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3 Defenses Against Drug Possession Charges in New York

3 Defenses Against Drug Possession Charges in New YorkSome people assume the penalties for drug possession in New York aren’t that severe because it’s such a common offense. But depending on the type of substance allegedly found in your possession and the amount, a conviction could have life-changing consequences including thousands of dollars in fines, incarceration, drug testing, probation, and electronic monitoring.

Fortunately, just because you’re facing charges doesn’t mean a conviction is inevitable. Depending on the facts surrounding your arrest, there may be a defense that leads to reduced charges or penalties or the outright dismissal of your case.

To discuss the defense strategies that apply to your situation, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group for a free consultation. Our team of experts can investigate your arrest to identify any procedural errors made by law enforcement that might contribute to your defense. Call 716-855-3761 to speak with a criminal attorney in New York today.

Read on to learn about a few possible defenses against drug possession charges:

1. Illegal Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unlawful searches and seizures. That means police officers cannot search you without a warrant or probable cause.

Let’s assume, for example, that your vehicle was pulled over and the officer searched it without probable cause or a warrant. Any evidence gathered during this unlawful search—including illegal drugs—cannot be used against you in court, so your drug possession charges would most likely be dismissed.

2. Dominion and Control

If the drugs were not actually on your person at the time of arrest, the prosecutor must prove dominion and control instead, which means you had control over the area where the substance was found. The prosecutor must prove that you had both the knowledge and ability to exercise control over the person or property from whom the drugs were seized. Therefore, proving that you were unaware of the substance on your property may be a viable defense depending on the circumstances. This defense may apply if you were hosting a guest who was in possession of illegal drugs or if your roommate brought drugs into your home and police found them during a search.

 3. Medical Marijuana Exception

This defense only applies to charges for the possession of marijuana. People with qualifying conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and HIV, are allowed to carry a 30-day supply of marijuana; however, they are not allowed to use marijuana in public, and they must carry their registry ID card when they possess it.

Call 716-855-3761 to Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New York

If you are facing charges for drug possession, turn to a criminal defense attorney at LoTempio P.C. Law Group. With more than 200 years of combined experience, our lawyers have the knowledge and legal strategies to help you fight for the best possible outcome for your case. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with one of our strategic New York criminal defense lawyers.


5 Most Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in New York

5 Most Common Examples of Medical Malpractice in New YorkEvery time you visit a hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, or urgent care center, you are essentially putting your life in someone else’s hands. Unfortunately, healthcare providers are only human, and they make mistakes just like everyone else.

From 2006 to 2016, New York was one of the top four states in terms of the number of medical malpractice payments, according to Hofstra University. Some of the most common forms of medical negligence include misdiagnoses, medication errors, surgical and anesthesia errors, labor and delivery errors, and failure to administer appropriate treatment.

If you or a member of your family received substandard care in a medical facility, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group to discuss your case. You may be entitled to compensation for healthcare expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call 716-855-3761 to schedule a free case evaluation with a medical malpractice lawyer in New York.

Read on to learn about some of the most common types of medical negligence:

1. Misdiagnoses

Misdiagnoses typically occur when a doctor confuses a patient’s symptoms with another condition, fails to identify certain symptoms, or misinterprets the results of diagnostic tests. When this happens, the patient’s actual condition can progress as it goes untreated, and the patient may be subjected to a potentially harmful treatment for an injury or illness that he or she does not have.

 2. Medication Errors

Medication errors can occur at any stage of drug administration. The prescribing doctor might write down the wrong medication name, a pharmacist could dispense the wrong drug, or a nurse might administer the wrong dosage. All of these errors have the potential to cause life-threatening complications under certain circumstances.

 3. Surgical/Anesthesia Errors

Patients assume certain risks every time they undergo a surgical procedure, but when a surgeon or anesthesiologist makes a mistake that would have been avoided if they had used accepted standards of care, the patient may have the right to sue for damages. Common examples of surgical negligence include:

  • Failing to monitor a patient’s vitals;
  • Puncturing organs;
  • Damaging nerves;
  • Leaving foreign objects inside a patient’s body;
  • Operating on the wrong site; and
  • Failing to provide adequate aftercare for preventing infections.

 4. Labor/Delivery Complications

Errors during labor and delivery are especially tragic because they can threaten the lives of both the mother and baby. Common examples of labor and delivery errors include:

  • Failing to control blood loss during delivery;
  • Failing to monitor the infant’s oxygen intake;
  • Failing to detect physical or mental impairments during pregnancy; and
  • Failure to perform a C-section during certain medical emergencies.

 5. Failure to Treat

If a physician fails to treat an injury or illness when obvious symptoms are present, the patient’s condition can progress to a point where a more invasive or harmful treatment is needed. In some cases, a failure to diagnose can be fatal or lead to a permanent disability. Discharging a patient too soon and failing to provide adequate follow-up care are examples of failure to treat.

Discuss Your Case with a Medical Malpractice Attorney in New York

If you or someone you love was a victim of medical negligence, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group. Our legal team will handle all the logistics of your case so you can focus on recovering. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in New York.

What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in New York?

What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in New York?As of July 2018, all but four states have legalized the use of marijuana in some form. In most states, marijuana is only legal for medicinal use or in the form of cannabidiol oil for medical research; however, nine states have legalized the drug for recreational purposes.

Unfortunately, New York is not one of them.

The state legalized medicinal marijuana in 2016, but the drug remains illegal for recreational purposes. That means those who are caught cultivating, trafficking, selling, or possessing it could face serious penalties.

If you were charged with marijuana possession in New York, your freedom and financial security could be at stake. To determine the most strategic way to proceed, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group.

Our attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience practicing law. Call 716-855-3761 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of New York’s leading criminal defense law firms.

Read on to learn about the penalties for marijuana possession in New York:

1. Fines

The fines for marijuana possession in New York range from $100 to $15,000. The potential fine you are facing depends on the amount of marijuana you were allegedly in possession of, whether you have any prior convictions, and several other factors. For example, a first-time offender who is found in possession of less than 25 grams can be fined up to $100, but someone who is arrested with more than 10 pounds of marijuana faces up to $15,000 in fines.

2. Incarceration

Third-time offenders and those who are found with more than 25 grams of marijuana in their possession face potential incarceration. Sentencing can range from 15 days to 15 years depending on the amount of marijuana involved.

A third-time offender who has less than 25 grams in his or her possession faces 15 days in jail. Possessing marijuana in public view is a misdemeanor that comes with a potential 90 days’ incarceration. A person who is found with more than 10 pounds of marijuana faces up to 15 years in prison.

3. Other Penalties

In addition to fines and incarceration, people who are convicted of marijuana possession in New York may be ordered to undergo mandatory drug testing, attend drug awareness classes, report to a probation officer, and submit to electronic monitoring, depending on the severity of their charges and whether they have prior convictions.

Call 716-855-3761 to Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney in New York

If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession, turn to LoTempio P.C. Law Group. Our criminal defense lawyers will evaluate the circumstances of your arrest, as well as the strength of any evidence the prosecutor has against you, to determine the most strategic way to represent your interests.

Our legal team has a track record of success in criminal cases ranging from DWI to violent crimes. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in New York.

4 Reasons to Hire a Skilled Medical Malpractice Attorney

4 Reasons to Hire a Skilled Medical Malpractice AttorneyIt’s reasonable to expect quality and attentive care whenever you visit a doctor or another medical professional. Whether you’re going in for a simple exam or a complicated surgical procedure, your physician has an obligation first to do no harm, which means you should never leave the facility in worse condition than when you arrived.

Unfortunately, not all patients receive the care they deserve. In fact, medical malpractice is far more common than most people realize—and the consequences can be costly. According to CBS News, the average malpractice payout was more than $350,000 between 2009 and 2014.

If you were the victim of medical malpractice and want to pursue the compensation you deserve, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group. We will evaluate your case for free and help you determine the most strategic way to proceed. Call 716-855-3761 to schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney in New York.

Let’s explore a few reasons why you should hire a skilled medical malpractice lawyer:

1. To Level the Playing Field

Damages in medical malpractice cases often amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars—or more. With so much at stake, you can be sure the opposing party’s insurance provider will look for every reason to dispute fault. And if they can’t deny their policyholder’s liability, they will attempt to settle for the lowest possible payout.

Unfortunately, that means insurance adjusters are not above using devious tactics to convince claimants to settle for less than they deserve. Since medical malpractice attorneys also happen to be seasoned negotiators, hiring one will essentially level the playing field. A strategic lawyer will not let the insurance adjuster bully or intimidate you into accepting an unfair settlement.

 2. To Focus on Your Health

Building a strong malpractice claim is a lot of work. Even in cases when liability seems obvious, there is a considerable amount of evidence to gather and paperwork to file. By hiring an attorney, you can focus on recovering while your case proceeds in good hands.

 3. To Gain Access to Valuable Resources

When you hire a medical malpractice lawyer, you gain access to all kinds of legal resources that can contribute to the strength of your claim. Such resources might include medical experts, economists, and even surgery reconstruction animators.

4. To Prepare for Trial

Most medical malpractice claims are resolved before reaching court; however, since there is always a chance your case could go to trial, it is wise to prepare for such an outcome from day one. Even if a settlement is the expected result, a proactive attorney will prepare your claim for court—and let the opposing party know you’re not afraid to go to trial.

Discuss Your Case with a Medical Malpractice Attorney in New York

If you want to sue a negligent healthcare provider, turn to LoTempio P.C. Law Group. Our legal team is committed to helping those who have been wronged put their lives back together. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice lawyers in New York.

What Damages Are Recoverable in New York Personal Injury Cases?

What Damages Are Recoverable in New York Personal Injury Cases?If you’re like most adults in the U.S., missing a single week of work would cause you to fall behind on essential bills. According to CBS News, nearly 80 percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck.

That means if you develop an unanticipated illness or injury, your financial security could be in jeopardy even if you have adequate health insurance. A serious injury can cost a small fortune in lost wages, home care, and other expenses.

If another party was at fault for your accident, though, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages by filing a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, the path to a fair settlement is riddled with legal hurdles, and one small mistake could be all it takes to derail your case.

This is where a New York personal injury attorney can help.

At LoTempio P.C. Law Group, we understand what’s at stake for you and your family. Our accident lawyers will help you navigate every step of the claims process and fight for the full compensation you deserve. Call 716-855-3761 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Read on to learn about the kinds of damages that may be available in New York personal injury claims:

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to make the injured party “whole” again. In other words, they compensate the claimant for losses incurred as a result of the incident.

There are two kinds of compensatory damages: general and special. General damages are non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and lost opportunity.

Special damages, on the other hand, are objectively verifiable losses. They refer to the economic costs incurred as a result of the accident such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Home care;
  • Rehabilitation;
  • Medical equipment;
  • Home modifications;
  • Accessible vehicles and/or transportation;
  • Domestic help and/or childcare;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of earning capacity; and
  • Property damage.

Punitive Damages

Although most personal injury cases do not warrant punitive damages, they may be awarded if the liable party’s behavior was particularly egregious. In the state of New York, plaintiffs may be able to obtain punitive damages if the defendant’s actions constituted:

  • Willful negligence;
  • Wanton recklessness;
  • Maliciousness;
  • A high degree of immorality;
  • A conscious disregard for the safety, health, or rights of others; or
  • Fraudulent or dishonest intentions that implied a criminal indifference to civil obligations.

Call 716-855-3761 to Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney in New York

If you were hurt because of another party’s negligence and you would like to know which types of damages to pursue, contact the personal injury attorneys at LoTempio P.C. Law Group. Our legal team has more than 200 years of combined experience practicing law. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a New York personal injury lawyer.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in New York?

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in New York?It’s perfectly normal to argue with your partner from time to time. No two people can expect to agree on everything, so the occasional quarrel doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed. But if your partner accuses you of domestic violence (DV), it will threaten a lot more than your relationship.

The state of New York imposes harsh penalties for assault, menacing, stalking, or strangulation within the confines of a domestic relationship; however, just because you are facing DV-related charges does not mean a conviction is imminent.

If you were merely acting in self-defense, for example, a New York criminal defense lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove as much. And if the incident did not occur at all—sadly, false DV accusations are relatively common, especially during contentious custody battles—your attorney may be able to clear your name.

Regardless of the circumstances, you can determine the most strategic way to proceed by contacting LoTempio P.C. Law Group. Our criminal defense attorneys have helped thousands of clients throughout New York fight serious charges. Call 716-855-3761 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Let’s examine how the state of New York defines domestic violence:

Coercive Tactics That Attempt to Control a Partner

According to the New York State Unified Court System, domestic violence is a pattern of intimidating or bullying tactics that an adult uses against an intimate partner to establish or maintain control over him or her. People often associate DV with physical altercations, but coercive tactics also include abuse that is psychological, emotional, sexual, or financial in nature.

A single incident can be considered DV, or a longtime pattern of controlling behavior can constitute domestic violence. The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence lists some of the most common ways someone might try to maintain power and control over his or her partner, which include:

  • Isolation: An abuser might stop the victim from seeing or maintaining a close relationship with friends and loved ones;
  • Intimidation: Regardless of whether abusers actually resort to physical violence, they often incite fear in the victim that they might;
  • Manipulation: If children are involved, abusers might try to turn them against the victim. They may also undermine the victim in front of them or threaten to take them away; and
  • Physical/Sexual Abuse: Many domestic violence-related cases involve physical or sexual abuse because these tend to be the easiest kinds of abuse to prove. They often leave tangible evidence like bruising and other wounds. Penalties for a conviction of either can be severe.

Discuss Your Case with a Criminal Defense Attorney in New York

If you are facing criminal charges related to domestic violence, there’s a lot at stake. An attorney from LoTempio P.C. Law Group will evaluate your situation from all angles to determine the best approach for achieving the most favorable outcome possible. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned criminal defense lawyers in New York.

The textalyzer: valuable deterrent or invasion of privacy?

You undoubtedly know what a Breathalyzer is – an electronic device that law-enforcement agencies use to measure blood-alcohol content.

But have you heard about the textalyzer? It’s a new technology that determines how and when a person has been using his or her smartphone. A company called Cellebrite is developing the technology.

The textalyzer is a tablet-sized device that plugs in to your phone. The textalyzer’s developers say it can reveal how a person was using his or her phone, including taps, swipes and the use of apps. The textalyzer is a tool that law enforcement could use to discover if drivers have been texting while driving.

In July, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to research the textalyzer and come back with recommendations for its use. Cuomo also asked the committee to examine any privacy issues that the device could raise.

Legislation is in progress

Cuomo’s request isn’t the first government action that’s been taken in New York regarding the textalyzer.

In 2016, a bill was introduced in the New York legislature that would force drivers involved in accidents to have their phones tested by a textalyzer. The testing would determine if drivers were using their phones before a crash.

The bill has been called “Evan’s Law,” in memory of Evan Lieberman, a 19-year-old who was killed in New York by a distracted driver. The bill has remained in committee, according to the New York State Senate’s website.

Is the textalyzer a good thing?  

The textalyzer is creating debate: is the device an invaluable deterrent, an invasion of privacy or both?

Privacy advocates, like the American Civil Liberties Union, argue that police should need a warrant to test a phone; they say there’s no guarantee that police could not extract any or all the information on your phone.

What happens next?

With the governor’s committee studying the textalyzer, it seems likely that a positive recommendation could help “Evan’s Law” make progress toward becoming a real law.

Lawmakers in New Jersey, Tennessee and Chicago also are trying to make it legal for police to use the textalyzer. Texting and driving is banned in every state, except for Arizona and Montana. There’s a partial ban in Missouri.

I’ve been injured: What should I do now?

Suffering a personal injury is difficult not only because of physical pain, but because of the often-complicated legal process that may follow. The moments immediately following a personal injury are often full of adrenaline, pain and confusion. The days, weeks and months following the injury may be spent navigating a complex legal system in order to receive compensation for your injury.

If you have sustained a personal injury, you may be wondering what you should do next. What follows is a summary of the most important steps to take after a personal injury.

Seek medical attention

Your immediate concern should be your health. Following a personal injury, see a doctor immediately. Sometimes the symptoms of an injury are not immediately apparent. Even if this is the case, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Gather evidence

Gather as much evidence of the accident as you can. Suffering an injury can be jarring, but try to remain clear-headed and document the scene by writing down everything that happened and taking pictures of the area.

Get information

Get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. These witnesses could be crucial to your case. If applicable, get the contact information of the property owner, as well.

File your suit

There is no time limit to filing a lawsuit against a private individual, but there may be a time limit on whether you can collect compensation for your injury. If you are filing a suit against a government entity, there is usually a statute of limitations on how soon you may file a claim. Therefore, you should file your suit as quickly as possible. Consult a personal injury lawyer who can assist you in collecting compensation for a personal injury.

5 tips for working out child custody agreements

When parents work together to come up with a child custody agreement, they consider the child’s desires and needs. One way that parents come to the terms of the agreement is through child custody mediation. This process lets the parents work with a third-party mediator to come up with an agreement. The court must approve the agreement after the parents sign it. Consider these tips when you are going through child custody mediation.

#1: Keep your child first

Your child must be at the heart of the negotiations. You must think about what your child needs and wants. This includes coming up with a schedule that enables your child to see both parents on a regular basis. If you and your ex can’t work together, you can always have the court step in to decide what is best.

#2: Don’t bring other matters into the negotiations

Don’t use child custody mediation as a time to get back at your ex for things that happened during the marriage or divorce. Instead, the child custody mediation must focus strictly on your child and providing the opportunity to create and maintain meaningful relationships with both parents.

#3: Be willing to think outside of the box

Part of the reason child custody mediation works is because of negotiations. You should be willing to go through some give and take during the process. Make a list of points you are willing to remain flexible on and those that you won’t negotiate at all. This is a starting point for the process, and you can refer to the list during the negotiations.

#4: Plan for vacations and holidays

Vacations and holidays often require a unique schedule. Be sure that you cover these terms in the child custody negotiations. This can save you time and effort later when you need to figure out who is going to spend holidays with your child or where your child will spend summer vacation.

#5: Decide who will make decisions

Decision making power is another area that you have to consider. Typically, you need to decide if you, your ex or both parents are going to make decisions about health care, education and religious matters. Each category can have a different arrangement. Be sure to include how emergency decisions should be handled. For example, if you have decision-making power for health care, you may need to note that if an emergency occurs, your ex can make the decision.

Family Law Archives Divorce and the family home

If you are a Buffalo resident who is contemplating a divorce, one of the biggest issues after custody arrangements of any minor children are resolved is what will happen to the marital home.

Determining which spouse will get the home or whether it needs to be sold outright is usually a decision that is fraught with emotion. No matter how acrimonious the divorce may be, it can be very hard for divorcing spouses to walk away from the home where a lifetime of memories was made.

Minor children and the family home

Some family court judges award the use of the marital home to the parent who has primary custody of the minor children. This is done to preserve continuity in the kids’ lives and reduce the number of disruptions they will endure resulting from the divorce.

Later, once the children have grown up, the courts can rule that the property will then be sold and the proceeds from the sale split between the former spouses.

Gray divorces and the house dilemma

When no minor children are involved and the divorcing spouses are middle-aged or older, different factors come into play regarding the family home. It’s important not to let emotions overrule sound thinking, as holding onto the home can be impractical and a financial liability.

Below are some important factors which must be considered.

  • Can either of the spouses afford the mortgage, property taxes and maintenance costs of the upkeep of the home on a single salary?
  • Are either or both physically able to handle the tasks of a homeowner by themselves. Buffalo winters are brutal, with plenty of snow that needs to be shoveled and storm windows to install and remove twice a year.
  • Is the house a money pit? Will all your discretionary funds be devoted to patching the roof and fixing plumbing leaks?

Facing the future post-divorce

Both parties have to be realistic about what they can physically and financially manage after the divorce. Be frank with your family law attorney about your concerns moving forward after the divorce is finalized. Have him or her explore all of the options you have available to you, such as giving up your share of the family home in exchange for a larger share of the retirement accounts.

Keep an eye on the housing markets

In recent years there has been a great deal of fluctuation in the housing market across the nation. If the two of you decide to sell the house and split the proceeds, make sure the timing is right. Don’t list the property when it’s clearly a buyer’s market. That might mean sprucing it up to rent for awhile until the time is right to sell.

Whatever your final decision is, make sure that your attorney has fully explained the pros and cons of all your options so that you are able to make the best decision for your particular situation.

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