Criminal Defense, DUI, Matrimonial and Will & Estates
New York & New Jersey Law
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Monday, July 29, 2013

My Experience at the National College of DUI Defense - Summer Session 2013

Hello everybody!

I've been away from the office all week since I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to attend the 2013 Summer Session of the National College of DUI Defense.

There I got to participate in several events, which I'm going to list below:

• The Cross Examination: The Lawyers Opportunity to Testify
• Cross Demo of the Arresting Officer
• Preparing for Hearings & Trials: Approaches, Organization & Tools
• Lawyer Ethics and the Code of the West: Lessons Learned Over the Last 40 Years
• Presenting Your Expert
• A Closing for Every Case
• Changing the Jury’s Presumption
• Reflections on Forty Years of Forensic Alcohol and Drug Research
• Creative Opening Statements: Getting to Not Guilty Right Out of the Gate

Events like the Summer Session at the NCDD are a great opportunity since they allow Criminal Defense lawyers to really hone their skills, refresh their knowledge, and get updated on any new laws or regulations that could affect their cases. When selecting a lawyer to represent you, I believe its important to choose one who understands that law is not a static profession but one that continually evolves and improves. I place a lot of importance on keeping up to speed on my profession and I was happy I had the time to do just that up in Massachusetts!

If you are interested in learning more about DUI/DWI, click here to learn about your rights at DUI Checkpoint or here to learn about recent DMV Regulations that can affect you.

- Kevin McKernan

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Importance of a Will: Protect your Life Savings!

Throughout my years as a lawyer, I've noticed one commonality. Here’s the scenario: A beloved parent dies after a long illness. After a few days, the smoke clears and the children are suddenly left to deal with Mom or Dad’s Estate. Unfortunately, Mom and Dad never thought about making a will because they always thought that their possessions would just pass to their children automatically, but everyone is now realizing that that isn't necessarily true.

Cue the calls to my office.

I don’t mean to make light of such a difficult situation, but simply point out the importance of having a Will drawn up. The fact is, without a Will, when you pass away you are legally known as “intestate”. This means the fate of your estate depends entirely on the Court’s decision. What will occur is that the Court will hold a hearing to decide who the rightful heirs to your estate are and then decide accordingly. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in your estate not being split the way you intended.

How can you avoid this?

NY Divorces: Protect Yourself! Learn about adultery, abandonment, and other grounds for contested and uncontested divorce

Divorce is hard on everyone in a family. If you are considering divorce, you probably have a million things running through your mind: How will the kids feel? What will happen to the house? How do I even begin this process?

Divorces fall into two major categories: contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce usually occurs when you and your spouse agree on all the issues that come along with divorce, including the distribution of your finances, child support and visitation, and spousal maintenance. If you and your significant other cannot come to an agreement on these issues before your court date, you will have to file for a contested divorce. A contested divorce can raise the cost of your divorce exponentially, however, many people believe it is worth it when they feel strongly about certain issues such as their children’s care or remaining in their marital residence.

If you wish to petition for a contested divorce, you must choose one of the six grounds for divorce in New York State.

Click below to learn the grounds for divorce in New York.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Social Media Reminder: How Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Can Hurt Your Legal Case

Today I would like to share a letter I send to all my clients regarding SOCIAL MEDIA. While we all enjoy some time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we must also be cautious in our use of it when we have on-going legal matters!

Below is my letter.

Dear [Client]:

I am writing to give you some advice regarding your use of social media as you progress through the legal matter you have placed in our hands. As I am sure you are aware, social networking in the form of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs and the like has become an almost ever-present part of our lives. Often we post a thought, feeling, or photo without a second thought. In the context of a legal issue though, these actions can come back to cause you headache and hurt your case. I must advise you to use extreme caution when making any sort of post, update, or upload to any social networking outlet.

It is becoming a common practice for attorneys to request copies of any and all posts any interested party, including you, have made online. While we can object to these requests based on their relevancy, the courts have nonetheless been agreeing with defendant’s requests and allowing them access. In fact, District Attorneys Offices and other government agencies have successfully subpoenaed these accounts.

• Do not mention anything about your case online.
• If you absolutely must post something about your case online, do not enter anything detrimental to your case.
• You can’t delete it! Once you post something to a social networking site, it is there forever. If you go into your accont and delete anything, it still exists as the social networking site’s administrator keeps archives of all the material ever on their site. The information or photos still exist and parties can ask for, and usually get it.
• Review your “privacy settings” to make sure they are set at the tighest restraint possible. You can change them back once your case is over but while your matter is pending, it is in your best interest that your “friends” not be aware of your every move.

Please keep in mind that these warnings are not to make your life more difficult, but rather they are for your own protection, as well as to help make your case as solid as possible. Being cautious and making smart choices will help your case in the long run.

Please feel free to call our office at (718) 317-5007 if you have any questions at all or need additional information. Also, I ask that you contact us immediately if you feel you have any sort of social networking post that might be detrimental to your case so we may assess how to deal with it, and what action to take.

- Kevin McKernan

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Happens to Lassie After the Divorce? Pets and Custody Agreements

Today more than ever Americans are making sure that they make arrangements for their pets during a divorce. In fact, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports they have experienced a 23% increase in the amount of “pet custody” cases. So what happens when both you and your partner want to keep the family dog after the split?

I've handled matrimonial cases my entire career, and I've personally dealt with clients who have disagreed over who will keep the family pet. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you or a family member is going through this difficult situation:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Your Rights While Driving Through a DUI Checkpoint

DUI Checkpoints have becoming increasingly common all over the country. DUI Checkpoints are stop points set up by the police, usually on a busy highway, in order to stop drivers passing through and check for drunk drivers and traffic violations.

If you are driving and encounter a DUI Checkpoint, the first step you should take is to have a good look at your surroundings. DUI Checkpoints should have clear signs that warn drivers that a checkpoint will be ahead. The checkpoint should be, but isn't always, strategically placed so that drivers have an alternative route to choose if they do not wish to participate in the checkpoint. Remember, you are under no obligation to go through the checkpoint. As long as you do not commit any traffic violations in avoiding the checkpoint or otherwise exhibit signs of being intoxicated, the police should not stop you.