Archive for July, 2014

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions About the Administrative Side of a DUI

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

When a person is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) two separate and distinct cases against that person begin. The first is a criminal case, where if the person is found guilty he or she could face punishment, including but not limited to fines and time in jail. The other case is an administrative or “civil” case. While much attention is focused on the criminal case due to the severe penalties, it is important for a person charged with DUI to understand both cases. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions people have about the administrative side of a DUI:

When arrested for DUI the police officer took my driver’s license. Can I still (legally) drive?

When a person is arrested for DUI the police officer will typically take the person’s driver’s license and in exchange give them a pink sheet of paper, which is called a DC-27 form. This form will serve as the person’s temporary driver’s license. If the person does not request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension per the instructions printed on the form, the person’s license will be automatically suspended after 30 days. Typically the person only has a two week period of time to request a hearing otherwise, he or she is forever barred from the challenging the suspension.

When arrested for DUI I did not submit to a breath/blood test. But now I learned that my driver’s license will be suspended for a year. Why is that?

In Kansas, when a person chooses to have a driver’s license he or she agrees to follow certain rules. One of these rules is known as “implied consent”. What this law means is that the person agrees to submit to a chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) in the event he or she is pulled over by the police on suspicion of DUI. If a person breaks this rule by not submitting to the test, he or she will have his or her license automatically suspended for a period of 1 year followed by 1 year of restricted driving, requiring  the use of an ignition interlock device.

Should I request an administrative hearing if I blew over a .08?

Whether a person should request a hearing is a decision that should be made after he or she consults with an experienced DUI defense attorney. The good news is that even if a person does not “win” the administrative hearing, he or she will be permitted to drive until after the administrative decision is rendered and for a period of time thereafter.

If I “win” at the administrative hearing, does that mean I will be found “not guilty” of DUI at the criminal proceeding?

The simple answer to this questions is “no”. The result of the administrative hearing will have no bearing on the criminal proceeding. It is possible that a person has a valid defense that he or she can present at the administrative hearing that is not applicable at the criminal proceeding.

Keep in mind that as soon as you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) the clock starts ticking. This is why it is so important to consult with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Only a skilled Kansas DUI Defense attorney can properly advise you if it is in your best interest to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. With more than 35 years of experience handling DUI matters, Attorney Charles E. Whitman, is the only attorney you can trust to make sure your rights are protected.

Understanding the Differences between a Felony and Misdemeanor DUI in Kansas

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Before a motorist steps behind the wheel of his or her vehicle, he or she needs to make a decision as to whether he or she is physically able to operate that vehicle. If a motorist is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, he or she is not only putting him or herself in danger, he or she also runs the risk of being pulled over on suspicion of DUI. In Kansas, the offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime. Lawmakers are under serious pressure to crackdown on drinking and driving, and the laws reflect this pressure. If you think that you can drive under the influence once and walk away with just a slap on the wrist, you need to stop and think again.

A first time DUI is considered a Class B misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense include 48 hours to 6 months in jail or 100 hours of community service, in addition to fines of up to a $1,000 and court costs. A second DUI is also misdemeanor, but it is considered a Class A offense. As such the penalties increase with fines up to $1,750 and up to one year in jail. Both first and second DUI offenses will also result in the loss of driving privileges for up to a one-year followed by a period after of restricted driving.

In contrast, any DUI following a second DUI is considered a felony charge. A person convicted of his or her third DUI can expect to receive fines of up to $2,500, jail time of one year, a license suspension of one year, and the restriction of driving with an ignition interlock device for a two-year period following the suspension. A third or subsequent DUI is also much serious of a charge in that if the person is found guilty of the charges, he or she will have a felony conviction on his or her criminal record.

Unlike a misdemeanor conviction, a felony conviction means the loss of several civil rights. Convicted felons are prohibited from owning a firearm. While this may not mean too much to some people, for others it will mean not being able to hunt, visit a shooting range, or own a gun for protection. A person with a felony conviction is also banned from voting in public elections and running for a public office.

While there are differences in the penalties between a misdemeanor and felony DUI, it is important to keep in mind that there is no difference between the two when it comes to the criminal proceeding itself. For both misdemeanor and felony DUI offenses, the government or State of Kansas (often just referred to as the “State”) bears the burden of proving that the person charged with DUI is guilty of all charges, beyond any and all reasonable doubt. If the government does not meet its burden, then the jury (or in some instances the judge) must find the person not guilty. Therefore, it is critical to hire a seasoned DUI defense attorney who will thoroughly review the facts and law related to your case, so to uncover any and all defenses you may have to the charges.

 Whether you are charged with misdemeanor or felony DUI, one thing remains the same, you need to contact an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer to protect your rights as soon as possible. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys, call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. Veteran DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time to answer your questions and make sure you understand your rights. You can trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with aggressive representation, no matter if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI.

Do Not Let a DUI Ruin Your Summer Vacation

Monday, July 21st, 2014

You do not have to do much but step outside to know that summer is in full swing. The laughter of children on summer break can be heard in every neighborhood and the skyrocketing temperatures make winter feel like a distant memory. One can even tell it is summer just by looking at the roadways which are made much busier with summer travelers. No matter if your summer vacation plans lead you to a lake cottage on the other side of the state, or to a friend’s barbecue in a neighboring town, it is important to travel smart. It is okay to relax and even let your hair down on vacation, as long as your idea of fun does not include driving while intoxicated. Nothing can put the brakes on vacation like being arrested for DUI. The following are just a few ways a DUI can ruin more than just your summer vacation:

  • A weekend behind bars: While your vacation plans might include a trip to a ‘watering hole’ or bar, most people do not want to spend a night behind bars. However, if you are arrested for DUI on Friday evening or at any time on the weekend, the reality is that depending on what county you are arrested in, you could spend the remaining portion of the weekend in jail. At the very least, you may have to stay in jail until a friend or family member can bail you out.
  • No wheels for a while: If you receive a DUI while on vacation, consider that this trip may be your last time driving for a little while. In Kansas, if a driver fails a breath test with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .08% and .15% he or she will receive a mandatory 30-day driver’s license suspension. If the driver has a BAC at or above .15 % he or she can expect to have his or her license suspended for one year. In each case the suspension will be followed by a period of restricted driving.
  • Budget busting fines: A first time DUI can include a fine of up to $1,000 plus court costs. This is in addition to attorney’s fees, the cost of having an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your car, and paying for an alcohol and drug treatment program. In addition to any sentence ordered by the court, it is also likely that your car insurance rates will increase significantly, which could end up costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the course of a few years.
  • Consequences that will last longer than any hangover: If you think a hangover can put a damper on your day—the consequences of a DUI can wreak havoc on your life for months and even years to come. The sentence for a first-time DUI can include up to 6 months in jail or 100 hours of community service. Not to mention, that if the DUI is your first encounter with the criminal justice system, you now will also have a criminal record.

If you were charged with a DUI while on vacation this summer, the first thing you need to do is to make an appointment to speak with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney. Only a qualified Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can provide you with the aggressive representation you need to protect your rights. For almost four decades, Attorney Charles Whitman has provided clients with top-notch DUI representation. Do not trust your case to just any attorney. Contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and completely confidential consultation.

There are Two Sides of Every Kansas DUI

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Most often, when a person is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or DUI, he or she is first and foremost concerned about the criminal penalties associated with a DUI. Since the criminal penalties for a first-time DUI can be severe, it makes complete sense that most people are preoccupied with this part of a DUI. A first time DUI charge can result in fines of up to a $1,000 and between 48 hours and 6 months spent in jail. However, sometimes a person who is arrested for DUI is so stressed out about what will happen in the criminal proceeding that they fail to notice that there are two sides to every DUI charge.

Although the criminal proceeding is the most important part of a DUI it is important to understand that it is not the only part of a DUI. A DUI charge has two parts, a criminal side and a civil side. The criminal portion of a DUI is very similar to any other criminal case. The government, sometimes referred to as the State of Kansas or just the “State”, needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged with the crime of DUI is indeed guilty of the charges. It is the government or State’s burden to prove these charges. If the government cannot meets its burden, then the person charged with DUI must be found not guilty. If a person is found guilty of DUI, then it is up for the court to determine what punishment the person should receive.

The other part of a DUI charge is the civil side, or more commonly referred to as the “administrative” side of a DUI. Whereas the criminal side of a DUI is concerned about findings of guilt and doling out punishment, the administrative side is only concerned about whether a person’s driver privileges should be suspended. Per Kansas law, a person may have his or her driver’s license suspended as related to a DUI for one of two reasons. First, the person was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. The other reason, is if a person who is pulled over by police on suspicion of DUI refuses to submit to a chemical test to determine his or her BAC. The penalty for a person who refuses a chemical test is a mandatory 1 year suspension.

It is important to understand that there are two sides to a DUI because a person only has a very limited amount of time to request a hearing to fight the administrative suspension. If a person’s does not request an administrative hearing within this very limited amount of time, then he or she is completely prohibited from challenging the administrative decision to have his or her license suspended. Therefore, it is important to seek out the legal advice of an experienced Kansas DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest so he or she can handle both sides of your DUI case.

The crime of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an offense that Kansas takes very seriously. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI only an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can make sure that your rights were not violated and properly present any defenses you may have to the court. For close to four decades, attorney Charles E. Whitman has diligently defended persons charged with DUI. You can trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with quality representation for the both the criminal and administrative portions of your DUI. However, it is imperative that you act quickly to protect your rights. Call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.