Archive for September, 2014

Kansas Drivers: How to Avoid Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Charge

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The majority of drivers arrested for DUI in the United States stem from the consumption of alcohol. However, this does not mean that drivers are not arrested for DUI due to drug usage. All states have laws that prohibit motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

In Kansas, the law specifically states that a person can be found guilty of a DUI if he or she is under the influence of “any drug or combination of drugs” or a “combination of drugs and alcohol” that renders the person incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. It is important to be aware that the statute states “any drug” which means that the statute does not limit the word “drug” to the use of illegal drugs or the illegal use of legal drugs. Therefore, it is important for every driver to understand the law regarding DUI and drugs, not just those individuals who engage in illegal drug use. The good news is that by following the below recommendations you can greatly reduce your risk of being charged with a DUI for drug use:

  • Read all drug labels carefully: Every drug comes not only with dosing instructions, but also with a list of side effects and warnings. Take the time to read all of the information printed on the bottle or that came with the medication. Taking more than the prescribed dose or failing to heed warnings like “do not operate a vehicle while taking this medication” can have life-altering side effects.
  • Be wary of new medications: When taking any new medication, make sure you refrain from driving until you understand how the drug affects you. Especially if the drug label indicates side effects that could interfere with your ability to operate a vehicle safely.
  • Do not become a “mixologist”: If you have or are already taking one prescription medication do not “mix” that medication with any other drug, or prescription or over-the-counter medication, unless you are assured by a doctor of pharmacist that the combination is safe. Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or even just another drug may cause you to experience side effects that you did not experience when taking the two drugs alone.
  • Consult a pharmacist or your doctor if in doubt: Before increasing your dosage or combining your medication with another drug, make sure you talk with a doctor or pharmacist. Also if you are experiencing unwanted side effects, your doctor may also be able to change either the medication or its dose. Do not drive until your doctor has corrected the problem.
  • Do not rely on “legal usage” as a defense: If you do not follow the above list of best practices and take even a doctor prescribed medication properly and are later arrested and charged with drugged driving, you cannot the fact that you were simply following the doctor’s orders as a defense to the charges.
  • WARNING to “habitual users”: Lastly, if you are a habitual user of any narcotic, hypnotic, somnifacient or stimulating drug, please be aware that Kansas law specifically prohibits you from operating a vehicle at any time.

If you have been arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs, the first thing you need to do is speak with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney. Only a seasoned Kansas DUI Defense attorney will be able to properly evaluate your case and make sure that your rights are protected. For more than thirty five years attorney Charles E. Whitman has provided aggressive representation for individuals charged with DUI throughout Lawrence and Northeast Kansas. Contact The Whitman Law Offices at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. At The Whitman Law Offices we will make sure that you receive aggressive representation. But do not delay, call today!

Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer Asks: Will Your Kansas DUI Haunt You Forever?

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Halloween has always been about “treats” and “tricks,” but lately the holiday has also gained a reputation for drinking and driving and DUIs. While ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night are often the fodder for spooky Halloween tales, they cannot even begin to compare to the frightening realties that come with a DUI conviction. A DUI is a serious offense that can potentially haunt a person for years and years to come. The following are just a few ways a DUI can have an ongoing impact on the multiple aspects of a person’s life:

  • DUI Punishment: In the State of Kansas a first time DUI is considered to be a Class B nonperson misdemeanor. A conviction carries with it, a jail sentence of not less than 48 hours but not more than 6 months. Persons convicted will also have to pay fines between $750 and $1,000, not including court costs. If a person chooses to hire an attorney to represent his or her interests, he or she will also be responsible for the attorney’s fees.
  • Driver’s License: A person convicted of a DUI for the first time can expect to have his or her driver’s licenses suspended between 30 days and one year. Following the period of license suspension, a driver’s license will contain the restriction of an Ignition Interlock Device for a period of up to one year. There is also an installation and maintenance cost associated with this device.
  • Employment Opportunities: Having a DUI conviction on your criminal record can be a red flag to an employer and possibly bar a person from employment. It is only common sense that if an employer has two equally qualified prospective candidates for a job and one has a DUI conviction and the other has a clean record, that most likely the person without a criminal record will most likely be offered the job. This advice is especially true in competitive job markets. Not to mention, certain jobs require a person to have an active and unrestricted driver’s license—a qualification lacking from a person whose license is suspended for DUI.
  • Car Insurance: Car insurance rates for those drivers with a DUI conviction on their record tend to be higher than for drivers with a clean driving record. Insurance rates are calculated using risk formulas. If a person has a DUI he or she is a higher level risk for the company and therefore, will pay a higher premium.
  • Injuries to Self and/or Others: In some instances a person is only charged with a DUI after he or she is involved in a motor vehicle crash. In these cases the driver may suffer injuries as the result of the accident. He or she may also have to live with the fact that wreck injured or even killed another motorist or even a pedestrian.

If you were recently arrested and charged with a DUI you need to take this matter very seriously.  A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have a major effect on your life and likely impact your future as well. That is why it is critical to consult with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. Only a skilled Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer will be able to thoroughly review your case and provide you with the answers you need. Contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. With more than 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman is the attorney you can trust to provide you with aggressive representation.

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Recommends You Bring Home Candy this Halloween, Not a Kansas DUI

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Halloween can be a “spook”tacular time of year. Even the sternest of grown-ups find it difficult to resist taking part in this holiday full of costumes and candy, pranks and pumpkins. It may be even fair to say that adults enjoy this holiday as much or even more than children. While Halloween can be a perfect time for an adult to let his or hair down and act like a kid playing dress up again, it is also a time for an adult to remember his or her responsibilities.

Halloween has become a holiday known for partying and drinking, which means it has also become infamous for DUIs as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween has become a particularly deadly night due to the high number of drunk drivers and the increased number of pedestrians. Therefore, pre-Halloween is a great time to remind oneself of the realities of drinking and driving. Remember, it only take one drink too many to have an otherwise enchanting evening turn into something that resembles more of a grisly nightmare.

To ensure that you and all of the children out trick-or-treating make it home safely, follow these tips for a DUI-free Halloween:

  • Make a plan for the evening: Before heading out for the evening, make sure you determine how you will getting home. Do you plan to abstain from drinking or will you taking alternate transportation? If you plan to take a cab, have the numbers of a few companies in your wallet. Having a designated driver is another great option as well.
  • Have a back-up plan: Sometimes, even the most well thought out plans fail. Maybe you planned that your friend would serve as your designated driver, but he or she comes down with the flu at the last minute and cannot attend the party. This is why it is important to have a backup plan. A backup plan can be as simple as call a cab, spend the night with the host or spend the evening at a hotel. The good news is that all of these options are less costly than a DUI.
  • Have an insurance policy: If you are concerned that after a few drinks you may change your mind and think that you are okay to drive, you are not alone. Alcohol has a way of making people think that they are okay, when in fact they are quite impaired. If you think this could happen to you take a cab or ride with a friend to the party. This way you will cannot be tempted to drive.
  • Slow down, especially on residential streets: As you make your way around town this Halloween you need to be on the watch for the countless number of kids that will be trick-or-treating. Even the most sober of drivers, need to be on the watch for children, sometimes in dark costumes, who may have the tendency to cross in the middle of a street or even walk in the roadway.

If you are arrested for DUI this Halloween, make the right decision and contact an experienced Kansas DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices has more than three decades of experience representing persons charged with driving under the influence. At the Whitman Law Offices you will receive quality representation from a seasoned Kansas DUI Defense Attorney. To schedule a free and confidential consultation today, contact the Whitman Law Offices at (785) 843-9460. There is no reason to delay contacting The Whitman Law Offices, arrangements can be made to visit you in jail if necessary.

Kansas DUI Attorney Discusses How You Can Be Arrested for DUI Without Ever Drinking a Drop

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Drinking and driving is a major offense that can cost a driver thousands of dollars, his or her license, and even his or her freedom for a period of time. While drinking and driving is a serious nationwide problem, this does not mean that there are not responsible drivers who follow the laws of the land. However, even motorists who are acutely aware of and take precautions to avoid drinking and driving, may be surprised to learn that a driver can be arrested for DUI without ever consuming a single drop of alcohol. If this is shocking to you, imagine the following scenario:

You are headed out to a local pub on a Thursday night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. On the drive there, you decide to pop a few prescription pills for the splitting headache that has been nagging you all day. You took a hay fever pill about an hour before leaving work, but does not seem to be working. Unbeknownst to you, both pills can cause drowsiness. Once at the pub, you pass on your usual cocktail or beer and opt for a soda since you know you have an early morning the next day. Feeling not quite yourself, you opt to head home a little early. On the way home, you completely miss a stop sign and crash into another vehicle. The officer who arrives at the scene sees your blood shot tired eyes and the bottle of prescription pills in your car. You tell the officer that you took the pills for a headache and that you must have dozed off for a second. The officer arrests you on suspicion of DUI.

This scenario shows just how easy it can be for a person to be arrested for DUI without having a single sip of alcohol. DUI is not a crime limited to alcohol consumption. A person can also be arrested for DUI if he or she is under the influence of any drug, prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal. Drugs, just like alcohol, have the power to impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. However, unlike alcohol, there is no safe or legal amount.

In Kansas for example, a person is said to be driving under the influence of alcohol when he or she has a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, for drugs there is no such equivalent measure. In essence, this means that a police officer’s decision to arrest a person for DUI based on drug use is based predominantly on the officer’s observations of the motorist and his or her assessment of the scene. In the above scenario, the driver had blood shot eye, taking prescription pills, admitted to possibly dozing off for a second, and had a bottle of prescription pills in the vehicle. In Kansas, this could be enough for an officer to arrest a person for DUI.

It is also important to keep in mind that Kansas law does not distinguish between illegal and legal drug use. In other words, the law does not care if a person was high as a kite on cocaine or if he or she was drowsy due to the side effect of taking a prescribed dose of a doctor recommended medication.

If you were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, it is vitally important that you seek the assistance of an experienced Kansas DUI Attorney to protect your rights. For more than thirty years Kansas DUI Defense Attorney, Charles E. Whitman has been defending men and women charged with DUI. To schedule a free confidential consultation today contact The Whitman Law Offices at (785) 843-9460. Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious charge that requires the knowledge of a seasoned DUI Defense Attorney. At The Whitman Law Offices, you can trust that you will receive top-notch legal representation.