custody for driving drunk and hitting a man pushing his grandson in a stroller this past weekend. Both the grandfather and his grandson suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital. Police charged the driver with DWI, reckless driving, and failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian, as well as two counts of assault. The driver’s blood alcohol level was .08, which is the state standard for intoxication.

DWI and reckless driving are both misdemeanor offenses, and if convicted the driver will have these on his criminal record. In addition, reckless driving is a 5 point ticket, while the failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian ticket carries can add 3 points to a driver’s license. A DWI conviction can lead to numerous fines and penalties, as well as extra payment in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment.

If you are arrested for DWI or receive traffic tickets on Long Island, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

Lawsuit Accuses Uber of Promoting Reckless Driving and Breaking NY Cell Phone Laws

A lawsuit brought against Uber by XYZ Two Way Radio Services and Elite Limousine Plus claims that the company’s drivers are a “pack of predatory drivers racing to win fares with their eyes on their phones instead of the road.” This is in reference to the fact that Uber fares are accepted via the smartphone app and also that the company urges drivers to communicate with each other by texting or calling. Since Uber drivers only have 15 seconds to accept a fare in their area before it goes to another driver, the lawsuit states that the drivers must be accepting fares on their phones while driving, which is in direct defiance of New York’s cell phone laws. The plaintiff’s attorney also claims that “Uber’s business model unleashes in this city thousands of drivers encouraged to engage in conduct that is not only unsafe, but unlawful.”

Reckless driving tickets and cell phone tickets both carry 5 points in New York in addition to heavy fines, and reckless driving is also a criminal charge. If you are a driver in New York and receive a reckless driving ticket, a cell phone ticket, or any other traffic ticket, please contact us at 212-227-9008 or michaelblock.law@gmail.com to see how we may help you.

Brooklyn Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Consequences of Reckless Driving

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in Brooklyn. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

Penalties
A reckless driving ticket in Brooklyn carries a penalty of 5 points, which is one of the highest point tickets in New York. But many people also do not realize that a reckless driving charge in Brooklyn is actually a misdemeanor offense. This means that a motorist charged with reckless driving cannot simply plead guilty and pay the fine, but an appearance must be made in criminal court. If convicted of reckless driving, the motorist will then have a criminal record.

The penalties for reckless driving in Brooklyn are $100 to $300 for the first offense, and while not likely, jail time is also a remote possibility. A Brooklyn traffic ticket lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action concerning your reckless driving ticket. The attorney may also be able to save you points in this charge.

Financial Impact
A reckless driving charge in Brooklyn can also have a severe impact on your auto insurance premiums. Insurance companies often view reckless driving convictions as being just as bad as DUI or DWI convictions, and will raise your premiums accordingly. So, in addition to the paying the reckless driving fine and the possibility of the NYS Driver Responsibility Assessment, you could also be forced to pay a lot of extra money over the years just to be able to keep driving. A Brooklyn traffic lawyer may be able to help you save your hard earned money instead of handing it over to your insurance company.

By working with a Brooklyn traffic ticket lawyer, you may be able to avoid the consequences of a reckless driving ticket and keep your driving and criminal record clean. In addition, a Brooklyn traffic lawyer can also usually appear in court without you to defend against reckless driving charges. If you have received a reckless driving ticket, or any other traffic ticket, please contact our office at 212-227-9008 to see how we can help you.

Two Drunk Drivers Charged After Long Island Traffic Accident

Two drivers have been charged with DWI in Long Island after they were involved in a collision this weekend. Both drivers are accused of operating their vehicles while intoxicated, while the driver who supposedly caused the crash is also charged with first degree vehicular assault and reckless driving, both of which are criminal offenses. A DWI charge can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license as well as heavy fines and surcharges, while a reckless driving charge carries 5 points in addition to a heavy fine. Incarceration is also always a possibility for either of these offenses. If you have been charged with DWI or reckless driving in Long Island, please contact our office at 212-227-9008 to find out how we can help you.