Posts Tagged ‘Kansas DUI defense attorney’

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 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.

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.

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions About the Administrative Side of a DUI

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

When a person is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) two separate and distinct cases against that person begin. The first is a criminal case, where if the person is found guilty he or she could face punishment, including but not limited to fines and time in jail. The other case is an administrative or “civil” case. While much attention is focused on the criminal case due to the severe penalties, it is important for a person charged with DUI to understand both cases. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions people have about the administrative side of a DUI:

When arrested for DUI the police officer took my driver’s license. Can I still (legally) drive?

When a person is arrested for DUI the police officer will typically take the person’s driver’s license and in exchange give them a pink sheet of paper, which is called a DC-27 form. This form will serve as the person’s temporary driver’s license. If the person does not request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension per the instructions printed on the form, the person’s license will be automatically suspended after 30 days. Typically the person only has a two week period of time to request a hearing otherwise, he or she is forever barred from the challenging the suspension.

When arrested for DUI I did not submit to a breath/blood test. But now I learned that my driver’s license will be suspended for a year. Why is that?

In Kansas, when a person chooses to have a driver’s license he or she agrees to follow certain rules. One of these rules is known as “implied consent”. What this law means is that the person agrees to submit to a chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) in the event he or she is pulled over by the police on suspicion of DUI. If a person breaks this rule by not submitting to the test, he or she will have his or her license automatically suspended for a period of 1 year followed by 1 year of restricted driving, requiring  the use of an ignition interlock device.

Should I request an administrative hearing if I blew over a .08?

Whether a person should request a hearing is a decision that should be made after he or she consults with an experienced DUI defense attorney. The good news is that even if a person does not “win” the administrative hearing, he or she will be permitted to drive until after the administrative decision is rendered and for a period of time thereafter.

If I “win” at the administrative hearing, does that mean I will be found “not guilty” of DUI at the criminal proceeding?

The simple answer to this questions is “no”. The result of the administrative hearing will have no bearing on the criminal proceeding. It is possible that a person has a valid defense that he or she can present at the administrative hearing that is not applicable at the criminal proceeding.

Keep in mind that as soon as you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) the clock starts ticking. This is why it is so important to consult with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Only a skilled Kansas DUI Defense attorney can properly advise you if it is in your best interest to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. With more than 35 years of experience handling DUI matters, Attorney Charles E. Whitman, is the only attorney you can trust to make sure your rights are protected.

Do Not Let a DUI Ruin Your Summer Vacation

Monday, July 21st, 2014

You do not have to do much but step outside to know that summer is in full swing. The laughter of children on summer break can be heard in every neighborhood and the skyrocketing temperatures make winter feel like a distant memory. One can even tell it is summer just by looking at the roadways which are made much busier with summer travelers. No matter if your summer vacation plans lead you to a lake cottage on the other side of the state, or to a friend’s barbecue in a neighboring town, it is important to travel smart. It is okay to relax and even let your hair down on vacation, as long as your idea of fun does not include driving while intoxicated. Nothing can put the brakes on vacation like being arrested for DUI. The following are just a few ways a DUI can ruin more than just your summer vacation:

  • A weekend behind bars: While your vacation plans might include a trip to a ‘watering hole’ or bar, most people do not want to spend a night behind bars. However, if you are arrested for DUI on Friday evening or at any time on the weekend, the reality is that depending on what county you are arrested in, you could spend the remaining portion of the weekend in jail. At the very least, you may have to stay in jail until a friend or family member can bail you out.
  • No wheels for a while: If you receive a DUI while on vacation, consider that this trip may be your last time driving for a little while. In Kansas, if a driver fails a breath test with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .08% and .15% he or she will receive a mandatory 30-day driver’s license suspension. If the driver has a BAC at or above .15 % he or she can expect to have his or her license suspended for one year. In each case the suspension will be followed by a period of restricted driving.
  • Budget busting fines: A first time DUI can include a fine of up to $1,000 plus court costs. This is in addition to attorney’s fees, the cost of having an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your car, and paying for an alcohol and drug treatment program. In addition to any sentence ordered by the court, it is also likely that your car insurance rates will increase significantly, which could end up costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the course of a few years.
  • Consequences that will last longer than any hangover: If you think a hangover can put a damper on your day—the consequences of a DUI can wreak havoc on your life for months and even years to come. The sentence for a first-time DUI can include up to 6 months in jail or 100 hours of community service. Not to mention, that if the DUI is your first encounter with the criminal justice system, you now will also have a criminal record.

If you were charged with a DUI while on vacation this summer, the first thing you need to do is to make an appointment to speak with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney. Only a qualified Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can provide you with the aggressive representation you need to protect your rights. For almost four decades, Attorney Charles Whitman has provided clients with top-notch DUI representation. Do not trust your case to just any attorney. Contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and completely confidential consultation.

There are Two Sides of Every Kansas DUI

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Most often, when a person is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or DUI, he or she is first and foremost concerned about the criminal penalties associated with a DUI. Since the criminal penalties for a first-time DUI can be severe, it makes complete sense that most people are preoccupied with this part of a DUI. A first time DUI charge can result in fines of up to a $1,000 and between 48 hours and 6 months spent in jail. However, sometimes a person who is arrested for DUI is so stressed out about what will happen in the criminal proceeding that they fail to notice that there are two sides to every DUI charge.

Although the criminal proceeding is the most important part of a DUI it is important to understand that it is not the only part of a DUI. A DUI charge has two parts, a criminal side and a civil side. The criminal portion of a DUI is very similar to any other criminal case. The government, sometimes referred to as the State of Kansas or just the “State”, needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged with the crime of DUI is indeed guilty of the charges. It is the government or State’s burden to prove these charges. If the government cannot meets its burden, then the person charged with DUI must be found not guilty. If a person is found guilty of DUI, then it is up for the court to determine what punishment the person should receive.

The other part of a DUI charge is the civil side, or more commonly referred to as the “administrative” side of a DUI. Whereas the criminal side of a DUI is concerned about findings of guilt and doling out punishment, the administrative side is only concerned about whether a person’s driver privileges should be suspended. Per Kansas law, a person may have his or her driver’s license suspended as related to a DUI for one of two reasons. First, the person was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. The other reason, is if a person who is pulled over by police on suspicion of DUI refuses to submit to a chemical test to determine his or her BAC. The penalty for a person who refuses a chemical test is a mandatory 1 year suspension.

It is important to understand that there are two sides to a DUI because a person only has a very limited amount of time to request a hearing to fight the administrative suspension. If a person’s does not request an administrative hearing within this very limited amount of time, then he or she is completely prohibited from challenging the administrative decision to have his or her license suspended. Therefore, it is important to seek out the legal advice of an experienced Kansas DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest so he or she can handle both sides of your DUI case.

The crime of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an offense that Kansas takes very seriously. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI only an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can make sure that your rights were not violated and properly present any defenses you may have to the court. For close to four decades, attorney Charles E. Whitman has diligently defended persons charged with DUI. You can trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with quality representation for the both the criminal and administrative portions of your DUI. However, it is imperative that you act quickly to protect your rights. Call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

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.

What You Need to Know About a 2nd Kansas DUI Charge

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Whether your first conviction for driving under the influence was two years ago or ten years ago, one thing remains the same—you have a DUI on your criminal record. If you are fortunate, your first DUI conviction will also be your last DUI conviction. But if you have found yourself in the not so fortunate situation where you have been arrested and charged with a second DUI, you need to be smart and act quickly.

The punishment for a second DUI conviction is even more severe than for a first DUI conviction. While a first conviction is considered a Class B misdemeanor, a second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor. When you are facing a second DUI conviction, it is critical that you find a qualified DUI defense attorney that has a deep understanding of Kansas DUI laws who can help you beat the charges, otherwise you could be facing the following penalties:

  • Fines: A second conviction comes with fines of not less than $1,250 but not more than $1,750. The fine is in addition to any court costs. In some instances fines can be “paid” with community service at a rate of $5 per hour, which would result in a total of 250 to 350 hours of service.
  • Driver’s license suspension: A person’s driving privileges will be suspended for a period of one year. After the one year suspension the person will need to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on his or her vehicle, at his or her own expense, for at least one additional year following the suspension.
  • Term of imprisonment: The minimum sentence for a second conviction is not less than 90 days but can be as long as one year. A person must serve 5 consecutive days of his or her sentence before the person can be granted probation, or receive a suspension or reduction of a sentence. Under certain circumstances a person may be able to serve his or sentence under a work release program or under house arrest using an electronic monitoring device.
  • Treatment program: A person must participate in an alcohol and drug evaluation program at his or her own expense.

The important thing to remember whether you are facing your first, second or even fourth DUI charge is that the same rules apply. The State still needs to be able to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that you are guilty of each and every element of the offense of driving under the influence. The fact that you have a DUI conviction on your criminal record has no importance on whether you will be found guilty or not guilty of a subsequent DUI charge. The only thing that changes with each ensuing DUI conviction is the penalties upon conviction. Therefore, you need an experienced DUI defense attorney who can determine what defenses you may have to the charges. Do not make the mistake of taking the ‘deal’ offered by the prosecutor without first talking to a knowledgeable and reputable DUI defense attorney about your legal rights.

A repeat charge for driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense and with it comes harsh penalties. Therefore, it is best to trust only a skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorney to handle your case. Only an experienced Kansas DUI Defense attorney can properly advise you of your legal rights and uncover all possible defenses you may have. If you have been charged with your second DUI, call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. Attorney Charles E. Whitman has more than 35 years of experience representing persons charged with DUI. You can trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with aggressive representation.

Appellate Court Rules No 6th Amendment Right for DUI Diversion Proceeding

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

The Constitution of the United States is the cornerstone document of not only our legal system, but also of our government. The Constitution, which went into effect back in 1789, not only outlines the three basic branches of our federal government, it also protects what most Americans know as each citizen’s “fundamental rights”. These rights are embodied in the first ten amendments to the Constitution and are collectively known as the Bill of Rights.

Most Americans know that the 6th Amendment of the Constitution protects the rights of criminal defendants and includes the right to be represented by an attorney. However, many Americans are not aware that the right ‘to an attorney in a legal proceeding’ under the 6th Amendment does not apply to all types of criminal cases. Recently, the Kansas Appellate Court addressed the issue in the case of State of Kansas vs. Tims of whether a criminal defendant has the right to counsel under the 6th amendment in a DUI diversion proceeding. The relevant facts of the case are as follows:

Daniel Tims was arrested and charged with DUI in 2012. However, this was not Tims’ first DUI. Tims had been previously found guilty of DUI in 2004 and entered into a diversion agreement on another DUI in 2002. The State charged Tims 2012 DUI as a felony since under Kansas State law a third DUI conviction is considered a felony if the person had a prior DUI conviction in the proceeding 10 years. Tims’ attorney filed a motion with the court to exclude Tims’ 2002 DUI diversion from his criminal history arguing it was invalid as Tims’ was without counsel. The district court agreed with Tims’ position and granted his motion. Although Tims was found guilty on the 2012 DUI charge, he was sentenced to a 2nd conviction misdemeanor as opposed to a 3rd conviction felony, since his uncounseled DUI was not considered as a conviction. The State appealed on the basis that the sentence was illegal.

The appellate court concluded that a criminal defendant does not have the right to appointed counsel under the 6th amendment. The Appellate court did determine that a defendant does however, have the right to retain private counsel if he or she so desires. The court found that during the diversion conference, Tims knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to counsel. The court found that Tims’ waiver of his right to counsel was valid and remanded the case for resentencing as a 3rd conviction felony DUI.

The most important lesson to learn from this court decision is that it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Only a seasoned DUI defense attorney will be able to educate you on the law and help you understand and evaluate your legal options. Another thing to remember is that if you accept and complete a DUI diversion it can and most likely will be used against you in the event you are charged with another DUI in the future. This means that you must take each and every DUI seriously.  Do not be fooled into thinking that a first DUI does not really matter.

If you have been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. For more than thirty five years, attorney Charles E. Whitman has provided aggressive representation for individuals throughout Lawrence and Northeast Kansas who were arrested for DUI. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. At the Whitman Law Offices, we will work hard to make sure that your rights are protected. Do not trust your case to just any attorney. Call our seasoned DUI defense attorneys today!