Archive for the ‘DUI’ Category

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Stricter Penalties for DUIs that Result in Physical Harm

Monday, September 28th, 2015

As of 2013 in Kansas, a person commits the crime of aggravated battery while driving under the influence if,

  • Great bodily harm to another person or disfigurement of another person results from driving under the influence; or
  • Bodily harm to another person results from driving under the influence with the possibility that the act may cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death.

This summer, Governor Brownback signed House Bill 2055 into law which created harsher penalties for those who commit an aggravated battery DUI, or cause great bodily harm to someone while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The new law is also known as “Mija’s Law.”

Tragically, Mija Stockman was a victim of a collision involving a drunk driver. In December 2013, Ms. Stockman sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident with Jeffery Davis, who at the time of the accident had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. Mr. Davis was convicted of aggravated battery while driving under the influence. It was the third time he had been convicted of driving under the influence. The judge ordered Davis to serve thirty four months in prison, but Kansas law also permitted the judge to place him on probation. Thus, while Mr. Davis only has to serve less than three years in prison, Ms. Stockman faces a lifetime of rehabilitation.

Mija’s Law created a special rule for determining a person’s criminal history for a conviction of aggravated battery while driving under the influence. The rule considers past DUI and DUI refusal offenses as felonies for sentencing purposes for DUI accidents that cause great physical harm or disfigurement to another person. The law also increases the severity classification of aggravated battery DUI that results in great bodily harm to a Level 4 person felony. This classification ensures that aggravated battery DUI offenders in Kansas are not eligible for probation.   The sentencing range has also been increased to 38 months to 172 months. The hope for the stricter penalties is that there will be a reduction in DUI accidents that cause severe and permanent bodily harm or disabilities.

Any driving under the influence charge should not be taken lightly. A DUI conviction can mean large fines, jail time, and can affect your ability to obtain and keep a job. Repeat DUI convictions, and DUIs that cause great bodily harm to another person carry even harsher penalties, including longer jail sentences, and ineligibility for probation. If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, or aggravated battery driving under the influence, be sure you consult with a seasoned Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman has more than thirty five years of criminal defense experience and is ready to help you fight your charge of driving under the influence. Call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 or toll free at (877) 933-4543 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

The Right to Consult A Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Under The Implied Consent Law

Friday, September 25th, 2015

In Kansas, any person who operates a vehicle in the state automatically gives consent to allow one or more tests of their blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs.  This law is also known as the Implied Consent Law.  The law also provides that the person must be given certain notices before a law enforcement officer administers such a test.

The notices include an advisement that “there is no constitutional right to consult with an attorney regarding whether to submit to testing.”  They must further state that “after the completion of the testing, the person has the right to consult with an attorney and may secure additional testing, which, if desired, should be done as soon as possible and is customarily available from medical care facilities willing to conduct such testing.”  In other words, a person has the right to consult with an attorney after they submit to a test that determines the presence of alcohol or drugs.

Before July of this year, it was unclear whether this post-testing right to counsel had to be invoked prior to the test or after test.  In Dumler v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue, the Kansas Supreme Court considered the issue of when a person must invoke this statutory right to counsel.  The Court held that a person has the right to request that he or she be allowed to consult with an attorney either before testing or after testing.  However, even though one may request to consult with an attorney prior to the test, they may not actually speak with an attorney until after the test is completed.  A person has no right to consult with counsel before deciding whether to take the requested alcohol testing.  The ruling by the Court only clarifies that if a person requests consultation with an attorney prior to the test, they do not have to again invoke the right after testing.

It is important to note that the Court also held that the implied consent advisory does not restrict the subject matter of a person’s attorney consultation, and certainly does not restrict the subject matter to a discussion of whether a person should undergo further testing.  Instead, the advisory provides that the person has the right to consult with an attorney and they may secure additional testing.  While consulting with an attorney about additional testing could be a good reason to exercise the right to counsel, the right is not conditioned upon a discussion of further testing.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence and you must undergo testing at the police station, be sure to know your rights.  You are entitled to consult with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney after you complete the testing, but you may invoke this right either before and/or after the testing is administered.  With more than thirty five years of criminal defense experience, Charles E. Whitman is ready to help you fight your DUI charge.  Call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 or toll free at (877) 933-4543 to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.

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.

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.

Tips for Having a Safe and DUI-Free 4th of July Holiday

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Fourth of July is arguably one of the best holidays of the year. What can be more exciting than a summer day spent with family and friends, enjoying a barbecue and relaxing by a pool or lake in the sunshine? Of course, no Independence Day celebration would be complete without an evening watching a fireworks display. This year, July 4th will be even more festive than usual, as the holiday falls on a Friday creating a three day weekend for many people. If you are in the process of planning your 4th of July holiday weekend, make sure your plans include arrangements to get home safely in the event you plan to drink. No one wants a DUI to be a part of his or her Independence Day festivities. To ensure that you enjoy a safe and DUI-free holiday try to follow these tips:

  • Stay hydrated. If your idea of a holiday celebration includes baking and boozing in the sunshine or opting for a liquid lunch, you may want to reconsider your plans. Alcohol and heat do not mix. Not only are you more likely to become intoxicated more quickly in the hot summer sun, you are also more susceptible to heat stroke and other heat related illnesses. This is in part because alcohol is a diuretic. If choose to drink alcohol, alternate your alcoholic beverages with plenty of water or sports drinks and make sure you have a full stomach. It is also a good idea to take frequent breaks in shade to escape the sun’s rays.
  • Be wise about sobriety checkpoints. You can pretty much count on the fact that Kansas police will set up various sobriety checkpoints around the area, to catch those folks who have chosen to drink and drive. Regardless of whether you are stone cold sober or had a couple of drinks, sobriety checkpoints tend to cause many drivers anxiety. Remember, it is not illegal to have a drink and drive. So the best way to approach a checkpoint is with a calmly and without an attitude. Be prepared to hand the officer your registration and driver’s license. However, you can politely decline to answer questions such as, where you were that evening or if you have been drinking. You are also well within your right to choose not to participate in any field sobriety tests.
  • Remember the same rules apply on both land and at sea. If your 4th of July plans include hopping on a boat—keep in mind that the laws regarding operating a boat are the same as the laws regarding operating a motor vehicle. It is illegal to operate both a car and a boat while intoxicated. If you plan to go out on a boat, make sure the driver of the boat is committed to remaining sober.
  • Do not drive while under the influence: The best advice to avoid a possible DUI is to not drink and drive. If you plan to drink over the 4th of July weekend, then plan to take a cab or arrange for alternate transportation home. The few dollars you would spend on a cab ride is far less than the thousands of dollars a DUI could cost you.

If you were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or DUI over the holiday weekend, you need to speak with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Only a skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can inform you of your rights and determine what legal defenses you may have. Attorney Charles Whitman has provided clients with aggressive DUI representation for more than 35 years. To schedule your free and completely confidential consultation, contact the veteran team of Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys at the Whitman Law Offices by calling (785) 843-9460.

Can Your Smart Phone Help Save You from a DUI?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Whether you are 14 or 41, chances are that you own a smart phone. Smart phones can do some amazing things—much more than store and call phone numbers. Today, people rely on smart phone apps to help them lose weight, serve as vehicles for social networking and for turn-by-turn navigation. Each and every day it seems that a new app is developed, designed to make our lives easier. But could an app help you avoid a charge for driving under the influence or DUI?

Imagine this scenario. You are walking to your car after an evening out with friends. As you make your way to the spot where you parked your car, you start recalling the events of the night, including how many drinks you consumed.  You silently wonder if you are “okay” to drive. Do you hop in the car and hope that you are under the legal limit of .08 or do you call a friend to pick you up? Would it not be nice to be able to reach in your pocket and ask your smart phone if you are okay to drive? Well, it is possible. Several companies have developed smart phone apps that claim to be able to help you determine your blood alcohol content or BAC so that you decide whether you are ok to drive home. While some apps are touted to be better than others, none of them guarantee that you are truly “okay” to drive. Before you consider downloading one of these apps, carefully consider the following:

  • You do not need an app if you are a responsible consumer of alcohol and/or choose not to drink and drive.
  • Be suspicious of any app that claims to help you in the event you are pulled over by a police officer for suspicion of DUI. A cell phone is not going to be of much help in that scenario. You do not want to be fumbling with a phone while an officer is talking to you.
  • Although driving while intoxicated is against the law in all 50 states, certain apps are designed based on one state’s particular laws. So for example, an app based on Iowa law is not going to be of much assistance in Kansas. Keep in mind that even if the app is geared to your state’s laws, the app may not be up-to-date.

Remember, that a DUI is a serious offense. Rather than rely on an app that may or may not work—stick with a tried and true method. One “old-fashioned” way people go about avoiding a DUI is by selecting a person at the beginning of the evening who will not drink to serve as a designated driver for everyone who is drinking. Another great idea is to plan to hail a cab or catch the bus. While these two methods may not be as trendy as a smart phone app, they are much more reliable! Do not let any app replace your own common sense!

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI do not consult a cell phone app! Only a real and experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can advise you of your rights and provide you with aggressive representation. For more than 35 years, residents of Lawrence and Northeast Kansas who have been charged with DUI have trusted the Whitman Law Offices to provide them with superior legal services. Call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. If necessary, arrangements can be made to have one of our attorneys visit you at home or in jail.

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

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

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.