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Holiday parties may have adult beverages. Drink responsibly.

It is the time of year when many New York residents have busy holiday schedules. While your work schedule may seem a bit more hectic as you try to reach end-of-year deadlines, you may also have a full social calendar. Work-related functions, get-togethers with friends, and family gatherings may all be on your list of events.

Undoubtedly, you look forward to this time of year and the social interactions that you have. You may be able to get together with friends and family that you have not seen in a while, and even the office party may not be that bad. Plus, you may be able to see some people loosen up after a drink or two.

What does it mean to face charges of disorderly conduct?

It is football season, and many people in New York take the sport seriously. They attend tailgating parties and games regularly, and sometimes, they get a bit out of control. When that happens, they could end up facing charges for disorderly conduct.

Like many other states, New York's disorderly conduct law encompasses a variety of behaviors. It serves much as a "catch all" when no other charge really fits the situation. For instance, an individual could face such a charge if he or she gets into a fight, threatens someone or is otherwise engages violent behavior that does not quite fit any other charge. It could also serve as an additional charge in those cases if the police accuse the individual of assault and/or battery.

Keep traffic tickets from adding points to your driver's license

Like other states, having a driver's license is considered a privilege by the state of New York. A driver makes certain agreements with the state when getting one, the least of which is following all the rules of the road. Failing to do so could result in traffic tickets, and points are added to a driver's license for most moving violations.

If a motorist reaches 11 or more points within a certain amount of time, his or her driver's license could be suspended. For this reason, it is a good idea not to simply pay a traffic ticket. For some violations, it is possible to participate in New York's Point and Insurance Reduction Program -- better known as a motor vehicle accident prevention course or defensive driving course.

Traffic tickets could cost more than fines and points

Most people here in Amherst and elsewhere tend not to follow the rules of the road all the time. Some people speed, some roll through stop signs and some push the limit when it comes to getting through yellow lights. When police officers witness these actions, they often result in traffic tickets. If not taken seriously, these citations could cost more than just points on their driver's licenses and fines.

How insurance companies determine drivers' premiums depends on a variety of factors. One of them is an individual's driving record. The premiums go up depending on the type of infraction and how long ago it occurred. This determines whether a driver is considered high risk. For instance, a conviction for even a first-offense DUI could increase his or her rates dramatically.

What does it mean to face charges of aggravated DWI?

Nearly everyone with a driver's license knows that driving after drinking is illegal if a person's blood alcohol concentration reaches or is above the state's legal limit -- which is .08 in most instances. If convicted, an Amherst resident could face criminal penalties that include fines, jail time and more. However, under certain circumstances, the charges can come with potentially much stiffer penalties, which could lead to a charge of aggravated DWI.

For instance, if the BAC of an individual goes above a certain percentage, this charge could result. Other circumstances include prior convictions for DWI, property damage and causing injuries to someone else while driving impaired. When an Amherst resident receives a driver's license, they consent to participating in an breath or blood test, and refusing to do so might result in this charge as well.

Did a night out lead to public intoxication charges?

When most people go out with their friends, they intend to have a good time. They may find a place to hang out, see a show, get a meal or have a few drinks. When it comes to drinking, you know that you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. However, even if you avoid that particular activity, you could still end up facing alcohol-related charges.

You may know that you and your friends have a penchant for getting a bit raucous on your nights out. However, you never set out with the intention of bothering other people or getting into trouble. You just want to have a good time. Still, even if it is not your goal to disturb others, it could happen.

Nurses often face additional ramifications from a DWI

Seeing flashing lights in the rearview mirror is never a good sign. When police stop an Amherst resident and suspect the individual of drunk driving, a driver's anxiety can skyrocket as he or she considers the consequences associated with a conviction. If that driver is a nurse, the situation can become even more stressful since nurses tend to face additional ramifications from a DWI conviction outside of the criminal justice system.

In addition to potentially facing jail time, fines, a driver's license suspension, community service, probation and/or alcohol treatment, a nurse could face disciplinary action from the state's board of nursing. At the heart of most inquiries is ensuring that a particular nurse is not a danger to patients, the public or to him or herself. Part of the consideration is whether the offense included injury or death, or was charged as a felony. Employers could also impose their own sanctions.

Is your Amherst health care practice involved in a dispute?

When you opened your doors, all you wanted to do was help your patients. However, like any other health care practice here in Amherst, the potential for disputes exists because you deal with the public, other businesses and perhaps other partners. If you do end up in a dispute, it would be wise to deal with it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

You do your best for your patients, but they may not always think so. When it comes to a successful health care practice, word of mouth is essential. If a patient suffers harm or is upset with you for some other reason, you need to do what you can to resolve the issue in order to avoid any potential damage to your reputation in the community. In addition, your professional license could be in jeopardy as well.

A DUI conviction costs New York drivers more than they think

Being pulled over can make even the calmest New York driver nervous, especially if he or she recently had a drink. If a police officer suspects impairment, that driver could face charges for DUI. If those charges result in a conviction, it could end up costing that driver more than he or she realizes.

Most people are aware that they could lose their license for a certain amount of time, pay some fines, pay some administrative and court fees and maybe even spend some time in jail. What they may not realize is that their insurance rates could rise dramatically. Here in New York, those rates could climb as much as 41%.

What does it mean to face assault charges?

Perhaps an altercation with someone got a bit out of hand. An Amherst resident did not exactly behave as he or she ordinarily would, but thought the matter was put to rest. Then, that person finds him or herself under arrest and facing assault charges.

But no physical contact occurred. How could he or she face charges for assault? Understanding the legal definition of assault and knowing what elements prosecutors must prove could help in building a defense.

Whether your arrest was minor or life-changing, never forget that you have
options. Your rights are important. Take advantage of your rights now.

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Amherst, NY 14226

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