Archive for February, 2014

Drinking and Driving: Kansas DUI Lawyer Separates Fact from Fiction

Friday, February 28th, 2014

We live in a time where we can easily find out information by either using a computer, laptop, smart phone or even a tablet. However, with all the information floating around it still can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction. There are a lot of myths floating around about drinking and driving both on and off the web. One of the best ways to avoid a DUI is to make sure you have the facts straight about drinking and driving. The following are a few questions to test your drinking and driving knowledge:

  • “A person cannot get drunk from drinking only beer.” False. Some individuals are under the misconception that they cannot get drunk from drinking beer. Other people think that you will get drunk faster from hard liquor than beer. The fact is that it is the amount of alcohol in the drink that plays the most important role in how intoxicated a person will become, not the type of drink. Believe it or not, there is the same amount of alcohol in the average 1.5- ounce shot of 80-proof hard liquor as there is in a 5-ounce glass of table wine or 12-ounces of regular beer. All three of these drinks contain approximately .6-ounces of pure alcohol or the equivalent of 14 grams.
  • “A person who has a few drinks is still considered okay to drive legally.”  It depends. Even a small amount of alcohol can begin to impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The level of impairment that a person experiences after a few drinks can vary widely and depends on various factors including age, weight and gender. How a few drinks will affect your blood alcohol concentration or BAC can also depend on whether the drinks were consumed on a full or empty stomach and how quickly the drinks were consumed. If the three drinks were evenly spaced out over the course of four hours, that may be enough time for some people to able to operate a vehicle under the legal limit.  However, if those same three drinks were consumed in the span of one hour, that same person would likely be well over the legal limit of .08 BAC. Another factor that plays into how a person’s body processes alcohol is whether he or she is on any medications. If you are taking any medication talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking it with alcohol.
  • “The non-alcoholic mixer a person combines with hard liquor does not affect a person’s BAC in any way.” False. A recent study featured in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that participants who drank alcoholic drinks mixed with sugar-free (diet) soda had a much higher BAC on average after drinking the same amount when compared to participants who drank alcoholic drinks mixed with sugary (non-diet) soda. The scariest part of the study is that the participants who drank the drinks mixed with diet soda did not rate themselves as feeling any more intoxicated than the participants who drank the drinks mixed with non-diet soda, despite the fact that they were more intoxicated. The participants who consumed the diet-soda mixed drinks also had slower reaction times compared to those participants who drank the non-diet soda mixed drinks.

For Unparalleled DUI Defense Representation, Call Us Today!

If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence or DUI, you need to speak with an experienced Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. For over 35 years, the Whitman Law Offices has been representing clients on alcohol related offenses in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas. To schedule your free and completely confidential consultation call (785) 843-9460. Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time carefully review the facts of your case and explore with you all the possible defenses.

Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions about BACs

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

In Kansas, a motorist can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) if his or her blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is .08 or more. The BAC is a method used primarily by law enforcement to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s body. If you plan to have one or more alcoholic beverages and operate a motor vehicle thereafter, then you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the facts regarding BAC.  The following are some of the most frequently asked questions motorists have about BAC:

How is BAC tested?

The most commonly used test by police officers at the scene to measure a motorist’s BAC is a breath test or “Breathalyzer.”  BAC can also be determined through a blood test.

How many drinks does it take to reach a .08 BAC?

Unfortunately there is not a certain number of drinks that a person can ingest and still fall within the legal BAC limit to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is in part due to the fact that every person metabolizes alcohol differently.

What factors can impact a person’s BAC?

A person’s weight, percentage of body fat and even gender can all factor into how a drink can affect a person’s BAC. For example, a 5 foot, 100 pound woman will have a higher BAC after one drink than a 6 foot, 240 pound man after the same drink. Food can also affect how a person processes alcohol. A person who has eaten a large dinner of spaghetti and meatballs before having a drink will have a lower BAC than if that same person has an empty stomach. This is why it strongly recommended that if you plan to drink you should not do so on an empty stomach. You also want to drink slowly to keep your BAC down. A person who sips a glass of wine over a period of an hour will have a lower BAC than if that same person took a shot of alcohol even though both have the same amount of alcohol.

What if anything can lower a person’s BAC?

Sometimes a person finds him or herself in a position where he or she is intoxicated and wants to “sober up” in order to drive home. Unfortunately, there is nothing a person can do to lower his or her BAC. The human body simply needs time to process the alcohol. Things like drinking a cup of coffee or taking a cold shower may make an intoxicated person feel more sober, but the truth of the matter is, such actions will not lower his or her BAC.

Will a person with a .08 BAC feel drunk?

 The answer to this question is, it depends. Unfortunately, not everyone with a .08 BAC will know that they are legally unable to drive. Often a side of effect of intoxication is not being able to recognize impairment. Remember that regardless of whether a person feels drunk or in any way impaired to drive, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal.

Contact the Whitman Law Offices Now!

If you have been charged with DUI you are probably overloaded with questions you need answered. Trust only an experienced DUI defense attorney to answer your questions and guide you through the process. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. With over 35 years of experience, Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices will research of all of your defenses and make sure that you understand your legal options. At the Whitman Law Offices we pride ourselves on providing you with exceptional legal services.

Kansas DUI Attorney Explains How You Can Enjoy a Safe St. Patrick’s Day

Monday, February 10th, 2014

There is nothing worse after partying all night than awaking to a hangover, right? Wrong! Much worse than any hangover is ending what would have been an otherwise fun evening with a DUI or worse, seriously injuring or killing yourself or another person as a result of driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 30 percent of the fatal motor vehicle crashes on St. Patrick’s Day are due to drunk driving. So, if you plan to get your green on this St. Patrick’s Day you need to do more to ensure the safety of yourself and others than carry around a four leaf clover. The following are a few tips you should follow to help ensure that you have a safe St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Have a designated driver: If you are planning on going out for St. Patrick’s Day, make sure that as part of your party planning that you also plan a way to make it home safely. A designated driver is always a great option.
  • Slow down: One way to make sure that you are able to get yourself home safely is to avoid becoming intoxicated in the first place. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot enjoy a beer or two. It just means that you need to pace yourself. Have no more than one drink per hour and sneak in some non-alcoholic beverage in alcoholic ones. A drink is considered to be a 1.5 ounce-shot of 80 proof liquor, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 12-ounce beer. Think of your Irish holiday as a marathon and not a sprint if you want to be sober at the end.
  • Eat: St. Patrick’s Day is not just about the beer it is also about the food! Have a plate of corned beef and cabbage with a side of rye bread. Not only is it tradition—it is also a way to help your body process the alcohol more quickly.
  • Call a cab: Before you head out for the day’s festivities, write down the telephone numbers of a few cab companies on a card and place it in your wallet or purse. This way you can easily call for a ride in the event you are not able to drive home. You can also do the same with a bus or trolley schedule, depending upon where you live.
  • Leave your keys at home: An easy way to avoid a DUI charge is to not drive in the first place. Take a cab, public transportation or even walk home. By leaving your keys at home, you will not have to worry about being tempted to drive home.
  • Be the host: If you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party then clearly you do not have to worry about drinking and driving. But if you do opt to be the host, be a good host. Offer your guests plenty of food and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Ask guests to hand over their keys at the beginning of the party and do not give a person back his or her key if he or she is unable to drive home. Instead have guests who are not able to drive spend the night.

For Additional Information, Call the Whitman Law Offices Now!

If you have been charged with driving under the influence you need an experienced DUI defense attorney. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact the Whitman Law Offices today toll free at (877) 933-4354 or locally at (785) 843-9460. Our attorneys can also make arrangements to visit you in jail if necessary. Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices has more than three decades of experience representing persons charged with DUI and other alcohol related offenses. At the Whitman Law Offices we will take the time to thoroughly review your case and evaluate all of your legal options.

The Repercussions of Drinking & Driving in Kansas with a Child in the Car

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

In December, a Johnson County man was arrested after his vehicle was found traveling over a 100 mph on Kansas Highway 10.   Unfortunately, a two year old girl was also in the car. The man was charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment, reckless driving, and driving under a suspended license. Fortunately, the little girl was not injured, as she was very lucky. However, three children in Georgia were not so fortunate. In February, a man crossed lanes into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on with a taxi cab. A seven year old boy suffered non-life threatening injuries. A 3 year old in the vehicle was severely injured and an eight month old boy was killed at the scene. The man, the deceased child’s father, was intoxicated at the time of the accident and charged with driving under the influence and vehicular homicide.

If these stories sound like horrible, but isolated incidents, think again. More than fifty percent of all children who are killed in drunk driving accidents are riding in a vehicle with a driver who is legally intoxicated. In Kansas, a driver that is found guilty of driving under the influence that had one or more children under the age of 14 in the vehicle with him or her at the time of the offense, will have one month imprisonment added to his or her sentence. This however, is not the only penalty a driver can face. A driver in Kansas may also be charged with endangering a child (or aggravated endangering a child). Child endangerment occurs when a person either intentionally or unreasonable causes a child (17 years or younger) to be put in a situation where he or she may be injured. Endangering a child is a Class A misdemeanor. A person who puts a child in such a situation and the child is injured or endangered is considered to have committed aggravated child endangerment, which constitutes a Severity Level 9 felony.

Another example of child endangerment that can sometimes come out of a driving while intoxicated situation, occurs when a parent tell his or her 14 year old child to serve as his or her designated driver. Allowing an unauthorized minor to drive a vehicle can lead to charges of contributing to a child’s misconduct or deprivation in addition to endangering a child. Parents have also been arrested and charged after having a child (or another person for that matter) blow into the ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle.

Before you think this type of situation could not happen to you, stop and consider this scenario. You and your spouse go out for an evening on the town. You leave your two children home with a teenage babysitter. After a fun evening out, where you and your spouse were both drinking, your spouse informs you that one of you needs to give the babysitter a ride home. What do you do? Call the teenager’s parents and tell them you are intoxicated and cannot drive his or her teenager home? Or do you risk being pulled over for DUI knowing that you could be charged with endangering a child and if found guilty of DUI, could have your sentence enhanced by one month.

Call the Whitman Law Offices Now to Speak with Our Seasoned Kansas DUI Defense Attorney

If you or a family member has been charged with driving under the influence and had a child in the car at the time of the offense, you need to meet with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. At the consultation one of our experienced defense attorneys will take the time to review your case with you and to make sure that you are made fully aware of all of your legal options. We can also arrange to have one of our DUI Defense Lawyers visit you in jail if necessary. The Whitman Law Offices is proud to provide exceptional legal services to clients in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas.