Attorney Nicholas W. Hicks
Nicholas Hicks

NY Attorney, Nicholas Hicks, Discusses New Gun Restriction Proposal

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has a new proposal for restricting gun licenses; Nicholas Hicks explains.

As this year comes to a close, Governor Andrew Cuomo rolls out his agenda for 2020. A focal point on the agenda is his new proposal to limit gun licenses. He believes that people convicted of serious misdemeanor crimes in other states should not be allowed to have access to gun licenses in New York. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that serious offenses could include domestic violence, assault, and other sex offenses.

In a statement, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he feels the law would save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Gun licensing entities would be allowed to perform background searches on people trying to purchase a firearm. Anyone with qualifying offenses, both from in and out of state, would be denied the license. Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that gun license renewals would also be withheld from offenders.

“I’m proud that New York continues to show the Country that we don’t have to live like this – that we can and will end gun violence,” said Andrew Cuomo.

Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that gun control measures have remained a vital issue for Governor Andrew Cuomo since the SAFE Act in 2013. The legislation was enacted after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators. The tragic event stirred up a national debate on gun control that is still very much a priority today. Many more mass shootings have occurred since, and leaders are trying to do something about it.

Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that New York already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Reforms have made it more challenging to obtain gun licenses. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to protect New York citizens from others around the Country.

Governor Andrew Cuomo states: “The solution is also clear: New York’s strongest-in-the-nation gun laws which have made us the safest big state in the Country. But until the federal government acts, states with weak gun laws will continue to endanger New Yorkers at home, and I will not tolerate it.”

Democrats controlled both chambers of the legislature earlier this year and passed measures that extended the background check period and banned bump stocks. Additional measures banned guns that are undetectable to metal detectors and expanded safe storage requirements, among others. Attorney Nicholas Hicks shares that the measures were signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who will give his State of the State address on January 8th, 2020.

About Lawyer Nicholas Hicks:

Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care as a child at the age of 5 years old. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. He specializes in various areas of practice, including injury cases, debt elimination, criminal defense, divorce, child support, child custody, and more.

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks

Lawyer Nicholas Hicks Explains Extraordinary Circumstances in Child Custody Cases

To help clarify child custody laws used in New York, lawyer Nicholas Hicks shines a light on the meaning of ‘extraordinary circumstances’. 

Parents always have preference over non-parents when it comes to claiming custody over a child. For a parent to not be chosen as a guardian, the court must determine that extraordinary circumstances exist. Lawyer Nichols Hicks explains that in 1976, the standard was set in place due to the Bennet v. Jeffreys case.  Since then, additional court cases have shed more light on the legal meaning of ‘extraordinary circumstance’. 

The general guidelines state that extraordinary circumstances include surrender, persisting neglect, disruption of custody over an extended period, unfitness to be a parent or comparable situations. The court must find one of these circumstances for a child to be awarded to a someone other than a biological parent. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that  most individuals who are non-parents are not given “standing” to have the case heard by a court unless ‘extraordinary circumstances’ exist.

The case will be dismissed if the judge determines that the non-parents standing does not reveal extraordinary circumstances. However, extraordinary circumstances are identified by the court, then the court has the authority to decide if it is in the best interest of the child to be placed with a non-parent. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks explains that parents have the fundamental right to raise their children unless the children are in harm’s way. 

For example, a parent’s prior history of domestic violence and child neglect can be used as a cause for an extraordinary circumstance. Additionally, Lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that many people are surprised to find that lack of involvement in a child’s life can also be considered an extraordinary circumstance.  Some situations of abandonment, even short term, also count depending on the circumstances. 

That being said, a child cannot be taken away from a parent because someone else might do a better job, or because the child has a better relationship with a non-parent. Again, lawyer Nicholas Hicks stresses the fundamental right that parents have to raise their children however they choose. Like most family law cases, there are no concrete rules or straight lines when it comes to child custody, only general guidelines that are used on a case by case basis. 

Skilled attorneys that have experience with child custody cases are helpful on every side of the case because they can offer clear presentations and arguments. The New York trial courts have full authority to make the final decision on the custody of the children. Court officials must use their discretion when determining the credibility of each witness in the case, which is why hiring legal counsel is so important. Although the outcome can be appealed, lawyer Nicholas Hicks notes that it is very unlikely to be changed. 

Once a custody order is made in favor of one parent or a non-parent, new evidence must be presented, which shows a change in circumstances. Some case laws, however, put non-parents on an equal level with parents once they’ve been given custody due to extraordinary circumstances. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks explains that these custody modification cases require more time, scrutiny and analysis compared to ensure the changes are real and long-lasting. 

It is not favorable to move children around unnecessarily, as they need consistency, structure, and support. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks suggests contacting legal help for more insight about your specific situation.

About Lawyer Nicholas Hicks:

Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care as a child at the age of 5 years old. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. He specializes in various areas of practice, including injury cases, debt elimination, criminal defense, divorce, child support, child custody, and more.

 

Nicholas Hicks

Attorney Nicholas Hicks on Cuomo’s Healthcare Transparency Proposal in NY

According to Attorney Nicholas Hicks, New York is looking to lower costs and boost competition amongst healthcare providers.

New York’s Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently proposed a plan that would create more transparency for medical costs. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that the measure is focused around the idea of a website that would allow New Yorkers to compare prices and procedures across in-state hospitals.  Additionally, the site would offer advice to patients who were surprised by their final medical bills.

In a statement, Andrew Cuomo said that “New York has made tremendous progress protecting consumers from unreasonably expensive medical care.”

This measure was made in response to the rise of healthcare costs in recent years. According to Attorney Nicholas Hicks, New York residents currently do not have an efficient way to shop for hospitals, treatments, and physicians.  Sometimes people are unable to make informed decisions about their healthcare and providers take advantage. New York officials are looking for new ways to increase competition in the healthcare marketplace and lower prices.

Months before announcing the transparency proposal, Andrew Cuomo signed the Patient Protection Act. It prevents out-of-network providers from slamming patients with outrageously high out-of-pocket emergency room costs. Next, Andrew Cuomo plans to address the cost of prescriptions with a new plan that would put caps on insulin co-payments, allow the state to investigate drug manufacturers for price increases and allow an expert group to research a system to import Canadian drugs.

Attorney Nicholas Hicks believes the proposed measures would be advantageous to the State of New York. By providing more transparency on healthcare costs upfront, providers can improve patient relations and build trust. New York residents can also receive the level of care they need. When people fear hidden costs and high deductibles, they delay treatment or forgo it altogether.  Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that when people know what to expect, they can make better and more timely decisions.

Although these solutions seem very simple and logical, Attorney Nicholas Hicks warns of possible complications to be aware of. Listed prices will benefit self-paying patients the most. For patients with healthcare plans, their rates will vary according to their coverage. Additionally, it can be nearly impossible to predict the price of an office visit before the doctor has seen the patient.

For example, a patient who goes to the doctor for treatment of a common cold may find out they are much sicker with an illness like pneumonia.  Attorney Nicholas Hicks goes on to explain that the patient will now face a much higher bill than expected due to needing more intensive care. It can be challenging to explain the situation to a sick and worried patient who feels like the provider is being shady about changing prices.  

Regardless, New York lawmakers are trying their best to address the issue. As new concerns arise, new solutions will be created to address them. Attorney Nicholas Hicks plans to keep his eye on the situation as it develops.

About Lawyer Nicholas Hicks:

Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. He specializes in various areas of practice, including injury cases, debt elimination, criminal defense, divorce, child support, child custody, and more.

Nicholas W. Hicks

Nicholas W. Hicks on Finding the Right Divorce Attorney

Finding the right divorce attorney in New York can be difficult, but Nicholas W. Hicks has tips to guide you through the process.

All divorce attorneys are not the same. They vary in price, experience, knowledge, temperament, and, most importantly, hiring the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ attorney could impact the potential outcome of your case. With such a large pool of options in New York, it may seem like finding a divorce attorney will be easy. As each case is unique, the hiring decision should not be taken lightly.

According to lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks of New York, the client’s best interests should always be kept at the forefront of negotiations. Finding an attorney with experience in similar cases is ideal. When you start researching attorneys in New York, start by looking for someone in your local jurisdiction. Next, look for reviews and ratings, years in practice, fees, and qualifications. Reach out to others you know that have gone through a divorce; they may be able to provide referrals.  

Once you’ve compiled a list of candidates, lawyer Nicholas Hicks of New York recommends scheduling appointments to meet them. It may feel exhausting to conduct interviews, but it’s vital to the selection process. You can only truly get a feel for someone after meeting in person and discussing your case. Your divorce attorney is about to become your confidante legally, so trust must be established early on.

Hearing legal advice from numerous candidates will also help you identify any outliers who promise unlikely outcomes. Lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks explains that you should hire someone that will tell you the truth about your situation, not someone who will tell you what you want to hear to get your business. They should listen to you to understand, offer support, and communicate clearly.

When you’ve made your decision, remember that you are not locked into a binding contract with that divorce attorney for the remainder of your case. Lawyer Nicholas W. Hicks of New York notes that sometimes it just doesn’t work out. It’s better to deal with the hassle of getting a new attorney than to deal with lifelong unfavorable results.

About Lawyer Nicholas Hicks:

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. He specializes in various areas of practice including injury cases, debt elimination, criminal defense, divorce, child support, child custody, and more.

 

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.