Archive for August, 2014

Do Not Drive Buzzed this Labor Day Weekend

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Kansas police are warning motorists not to drink and drive this Labor Day weekend. The campaign known as “You Drink. You Drive. You Lose.” is part of a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and is aimed to remove those motorists who drive impaired from the roadways. The official crackdown began on August 14 and will continue through Labor Day, September 1. As part of the program, more than 150 local and state police agencies will be working over-time to enforce Kansas drunk driving laws.

During Labor Day weekend last year, there were 378 automobile crashes across the State of Kansas. Of these crashes 29 were alcohol-related and resulted in two fatalities. However, last year in Kansas was one of the safest on record. But there is of course still room for improvement. In Kansas, impaired drivers are still one of the major causes of injury and death on the roadways. According to KDOT, on average four people are injured every day and every three days, 1 person is killed all in in alcohol-related crashes.

            The police departments involved in this campaign are urging motorists to keep in mind the following things to help keep themselves and others safe on Kansas roadways this Labor Day weekend:

  1. Plan ahead: If you will be driving to an event where you will be consuming alcohol be smart and plan ahead. Before arriving at the event, make sure that you have a designated sober party to drive you home. Do not rely on finding someone at the event to take you home. Chances are if you wait and go this route, the driver you may find will likely not be sober to drive and you may find yourself in a wreck. If you cannot find a sober driver, call a cab or make arrangements to spend the night.
  1. Picture your life post-DUI: Before you head out to a Labor Day party picture what your life would be like post-DUI. Imagine having to go to court, pay thousands of dollars in fines, court costs, and attorney’s fees. Imagine that you may lose your driver’s license for a period of time and thereafter, have to pay to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle
  1. Imagine the unthinkable: Consider the possibility that your decision to drive could result in a terrible accident that could injure or kill yourself, your passenger or an innocent person or family on the roadway. Imagine waking up every day knowing that because of your decision to drink and drive, a child is now without a mother or a father who has to bury his child. Be reminded of this ‘picture’ when you consider drinking and driving. A DUI is a serious offense, but the decision to drink and drive can jeopardize everyone on the roadway with you.
  1. Buckle-up: One of the best and only defenses against a drunk driver is to make sure that you and all of your passengers are properly fastened into your vehicle. Make sure that any children are securely fitted into safety seats.

Just because you were arrested for driving under the influence this Labor Day weekend, does not mean you that you are guilty. If you have been charged with DUI you need to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Only a skilled DUI attorney can properly advise you of your rights and protect your interests inside the courtroom. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our seasoned Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys, call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. Attorney Charles E. Whitman has more than 35 years of experience representing persons charged with DUI. Trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with superior legal services.

Justin Bieber’s DUI Case Comes to a Close

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

For Justin Bieber, a case that began more than seven months ago in Florida has a finally come to a close. Back in January 2014, the pop star made headlines when he was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Bieber was pulled over by police in connection with an illegal street race. The police encountered Bieber’s rented yellow Lamborghini racing a red Ferrari, driven by a well-known R&B singer, in a residential Miami neighborhood. The teen was traveling at speeds close to double the posted speed limit. After observing his blood shot eyes and the odor of alcohol on his breath, police had the then 19-yeard old engage in field sobriety tests. Bieber failed the tests and later admitted to police having smoked pot and taken prescription drugs. While the singer’s blood alcohol concentration did come back below the BAC limit for drivers under the age of 21, a blood test later revealed that the presence of THC, the active substance in marijuana, and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Bieber originally pleaded not guilty to the charges and his case was set for trial. In addition to the DUI charges, Bieber faced charges for driving with an expired license and for resisting arrest. However, the trial did not occur as it was announced in mid-August, close to seven months after the incident occurred, that Justin had accepted a plea deal. While some may have thought the celebrity’s star power might allow him it to escape without penalty—that was not quite the case. While the deal reached does allow Bieber to avoid a DUI conviction—he did have to plead guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest, both misdemeanor charges. The charge for driving without a license was dropped as Justin provided proof of a valid license.

With this deal, Justin must attend a 12-hour anger management lass. He will also have to pay court fines of $500 and court costs. Bieber also made a $50,000 contribution to “Our Kids,” a local children’s charity. While the charity portion of the deal could not be legally enforced, it was part of the prosecutor’s demand, and in fact, Justin did pay the sum prior to the time when the Judge accepted Bieber’s plea deal. Also as part of the plea deal, Justin must attend a victim impact program called “YouImpact”. Through this program Bieber will meet with people whose lives have been affected by drunk drivers. The goal of this program and programs like it, are to show offenders first-hand about the trauma, pain, suffering and loss that is experienced by innocent victims and their loved ones as a result of DUI accidents.

The Judge hearing the Bieber case did accept the plea deal reached, however, he also wanted to deliver a message of his own to Justin. The Judge compared Justin to a young Robert Downey Jr., who despite problems with drugs and alcohol in his youth, was able to turn his life around. The Judge hoped that Justin will grow up and learn to make the most of his talents. The Judge also wanted Justin to serve as a better role model for his numerous young fans.

 If you have been charged with driving under the influence, the first thing you need to do is find an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney. Only a skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorney will be able to thoroughly review your case and help you make the decision of whether to accept a plea deal or go to trial. For more than 35 years, Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman has provide clients charged with DUI superior legal services. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460.

Could Canadian Justin Bieber’s Plea Deal Cause Him Immigration Problems?

Monday, August 11th, 2014

In January, pop star Justin Bieber made headlines when he was arrested in Florida. The then 19-year old was drag racing an exotic sports car on a neighborhood street when Miami police caught up with him. Bieber, who was belligerent with police, failed a field sobriety test after officers noticed the odor of alcohol on his breath. Bieber later admitted to drinking some alcohol, using marijuana and taking prescription pills. At the time of the arrest, Bieber also had an expired driver’s license. He was charged with driving under the influence, resisting arrest, and driving without a valid license.

News of Bieber’s arrest spread like wild fire. An official White House petition was created using the White House website shortly after Bieber’s arrest. The petition asked that the government deport Canadian born Justin Bieber and revoke his green card. The petition drew over 270,000 signatures. While the White House did not directly comment on the petition, it did create a stir in the media about whether a DUI conviction could be a valid reason for a person to be deported. While the simple answer to this question is of course, it depends on the facts of the particular situation.

Crimes that lead to deportation are typically aggravated felonies and crimes involving ‘moral turpitude’. In Kansas, a first-time DUI charge is usually a misdemeanor criminal offense. Like most other states, a Kansas DUI does not have an intent element. This means that a person can be found guilty of DUI regardless of whether he or she intended to drive under the influence. In Kansas, a simple DUI would not be a crime of moral turpitude unless it had an aggravating factor.

The good news for Justin Bieber, is that his DUI charge was dropped. In mid-August it was announced that Justin Bieber had accepted a plea deal. As part of the deal Bieber agreed to plead guilty to non-violent resisting arrest and his DUI charge was reduced to “reckless driving”. However, since Bieber is Canadian and was not present in court when the Judge formally accepted the deal, the plea stipulated that Bieber’s attorney must discuss with him the possible immigration consequences of the agreement. The stipulation went on to further say that INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) will consider this conviction in any deportation decision.

It is unlikely that Bieber will face deportation proceedings as the result of his plea deal with Miami prosecutors. However, there is a lot that can be taken away from this case. Most importantly, is that if a person is arrested for DUI and he or she is not a U.S. it is important that he or she speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney who is familiar with immigration law as soon as possible. Upon meeting with a DUI defense attorney, a non-citizen needs to make sure that he or she informs the attorney of his or her immigration status. The attorney will need to know a person’s immigration status so that he or she can properly advise the client as to how to proceed with the case.

If you are a non-citizen who has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, it is important you to speak with a skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorney that is knowledgeable about immigration law. Only an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can properly advise you of your rights and make sure that all of your defenses are explored. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys, call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460.  With more than 35 years of experience handling DUI matters, Attorney Charles E. Whitman, is the attorney you can trust to make sure your rights are protected.

Understanding the Consequences of Underage Drinking

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Having a teenager in the house can be a challenging experience for any parent. Teenagers are at an age where they want more independence from their parents as they try to figure out who they are and how they fit into this world. However, being a teenager today is also not an easy task. Teens are under considerable pressure by society and their peers, which can lead them to engage in behaviors that they would not necessarily do on their own. One of the biggest problems facing teens today is underage drinking.

According to a Kansas Communities That Care student survey, Kansas youth self-report that on average the first time that they drank alcohol was at or before the age of 13. By the age of 14 youth reported that they started drinking alcohol on a regular basis or more than once or twice a month. This can be shocking information for a parent of a teenager. Especially when combined with the fact that it is estimated that youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to have problems with alcohol as adults.

As a parent, it is important to understand the potential consequences that underage drinking can have on a teenager. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have found that youth who consume alcohol are more likely than their peers who do not consume alcohol to experience the following types of problems:

  • Problems in school, including but not limited to higher rates of absenteeism and receiving poor or failing grades;
  • Physical problems, such as memory problems, disruption of normal growth, and changes in brain development;
  • Social problems like fighting and the inability to participate in organized sports and activities; and
  • Legal problems stemming from drinking and driving or engaging in violent or property crimes.

Youth who drink alcohol are also at a higher risk for:

  • Committing suicide or homicide;
  • Death from alcohol poisoning and/or drowning;
  • Engaging in risky behaviors such as unprotected sexual activity which can lead to unwanted pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted disease;
  • Abusing other drugs;
  • Becoming the victim of physical or sexual assault; and
  • Experiencing physical injuries from burns or as the result of an alcohol related car accident.

It is important for parents to start a dialogue about not drinking with your teenager as early as possible. Parents play a huge role in a teenager’s decision whether to drink alcohol. Make sure that your teenager hears from you about how underage drinking can impact their lives. Less than half of all teens report that that their parents have talked with them about the dangers of alcohol consumption in the last year. It is critical for a parent to talk to their teen and to do so regularly.

Parents can help their teens by explaining to them some of most common problems associated with alcohol consumption. Make sure that your teen knows that if he or she is ever at a party and needs to leave that you are willing to help him or her out of the situation. Explain to your teen that under no circumstance shall he or she ever operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol.

If you are a parent of a teenager who has been charged with DUI or an alcohol related offense you may not know what to do or where to turn for help. While your teen may have made a big mistake, you do not want to allow his or her blunder to cost him or her their future. At The Whitman Law Offices, we will take the time to carefully explain the charges your son or daughter is facing and evaluate his or her defenses. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys, contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460.