Posts Tagged ‘Kansas criminal defense attorney’

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.

Drinking and Driving: Kansas DUI Lawyer Separates Fact from Fiction

Friday, February 28th, 2014

We live in a time where we can easily find out information by either using a computer, laptop, smart phone or even a tablet. However, with all the information floating around it still can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction. There are a lot of myths floating around about drinking and driving both on and off the web. One of the best ways to avoid a DUI is to make sure you have the facts straight about drinking and driving. The following are a few questions to test your drinking and driving knowledge:

  • “A person cannot get drunk from drinking only beer.” False. Some individuals are under the misconception that they cannot get drunk from drinking beer. Other people think that you will get drunk faster from hard liquor than beer. The fact is that it is the amount of alcohol in the drink that plays the most important role in how intoxicated a person will become, not the type of drink. Believe it or not, there is the same amount of alcohol in the average 1.5- ounce shot of 80-proof hard liquor as there is in a 5-ounce glass of table wine or 12-ounces of regular beer. All three of these drinks contain approximately .6-ounces of pure alcohol or the equivalent of 14 grams.
  • “A person who has a few drinks is still considered okay to drive legally.”  It depends. Even a small amount of alcohol can begin to impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The level of impairment that a person experiences after a few drinks can vary widely and depends on various factors including age, weight and gender. How a few drinks will affect your blood alcohol concentration or BAC can also depend on whether the drinks were consumed on a full or empty stomach and how quickly the drinks were consumed. If the three drinks were evenly spaced out over the course of four hours, that may be enough time for some people to able to operate a vehicle under the legal limit.  However, if those same three drinks were consumed in the span of one hour, that same person would likely be well over the legal limit of .08 BAC. Another factor that plays into how a person’s body processes alcohol is whether he or she is on any medications. If you are taking any medication talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking it with alcohol.
  • “The non-alcoholic mixer a person combines with hard liquor does not affect a person’s BAC in any way.” False. A recent study featured in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that participants who drank alcoholic drinks mixed with sugar-free (diet) soda had a much higher BAC on average after drinking the same amount when compared to participants who drank alcoholic drinks mixed with sugary (non-diet) soda. The scariest part of the study is that the participants who drank the drinks mixed with diet soda did not rate themselves as feeling any more intoxicated than the participants who drank the drinks mixed with non-diet soda, despite the fact that they were more intoxicated. The participants who consumed the diet-soda mixed drinks also had slower reaction times compared to those participants who drank the non-diet soda mixed drinks.

For Unparalleled DUI Defense Representation, Call Us Today!

If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence or DUI, you need to speak with an experienced Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. For over 35 years, the Whitman Law Offices has been representing clients on alcohol related offenses in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas. To schedule your free and completely confidential consultation call (785) 843-9460. Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time carefully review the facts of your case and explore with you all the possible 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.

What To Do When You Miss a Court Date in Kansas

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

The first thing to do when you miss a court date is to not panic.  Sit down, take a breath and make sure you know when the court date was scheduled for, why you needed to appear in court and why you missed it.  Maybe you forgot, maybe you were out of town, or maybe you didn’t think it would be such a big deal to miss it.  Whatever the reason for missing the court date, you have options available to you in this time of fear, apprehension and uncertainty.

In Kansas, the law varies on what the penalties will be for missing a court date.  The more severe the crime or offense, the more harsh a judge may be on you for missing the court date.  Typically, a warrant is issued for your arrest if you miss a court date, whether it is for a traffic offense or for a misdemeanor or felony offense.  In such a case, you will have to post pond in order to get the warrant resolved.

Once bond is issued, you must immediately contact a Kansas attorney.  An attorney can help you take care of paying or “posting” the bond, then have a new court date scheduled.  Once you have posted bond, you then must go to your scheduled court date and not miss it a second time.  If you miss a second court date, the consequences will be even more severe and a judge will not be so lenient on you.

Many times you will not know if a warrant has been issued for your arrest unless you get pulled over for a traffic offense, or if you search your name online through the state’s court system (and many people do not know how to do this).  Therefore, the single most important thing to do in a situation where you miss a court date is to contact an attorney immediately.  The cost of an attorney may seem like a lot in the short term, but the cost of ignoring a missed court date can have devastating effects in the long run, including hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees, and possibly jail time.

As mentioned above, you need to remember why you missed your court date.  This is important because you may have a legitimate reason that a judge will consider and look at your case more favorably.  For example, maybe you were ill, maybe a family member was ill, maybe your car broke down, or maybe you made an innocent mistake and forgot.  You should keep track of any proof you have that shows you had a legitimate reason for missing your court date, such as a doctor’s note if you were sick and sought medical treatment, a note from an employer, or an invoice from a car repair shop, proving that your car broke down and was towed somewhere.  Any shred of evidence will be extremely helpful for your case, and an experienced attorney needs to have all of this information.

If you have missed a court date, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.  Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices has over 35 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, defending individuals who have been charged with all kinds of criminal offenses.  Missing a court date, whether for a minor infraction or a more serious misdemeanor or felony offense, can lead you down a stressful path that only a qualified criminal defense attorney can help you with.  Contact our office today for a free consultation.  You may call us at (785) 843-9460, you may contact us online, or you may contact us in person by scheduling an appointment to meet us at our downtown Lawrence office, conveniently located near the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  We will also visit you in jail or at your home, if necessary.

Furnishing Alcohol to Minors in Kansas: Why It’s Not Worth the Risk

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Handing your underage friend a beer or purchasing alcohol for your nephew may seem to be relatively harmless conduct.  It is often tempting to be the nice guy who buys his barely underage friend a drink, or the cool parent who treats her underage daughter and her daughter’s underage friends to alcohol.  Or, you may be a minor and have taken your parent’s alcohol to give it to your underage friend.  While each of these acts by may seem insignificant to many people, the consequences in Kansas for supplying alcohol to minors can be harsh and life-changing.

In Kansas, furnishing alcohol (this includes simply providing or purchasing) to individuals under the age of 21 is a Class B Misdemeanor with a minimum of a $200 fine and possible jail time of up to 6 months – the same for a first-time DUI conviction.  The law applies equally to both adults providing to minors, and minors providing to minors.  Like with DUI’s, Kansas takes underage drinking very seriously and has set a precedent that the provider of alcohol to minors will be punished just as much as or even more than the underage consumer in possession of the alcohol.

All cases have their slightly different facts that can change the outcome for any given situation.  For example, if you are a parent who has supplied your underage child with alcohol under your supervision, you have committed no crime and this is a complete defense to a charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor in Kansas.  On the other hand, you may be a parent who has hosted a party, providing alcohol to multiple underage consumers, a situation where Kansas courts are more likely to be harsh.

Also, if you are a parent and your child has underage friends over, there’s always the possibility that those friends may consume alcohol in your home, whether you are aware of it or not.  That’s why it is extremely important to understand your rights and duties in Kansas when it comes to underage drinking.  If you wish to allow your child to have a glass of wine, that’s fine, but make sure it is only a family matter without your child’s friends over.

One very important reason why Kansas is especially harsh when it comes to underage drinking charges is because of the thousands of underage college students at the University of Kansas (KU), Baker University, and other surrounding colleges.  If you are a parent with an underage child, whether college-bound or not, or if you are an underage minor yourself, you need to understand that a conviction of furnishing alcohol to a minor is a serious offense that stays on your record, and can be especially harmful to young adults with otherwise bright futures.  For example, students may find it difficult to get a job, to be recruited into the military, or to receive a scholarship—all very important milestones in a young adult’s life.  To ruin a bright future for something so small as handing your underage friend a beer is not worth the consequences.

If you have been charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.  At Whitman Law Offices, Charles E. Whitman has over 35 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, helping individuals who have been charged with a variety of offenses, especially in the area of alcohol-related and underage drinking charges.  Contact Charles E. Whitman today for a free consultation to evaluate your case.  You may contact us online, by phone at (785) 843-9460, or you may contact us in person at our downtown Lawrence location.  We are easily accessible from both the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  We will also visit you at home or in jail, if necessary.

Underage Alcohol Offenses in Kansas – What Parents and Young Adults Must Know

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Underage drinking is not taken lightly in Kansas.  Whether you, or your son or daughter is charged with underage drinking and issued a citation, of being a Minor in Possession (MIP) or of Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor (MIC), or of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you should take the charge very seriously.  All too often minors and young adults believe they can get away with underage drinking, especially college students who are eager to have fun and fit in.

In Kansas, individuals under the age of 21 who have been charged with any of the following underage alcohol offenses may be subject to severe consequences.

  • Issued with Citation for Underage Drinking
  • Minor in Possession (MIP) / Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor (MIC)
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

If convicted of an underage alcohol offense, your driving privileges may be revoked or limited.  You may only be able to drive to school, work, important appointments, and may only be able to drive during particular hours.  You may also be subject to mandatory drug testing and alcohol treatment.  Even more, you may be responsible for hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly jail time.  As a young adult, you also may find it hard to obtain a job, receive a scholarship, or to seek recruitment by the military.  This can all happen even in the case where you are pulled over and an unopened container of alcohol is present in the car.  What if the alcohol isn’t yours?  It doesn’t matter under Kansas law.  This is why parents should be on alert that their son or daughter could be in trouble even if no alcohol was consumed.

But, the most serious of the underage drinking offenses listed above is a DUI.  While the legal limit for blood-alcohol content (BAC) in Kansas is .08 for individuals 21 and over, the limit is much lower if you are underage.  Many people do not realize that the law is often harsher for young adults.  If you are pulled over and found to have even a slight amount of detectable alcohol in your system, and under the age of 21, this is enough to be charged with a DUI.  Such a charge can lead to a conviction that leaves you with a permanent criminal record.

With so much on the line as a young adult, parents should discuss with their children the severity of the consequences discussed above.  Whether your child is college-bound or not, taking a huge risk just to have a good time at a college party isn’t worth the harsh penalties that Kansas imposes on many young offenders.  Don’t let an underage drinking charge lead you down the wrong path.  Young adults will make mistakes and learn from them, but making what may seem to be a small mistake by driving after just one drink at a party, or walking down the street with a beer in your hand is not worth the time, cost and emotional strain that can be a distraction from receiving an education or starting a career.

If you, or if your son or daughter has been charged with an underage alcohol offense, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney right away.  Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices devotes himself to helping individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 who have been charged with underage alcohol offenses in Kansas.  With over 35 years of experience, Charles Whitman has the necessary qualifications to protect your rights and help you avoid potentially harsh consequences.  Contact our office for a free consultation.  You may call us at (785) 843-9460, or contact us online.  Our office is located in downtown Lawrence, not far from the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.  Contact us today and let us help you get your life back on track.

Strategies in Defending against Drug Possession Charges in Kansas

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Being arrested in Kansas for the possession of illegal drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, or other controlled substances can have serious and sometimes life-long consequences, including a felony conviction, long-term imprisonment, a permanent criminal record, and substantial monetary fines and penalties.  However, it is important to keep in mind that an arrest does not always result in a conviction.  With this in mind, there are a number of effective defense strategies, provided in more detail below, that can be implemented by a seasoned Kansas criminal defense attorney to help you safeguard your legal rights.

Keep in mind that everything spanning from the individual facts of your case to how the police conducted themselves during your arrest may impact (either positively or negatively) whether you are ultimately convicted or not.  However, there is a key distinction that can drastically affect the scope of defenses that may apply to your case.  Specifically, this distinction involves whether the prosecutor is building his or her case upon the actual or mere constructive possession of drugs.

Actual possession refers to when a person is arrested with drugs are found on their person, whether in their pockets, hands, or other bodily area.  Conversely, constructive possession refers to a situation in which an individual does not have drugs on their person yet, drugs are found in their vicinity, such as in their trunk or other places where these types of substances can be stored.  In other words, when drugs are found in these areas, it implies that they had the ability to exercise control over them.

With the above in mind, one of the most effective defenses to a constructive possession case is a lack of knowledge.  To illustrate, a prosecutor must prove that you knew that the drugs were present at the time they were uncovered by police (note that the prosecutor, in making his or her case, does not have to prove ownership of drugs to be successful in this regard).  This is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, and as a result, is a prime place to focus and develop your defense strategies.  Yet, if you were arrested for the actual possession of drugs, a lack of knowledge may not necessarily suffice as your strongest defense tactic.  Notwithstanding, there are other ways in which to attack an actual possession case.

In terms of defenses to actual possession, there are quite a few.  Specifically, if evidence in your case was improperly procured, and, this unlawful seizure led to your arrest, you could assert that it constitutes a Fourth Amendment violation of your rights.   Nowadays, most people are aware that evidence cannot be submitted to the court for the jury’s consideration in the event that it was improperly obtained (i.e. without a warrant).   An additional defense that can be raised to an actual possession case is that the substances found on your person are not “controlled”.  When this defense is asserted, the prosecutor must then prove that the “drugs” are in fact, illegally controlled substances, thereby warranting a potential conviction.  Moreover, defenses related to missing evidence or improperly handled evidence (by police during their investigation) may also provide effective defenses to your actual possession case.  Lastly, if you were unfortunately forced to transport or hold onto someone’s drugs at their forceful command, it may serve as an effective defense (for example, if you were held at gunpoint and ordered to transport drugs).

In light of the above, it is important to consider that each defense strategy defends upon the specific facts underlying a person’s case.  As such, if you are facing drug possession charges, you should contact a qualified Kansas criminal defense attorney immediately.  At the Whitman Law Offices, our legal professionals have successfully represented thousands of people facing all type of criminal charges in Kansas, no matter how challenging or complex.  Our attorneys will take the time necessary to review your case and advise you of the scope of your legal options.  We invite you to call us at (785) 843-9460 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.