Archive for January, 2014

Kansas DUI Attorneys Ask The Public to Resolve Not to Drink & Drive in 2014

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

No start to a New Year is complete without the time honored tradition of making a list of New Year’s resolutions. Even if you chose not to make a list this year, one thing every motorist should resolve to do in 2014, is to not drink and drive. Much like deciding to quit smoking, the benefits of not drinking and driving are clear. However, if you are in need of a reminder of why driving while under the influence of alcohol is a bad idea, the following list should prove as a helpful reminder:

  • DUI: Any time a motorist chooses to drink and drive, he or she runs the risk of being pulled over on the suspicion of drunk driving and charged with a DUI. Although many motorists understand that a DUI is not something they want—many are unaware of the extent to which a DUI can change their lives. First, a DUI charge will result in the loss of a person’s driver’s license for at least a short period of time, but most often the driver’s license will be restricted or result in the loss of driving privileges for at least one year. A DUI conviction will also mean that that person now has a criminal record. This can lead to problems when the person applies for a job, college or even financial aid. Not only may a person with a DUI conviction have to disclose the conviction to certain people upon request, the information will also become public record. This means if you were convicted of a DUI your insurance company will learn of your misfortune and most likely raise your rates. Lastly, a person convicted of a DUI may also have to serve time in jail.
  • Loss of time and money: Even if your attorney is able to have the DUI charges against you dropped or is able to win your case at trial, you will most likely spend a large amount of time and money in order for him or her to achieve such results. Unless you have a lot of time and money burning a hole in your pocket, it is best to avoid a DUI.
  • Seriously injure or kill yourself and/or other people: Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs have slower reactions times than drivers who are sober. A slow reaction time while driving, especially in an emergency type situation can prove dangerous, even life threatening. Driving requires a motorist to make split-second decisions. An impaired driver may not be able to swerve in time to avoid a collision or react appropriately to a braking vehicle. A motorist that has been drinking also experiences impaired judgment. Drinking can make a motorist feel like driving at a high rate of speed during poor weather conditions is a great idea. Which can lead the driver to wrap his or her car around a telephone pole or veer into oncoming traffic. Such actions not only put the driver’s life at risk, but also his or her passengers, and other motorists, their passengers, and pedestrians.

If you have been charged with a DUI do not make another mistake by hiring just any attorney. Only an experienced DUI defense attorney can properly advise you of your legal rights and best advise you as to your options under the law. For over 35 years, the Whitman Law Offices have been advising DUI clients on their rights. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. We can also make arrangements to visit you in jail. Trust the seasoned professionals at the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with exceptional legal services.

College Students Beware: The Consequences of a DUI in Kansas

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

College students juggle a pretty hectic schedule. In between attending classes and hitting the books, most students find time to squeeze in extracurricular activities, whether it is participating in intramural sports, joining a student organization, or working a part-time job. Most college students would agree that they would love to have a few extra hours in the day to accomplish things. That, and of course some extra cash would not hurt either. If you are a busy college student who is strapped for cash, the last thing you want is a DUI. Before you consider drinking and driving home from your next party or social event, take a minute to review the enormous potential consequences of a DUI for a college student.

Regardless of whether you are a 21 year old college student, corporate CEO or a plumber, the law provides for certain punishments for all people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above .08. The “basic” penalties are as follows:

  • Criminal Record: If you are found guilty of DUI, you will automatically have a criminal record. In Kansas a first time DUI is considered a Class B misdemeanor.
  • Fine:  For a first time offense the fine can be no more than $1,000.
  • Costs: In addition to fines, there are other costs of DUI including possible attorney’s fees and court costs.
  • Jail Time or Public Service: The court can sentence a first time DUI offender to a maximum of six months in jail or 100 hours of public service.
  • Education/Treatment Program: The court can also require an offender to enroll in and successfully complete an alcohol and drug education and/or treatment program.
  • Loss of Driving Privileges: The standard protocol for DUI is to have a suspended license for a period of 30 days and thereafter restricted for a period of approximately 330 days. However, to be eligible to drive after the suspension, a driver must apply for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license with the Division of Motor Vehicles. This includes completing an application, paying a fee and also possibly paying to have an ignition interlock device installed on the driver’s car.

These penalties can not only impact your wallet, but also your time. Time that could be best spending studying may be spent in court or attending treatment. Classes may be missed or you may have to quit your off-campus part-time job, since your driver’s license is suspended. However, unlike the CEO and the plumber, a college student can also face consequences from his or her college or university, which depending on the institution’s policies can include the following:

  • Loss of financial aid and/or scholarships;
  • Loss of student housing;
  • Notifying the student’s parents;
  • Requiring the student to attend alcohol/drug treatment; and
  • A warning, probation, suspension or even expulsion from the institution.

A DUI conviction can also follow you after you leave the institution whether you leave through choice or by expulsion. For example, other college and universities may require that you close your criminal status on applications for admission and/or for financial aid. Many employers also require employees to undergo a criminal background check.

If you are a college student who has been charged with a DUI or another alcohol-related offense you need an experienced DUI defense attorney. Do not trust your case and your future to just any attorney. With over 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman will carefully review the facts of your case and research any and all defenses you may have. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. The Whitman Law Offices is located in downtown Lawrence and is easily accessible to both the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Kansas DUI Diversion Programs

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

If you have been recently charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you may have heard about Kansas’ DUI diversion programs. You may be wondering if entering into a diversion agreement is the right choice for you in your DUI case. As such, the following are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Kansas DUI diversion programs:

  • What is a DUI diversion program?

A diversion program, is simply an agreement with the prosecutor, where he or she agrees not to prosecute the individual charged with a DUI. In exchange, the individual facing DUI charges must comply with certain conditions.  These conditions often mandate that the individual undergo random drug/alcohol testing, complete an alcohol evaluation program, participate in alcohol counseling and attend regularly scheduled meetings.

  • Who can participate in a DUI diversion program?

To be able to qualify for a DUI diversion program, you must be a first time offender. If you have been previously found or pleaded guilty to an alcohol-related crime you will not be offered to participate in a diversion program. A person will also be excluded from participating in a diversion program if he or she has other pending criminal charges or if the person has recently participated in another diversion program for another crime. However, participation in a DUI diversion program is not an absolute right. Rather, it is offered to an individual at the prosecutor’s sole discretion.

  • What are the pros and cons of DUI diversion program?

The biggest reason for choosing to participate in a DUI diversion program is that upon successfully completing a diversion the prosecutor will dismiss the case against you. As a result, individuals who complete a diversion program will not have to serve any jail time and will not have a DUI listed on their driving record. The drawback of a DUI diversion is that if the individual does not meet all of the requirements, the individual’s participation in the diversion can be revoked and the prosecutor can resume prosecution of the original charges.

  • If I would like to participate in a DUI diversion program do I still need to hire an attorney?

In Kansas, an individual charged with DUI has the right to represent his or her own interests in court. However, it is strongly recommended that any person charged with a DUI be represented by an attorney. In DUI cases so much is at stake, including fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges that a person charged with a DUI should have the benefit of experienced attorney. An experienced attorney will make sure that your rights are protected and your defenses, if any, are properly presented before the court. Wanting to participate in the DUI diversion program is not a good reason to forgo hiring an attorney. An attorney, after a thorough review of the facts of your case, may determine that a dismissal of the charges or an acquittal is possible. If such outcomes are possible, it would be a mistake for a person to try to enter a DUI diversion program. There is also no guarantee that the prosecutor will offer you the opportunity to participate in a diversion program.

If you have been charged with a DUI, contact the Whitman Law Offices at (785) 843-9460 today to schedule a free confidential consultation. Veteran attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time to answer your questions and make sure you understand your rights. You can trust attorney Charles E. Whitman and the Whitman Law Offices to thoroughly review the facts of your case and research all possible defenses to the charges. If a diversion agreement is a possibility for you, we will not advise you to consider it, until we have investigated all of your other options.

Could a DUI Cost You Your Commercial Driver’s License in Kansas?

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

If you operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for a living, then you know exactly how important your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is to your livelihood. Without your CDL, you will not just lose just your current job but will lose your career. Too often a holder of a CDL forgets just how easily a CDL can be jeopardized.  As a holder of a CDL, you need to be aware of the serious consequences that drinking and driving can have not only on your driver’s license, but also on your CDL. For any driver a DUI conviction can be an expensive and costly mistake, but for a CDL holder it can be a double whammy.  Keep these facts in mind next time you think of drinking and driving:

  • There are different rules for operating a CMV: In Kansas, motorists who are found to be operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level at or above .08 are considered to be driving under the influence. However, the blood alcohol limit for CDL drivers who are operating a CMV is much lower. CMV operators who have a blood alcohol level at or above .04 are considered to be driving under the influence.
  • There is no slap on the wrist: Do not fool yourself into thinking that the penalties for a first time DUI conviction are just a slap on the wrist. A person operating a CMV (who is required to hold a CDL) will be disqualified from operating a CMV for a period of time not less than one year for being found driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs or have a blood alcohol level at or above .04. This is addition to the penalties and fines imposed by the court for the DUI.
  • It does not matter if you were driving a non-CMV at the time of the DUI: A CDL holder can not only jeopardize his or her license for a DUI conviction while operating a CMV but also if found guilty of DUI or refusing alcohol testing while driving a non-CMV. If a CDL holder is convicted of DUI or found to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher he or she will also lose his or her ability to operate a CMV for a period of not less than one year.
  • A second conviction will cost you: Although the penalties for a first time DUI conviction are very serious, a second conviction is even more severe. If a CDL holder receives a second DUI either while operating a CMV or while operating a normal passenger vehicle, the holder will receive a lifetime ban from operating a CMV. In certain circumstances the Secretary of Revenue has the power to reduce the ban to a period of not less than 10 years.
  • You cannot avoid the consequences of a possible DUI by declining alcohol testing: Often the advice to motorists who are pulled over for suspicion of DUI is to decline taking a breath test or other form of alcohol testing. However, CMV operators who are required to hold a CDL are deemed to have consented to alcohol testing. Therefore, if a CDL holder refuses to submit to alcohol testing the refusal will result in the same consequences had he or she failed the alcohol test or a DUI conviction.

If you are the holder of a commercial driver’s license and have been charged with DUI, it is imperative that you contact a seasoned DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Charles E. Whitman has over three decades of experience helping clients protect their rights and obtaining the best possible outcomes on their behalf. The team of professionals at the Whitman Law Offices understand that a DUI conviction for a CDL holder has serious consequences. Call us today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation. Trust the attorneys at the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with superior legal services.

Drinking and Flying: How a DUI Could Jeopardize Your Pilot’s License

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Every day, we entrust pilots to get us from one city to another efficiently and, without incident. We place our complete faith and trust in a pilot’s skills and training to safely navigate the skies. For this reason, pilots who drink and “fly” are subject to not one, but two sets of rules. First, pilots like any other person, are subject to the state laws in which they are driving. In Kansas, this means that a person is no longer considered able to operate a motor vehicle if he or she has a blood alcohol content limit at or above .08%. In addition to following local state laws, a pilot must also adhere to the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARS) promulgated by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

If a pilot is involved in a motor vehicle incident involving alcohol, certain procedures must be followed. Failure to timely comply with these procedures can cause the FAA to revoke or suspend a pilot’s license. Although the easiest way to avoid problems with the FAA is to not drink and drive, sometimes lapses in judgment do occur. If you are a pilot and find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being charged with an alcohol related driving offense, there are a few things you need to know.

First, is that you are required under FARS to send a notification letter. This letter must be sent within 60 days of the effective date of each and every alcohol related conviction or administrative action involving a motor vehicle. A copy of this form letter can be found on the FAA’s website. The notification letter must be sent to the FAA’s Security and Investigation Division in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. An alcohol related motor vehicle action that would necessitate sending notification letter can include:

  • Revocation, suspension or cancellation of the pilot’s driver’s license as the result of either the pilot failing to pass an alcohol test or by having a blood alcohol content above .08.
  • Conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), operating while under the influence (OWUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
  • Suspension of a license due to the pilot’s unreasonable refusal to submit to alcohol testing.

As a pilot, you also want to be aware that you may need to send more than one notification letter to the FAA for the incident. For example, if a license is suspended at the time of an arrest for example, for blowing a .95, the pilot would need to send a notification letter within 60 days of this event. If the pilot is later convicted of a DUI by the court, then he or she would need to send another notification letter to the FAA for this event, regardless of the facts that the events both stemmed from the same alcohol related motor vehicle action.

Do not think you can avoid having the FAA discover your alcohol related motor vehicle action by failing to send a notification letter. The FAA will find out about the action and your failure to comply with the regulation can result in a suspension or revocation of your pilot’s license. You will also have to report the action on your medical application.

If you are a pilot who has been charged with an alcohol related motor vehicle offense, you need an experienced Kansas DUI attorney. For more than three decades attorney Charles E. Whitman has defended individuals whose licenses and careers depend on a clean driving record. Protect your license and hire a skilled and seasoned litigator. 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 necessary steps to make sure that your rights are protected.