Archive for August, 2013

Driving Under the Influence on Private Property in Kansas

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Many people mistakenly believe that they can only be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) while driving on public properly – this simply is not the case in Kansas.  Many people are also mistaken about what private property means.  For example, parking lots with public access are considered private property just as much as privately-owned land that is not accessible to the public.  However, an officer’s authority is different depending on whether you are sitting in a parking lot in your car or if you are driving under the influence on your friend’s property.

In Kansas, an officer with probable cause that you are under the influence of alcohol while driving, or while simply parked in your car in a parking lot, has the authority to investigate and subsequently arrest you for driving under the influence.  On the other hand, if you are driving under the influence on a friend’s private property, and the friend is present and aware of your conduct, an officer cannot enter that private land to investigate and arrest you.

But, it is important to understand that there are instances when an officer can in fact enter private property where the public does not have access.  For example, if you are driving on your friend’s property (say five acres of open land), and the police believe you are doing so without the consent or presence of the landowner, the police may enter the land to investigate and arrest your for driving under the influence.  This raises the question of how the police will know whether or not you have permission or consent to drive around the open land while under the influence, or whether or not the landowner is present.

Because it is difficult to determine when private property can preclude the police from investigating you for a potential DUI offense, it is essential to be aware that the police may be able to enter private land at any time to investigate and possibly arrest you.  Kansas takes driving under the influence very seriously and is especially strict on offenders, so it is wise to assume that you could be arrested at any time for your conduct.  Don’t take a risk and assume you are safe from the police if you are just having a good time with your friends driving aimlessly under the influence of alcohol or drugs on the friend’s property.  The risk is not worth the potential harm that a DUI conviction can have on all aspects of your life and future plans.

If you have been charged with a DUI or other alcohol-related offense while on private property, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine if the charge is legitimate, and if the police had probable cause.  You may believe the police had no right to enter the property where you were arrested.  While this may turn out to be correct, you should know that the police do have the authority to enter private property under a particular set of circumstances – circumstances that you should discuss with an attorney.  Not all cases are treated the same, and whether or not a DUI charge is lawful must be determined on a case by case basis.

With over 35 years of experience, Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices is dedicated to helping individuals charged with DUI’s and other criminal offenses.  Don’t hesitate to seek the advice of an experienced attorney.  Contact us for a free consultation.  You can contact us online, or call us at (785) 843-9460.  Our office is located in downtown Lawrence, easily accessible from the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  The Whitman Law Offices will defend your rights to the fullest no matter how serious the offense may be.  We accept major credit cards and are available to visit you at home, or in jail, if needed.

Underage Alcohol Offenses in Kansas – What Parents and Young Adults Must Know

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Underage drinking is not taken lightly in Kansas.  Whether you, or your son or daughter is charged with underage drinking and issued a citation, of being a Minor in Possession (MIP) or of Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor (MIC), or of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you should take the charge very seriously.  All too often minors and young adults believe they can get away with underage drinking, especially college students who are eager to have fun and fit in.

In Kansas, individuals under the age of 21 who have been charged with any of the following underage alcohol offenses may be subject to severe consequences.

  • Issued with Citation for Underage Drinking
  • Minor in Possession (MIP) / Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor (MIC)
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

If convicted of an underage alcohol offense, your driving privileges may be revoked or limited.  You may only be able to drive to school, work, important appointments, and may only be able to drive during particular hours.  You may also be subject to mandatory drug testing and alcohol treatment.  Even more, you may be responsible for hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly jail time.  As a young adult, you also may find it hard to obtain a job, receive a scholarship, or to seek recruitment by the military.  This can all happen even in the case where you are pulled over and an unopened container of alcohol is present in the car.  What if the alcohol isn’t yours?  It doesn’t matter under Kansas law.  This is why parents should be on alert that their son or daughter could be in trouble even if no alcohol was consumed.

But, the most serious of the underage drinking offenses listed above is a DUI.  While the legal limit for blood-alcohol content (BAC) in Kansas is .08 for individuals 21 and over, the limit is much lower if you are underage.  Many people do not realize that the law is often harsher for young adults.  If you are pulled over and found to have even a slight amount of detectable alcohol in your system, and under the age of 21, this is enough to be charged with a DUI.  Such a charge can lead to a conviction that leaves you with a permanent criminal record.

With so much on the line as a young adult, parents should discuss with their children the severity of the consequences discussed above.  Whether your child is college-bound or not, taking a huge risk just to have a good time at a college party isn’t worth the harsh penalties that Kansas imposes on many young offenders.  Don’t let an underage drinking charge lead you down the wrong path.  Young adults will make mistakes and learn from them, but making what may seem to be a small mistake by driving after just one drink at a party, or walking down the street with a beer in your hand is not worth the time, cost and emotional strain that can be a distraction from receiving an education or starting a career.

If you, or if your son or daughter has been charged with an underage alcohol offense, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney right away.  Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices devotes himself to helping individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 who have been charged with underage alcohol offenses in Kansas.  With over 35 years of experience, Charles Whitman has the necessary qualifications to protect your rights and help you avoid potentially harsh consequences.  Contact our office for a free consultation.  You may call us at (785) 843-9460, or contact us online.  Our office is located in downtown Lawrence, not far from the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  Contact us today and let us help you get your life back on track.