Archive for November, 2013

How to Select the Right DUI Defense Attorney in Kansas

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Finding the right attorney to represent you on your DUI charges can feel like a daunting task. With the steep penalties for a DUI conviction, it is important to find a skilled attorney who can zealously defend you and get your life back on track. When deciding who to trust with this important job, look for attorney who meets the following requirements:

  • Concentrates a portion of practice on DUI: Do not use the attorney who handled your divorce, just because he or she is the only attorney you know. You would not make an appointment with a dermatologist if you were experiencing chest pains. The same advice holds true when you are searching for the right attorney to represent you on a DUI charge. Limit your search of attorneys to those attorneys and/or firms where DUI defense is a major practice area. You want to hire an attorney who regularly handles DUI cases because that attorney will be current on the law and best be able to advise you on your rights.
  • Significant trial experience: Look for an attorney who has significant trial experience. An attorney who is well-versed in the courtroom is advantageous to a client in two ways. First and obviously, if your case goes to trial you want to feel comfortable that your attorney is confident in the courtroom. Second, and equally as important, is that an attorney who can commands the courtroom is often in a better position to settle a case. In law, like in life, an attorney’s reputation in the courtroom precedes him or her.
  • Is upfront about fees: No one plans to get arrested for a DUI. Therefore, it makes sense that most people do not have funds set aside to hire a DUI defense attorney. Find an attorney who is upfront about not only the attorney’s fees, but also possible fines, restitution and other expenses that you can expect to incur. You can also look for a DUI defense attorney who will accept credit card payments for his or her fees.
  • Values you and your case: To find the attorney who is best suited to represent you take the initial consultation with the attorney very seriously. After the completion of the consultation, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Did the attorney take the time to listen to the facts of my case?
  • Did the attorney answer all of my questions?
  • Did the attorney explain my legal options?
  • Did the attorney seem honest and forthright about the strengths and weaknesses of my case?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are well on your way of finding a good DUI defense attorney. Make sure to avoid an attorney who promises you results or guaranties you a specific outcome. Not only is this type of behavior extremely unethical, it is also a complete lie. It is impossible for any attorney to be able to predict what will happen in any particular case, since no two cases are the same.

  • Is someone you trust: In order for an attorney-client relationship to be successful, the client needs to be able to trust the attorney. If you have any doubts about an attorney’s ability to represent you or you feel that you cannot communicate with a certain attorney, do not hire that attorney.

If you have been charged with DUI you need an experienced and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call us today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. We can also make arrangements to visit you in jail. With over 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices, will thoroughly review your case with you to make sure that you understand of all of your legal options.

Clearing the Record: FAQ about Expunging a DUI in Kansas

Monday, November 18th, 2013

If you have a DUI in your past, there is probably not a day that goes by where you are not in some way reminded of the fact. Whether you are headed out after work for drinks with friends or having dinner with your spouse, you may be extra careful to watch your alcohol intake or arrange for a designated driver to get you home safely. You probably find yourself wishing you could take back your decision to drive the evening you were charged with a DUI. In life there are few opportunities for do-overs. Although there are no do-over per se, in Oklahoma you may be able to have your past DUI forgiven. If you have been arrested and/or convicted of a DUI it may be possibly for you to clear your record. The follows are answers to the most common questions regarding expungement.

  • What is an “expungement” and who can request an expungement from the court?

An “expungement” is the process of removing a criminal case, like a DUI, from a person’s criminal record. The current law in Kansas allows persons who were convicted of a DUI on or after July 1, 2006, to petition the court for an expungement no sooner than 10 years from the date the person completed all requirements or terms related to his or her diversion agreement or sentence. For those individuals who were convicted on or before July 1, 2006, the waiting period is five years.

  • How could I benefit from an expungement?

If you were arrested and charged with a DUI in the past you may feel as if you are being continuously punished for one very bad decision that you made a long time ago. Even though you have learned your lesson not to drink and drive, and paid the penalties deemed appropriate by the court, it may feel like you are suffering from the consequences of the DUI. A DUI on your record can result in a person paying higher auto insurance rates and even having to pay a higher interest rate on an auto loan or mortgage. Further, not only can the public access a person’s criminal record but a potential employer can do so as well. Certain employers are reluctant to hire or have strict policies against hiring a person with a DUI on his or her record. The benefit of having your DUI expunged is that this record is sealed and no longer accessible. Once the expungement is granted, a person can honestly state on a job or credit application that they have never been convicted of a DUI. However, if a person is arrested again on a subsequent DUI the former expunged DUI case can be unsealed and the new case treated as a second offense.

  • Do I need to hire an attorney to petition the court for an expungement?

Although a person is allowed by law to represent his or her own interests before the court on a petition for expungement, it is a wise decision to hire an attorney. People who choose not to hire an attorney for this type of proceeding are often under the misconception that judges automatically grant these petitions. An experienced DUI expungement attorney will make sure that the facts most favorable to your case are presented to the court.

To determine whether you could have your DUI expunged from your record you need to contact a highly skilled DUI defense attorney. With over three decades of experienced, attorney Charles E. Whitman and the team of professionals at the Whitman Law Offices, will review your case to determine whether you are able to clear your DUI from your record. Call us today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation. At the Whitman Law Offices, we look forward to providing you with top-notch legal services.

How to Enjoy a Safe and Incident Free Holiday Season

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Between the holiday get-togethers and the big New Year’s Eve celebrations, December can seem like one big party. However, as you dash from one gala to the next, keep in mind that the police are also aware of this busy time of year and are keeping a watchful eye out for those individuals who are drinking and driving. This holiday season, avoid becoming another statistic. Follow these tips to keep this season’s festivities safe and incident free:

  • Don’t drink & drive: Of course it goes without saying that the single best way to avoid a DUI is to not drink and drive. A DUI can cost thousands of dollars in fines, attorney’s fees and court costs. Not to mention time lost spent in court and in jail. There are also the long-term repercussions of a DUI, including having a criminal record and having to disclose your criminal history on a job or credit application.
  • Plan ahead: If you make plans to attend a party and wish to drink, then take the time to arrange for a safe way to get home. You could ask a friend or family member to be your designated driver. If no one is willing to volunteer for the job, hire someone. A limo could be a fun way to travel to a party in style. Of course, you can also call a cab or take public transportation.
  • Watch your alcohol intake: At a party it can be difficult to know exactly how much alcohol is in the host’s candy cane punch. Be smart and stick to bottled beverages like wine or beer, so you know exactly how much alcohol is in each drink.
  • Remember it is okay to change your mind: If you choose to drive home, only to discover that maybe you are not in the best of shape to drive, stop the car. It is best to pull over and park your car in a legal parking space. However, do not remain in the car. Call a friend or a cab to pick you up. An officer can arrest you for DUI even if you are sitting in the driver’s seat with the car not running.
  • Be prepared: In the event you are pulled over, make sure that you are prepared. Have your license, registration and proof of insurance easily accessible in your car’s glove compartment. You do not want the officer to see you fumbling for these documents. Once you see the officer approaching your vehicle roll down your window and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
  • Mum is the word: If are pulled over by a police officer remember to stay quiet. At a party, you can chat all you want, but during an encounter with a police officer, after you have been drinking, is not the time to become a social butterfly. Remember the officer is trying to build a DUI case against you. So when the officers asks you questions such as “Do you know why I pulled you over?” or “Have you been drinking tonight?” be polite but do not answer the questions.
  • Do not walk the line: If an officer asks you to submit to a field sobriety test, it is probably a good idea to politely refuse. Sobriety tests are not only designed to test your balance and coordination but also a person’s ability to follow directions. These tests are far from simple and people who are completely sober have failed these tests.

If you have been charged with DUI you need an experienced and knowledgeable DUI defense attorney. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call us today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. We can also make arrangements to visit you in jail. With over 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices, will thoroughly review your case with you to make sure that you understand of all of your legal options.

Field Sobriety Tests: To Walk or Not Walk the Line

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Even if you have never been pulled over by a police officer and asked to partake in a field sobriety test, most Americans are familiar with this roadside assessment. Movies and television shows often depict scenes where an officer has a suspected drunk driver walk a straight line in a heel to toe fashion. Johnny Cash may have walked the line, but if you are pulled over on a Kansas roadway, it may be a good idea for you not to do the same. Before you agree to submit to a field sobriety test, here are a list of things you should know and consider before making the decision to walk the line:

  • Tests are voluntary: Yes, you heard that correctly. Most people submit to a field sobriety test because they believe that they are required by law to do so. The majority of people who are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence do not realize that they have the option to politely decline participating in the test.
  • If you fail the test, you will likely be arrested: One of the main reasons to consider not submitting to a field sobriety test is that you have nothing to gain by taking the test. If you take the test and fail you will likely be arrested. If prior to taking the test you admitted to the officer that you had been drinking, you may also be arrested, regardless of whether you took and passed the test.
  • Only three tests are approved by the NHTSA: Although many different tests are depicted in popular media, there are only three tests that have been studied and approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The three approved tests are the “walk and turn”, the “one-leg stand” and the “horizontal gaze nystagmus.”
  • Tests are more difficult than they appear: Watching a person on a television drama perform a sobriety test can make these tests look out to be fairly simple and straight-forward. People are surprised to learn that these tests can have false positive results between 20 and 30 percent, depending on the test. Not to mention, completion of these test on the side of road, most often at night in the dark, can make these tests even more challenging.
  • Tests are admissible evidence in court: If a person submits to a field sobriety test, this evidence can and most likely will be used against the person in court. This includes not only the test result but also video of the test while the test was conducted by the officer.

The good news is that an experienced DUI defense attorney can help. A seasoned DUI defense attorney will thoroughly review your case, including any documents or video related to field sobriety tests. The attorney will then scrutinize these tests to determine if tests were carried out in a flawed manner or if other explanations exist for your inability to complete the test. Any errors can be used to call into question the validity of the test results and possibly result in the test being inadmissible in court.

Regardless of whether you submitted to a sobriety test, if you were arrested and charged with a DUI you need a zealous advocate to protect your rights. For more than three decades attorney Charles E. Whitman has been defending men and women charged with DUI. Contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free confidential consultation. At the Whitman Law Offices, we will take the time to educate you on the law and review with you, your rights and defenses. Trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with superior legal services.