When to contact a Dutchess Criminal Lawyer?

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  MacKay and Berube Law, a Poughkeepsie Criminal Lawyer serving the Dutchess County Area !
Dutchess Criminal Lawyer
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.

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

Real estate law in the Dutchess County area

Real estate law in the Dutchess County area

At MacKay and Berube, we have learned that a lack of information and knowledge can be frightening when revealing your “financial soul” to obtain a mortgage, especially when you are making what potentially will be the largest purchase of your lifetime.

If you are looking for reale estate, it is important to get a good realtor and a great attorney to assist you in this potentially intimidating process. Below is a quick check list of some major concerns you should pay attention to during your entire real estate purchasing process. Feel free to cut this out and use as your personal check list when buying a home. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me @ 845-462-0001.

Best of luck and happy house hunting.

√ Call me to discuss your plans & needs

√ Shop local to obtain a pre-approval letter from a local lender

√ Consult with a local realtor

√ Locate the house of your dreams

√ Negotiate the purchase price contigent upon a satisfactory home inspection

√ Consult your attorney to review & execute contract & submit down payment

√ Excercise due dilligence and get a proper home inspection

√ Renegotiate contract based on any repairs or existing conditions

√ Execute mortgage commitment – obtain a survey if necessary

√ Attend and enjoy a smooth closing

√ Walk away with a smile & set of keys to your dream home!

Real estate law in the Dutchess County area



Handling a Dutchess County DWI or Poughkeepsie DWI case requires knowledge of the Assistant District Attorneys, the Judges and the procedures in each individual Dutchess County Court.

  Having started my career as an Assistant District Attorney in Poughkeepsie prosecuting DWI cases in all of Dutchess County I realized not all Judges, attorneys or cases are the same.  This is where experience matters when hiring an attorney to handle your Poughkeepsie DWI case.

The procedures and policy of the Dutchess County District Attorney are often changing.  When I first started practicing Poughkeepsie DWI law 23 years ago the unwritten policy was if a reading was above a .15 then the person would initially receive an offer of a plea to the charge.  It was then up to the Poughkeepsie DWI attorney to convince the assistant district attorney to reduce the Poughkeepsie DWI case.  When I was a prosecutor I would clearly listen more to a experienced trial attorney then one who had little to no trial experience. I knew they could not back up their arguments in a hearing or trial and often just would back down.  Things have changed little in this regard and Assistant District Attorneys still know who will and will not take borderline cases to hearing and trial.  Worse still is the readings are much lower for a plea to the charge offer, the jail time higher, the fines higher and the possibility of losing your license forever now a threat in all Poughkeepsie DWI and Dutchess County DWI cases. It is more important that ever to hire the right Poughkeepsie DWI lawyer or Dutchess County DWI lawyer to represent you.

At  MacKay and Berube we have handled thousands of DWI cases of the course of our careers and more importantly have brought hundreds of these cases to either trial or hearing.  When looking for the right attorney experience matters come in and meet with one of our attorneys for a free consultation on your matter today.  


School District and Dutchess County Divorce

School District and Dutchess County Divorce

In today’s age of tight budgets schools look very closely at whether a student is in fact enrolled in the district and school which they are attending.

Education Law 3202(1) provides “a person over five and under 21 years of age who has not received a high school diploma is entitled to attend the public schools maintained in the district in which such person resides without the payment of tuition.”

In a Poughkeepsie divorce, parents who lived together with the children are now often living apart and living apart in separate school districts.  The question is what district must the children attend?


In a shared residential custodial case the parents can choose the district that they wish the children to reside.  This should be clearly delineated in the parties Dutchess County divorce agreement.  THE MAJORITY OF TIMES IT IS NOT!!! .(see    decision no. 15,288.) In a joint custody arrangement the answer is more complicated. “Residence” for purposes of Education Law 3202 is established by one’s physical presence as an inhabitant within the district and intent to reside in the district. Longwood Cent. School District. V. Springs Union Free School Dist. 1 NY3d 385; Appeal of Sigsby, 44 Ed Dept Rep 97, Decision N. 15,109.

Most Poughkeepsie divorce settlement agreements will list a parent as the physical custodial parent for affixing child support obligations and this can often be misconstrued as picking a school district.  Your agreement should spell out what school district the children will be attending and list why the parties believe they meet the test below.

The test in a joint custodial arrangement as to which school district the children must attend was spelled out in Appeal of Forde, 29 Ed Dept Rep 359 and Appeal of Cortes, Decision No. 13,818. .

“In those cases where the child’s time is essentially divided between two separate households and the parents both assume day to day responsibility for the child, the determination of the child’s residence must rest ultimately with the family.  In such cases, the custodial parent may designate the child’s residence for purposes of Education Law 3202.”

There is no requirement that the time be equal, but rather that both parents be involved in the day to day responsibility and that the time be essentially divided between the parties.  Your Dutchess county divorce agreement should spell out how each parent is participating in the day to day responsibility of the children and define how while the time is not equally split that the custodial access time is essentially divided between the parents. 

School District and Dutchess County Divorce


Choosing the Right Poughkeepsie Family Attorney

Having practiced Poughkeepsie divorce law for 23 years choosing the right attorney to handle your Dutchess County case is not an easy task.  I routinely take over cases from other Poughkeepsie Divorce attorneys who know the law but are not able to get along with the clients or have handed the case off to a less experienced person in the Dutchess County law firm.  I often refuse to take on a Poughkeepsie separation case because I feel the expectation of the client is not realistic and I will be unable to meet their expectations and thus result in a poor attorney client relationship.

This leads to RULE #1 in choosing a Poughkeepsie divorce attorney: Meet with the attorney who you are going to work with and ask them questions.  A few of the questions which would seem to be common sense are rarely asked,

 A. How long have you been doing this for?

 B. Have you ever done a trial? 

 C.  Are you the attorney who is going to work on my case?  They may sound good, look and smell good, but is this bait and switch to a less experienced or different associate.  

         You have an absolute right to know who is going to be working on your Poughkeepsie divorce case because in the most difficult time in your life this is the person who you are going to have a relationship with as yours is breaking apart.  If you don’t meet the Dutchess County attorney who is handling your case at the intake you don’t hire that firm!

D.  What are the issues you see in my Poughkeepsie divorce and how can you help me?

         These are just the basic common sense questions that should be asked at all interviews with a Dutchess County family attorney.  It all relates back to RULE #1: Meet with the Poughkeepsie family attorney who is going to handle your case and see if he or she is right for you.


Dutchess County divorce lawyers

Dutchess County divorce


Dutchess County divorce clients often start out a consultation wanting sole custody and control of the visitation schedule. This is a common misconception of the term and what it means. There are essentially two types of custodial arrangements in a New York divorce, not to be confused with parental access schedules or visitation. They are Joint Custody and Sole Custody. The difference between the two is who will be making the major decisions for the child or children. In a sole custodial arrangement the parent who has sole custody will have the right to make all decisions relating to health, religion and education that relate to the children. In a joint custodial arrangement both parents work together to make the decisions in this area.
 Parental visitation schedules in Dutchess County divorce are as varied as the lives of different parents. They can be alternating weekends, one weekend a month, equal time often called shared custody (not to be confused with either joint or sole) and any other combination of access times the parties can work out in the best interest of their children and family.  The parent of a sole custody order does not get the right to alter a court ordered parental access or visitation schedule in Dutchess County divorce.
 Physical custody and shared custody are also terms you will often hear in a Dutchess County divorce. Neither are a joint or sole custody order but rather  are terms which relate to the time each parent has with the child or children. The Physical Custodial parent in a New York divorce is the parent who has the child or children more than 50% of the time and will be entitled to child support. A shared custodial arrangement is where each parent has the children 50% of the time. Even in a shared custodial arrangement one parent will be labeled the physical custodial parent for the purpose of child support, with the other being able to possibly seek a reduction in their child support obligation called by the Courts a “deviation”
 Custody is complex and emotions are often high in Dutchess County divorce. A poorly written or understood order can lead to loss of trust between the parents, fights and never benefits the children. Please contact MacKay, and Berube for a free consultation and more detailed analysis of your custodial issue.
New York divorce law

Good to Know: New York divorce law

New York divorce law changed on August 15, 2010, when Governor David Paterson authorized no-fault divorce into law in Nyc state. Till 2010, New York recognized divorces only upon fault-based standards or upon separation. The Senate had approved the No-Fault Divorce process bill in June 2010, and the State Assembly passed the bill on 1st of July.

New York is really a mixed state that allows to both no-fault and at-fault divorce. In the United States, about one-third of the states, most of them inside the West and Midwest, are merely no-fault, having abolished at-fault divorce.

Wedding rings and moneyDespite being generally considered the liberal state, New York has a history of being conservative with issues regarding marriage; it was the last state in USA to allow no-fault divorce whilst still being maintains a (seldom enforced) law against adultery.  Until 1966, adultery was the sole ground of divorce; cruelty, a ground that had always been available in most other declares, was not available in Nyc

At fault divorce
The state of New York is amongst the states which allow the prospects for an at fault divorce. In cases like this, one party accuses the other of the wrongdoing (the “fault”). The other party may or may not contest. In practice, the parties might use the at fault grounds to acquire a mutually desired and agreed after divorce: they can agree to the uncontested divorce as long as one of the parties is willing to allege on the list of fault based grounds and another party accepts the “fault” without having contesting it (this was common inside the past).

An at fault divorce can be had due to the following:

  • Terrible and inhuman treatment (Domestic Associations Law §170. 1)
    Abandonment for the continuous period of one year or even more (DRL §170. 2)
    Imprisonment for in excess of three years subsequent to the actual marriage (DRL §170. 3)
    Adultery (DRL §170. 4)

Cruel and inhuman treatment need to be behavior by the defendant that rises to the level such that it causes it to be improper for the plaintiff to stay to reside with the defendant as wife and husband. Allegations under this ground include things like allegations of domestic violence in addition to repeated, extreme mental cruelty.

Abandonment might be actual or constructive. Actual abandonment is normally one spouse leaving the marital residence with no consent of the other spouse without intention to go back. One spouse may also lock out another spouse from the marital property. Constructive abandonment is the refusal of “basic obligation arising from the marital contract, ” which includes a cessation of sexual relations; establishing such a prior helpful abandonment may render the loved one who leaves, or locks out another, as the innocent spouse.

Adultery is difficult to prove the way it requires corroborating evidence from an unauthorised; thus a statement by the defendant that he or she had sexual relations with an unauthorised is not legally admissible to allow for the court to grant a divorce to the plaintiff. Furthermore, if the adultery ended up being “condoned”, i. e. the cheated-on party knew concerning the extra-marital sexual relationship but continued to stay in a marital, conjugal relationship because of their spouse, the adultery cannot serve like a cause for divorce.

Separation while ground of divorce

  • Separation will also be a ground of divorce. Common sense of Separation: “Decree of Separation” or “Judgment of Separation”, given with the court, for at least one year
  • Separation Agreement: Spouses have not lived together for a minimum of one year, and have signed the “Agreement of Separation”

Irretrievable malfunction (no fault)

Since 2010, a brand new ground has been added, effectively permitting no-fault divorce in Nyc state:

  • The relationship between wife and husband has broken down irretrievably for the period of at least a few months (DRL §170. 7)
    Even in a case of mutual consent, the parties may also disagree over child support, custody, alimony, division of joint assets or who will probably pay legal fees. These are referred to as “ancillary relief” (see below) which might be requested by one or both from the parties.
Poughkeepsie Divorce spousal maintenance

Poughkeepsie Divorce spousal maintenance

When dealing with Poughkeepsie Divorce spousal maintenance of support formerly called alimony is one of the more litigated areas of matrimonial law concerns spousal maintenance, spousal support, this area of law requires either by agreement, court order, one spouse to pay the other spouse income. This income can be treated as taxable or can be negotiated that payer assumes tax liability. The NYS legislation in the past 3 years has made efforts to institute a formula that can be applied to all matrimonial cases to determine how much maintenance should be paid and for how long. Poughkeepsie Divorce today they have only instituted legislation to provide a formula for spousal maintenance while in litigation. Currently a list of 20 factors under the statue that leave a broad discretion with the courts as to how much, if any money a spouse can receive as well as how long.  The Poughkeepsie divorce matrimonial attorney needs to address each factor relevant to clients case because failure to do so can cost a client tens of thousands of dollars.  If you have any questions regarding spousal maintenance please schedule a free consultation with Kevin MacKay (845)462 0001Poughkeepsie Divorce spousal maintenance