Posts Tagged ‘Kansas DUI defense lawyer’

Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer Asks: Will Your Kansas DUI Haunt You Forever?

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Halloween has always been about “treats” and “tricks,” but lately the holiday has also gained a reputation for drinking and driving and DUIs. While ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night are often the fodder for spooky Halloween tales, they cannot even begin to compare to the frightening realties that come with a DUI conviction. A DUI is a serious offense that can potentially haunt a person for years and years to come. The following are just a few ways a DUI can have an ongoing impact on the multiple aspects of a person’s life:

  • DUI Punishment: In the State of Kansas a first time DUI is considered to be a Class B nonperson misdemeanor. A conviction carries with it, a jail sentence of not less than 48 hours but not more than 6 months. Persons convicted will also have to pay fines between $750 and $1,000, not including court costs. If a person chooses to hire an attorney to represent his or her interests, he or she will also be responsible for the attorney’s fees.
  • Driver’s License: A person convicted of a DUI for the first time can expect to have his or her driver’s licenses suspended between 30 days and one year. Following the period of license suspension, a driver’s license will contain the restriction of an Ignition Interlock Device for a period of up to one year. There is also an installation and maintenance cost associated with this device.
  • Employment Opportunities: Having a DUI conviction on your criminal record can be a red flag to an employer and possibly bar a person from employment. It is only common sense that if an employer has two equally qualified prospective candidates for a job and one has a DUI conviction and the other has a clean record, that most likely the person without a criminal record will most likely be offered the job. This advice is especially true in competitive job markets. Not to mention, certain jobs require a person to have an active and unrestricted driver’s license—a qualification lacking from a person whose license is suspended for DUI.
  • Car Insurance: Car insurance rates for those drivers with a DUI conviction on their record tend to be higher than for drivers with a clean driving record. Insurance rates are calculated using risk formulas. If a person has a DUI he or she is a higher level risk for the company and therefore, will pay a higher premium.
  • Injuries to Self and/or Others: In some instances a person is only charged with a DUI after he or she is involved in a motor vehicle crash. In these cases the driver may suffer injuries as the result of the accident. He or she may also have to live with the fact that wreck injured or even killed another motorist or even a pedestrian.

If you were recently arrested and charged with a DUI you need to take this matter very seriously.  A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have a major effect on your life and likely impact your future as well. That is why it is critical to consult with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. Only a skilled Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer will be able to thoroughly review your case and provide you with the answers you need. Contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. With more than 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman is the attorney you can trust to provide you with aggressive representation.

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.

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.

Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions about BACs

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

In Kansas, a motorist can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) if his or her blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is .08 or more. The BAC is a method used primarily by law enforcement to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s body. If you plan to have one or more alcoholic beverages and operate a motor vehicle thereafter, then you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the facts regarding BAC.  The following are some of the most frequently asked questions motorists have about BAC:

How is BAC tested?

The most commonly used test by police officers at the scene to measure a motorist’s BAC is a breath test or “Breathalyzer.”  BAC can also be determined through a blood test.

How many drinks does it take to reach a .08 BAC?

Unfortunately there is not a certain number of drinks that a person can ingest and still fall within the legal BAC limit to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is in part due to the fact that every person metabolizes alcohol differently.

What factors can impact a person’s BAC?

A person’s weight, percentage of body fat and even gender can all factor into how a drink can affect a person’s BAC. For example, a 5 foot, 100 pound woman will have a higher BAC after one drink than a 6 foot, 240 pound man after the same drink. Food can also affect how a person processes alcohol. A person who has eaten a large dinner of spaghetti and meatballs before having a drink will have a lower BAC than if that same person has an empty stomach. This is why it strongly recommended that if you plan to drink you should not do so on an empty stomach. You also want to drink slowly to keep your BAC down. A person who sips a glass of wine over a period of an hour will have a lower BAC than if that same person took a shot of alcohol even though both have the same amount of alcohol.

What if anything can lower a person’s BAC?

Sometimes a person finds him or herself in a position where he or she is intoxicated and wants to “sober up” in order to drive home. Unfortunately, there is nothing a person can do to lower his or her BAC. The human body simply needs time to process the alcohol. Things like drinking a cup of coffee or taking a cold shower may make an intoxicated person feel more sober, but the truth of the matter is, such actions will not lower his or her BAC.

Will a person with a .08 BAC feel drunk?

 The answer to this question is, it depends. Unfortunately, not everyone with a .08 BAC will know that they are legally unable to drive. Often a side of effect of intoxication is not being able to recognize impairment. Remember that regardless of whether a person feels drunk or in any way impaired to drive, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal.

Contact the Whitman Law Offices Now!

If you have been charged with DUI you are probably overloaded with questions you need answered. Trust only an experienced DUI defense attorney to answer your questions and guide you through the process. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. With over 35 years of experience, Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices will research of all of your defenses and make sure that you understand your legal options. At the Whitman Law Offices we pride ourselves on providing you with exceptional legal services.

Kansas DUI Attorney Explains How You Can Enjoy a Safe St. Patrick’s Day

Monday, February 10th, 2014

There is nothing worse after partying all night than awaking to a hangover, right? Wrong! Much worse than any hangover is ending what would have been an otherwise fun evening with a DUI or worse, seriously injuring or killing yourself or another person as a result of driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 30 percent of the fatal motor vehicle crashes on St. Patrick’s Day are due to drunk driving. So, if you plan to get your green on this St. Patrick’s Day you need to do more to ensure the safety of yourself and others than carry around a four leaf clover. The following are a few tips you should follow to help ensure that you have a safe St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Have a designated driver: If you are planning on going out for St. Patrick’s Day, make sure that as part of your party planning that you also plan a way to make it home safely. A designated driver is always a great option.
  • Slow down: One way to make sure that you are able to get yourself home safely is to avoid becoming intoxicated in the first place. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot enjoy a beer or two. It just means that you need to pace yourself. Have no more than one drink per hour and sneak in some non-alcoholic beverage in alcoholic ones. A drink is considered to be a 1.5 ounce-shot of 80 proof liquor, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 12-ounce beer. Think of your Irish holiday as a marathon and not a sprint if you want to be sober at the end.
  • Eat: St. Patrick’s Day is not just about the beer it is also about the food! Have a plate of corned beef and cabbage with a side of rye bread. Not only is it tradition—it is also a way to help your body process the alcohol more quickly.
  • Call a cab: Before you head out for the day’s festivities, write down the telephone numbers of a few cab companies on a card and place it in your wallet or purse. This way you can easily call for a ride in the event you are not able to drive home. You can also do the same with a bus or trolley schedule, depending upon where you live.
  • Leave your keys at home: An easy way to avoid a DUI charge is to not drive in the first place. Take a cab, public transportation or even walk home. By leaving your keys at home, you will not have to worry about being tempted to drive home.
  • Be the host: If you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party then clearly you do not have to worry about drinking and driving. But if you do opt to be the host, be a good host. Offer your guests plenty of food and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Ask guests to hand over their keys at the beginning of the party and do not give a person back his or her key if he or she is unable to drive home. Instead have guests who are not able to drive spend the night.

For Additional Information, Call the Whitman Law Offices Now!

If you have been charged with driving under the influence you need an experienced DUI defense attorney. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact the Whitman Law Offices today toll free at (877) 933-4354 or locally at (785) 843-9460. Our attorneys can also make arrangements to visit you in jail if necessary. Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices has more than three decades of experience representing persons charged with DUI and other alcohol related offenses. At the Whitman Law Offices we will take the time to thoroughly review your case and evaluate all of your legal options.

Could a DUI Cost You Your Commercial Driver’s License in Kansas?

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

If you operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for a living, then you know exactly how important your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is to your livelihood. Without your CDL, you will not just lose just your current job but will lose your career. Too often a holder of a CDL forgets just how easily a CDL can be jeopardized.  As a holder of a CDL, you need to be aware of the serious consequences that drinking and driving can have not only on your driver’s license, but also on your CDL. For any driver a DUI conviction can be an expensive and costly mistake, but for a CDL holder it can be a double whammy.  Keep these facts in mind next time you think of drinking and driving:

  • There are different rules for operating a CMV: In Kansas, motorists who are found to be operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level at or above .08 are considered to be driving under the influence. However, the blood alcohol limit for CDL drivers who are operating a CMV is much lower. CMV operators who have a blood alcohol level at or above .04 are considered to be driving under the influence.
  • There is no slap on the wrist: Do not fool yourself into thinking that the penalties for a first time DUI conviction are just a slap on the wrist. A person operating a CMV (who is required to hold a CDL) will be disqualified from operating a CMV for a period of time not less than one year for being found driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs or have a blood alcohol level at or above .04. This is addition to the penalties and fines imposed by the court for the DUI.
  • It does not matter if you were driving a non-CMV at the time of the DUI: A CDL holder can not only jeopardize his or her license for a DUI conviction while operating a CMV but also if found guilty of DUI or refusing alcohol testing while driving a non-CMV. If a CDL holder is convicted of DUI or found to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher he or she will also lose his or her ability to operate a CMV for a period of not less than one year.
  • A second conviction will cost you: Although the penalties for a first time DUI conviction are very serious, a second conviction is even more severe. If a CDL holder receives a second DUI either while operating a CMV or while operating a normal passenger vehicle, the holder will receive a lifetime ban from operating a CMV. In certain circumstances the Secretary of Revenue has the power to reduce the ban to a period of not less than 10 years.
  • You cannot avoid the consequences of a possible DUI by declining alcohol testing: Often the advice to motorists who are pulled over for suspicion of DUI is to decline taking a breath test or other form of alcohol testing. However, CMV operators who are required to hold a CDL are deemed to have consented to alcohol testing. Therefore, if a CDL holder refuses to submit to alcohol testing the refusal will result in the same consequences had he or she failed the alcohol test or a DUI conviction.

If you are the holder of a commercial driver’s license and have been charged with DUI, it is imperative that you contact a seasoned DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Charles E. Whitman has over three decades of experience helping clients protect their rights and obtaining the best possible outcomes on their behalf. The team of professionals at the Whitman Law Offices understand that a DUI conviction for a CDL holder has serious consequences. Call us today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation. Trust the attorneys at the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with superior legal services.