Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks
Nicholas Hicks

New York Lawyer, Nicholas Hicks, Explains New Legislation Targeting Telemarketers

The State of New York is cracking down on telemarketing with new legislation; Lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks explains how it will affect you.

Telemarketers are not only annoying but also deceptive and hard to get rid of. What used to be just a few monthly calls on the home phone line has now turned into daily calls on personal cell phone lines. Blocking one number often means they will call again with a different one.

People have found that asking to be removed from the calling list is usually not enough, as many telemarketing calls are now robotic voice messages. ‘Robocalls’ have become increasingly aggressive and scam unsuspecting people out of money and personal information. All of this could be coming to an end soon, however.

According to lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks of New York, a bill meant to crack down on telemarketing calls was approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new legislation will take effect in approximately 90 days. New York residents are looking forward to tighter regulations on previously existing laws.

The “Do Not Call” law was enacted in New York 18 years ago but had loopholes that allowed telemarketers to continue pesky practices. Lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks notes that the new bill will require live telemarketers to offer consumers the opportunity of being added to the seller’s restricted call list. Additionally, telemarketers will now need written consent to share or sell any private contact information.

“This loophole is a license to annoy New Yorkers that telemarketers have taken advantage of for far too long,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With these new protections, we can help ensure New Yorkers receive fewer unwanted calls, and their privacy is protected once and for all.”

The exciting new legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Senator Todd Kaminsky. With the introduction of the new bill, bothersome calls will hopefully be curbed, making many New York residents very happy. Lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks sees this legislation as a breath of fresh air for busy people who could use one less thing to deal with. Hopefully, it will also protect many from future scams and headaches.

About Lawyer Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School.

Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks

New York Campaign Disclosure Law Explained by Attorney Nicholas Hicks

A new law is approved in New York that will shed some light on political spending, attorney Nicholas Hicks explains. 

A new measure was recently approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo, which will significantly impact political campaigns in New York during upcoming elections. The action will require a “paid for by” disclaimer on all print, digital, display, and auditory ads. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that campaign committees and candidates can no longer hide where their funds are coming from, which is a huge victory for New York voters. 

Although this measure is new, it aligns well with other campaign advertising disclosure rules by the federal government. Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that this measure also helps end the issue of anonymous mailings during political campaign seasons. Voters deserve to know where the information is coming from so they can make more accurate decisions at the polls. 

Another significant concern in upcoming elections is the use of Social Media platforms, such as Facebook, to spread false political information to the masses. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that the new measure builds on a 2018 law that cracks down on digital communication regulations by independent expenditure groups. Governor Andrew Cuomo sees the new legislation as an opportunity to further expand on counteracting all the anonymous political spending in New York races so that more people can be better informed. 

The new legislation was sponsored by Senator James Skoufis and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. Both politicians are Democrats representing the Hudson Valley districts. 

“Voters deserve full transparency when it comes to political communications – and now, finally, they’ll get it,” said Skoufis, who has been targeted by anonymous political ads in the past. 

“As someone who was previously targeted by anonymous campaign mailers and robocalls, I know first-hand the confusion caused by these deceptive practices, especially when messages come from seemingly legitimate sources with no ‘paid for by’ disclaimer,” said Skoufis. “We all have a right to vote in honest and fair elections, and this new law is a significant step forward.” 

Attorney Nicholas Hicks believes that the new measure will help to bring clarity to companies and private parties that are genuinely supporting candidates. By bringing these previously unknown supporters to light, voters can get a better look at any possible hidden agendas. 

About Attorney Nicholas Hicks: 

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. 

Lawyer nicholas hicks

Nicholas Hicks Explains How New York Is Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks reveals how New York legislation plans to better track opioid-related deaths.

On November 5th, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York approved new legislation requiring death certificates to label the specific opioids involved. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York explains that the measure will help public health officials track opioid use and better address the ongoing opioid crisis in their state.

Before this legislation, if a person died from an opioid overdose, there was no requirement for medical practitioners to list which opioids were the cause of death. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that the new legislation has been put into effect immediately.

The information will allow officials to have a better understanding of which communities are most at risk for opioid addiction and overdose. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks explains that once at-risk communities are detected, officials will be able to provide resources for substance abuse prevention. Officials can also use location to track the spread of drugs.

Additionally, it will help officials determine which drugs are the most deadly. Surrounding hospitals and medical facilities benefit from knowing this information, so they are prepared for potential emergencies. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that once drugs are pinpointed, more effective treatment strategies can be put into place across a wide range of fields.

“New York has taken the most aggressive actions to combat the opioid crisis of any other state in the country,” Cuomo said. “This common sense law will go to great lengths to ensure we have the most accurate information to be able to stop this public health scourge once and for all.”

In 2018, it was estimated that more than 47,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses alone.  Street drugs like heroin are not solely to blame. Approximately 10 million people misused prescription opioids in the United States in 2018.

The consequences of opioid abuse are devastating to families and communities. In addition to its strain on public health, the crisis also strains the economy and threatens our national security.  Unfortunately, some people turn from prescription pain killers to street heroin and fentanyl.

New York lawmakers are being  citizens and communities across the State for their immediate action in addressing the ongoing opioid crisis. 

About Attorney Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School.

 

Nicholas Hicks Explains Proposed New York Bill for Prisoners to Vote

New York attorney Nicholas Hicks weighs in on new legislation that would allow inmates to vote while serving time.

Felons across the United States are mostly ineligible to vote. Depending on state policy, that right can be lost permanently. In other instances, attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that the right to vote can be restored after successfully completing time served and all other requirements.

Currently, only two US states allow incarcerated felons to vote, Maine and Vermont. Other states allow some prisoners to vote depending on their convictions, including Mississippi, Alaska, and Alabama. According to attorney Nicholas Hicks, New York may be next to offer prisoners their voting rights.

The legislation was introduced to the New York Senate on Wednesday, October 30th, 2019. The bill, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker, would allow inmates residing in New York prisons to vote. New York lawmakers have previously been working on expanding the rights of the formerly incarcerated. However, this new bill would push things a step further. Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that thousands of imprisoned people would be affected.

Some argue that since inmates are counted in the community census, they should be allowed to have a say in who represents them in elected office. Others say that voting is an earned right for people who follow community laws and are a contributing member to society. The topic has long been controversial and remains relevant in politics for many states.

The future of this bill remains unclear for now. The Democratic-controlled Assembly does not need a matching, or “same as,” bill to establish full passage. Although just introduced, the topic is already gaining traction among New York media and news outlets.

One major drawback to allowing prisoners to vote is their lack of information on political candidates. Many are unable to watch the news or read about the issues each candidate believes in. Even with this setback, many people believe in bringing about change to the prison system.

In recent months, lawmakers have passed other legislation surrounding criminal justice. One focus is to reduce recidivism and lower total population count in New York prisons. Governor Andrew Cuomo has also been working diligently for years, seeking out the closure of numerous prisons due to population decline. Another bill introduced at the beginning of 2019 would have allowed former prisoners to serve on juries.

About Attorney Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School.

Lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks

Understanding the Fifth Amendment with Lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York

New York Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains your rights outlined in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution addresses some of the protections afforded to citizens accused of crimes. Deeply rooted in English common law, this Amendment attempts to protect an accused person from being forced by the Government to provide ‘testimony’ against him/herself. 

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York explains the Fifth Amendment in order to help citizens understand their rights. 

When someone ‘pleads the Fifth’, or otherwise exercises their rights under the Fifth, they are using this right to remain silent against certain kinds of questioning by the Government (i.e., police, prosecutors or any arm of law enforcement). 

Under the Fifth Amendment, there is an additional protection against ‘double jeopardy’. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks explains that once a person has been tried for an offense, whatever the outcome, they cannot be charged or tried again with the same offense, even if new incriminating evidence is found after the trial. This protects people from being forced into court repeatedly to defend themselves. However the exception to the ‘double jeopardy’ rule is that the State and Federal Goverments are considered two separate entities. Which is to say, that a person could be found ‘not guilty’ in State Court, but then tried again in Federal Court with the same or similar charges, (e.g., the officers in the Rodney King beating case). This occurrence is not considered ‘double jeopardy’ under the law. 

Also included in the Fifth is a person’s right to legal counsel during interrogation. The accused party can request an attorney be present when speaking with the police or any person associated with law enforcement. Every person must also be read their ‘Miranda Warnings’ upon being questioned by law enforcement, (questioning evokes this right not the arrest). Failure to warn a person of their Miranda rights could result in any resulting statements being thrown out of court. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks stresses the importance of exercising your right to counsel before speaking with law enforcement. 

Finally, Attorney Nicholas Hicks reminds us, that when a police officer says “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”, remember that in fact it will be used against you. So protect yourself by remaining silent until you have a lawyer present. 

Contact an attorney right away if you need to discuss your rights in a criminal situation. 

About Nicholas Hicks: 

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. 

Attorney Nicholas Hicks Discusses 5 Questions to Ask Before Filing Bankruptcy

It might be possible to improve your situation using tips from Attorney Nicholas Hicks of New York.

Declaring bankruptcy is an extreme measure that if used correctly, can save you money, time, and financial distress. However declaring bankruptcy can also be time consuming, expensive, and can negatively impact your credit rating. A bad credit rating can negatively affect your ability to make credit purchases, obtain employment and housing, just to name a few. Therefore, before you declare bankruptcy, Attorney Nicholas Hicks of New York suggests asking yourself five questions to determine if filing for bankruptcy is the best solution for you.

  1. Can you find the money to pay bills another way?

Attorney Nicholas Hicks suggests looking into obtaining additional employment if doing so does not negatively impact your health, or compromise you family relationships. Working a second or third job may be a temporary solution to help you pay down debt more quickly. Another possibility is to reevaluate your current job position. Research the job market to make sure you are not being underpaid. It doesn’t hurt to apply for better job opportunities with higher pay.

  1. Have you been following a budget?

Many people don’t follow a budget and do not know where their money goes. Without budgeting, it is impossible to determine where you can make changes in your spending. There are many budgeting programs and apps available today that make setting up a budget easy.

Attorney Nicholas Hicks of New York also suggests that you consider other lifestyle changes such as downsizing your living space or getting a roommate. Cutting down on housing cost can save you big money in the short and long run. If you eat out often, start cooking at home to save money on food. Budgeting allows you to clearly see where adjustments should be made.

  1. Is your situation temporary?

Realistically consider if your financial problems are temporary or long term. If you have historically paid your bills on time, Attorney Nicholas Hicks recommends waiting to see how much you can improve your situation quickly.

  1. Can you negotiate with lenders?

Many lenders will lower interest rates and or even reduce the amount owed if you tell them that you are considering filing for bankruptcy. Credit card companies are more likely to drop rates and/or reduce the outstanding debt because in most cases they lose even more money if you file bankruptcy. Attorney Nicholas Hicks of New York notes that in most cases, Student loans cannot be reduced or eliminated in bankruptcy. However, lenders can suspend payment requirements, change your repayment schedule or otherwise adjust payments to better fit your current income situation.

  1. Will bankruptcy actually benefit you?

Lastly, determine if bankruptcy will actually benefit you. There are various types of bankruptcies each having their respective benefits and negative consequences. It is best to consult with an attorney to determine first, if bankruptcy is the best option and if so, which chapter of bankruptcy best fits your needs.

About Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private school where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School.

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks on Contesting a Divorce in New York

Contesting a divorce can be confusing, which is why Lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York explains the steps needed to file. 

 

Filing for divorce can be tricky, especially when one person is not on board. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks explains that when someone wants to say no to a divorce, they must “contest.” There are many reasons for wanting to contest a divorce. The most common reason relates to disagreements over separation arrangements. 

If you have gotten divorce papers from your spouse or their attorney, it is time to act fast in order to protect your rights.   Lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that this next step is called responding. The law only permits you 20 days (or 30 days if served outside of New York State) to respond after being served divorce papers. If you choose not to respond appropriately or do not contest appropriately, the divorce can still be granted without your agreement and your rights could be impacted in a major way. 

While some people chose to represent themselves in a divorce action (see NYCourts website for forms), Lawyer Nicholas Hicks strongly advises against doing so. “I can’t tell you how many times I have had to turn potential clients away who wanted me to ‘fix’ the mangled legal mess they have created by trying to save a few dollars.  Some things are just worth paying for.”

It is also important to know, that although a divorce may be initially contested, most contesting parties will eventually agree to let their spouse proceed with finalizing the divorce assuming that a settlement can be reached.  Further Attorney Hicks notes that “a New York Court will almost always grant the divorce even it a trial has to occur to make it happen.” Which is to say, New York does not make people stay married.  

In the end however, contesting a divorce isn’t, as a practical matter, about preventing a divorce from occurring.  Contesting the matter allows the spouse-defendant an opportunity to protect their best interests, (i.e., asset and debt division; custody and support issues etc.).  So if you are served with a divorce action, do not under any circumstances ignore the situation. You should consult with a divorce attorney as soon as possible. The clock is ticking.

 

About Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School.

Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks

Attorney Nicholas Hicks of New York Explains the Fourth Amendment

Every citizen should understand their Constitutional rights; Attorney Nicholas Hicks makes it easy. 

When the U.S. Constitution was drafted, the founding fathers had specific concerns regarding the protection of citizens against harm caused by a powerful government who might over reach its authority.  The 4th Amendment was drafted to, among other things, protect citizens from unreasonable search and seizures. However, although the Constitution prohibits ‘unlawful’ searches and seizure, the 4th Amendment does not prohibit all searches and seizures from occurring. There are Constitutional circumstances that deem certain searches lawful.

Attorney Nicholas Hicks of New York explains some things you need to know regarding your rights under the 4th Amendment.

A citizens’ 4th amendment right against unwarranted interference from the government is weighed against the rightful government’s interests in public safety. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that the extent to which the 4th amendment protects a person also depends on the location and circumstances of the search or seizure in question.

Search of a Home

It is considered unreasonable to search someone’s home without a warrant.  It is understood, that a person’s home is among the most private of places and should not be disturbed without strong Constitutional justification.  Further it is understood that a person’s expectation of ‘privacy’ is greater in one’s abode than in public.

Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that there are a few exceptions in which a search of a person’s home without a warrant may be acceptable. These exceptions include giving law enforcement consent to search one’s home or law enforcement being in ‘hot pursuit’, meaning that a crime is in progress or has been committed and a suspect is fleeing into a dwelling;   Additionally, if the search is incident to a lawful arrest inside of the home and/or illegal items are in plain view (assuming the officer is lawfully in the dwelling to observe the contraband in plain sight) then such searches may be deemed Constitutional.

Search of a Person

If an officer sees unusual behavior that leads him to believe criminal activity may be happening, Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that the officer can briefly stop the suspicious person. The officer may ask questions and make observations to gather more information.  However it is important to note, that unless the officer places the ‘suspicious’ person in custody (i.e., the person is not free to leave) the individual may lawfully walk away.

Search of Vehicles

There is an extensive list of situations that can lead to an acceptable search of an automobile. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains the concept of ‘probable cause’ concerning automobile stops and searches.

If an officer observes a traffic violation or has reason to know that the specific automobile is stolen (a random plate check) or the occupant(s) are visibly involved in illegal activity, law enforcement may conduct a traffic stop.  Although a lawful stop has occurred, it does not necessarily follow that the officer may also search the automobile absent further probable cause that the automobile contains contraband (illegal drugs, weapons etc) or if the automobile is lawfully impounded an ‘inventory search’ of the automobile may be lawfully made.  However even if there is no probable cause to search a vehicle, Courts have held that narcotics are nevertheless permitted to walk around the outside of a vehicle at any valid traffic stop, even without other reasonable suspicion. 

Further, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed that officers at a U.S. international border may conduct stops and searches without probable cause. Further, Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that highway sobriety checkpoints may be used lawfully to reduce the dangers of drunk drivers without any probable cause needed.  Finally, Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that in addition to the U.S. Constitution, each State may differ in its own laws regarding procedure as relates to searches, (so long as the State rules do not violate U.S. Constitutional law). Therefore you should check with your individual state laws as well as federal laws to understand the full spectrum of your rights.

About Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from New York City foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. Nicholas Hicks is now a practicing lawyer in New York.

Two Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Crushing Debt With Lawyer Nicholas Hicks

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks explains the difference between bankruptcy and debt settlement in New York.

People can find themselves in crushing debt for several reasons. Family emergencies, medical bills, or unemployment can take a toll on a person’s finances in a very short amount of time. In other instances, an accumulation of debt can be the result of poor spending habits and lack of budgeting. If you find yourself in this situation, Lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York explains debt relief options to consider.

Bankruptcy and debt settlement are two common ways to clear debt that cannot be repaid. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that these options are only to be considered when all other avenues have been exhausted. Although these options can reduce or eliminate debt, there are other consequences to consider.

Bankruptcy

In New York, Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most unsecured debt, no matter how much the amount. These include debt from medical bills, credit cards and personal unsecured loans. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York notes that a disadvantage of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the possibility of surrendering certain non-exempt assets as a trade-off to eliminating debt. The Chapter 7 option take approximately 4 months to complete.

Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to keep all of your assets. However, you have to agree to pay back some, if not all, of the debt over a 36-60 month period. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks explains that Chapter 13 also helps some people get caught up on mortgage arrears and in some instances can eliminate or reduce second mortgages/home improvement loans. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that if you default on the Chapter 13 repayment plan, your case can be dismissed, which could result in loss of monies paid and creditors may resume collection and foreclosure activity against you.

Debt Settlement

In some cases, it is better to work with a lender to negotiate a debt settlement. Once you can prove to the lender that there are no means to repay the debt, they may accept a lump sum less than the principal which is owed or set up reduced payments with you. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York explains that it is common to settle for around 35 to 75 percent of the total balance. This choice may have less of a negative impact on your credit rating compared to bankruptcy. Attorney Nicholas Hicks further explains that you should also request that the lender report a favorable payment history with the various credit reporting agencies once you have completed your end of the agreement.

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks recommends contacting a debt relief attorney for help with obtaining financial freedom from debt. Learn more about debt relief from Lawyer Nicholas Hicks on his YouTube page at https://youtu.be/OrUyZvnQWOchttps://youtu.be/OrUyZvnQWOc

About Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private school where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. Nicholas Hicks has been in private law practice in New York for over 20 years.

Nicholas Hicks - Child Support in New York

Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks on Child Support in New York

Before applying for child support in New York, Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks explains key facts you need to know.

When a couple files for divorce or otherwise share children in common, one of the first issues to address is who gets primary custody over the children. The noncustodial parent, who does not have primary custody, will, in most cases, be required to pay child support.  Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks explains how child support is handled in New York.

In New York, Family Court Officials determine the amount to pay. Parents are held accountable for supporting their children, in most cases, until the child is 21 years old.  Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks notes that any parent, guardian, or caretaker can petition for child support.

Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks encourages individuals to contact a attorney if they need help in locating noncustodial parents, establishing paternity, support determination, support collection, support enforcement, medical coverage for the children or enforcement, adjustment of child support amounts, or modification of child support orders. 

When working with a new client, Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks often hears, “How much will I be expected to pay in child support”? The New York courts use a general guideline to calculate the payment for the noncustodial parent. Factors include adjusted gross income and number of children requiring support. Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks notes that general guideline percentages under the Child Support Guidelines in New York.  Support is calculated on gross income (only allowing for the deduction of FICA). The support percentages are as follows:

  • 17% – One Child
  • 25% – Two Children
  • 29% – Three Children
  • 31% – Four children
  • 35% or more – Five + Children.

When filing a support petition, Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks recommends providing as much information as possible to the attorney.  

Information about the noncustodial parent should include full name, birthday, contact information, social security number, income records, and health insurance documents. Other useful information, if applicable includes a copy of the marriage license, current and/or previous child support orders, child-related expenses, divorce agreement, etc.

About Nicholas Hicks:

Starting from an early age, Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private school where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School.