Archive for the ‘Criminal Defense’ Category

Kansas BUI Defense Attorney Answers Your Questions about Kansas “BUI” Charges

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

In the United States, the first day of summer is marked by the summer solstice which this year happens to be on June 21st. While this may be the “official” start of summer, many Americans would argue that Memorial Day weekend is the true start to the season. This three day weekend has many Kansas residents headed to their favorite camping spots or summer cabins—many with boats in tow of course. And who can blame them—it is hard to beat cruising the lake on a pontoon boat leisurely taking in the sites and the sunshine. However, as much fun as boating can be—it can also be dangerous. In 2012, there were 27 boating accidents in Kansas which resulted in two deaths and injuries to 13 others. Drinking while boating can greatly increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident. If you love to boat, make sure that you are aware of the laws regarding boating under the influence, or “BUI”.  The following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding BUI:

  1. What is BUI? BUI stands for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Just like a DUI that occurs on the roadways, it is also illegal to operate a boat or personal watercraft while intoxicated. A person can be arrested for BUI if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. Persons under the age of 21 are considered to be legally intoxicated with a BAC of .02% or higher.
  2. Is it against the law to consume alcohol on a boat? No, in Kansas it is perfectly legal to consume alcohol while on a boat. However, it is illegal to be impaired while boating.
  3. Can a boat owner/operator avoid a BUI by having his or her child ‘drive’ the boat? The answer to this question is it that is depends on the age and skill of the child. An intoxicated boat owner/operator who allows a child under the age of 12 to ‘drive’ the boat can be charged with BUI. The same is true if the child is born after January 1, 1989 but has not completed a boater safety course. A boat owner can also find him or herself in hot water for allowing a person who is intoxicated to operate his or her boat. To avoid any problems, always designated a sober ‘seasoned’ boater to operate your boat.
  4. What are the penalties for BUI? BUI penalties in Kansas can include fines, jail time and loss of boating privileges.
  5. If I get a BUI, do I need a Kansas BUI Defense Attorney? While there is no legal requirement to hire an attorney, it is nonetheless important to have one. Specifically, getting a Kansas BUI can be just as serious as being charged with a DUI, and that is why having competent legal counsel by your side is critical. A Kansas BUI Defense Attorney can help to mitigate your charges, if not have them completely dropped. Accordingly, their skill, knowledge, and experience is vital, and can make the difference between jail time and your freedom.

Remember that while consuming alcohol on a boat may seem like a lot more fun than when consumed on shore it also can be more hazardous. It is estimated that a person consuming alcohol becomes intoxicated three times faster while on the water as opposed to while on dry land. There are many individual factors that can contribute to how quickly a person can become intoxicated—but there are also external elements that play a part as well. For example, sun, glare, wind, and the motion of the waves can all cause a person to become intoxicated much faster.

If you have been arrested and charged with boating under the influence or BUI, you need to speak with an experienced Kansas BUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. For more than 35 years, The Whitman Law Offices has provided the residents of Lawrence and Northeast Kansas with aggressive representation in alcohol-related offenses. Attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time carefully evaluate your case and investigate any and all defenses. To schedule your free and completely confidential consultation, call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. Arrangements can also be made to visit you in jail, so do not delay—contact us today.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Colorado was the first state in the country to pass legislation that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, Washington State has also legalized recreational marijuana use. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books that legalize marijuana for medical use. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08 percent. However, the states vary widely on what is considered acceptable as far as driving under the influence of drugs.

Colorado has just launched a million dollar advertising campaign which warns drivers that choose to drive “high” or under the influence of marijuana that they will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence or DUI. Much like drivers who choose to drink alcohol and drive, Colorado is cracking down on those drivers who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of mari0juana. In both Colorado and Washington, lawmakers have decided that motorists that are found to have 5 nanograms or more of active tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as “THC” (the active ingredient in marijuana), are considered to be driving under the influence. In Washington State if a driver is found to have 5 nanograms or more he or she is automatically equals a DUI. In Colorado, a motorist that has 5 or more nanograms of THC in his or her system, has the opportunity in in court to try to rebut the presumption that he or she was impaired at the time he or she was arrested.

However, in states like Kansas, both the recreational use of marijuana and marijuana for medical use are both illegal. Kansas law also provides that is it illegal to operate a motor vehicle if a person is under the influence of a drug or a combination of drugs, which cause the person to be incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Kansas law does not differentiate between legal drugs, like a doctor prescribed medication and an illegal drug like cocaine or marijuana. Therefore, the law does not care if a person was high on his or her legally prescribe Vicodin or high on marijuana.

Unlike states like Colorado, that specifically set limits about how much of a drug, like THC, is needed be in the blood to be considered impaired, in Kansas there is no specific limit of how much of a drug must be in a person’s system to be considered legally impaired. Unlike alcohol, which has a clear cut .08 BAC there is no such equivalent for drug use. This means that an officer’s decision to arrest is based mostly on his or her observations of the motorist. This law is different from more than 10 states that consider a person to be driving under the influence of drugs if the person tests positive for any measurable amount of an illegal drug or other controlled substance.

If you were arrested on suspicious of being high or under the influence of drugs or alcohol and charged with a DUI you need a seasoned advocate to protect your rights. For more than thirty years, Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman has been defending men and women charged with DUI. To schedule your free confidential consultation contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. At the Whitman Law Offices, we make sure that you receive superior legal services. We take the take the time to advise you on the law and thoroughly the facts related to your case. You can trust the Whitman Law Offices to explore all defenses.

Frequently Asked Questions about Facing “Disturbing the Peace” Charges

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a very unnerving ordeal. All criminal charges should be taken seriously, regardless of the severity of the crime. Many individuals who have been arrested for disturbing the peace have not had an encounter with the law before and did not plan to commit this crime. Often this crime occurs while an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore, when the arrest occurs, the individual is often not thinking clearly—which can only further complicate matters. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about facing a disturbing the peace charge.

I was charged with “disorderly conduct.” What does that mean? I was told the charges would be for “disturbing the peace.”

What many people commonly refer to as the crime of “disturbing the peace” in Kansas is officially called “disorderly conduct”. Disorderly conduct as defined by Kansas Statute 21-4101, is conduct that is done with knowledge or probable cause to believe that such actions will anger, alarm or disturb other people or provoke an assault or other breach of the peace. Examples of conduct that is considered to be “disorderly conduct” include (1) participating in a brawl or fight; (2) disrupting an assembly, meeting or procession; and (3) the use of obscene, profane or offensive language or engaging in noisy conduct which would reasonably arouse anger, alarm or resentment in other people.

I was not intoxicated, how could I be charged with disorderly conduct?

Often people who are charged with disorderly conduct are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. That being said, a person does not have to be intoxicated in order to be charged with the crime of disorderly conduct.

What punishment could I face?

Disorderly conduct is considered a Class C misdemeanor. A Class C misdemeanor is the least serious off all of the misdemeanors, with Class A being the most serious of all misdemeanors. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by no more than one month in jail and a fine of no more than $500.00.

Do I have any defenses?

The simple answer to this question is that “it depends”. Defenses vary widely based on the unique circumstances and set of facts surrounding each individual’s case. To find out if you have any viable defenses, you need to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. In some cases, an attorney might be able to get the charges dropped.

Do I need to hire an attorney?

Any time you are faced with criminal charges, regardless of the severity of the crime, you should be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you think the crime is more of a “slap on the wrist”, a criminal charge of any degree gives a person a criminal record which could cause problems for them in the future. For example, students who are found guilty of a crime may have to report such crimes to any graduate programs they apply to and may also jeopardize scholarships, financial aid and even athletic opportunities. A criminal record can also impact employment opportunities. Most importantly, only an experienced criminal defense attorney can explain the charges being brought against you, advise you of your rights, help you evaluate your legal options, assert your defenses and provide you with representation both in and out of courtroom.

If you have been charged with a crime you need the representation of a seasoned Kansas criminal defense attorney. With over 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices, has helped countless individuals. Do not delay. Call us today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation. We can also make arrangements to visit you in jail. Our team of experienced will professionals will thoroughly review your case with you and make sure that you aware of all of your legal options.