A Failed BAC Test Does Not Always Equal a DUI in Kansas

All too often, drivers who have recently been arrested for a DUI think that they do not have a case because they did not pass the Breathalyzer test, or in other words, blew more than the .08 legal limit. Thinking they have “no case” these drivers then make the huge mistakes of choosing not to hire an attorney and to take the first deal offered to them by the prosecutor.  The mind set of these drivers is that they will be found guilty of DUI anyway, so it best to avoid the cost of an attorney and to get the matter over as quickly as possible. The truth of the matter, however, is that although a police officer has probable cause to arrest a driver if he or she has a blood alcohol content or “BAC” of .08 or higher, it does not necessarily mean that that driver will be found guilty of DUI.

How is this possible? Well, first remember that the State has the burden in any criminal case to prove the defendant guilty of the charge “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the State is unable to meet its burden, then the defendant is found to be “not guilty” of the charge. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest level of burden of proof that a prosecutor must meet. If a judge or jury feels that there is real doubt as to whether the defendant committed the crime, then the State has not met its burden and must find the defendant ‘not guilty’.

The job of any qualified DUI defense attorney is try to discover any facts that would give a Judge or a jury reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant committed a crime. One area where a skilled DUI defense attorney can cause reasonable doubt on the State’s case is by examining the details of the DUI arrest. By looking at the circumstances surrounding the arrest, a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney will be able to determine whether the police handled the arrest properly or if mistakes were made. First, the attorney will take a close look to determine if the police had the proper basis to pull the defendant over in the first place. In Kansas, a police officer must have a reasonable and articulable basis for a traffic stop. For example, if a driver is speeding the officer is justified in pulling over the car because the driver was breaking a traffic law. However, if the officer only had a “weird feeling” about the driver, then the stop would not be legal as the officer did not have proper cause to stop the driver. If the stop is not legal, then anything that follows thereafter, is not admissible in court. Next, the attorney will see if the officer administered the Breathalyzer test properly. If the test was not administered properly, then the test results can be excluded from evidence. This means that the judge or jury will not learn the results of the Breathalyzer test and without any other evidence to show that the defendant had a BAC at or above .08 it will be nearly impossible for the State to win the case.

If you have been arrested for DUI, the most important thing to remember is that even though your urine, blood or breath test came back above the legal limit, you still may have defenses which can allow you beat the charges against you. Before you consider pleading guilty to a DUI charge you owe it to yourself to consult with an accomplished Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer. Only an experienced Kansas DUI Defense attorney can determine whether the police made a mistake and uncover any other defenses. If you have been charged with DUI call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.


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