Author Archives: smandb

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Handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases for 24 years

The practice of law is an ever changing landscape in the Hudson Valley

I have been handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases for 24 years and both the laws and how the bar handles Poughkeepsie divorces have drastically changed in just two decades. When I first started practice it was rare that a father would ever be granted custody. There was a preference for the mother to be granted primary custody based on old beliefs that it was in the best interest of a child to be nurtured by their mother. These beliefs had evaporated in psychology over twenty years ago and it was understood that substantial contact with both parents was in the best interest of a child’s development and not just substantial contact with the mother.

Courts are creatures of precedent and it has taken time for the Courts to evolve and catch up with the psychology of today and let go of the erroneous advice of the past. It is important for a Poughkeepsie matrimonial attorney not only to understand the Courts but to read  and understand the psychology of children in divorces and divided families. This understanding can be used to assist Poughkeepsie families in making the best choices for their children. How does an infant bond with a mother and father? What is the importance of breast feeding? When is it best to transition to an overnight schedule? Not all Courts will see the answer to these questions in the same way and reading and understanding the most updated advice from doctors in this area is crucial knowledge for a Poughkeepsie attorney in assisting clients.

Practicing law is more than just reading the law and appearing in Court. It is having the knowledge and life experience to assist the client and bring intelligent knowledge based arguments to support your client’s position in the Court room. Experience and knowledge matters and will make a difference in any case.

Handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases

Handling Poughkeepsie divorce and matrimonial cases for 24 years

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Experience Matters – Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys

Category : Child Custody

Experience Matters – Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys

Many will assume that most Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys do trials, the opposite is true. Most attorneys, even some who handle Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County criminal matters, have never done a jury trial. The practice of criminal law requires the experience to know what can and what cannot potentially be won at trial and this requires actual trial experience. 

I recall one case that everyone was telling me to plea or my client would spend the next five years in prison, even the Judge and the District Attorney were pushing for a plea to a felony. I explained to my client that even though he stabbed someone over 10 times that the man who broke into his house and attacked him and his family had no right to do so and he had an excellent defense for self-defense. I took that case to trial, the jury agreed and my client walked free with no criminal conviction. 

Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County criminal defense sometimes requires the client to make tough choices and they need an experienced attorney to advise them which direction would be best to go with their case. A less experienced attorney who did not have the feel or confidence in the court room may have provided different advice, pled the client and he would have gone to prison and had a felony conviction on his permanent record. 

Ask the Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorney you are hiring how many jury trials they have done because should you choose to have a trial on your case, experience does matter! 

Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County attorneys

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Mark H Serino's tips for the Dutchess County home buyer

Mark H. Serino’s tips for the Dutchess County home buyer

Category : Real Estate

Mark H. Serino’s tips for the Dutchess County home buyer

                    1. Choose the services of a Poughkeepsie or Dutchess County real estate professional who is thoroughly acquainted with the area in which you are looking to live. Before you can negotiate a purchase you will need to have a pre approval letter from a lender to assure your seller that you are a qualified purchaser. When choosing a lender call around for the best terms as they will vary from time to time and lender to lender. 

“Don’t choose your lender because the mortgage broker is a friend of a friend. That mortgage broker may be long gone by the time you pay that mortgage off and I can guarantee you he will not make any of your mortgage payments!”

                    2. Whether it is for the school district, the proximity to work, transportation or other important amenities that appeal to you, carefully select the community in the Hudson Valley that you prefer. 

                    3. Did you ever hear the saying, “Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood?” It is a good idea to consider purchasing the least attractive home on the block. It’s easier to improve the value of your home than it is the neighborhood. With a little sweat equity you may be pleasantly surprised with the increase in the value of your Hudson Valley home! Additionally, if you are paying private mortgage insurance you may be able to reduce it or eliminate it. 

                    4. You’ve found your dream home and negotiated the sales price, it’s now time to choose an experienced Dutchess county real estate attorney to help you navigate through the home-purchase process with little to no stress. 

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Divorce, property division can impart powerful lessons

Divorce, property division can impart powerful lessons

Category : Property Division

Divorce, property division can impart powerful lessons

Any large-scale life event brings with it a chance to learn a range of lessons. In fact, a great deal of our knowledge and understanding comes from having gone through difficult experiences. We learn from the good choices that we make, as well as from the decisions that we would like to forget. Divorce and property division are no exception, and savvy spouses in New York will take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience of moving beyond an untenable marriage.

The division of marital property is one of the most difficult aspects of any divorce. This can be especially true for spouses who played a minor role in managing the family’s financial matters. It can be intimidating to delve deeply into the assessment of family income, assets and debt. However, doing so can lead to a far greater understanding of what one’s financial future will look like moving forward.

Many parents worry that they will not be able to provide their children with the same level of support and attention after a divorce has taken place. By focusing on the property division portion of a divorce, it is possible to gain a clear estimation of what one’s budget will be in the months and years to come. If that budget seems insufficient to meet the needs of the divided family, adjustments can be made during the property division process.

Most New York parents find that they are more than able to provide the love and care that their children need, even after divorce has altered the family structure. The property division process can ease many of the fears that accompany divorce, as it gives spouses the chance to fully understand their available resources and the need to create a budget for future expenses. Often, financial education is one of the most powerful lessons that can come with the end of a marriage.

Divorce and property division

Source: The Huffington Post, “14 Invaluable Life Lessons Learned From Divorce“, Brittany Wong, Aug. 4, 2014

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Dutchess County DUI Attorney - Experience Matters

Dutchess County DUI Attorney – Experience Matters!

Dutchess County DUI Attorney – Experience Matters!

The experienced Poughkeepsie DWI defense attorneys at Serino, MacKay & Berube PLLC work relentlessly to protect individual rights in complex criminal charges related to drunk driving accusations. We take swift action to eliminate or reduce the consequences people face with regard to driver’s license suspensions, fines, incarceration and marks on a criminal record.

We will take the time to inform you of your rights in cases of DWIs (driving while intoxicated), DWAI (driving while ability impaired), cases of multiple DWIs and other drug and alcohol-related crimes throughout Dutchess County and surrounding areas of New York. Reach us online or by telephone at 845-462-0001 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Mr. Berube served as a Marine Rifleman and was attached to Marine Security Force Company in Rota, Spain, before being honorably discharged in 1993. He graduated from Pace University School of Law and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2002. Richard served four years with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office as a Special DWI Prosecutor and currently concentrates in Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation.

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dutchess county high-asset divorce

The importance of a post-nup within high-asset divorce

The importance of a post-nup within high-asset divorce

For New York couples who enjoy a high level of wealth, protecting that wealth becomes a priority. In the case of divorce, both sides seek to retain a level of financial security. One of the best ways to ensure that a divorce proceeds fairly and with few surprises is to draft a post-nuptial agreement. These contracts can outline the manner in which assets would be divided in the event of a divorce.

dutchess county high-asset divorceOne high-profile example of the need for a post-nuptial agreement lies in the recently settled divorce between former governor Eliot Spitzer and his wife, Silda. The couple was the center of a great deal of media attention in 2008, when it was revealed that Spitzer was a client within a high-dollar prostitution ring. At that time, Silda stood by his side as he announced his resignation as governor. Despite that show of support, the couple filed for divorce in early 2014.

Details released state that Silda will receive a payment of $7.5 million within the divorce settlement. In addition, she will be paid spousal support in the amount of $240,000 per year, to continue unless she remarries or predeceases her husband. She will also retain the family home, and will be given $100,000 per year to support the charitable organizations of her choosing.

The couple had a postnuptial agreement in place, which likely guided much of the settlement details. There is no information available as to the specifics of that agreement. It is also unknown if the postnup was drafted prior to the governor’s indiscretions in 2008. However, these legal contracts can be drafted in such a way as to spell out various property division strategies for different scenarios. For example, spouses can agree to one amount if the marriage ends by mutual agreement, and another if infidelity is the cause of the split.

A post-nuptial agreement is a powerful tool for high-asset families. It can give a spouse who holds a lower earning capacity the ability to retain financial stability if a divorce takes place. It can also serve to protect the primary breadwinner from unfair financial losses due to the property division process. New York spouses who wish to learn more should research the matter in detail to discover if a postnup is a good fit for their financial planning needs.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Eliot Spitzer To Pay Ex-Wife Silda Millions In Divorce Settlement“, Brittany Wong, April 28, 2014

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Poughkeepsie criminal defense law

New developments in Poughkeepsie criminal defense law

Category : Criminal Defense

Poughkeepsie criminal defense law

Poughkeepsie Criminal Lawyer

There are always new developments in Poughkeepsie criminal defense law. It is important to choose a Dutchess county criminal lawyer that understands your situation.
One current issue is the New York State Senate passed “Laree’s Law”, which makes any person guilty of a homicide that unlawfully transports or sells opiates that causes the death of another person. This law will effect Dutchess county and Poughkeepsie criminal lawyers clients. If you or a family member are accused of a crime in Poughkeepsie or Dutchess county this law sounds like our government is out to help the current heroin epidemic that there is in Dutchess County, NY.  However, this law will do very little, if anything, to stem the tide of opiates consumed in Poughkeepsie, NY.
The Senate tells us in their justification for the law that “This law would hold drug dealers accountable for the true cost of their activities, significantly diminish the open availability of these dangerous drugs on our streets and give district attorneys the necessary tools to work up the criminal chain to the ultimate supplier because facing life imprisonment for any amount of drugs that results in death is a profound disincentive to sell drugs within the state of New York.”  There will be zero deterrent effect to dealers of opiates in NY due to this law.  The government should conduct a study on what laws really are deterrents, because this one will not be a deterrent.  The government does not think like a drug dealer.
Drugs are a huge underground economy where jail time is just a part of the overhead of doing business, and for some dealers, it is the only source of income and a way to support their own drug use.  This is just a bill for our legislators to point to when reelection time comes around, and so they have another reason to pat each other on the back and tell each other what a great job they are doing for the citizens and residents of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York.
It’s about time for our legislature to address opiate use as a medical issue instead of a criminal issue.  The drug laws have filled our prisons, made criminals of addicts, and done nothing to stem the availability and consumption of drugs.  Final thought:  If I get into my car after drinking to a blood alcohol content of .15 and drive over a person in the crosswalk causing their death, I would be guilty of Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and subject to a maximum of 7 years incarceration.  If I drive up to Buffalo to see some old college buddies and give them some of my oxys that were prescribed to me after my hip replacement, and they give them to another person who overdoses and dies taking them, I would be subject to a maximum of Life in prison. When choosing a Poughkeepsie Criminal Lawyer or Dutchess County criminal defense lawyer please make sure you ask detailed questions of your lawyer.
If you or a family member needs a criminal defense lawyer please call Richard Berube to set up a free consultation. Poughkeepsie criminal law is very complex involving a multiple of factors unique to the ever changing Poughkeepsie criminal laws.

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When to contact a Dutchess Criminal Lawyer?

Category : Criminal Defense

When to contact a Dutchess Criminal Lawyer?! It is not just a question of trust!

We are all taught to trust the police, and rightly so they are assigned to protect us everyday. Naturally you would feel safe if the police come to your home to question you regarding an alleged criminal event.

Having handled criminal cases as both a prosecuter and criminal DA, from murder trials to petit larceny, I always advise my clients that it is never appropriate to speak with the police without your attorney.
In almost all cases the police have already assumed that you have committed the crime. How the questions are asked, the length of the questioning, and the environment you find yourself in can all lead to misleading or false confessions. The news is rife with people who have confessed to crimes only to later be found innocent after many years in prison.
We are all presumed innocent.
We all have the right to an attorney.
So confronted with that seemingly innocent question, “Can you come talk to us at the police station?”
You should protect your rights and call me, Richard Berube from Serino, MacKay and Berube, Poughkeepsie Criminal Lawyer serving the Dutchess County Area !
Dutchess Criminal Lawyer

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collaborative divorce dutchess county

Can collaboration solve both divorce and business woes?

When a New York business owner is preparing to divorce, there are a wide range of financial considerations that must be made. Dividing marital wealth is a difficult enough process, but add in the need to divide the value of a business and the task can seem monumental. For those who are able to work together with their soon-to-be-ex spouse, a collaborative divorce may offer an easier road to the end of the marriage and the division of the business.

collaborative divorce dutchess countyCouples who use collaboration begin with the shared goal of hammering out the details of their divorce outside of a court of law. This does not mean that they forfeit the right to have their own individual legal counsel; collaboration usually involves the use of individual divorce attorneys for each spouse. The focus, however, is on reaching solutions, not on battling out each and every line item within the divorce.

For couples who own a business, collaboration helps both spouses remain focused on the shared goal of dividing the company while retaining as much wealth and value as possible. This is even more true in cases in which one party will retain the business and buy out the other. Causing serious damage to the operations of that company during the divorce process can leave the retaining spouse at a serious disadvantage in the years to come.

Collaboration is not the right fit for every couple. However, for those who are able and willing to work together to process the end of their marriage, it is a tool that can be used to preserve wealth for both parties. Collaboration is often a kinder, gentler and less expensive path to divorce, and one that many in New York could benefit from.

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SMANDB Dutchess County DWI attorneys

The role of breathalyzers in Dutchess County DWI cases

The role of breathalyzers in Dutchess County DWI cases – If you are pulled over in New York and an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol, you will likely be asked to take a breath test. It is therefore a good idea to understand the role that a breathalyzer test plays and how to protect your rights from being violated if you are suspected of drunk driving.

The consequences of a DWI conviction in Dutchess County area

The penalties for a DWI conviction in New York can be very severe. Unlike with some other crimes, the state does not allow defendants to make a plea deals in order to avoid drunk driving charges or convictions.

The potential sentences vary, depending on the details of the offense at issue. Most people can expect to face potential fines, jail time, and either license suspension or revocation. For example, a first conviction for driving with a blood alcohol content above 0.08 but below 0.18 could result a six month license revocation, up to a year in jail and a fine between $500 and $1,000.

Individuals charged with aggravated DWI or a second or multiple DWI face more severe penalties. For example, a person arrested and convicted for a third time on an aggravated DWI faces up to a $10,000 fine, an 18-month license revocation and seven years of incarceration. Aggravated DWI is generally defined as having a blood alcohol content of 0.18 or higher.

Individuals who cause death or injury as a result of driving under the influence can face felony charges.

How breath testing is used

Breathalyzers, Intoxilyzers and other breath-testing devices are designed to provide an estimate of a suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol content. While testing a blood sample provides the most accurate evidence of a suspect’s blood alcohol content, breath testing tends to be easier for officers to use.

However, there has been a lot of controversy over the accuracy of breath tests. A number of studies have shown that breath tests can falsely label people as intoxicated. In one study cited in an article by a professor at the State University of New York, a person spent an hour using paint and contact cement, and was then given a breath test. While the person had not touched any liquor, the tester showed him to be over the legal limit, mistaking the fumes that the person breathed in from the paint and cement for alcohol.

Other tests have shown that a breathalyzer can give inaccurate readings based on a number of outside factors including the following:

  • Temperature
  • Gasoline
  • Electrical equipment such as police radios and cell phones
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Blood in the person’s mouth from dental work or a cut lip
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Burping or vomiting prior to the test

With so many outside influences that can create an inaccurate reading, it is no surprise that so many people are questioning the validity alcohol breath testing.

Objecting to a breathalyzer

The issue also shows the importance of working with an experienced defense attorney after being accused of driving under the influence. The attorney will be able to evaluate the circumstances of the case and advise on all possible avenues of defense. If appropriate, the attorney can challenge the admission of potentially-faulty breath test evidence.

The role of breathalyzers in Dutchess County DWI cases


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Office Location

Serino, MacKay & Berube PLLC

12 Walker Rd.

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Phone: 845-462-0001