Aggressive Driving or Road Rage

That morning had just been bad from the moment Liza Jane opened her eyes, awakened by the sound of her cell phone being hurled off the dresser by Toby, the cat. A slight headache from the stressful day she had yesterday still lingered. The silver lining of Toby waking her up was she forgot to set her alarm, and now had 45 minutes to get to her super important appointment in Mt Vernon, NY. Thankfully the roads were not slick this morning, but the other drivers were so slow!!! With teeth clenched, Liza Jane sped and weaved in and out of traffic. A mile from her destination, Liza Jane rear-ended grandma Emily. Witnesses later told police about her aggressive driving.

What does New York State define aggressive driving as? How does it differ from road rage?  Aggressive driving may include speeding, tailgating, frequently changing lanes while not using your signals, passing on the shoulder of the road, running stop signs, and/or red lights, passing a stopped school bus, and being a nuisance to others who are in a vehicle, on a bicycle, or on foot.

Road rage, however, is an escalation of aggressive driving. Road rage incites a driver to either attempt, or to actually cause damage, to another driver. A driver acting out of road rage also makes others fearful by his or her angry hostile behavior. The two can also be thought of this way: aggressive driving generally involves a traffic safety law violation; whereas, road rage usually involves criminal actions or attempts of violent behavior.

Family Based Immigration Petition

Imagine this: You get to see your mom every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm and only your fingertips can touch through the steel fence. Is she imprisoned? No, actually friends tell you that you are one of the lucky ones to be able to see your mom at Friendship Park on the weekends. Friendship Park is a bi-national beach park, located on the US-Mexico border in San Diego-Tijuana. Families who are separated due to immigration issues are known to travel long distances to meet at Friendship Park to see loved ones.

Living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant is a risk that approximately 11 million people take daily. Why do people take this risk? While reasons vary, one contributing factor is that before President Trump took office, ICE agents generally would not deport an individual unless they had a criminal record, posing a threat to society. However, 2017 has seen an aggressive change to deportations resulting in many being deported who have no criminal record. 

What is the process an individual can take to change his or her status to avoid the situation families who meet at Friendship Park find themselves in? One possible solution is to apply for a Green Card.

In hindsight it was an impulsive and irrational decision, but short of going back in time, the next best thing is to learn from your choices. That is how Shelly felt anyway. She married Dan a week after set met him at Whole Foods in Briarcliff Manor, New York. At the time she was certain that she had found her soul mate.  Now, over a decade later, Shelly was truly in love and wanting to remarry.  Except, she and Dan had never legally divorced.  This was a problem because she was living her dream life in Croton-on-Hudson, New York and engaged to the love of her life.  The bigger problem is that Shelly had no idea where to find Dan. How could she divorce him?

This situation happens more than one may imagine.  New York State matrimonial law (more formally know as New York State Domestic Relations Law) requires a spouse to be notified personally when their mate files for divorce.   What is the process when the estranged spouse cannot be located?  This process is known as Divorce by Publication.  A judge must approve the use of this process. Before this approval is granted, the spouse seeking a divorce, must prove they have completed a thorough search for their spouse. This is done by filing several documents with the court, including an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, which outlines all the ways you have searched for your spouse. 

Divorce by Publication - How To Search For Your Spouse

By what methods can you search for your spouse?  There are a lot of different ways to do this. For examples include:

Generally, an uncontested divorce is the fastest and least expensive way to get divorced in New York State. Partly because the spouses have worked out all the details of the divorce and the defendant has signed paperwork agreeing to the divorce. However, the process is slightly different when a spouse cannot be located. When this happens, extra steps and court filings are required.

A publication divorce is started in the same manner as any other uncontested divorce, by filing a Summons with Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint with the court. Then a separate request is filed with the court requesting permission for alternate means of service: service by publication. What this means is that instead of personal service, service by mail or similar service, the plaintiff (the person filing the paperwork) is asking permission to notify or “serve” his or her spouse by means of a newspaper or journal ad.

Publication Divorce Overview
However, before the request for publication can be submitted to the court, the plaintiff must make a good faith effort to find his or her spouse. Documentation of such must be submitted to the court in the form of an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, along with a Motion for Service by Publication and Order for Publication.

Fork in the Road. You know your destination, or where you need to be, but are taking an unfamiliar path to get there. Suddenly you stop. “What now?” you ask yourself as you ponder the fork in the path. “Right or left?” “Will both paths lead to the same endpoint, or do they go in two different directions?” “Which one will take me to where I need to go?”

Similar to the literal “fork in the road” are the two paths that lead to the same treasure of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), more commonly known as a Green Card. The path you will travel is predetermined by where you live and your current U.S. immigration status, or lack thereof. What does this mean? Simply put, there are two ways to get a greencard, and the path you need to take depends on your circumstance.

 Staring down that figurative fork, to the left is what is known as the Visa Processing or Consular Process. To the right, is Adjustment of Status. However, both processes require a petition to be filed on behalf of the immigrant.

The Unsuspecting Victim. Marie knew it was personal, that officer always stared her down when she dropped her kids off at the elementary school. Officer Smith had always held a grudge against her husband for losing the baseball championship game in junior college. And that morning had been one of those mornings when your ask yourself, “What else can go wrong?” So, when Officer Smith ticketed Marie for a cell phone and child safety restraint violation, it was no surprise. Giovanni seemed to be a natural born thrill seeker and it was no surprise that he once again got out of his car seat and wave happily to Officer Smith.

What was a surprise was the bill that came from the DMV after all Marie’s fines had been paid. Marie felt her face turning a shade of reddish purple as she read the words “Driver Responsibility Assessment” and “three-year penalty”. WHAT? WHY? Before her incident with Officer Smith, she was very prideful of her perfect driving record and often boasted about it.

The DMV Driver Responsibility Assessment. WNYS Driver Assessment Feehat is a Driver Responsibility Assessment and when does a driver get charged this fee? There are three instances where this fine is charged. First, a driver assessment fee can be earned by a traffic-related alcohol conviction. Likewise another way to wrack up a DMV assessment is by a traffic-related drug conviction; and the last way to activate a Driver Responsibility Assessment is by accruing to your driving record 11 points within an 18-month period. 

Imagine yourself for a moment planning a night out with someone special. Instead of the night turning out how you had planned, the evening ends with you being forced to walk across the border into Mexico with nothing – just the clothes on your back. On top of that, you are mugged and beaten. 

This is what 23-year-old Juan Montes claims happened to him.  He says that after a date with his girlfriend, he had a bite to eat with a friend, and accidentally left his wallet in their car.  As he was waiting for his ride, CBP agents picked him up. They did not allow him to get his wallet, which contained documentation he is under active protection from DACA through 2018. After being taken to a detention center, he was walked across the border.    

Details to Juan’s story are still transpiring as his activist lawyers battle his case. The government says this is not the correct record of events.  We can only trust with time the truth comes out and all is made well. 

On April 13, 2013, governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Sheila Abdus-Salaam to the Court of Appeals. She made history as the first female African American appointed to the highest New York court. Her legacy will forever be etched in the words she spoke from the bench she earned an appointment to. In 2016 she handed down a landmark decision in which she granted a non-biological parent from a same sex partnership custody and visitation rights. Re Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C, commonly known as the “same-sex partnership child custody case”.

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Sheila Abdus-Salaam ruling is so important because it is consistent with the times. For example, prior to 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did not acknowledge same sex spouse petitions and applications. However, in July 2013 that changed when the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a statement that USCIS would, effective immediately, recognize same sex spouse immigration and visa petitions in the same manner and with the same privileges as couples engaged in a heterosexual marriage. The 2013 acceptance of same sex marriages applies to asylum, employment-based petitions and other types of applications and petitions.

What rights does this statement provide for individuals in same-sex relationships? It opens many doors. For example, a United States citizen engaged to a foreign national can file a fiance petition. The petition will provide a much easier way for same sex couples to arrange a marriage requiring overseas travel. Also, a US citizen married to a foreign national can sponsor their spouse for a family based immigrant visa. Even if a married couple resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, a US citizen is still legally eligible to file for a federal immigrant visa for their spouse.

As the New York State Trooper’s bright flashing lights shone through Daniels back window, he felt his heart pound and a wave of nausea. By the time the officer got to his window, his face was covered in a cold sweat. The day had started off bad, and had progressed to worse. It was one of those days he should have cancelled all appointments and stayed in bed. But, sometimes being home and tending to its responsibilities was worse than dealing with clients. It was the call from home that had caused him to speed. He normally was so cautious about speed limits, but when he saw an opening to pass the car that had him boxed in on 1-87 just north of Yonkers, NY, he hit the gas in his 580 horse power twin turbo engine sports car and flew past the other car.  

New York State License Suspension for 11 Points

He heard the officer, but it sounded like background noise because he was too upset to focus. Forty miles over the speed limit is what the officer clocked him at when he passed that old timer on the interstate near Greenburgh, New York. Daniel could imagine the problems the ticket would raise at home. Plus, this would be an expensive fine.

A ticket for going forty miles plus over the speed limit will accrue eleven points on your driving record if found guilty or you plead guilty. One possible penalty is suspension of your driver’s license. And that is not to mention the increase in your insurance, which can cost thousands of dollars over the course of years. Although taking a DMV approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) course can mitigate four points that have accrued for suspension purposes. The points however, do not literally come off your driving record. Moreover, the NY DMV charges a driver a responsibility assessment fee for various infractions. One such infraction is accruing 6 points or more in an 18-month period. The fee is charged over a period of years, and its total ranges from $300 to $750. BUT, just because you accrue 11 points in an 18-month period, does not mean you have to lose your license. What you need is to hire the right attorney to handle your case.

Earlier this year, Rosa Ortega, a permanent US resident from Fort Worth Texas was sentenced to 8 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and faces deportation to Mexico. For what? Illegal voting, voter fraud. Current laws state that you must be a citizen to cast a ballot in national, state, or local elections. Rosa violated this law when she checked that she was a citizen on her Tarrant County voter’s application, thus committing fraud.   Green Card and Voting

 Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick, of Illinois, is also currently facing deportation to Peru for voting illegally in two U.S. elections. In her 2007 Citizenship application, Margarita freely admitted to voting. Both women are out on appeal, after serving one month, and one day, respectively.

 During the 2016 Presidential election, then candidate Donald Trump alleged that there were millions of illegal voters such as Rosa Ortega and Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick. Are there millions of illegal voters and what is the cause of these unfortunate situations? Although the allegations were broadcast loudly, there is no evidence or data to support the claim millions of illegal voters exist. So how do these situations transpire?