Posts Tagged ‘Kansas DUI lawyer’

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.

College Students Beware: The Consequences of a DUI in Kansas

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

College students juggle a pretty hectic schedule. In between attending classes and hitting the books, most students find time to squeeze in extracurricular activities, whether it is participating in intramural sports, joining a student organization, or working a part-time job. Most college students would agree that they would love to have a few extra hours in the day to accomplish things. That, and of course some extra cash would not hurt either. If you are a busy college student who is strapped for cash, the last thing you want is a DUI. Before you consider drinking and driving home from your next party or social event, take a minute to review the enormous potential consequences of a DUI for a college student.

Regardless of whether you are a 21 year old college student, corporate CEO or a plumber, the law provides for certain punishments for all people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above .08. The “basic” penalties are as follows:

  • Criminal Record: If you are found guilty of DUI, you will automatically have a criminal record. In Kansas a first time DUI is considered a Class B misdemeanor.
  • Fine:  For a first time offense the fine can be no more than $1,000.
  • Costs: In addition to fines, there are other costs of DUI including possible attorney’s fees and court costs.
  • Jail Time or Public Service: The court can sentence a first time DUI offender to a maximum of six months in jail or 100 hours of public service.
  • Education/Treatment Program: The court can also require an offender to enroll in and successfully complete an alcohol and drug education and/or treatment program.
  • Loss of Driving Privileges: The standard protocol for DUI is to have a suspended license for a period of 30 days and thereafter restricted for a period of approximately 330 days. However, to be eligible to drive after the suspension, a driver must apply for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license with the Division of Motor Vehicles. This includes completing an application, paying a fee and also possibly paying to have an ignition interlock device installed on the driver’s car.

These penalties can not only impact your wallet, but also your time. Time that could be best spending studying may be spent in court or attending treatment. Classes may be missed or you may have to quit your off-campus part-time job, since your driver’s license is suspended. However, unlike the CEO and the plumber, a college student can also face consequences from his or her college or university, which depending on the institution’s policies can include the following:

  • Loss of financial aid and/or scholarships;
  • Loss of student housing;
  • Notifying the student’s parents;
  • Requiring the student to attend alcohol/drug treatment; and
  • A warning, probation, suspension or even expulsion from the institution.

A DUI conviction can also follow you after you leave the institution whether you leave through choice or by expulsion. For example, other college and universities may require that you close your criminal status on applications for admission and/or for financial aid. Many employers also require employees to undergo a criminal background check.

If you are a college student who has been charged with a DUI or another alcohol-related offense you need an experienced DUI defense attorney. Do not trust your case and your future to just any attorney. With over 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman will carefully review the facts of your case and research any and all defenses you may have. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. The Whitman Law Offices is located in downtown Lawrence and is easily accessible to both the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker University.

Don’t Let a Kansas DUI Ruin Your Holidays

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The holiday season is here, and your schedule is probably already filling up with plans for gatherings with family and friends, community events, and, of course, the ubiquitous office party. At just about every celebration, there will be many delicious seasonal foods to enjoy, along with plenty of festive beverages. Whether you plan to go to just one affair or several different events over the next few weeks, it is important that you plan ahead to make sure that each one of your outings begins and ends on a joyful note.

Kansas law enforcement officers know that this is a popular time of the year for people to eat, drink, and be merry. The December holiday season is prime time for DUI checkpoints, and for increased numbers of officers patrolling heavily traveled areas during the evening hours. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to avoid getting a DUI this holiday season. If you follow these holiday party safety tips you can have your fruitcake, and drink some eggnog, too.

The best way to avoid getting a DUI this holiday season is to avoid driving if you plan on drinking. Talk to other people who will be attending the same festivities that you plan to go to. There may be one or more guests who plan to be designated drivers, and you might be able to ride with one of them. Alternatively, conduct some research ahead of time to determine what public transportation options exist in your area, and plan to use one of them to get to and from the event.

If your party plans include traveling to a location that is a few hours away, you may want to plan in advance to spend the night at a place within walking distance from the event.  Some companies negotiate special room rates for their employees if they book their holiday parties at a hotel’s banquet facilities. Friends and family may also have a spare bed or couch available, so be sure to ask around.

There may still be situations in which you end up driving home from a party late at night. Perhaps you had arranged for a ride home, but it fell through. Maybe you thought that you would only stop in for an hour, but you ended up staying much later. Whatever the situation is, do your best to enjoy yourself responsibly so that your drive home is both safe and legal.

When you drive home, you may feel like you are sober enough to drive, and that may well be the case. It is still important to avoid attracting any attention from law enforcement officers, so that you will arrive at home without any sort of traffic ticket. Obeying the rules of the road is just one way to keep the police at bay. Checking your vehicle over thoroughly on a regular basis is another way to ensure that you are not selected for a late night traffic stop because of something that could easily have been fixed in advance, like a burnt out turn signal lamp, headlight, or license plate light.

If you do get pulled over, try to remain calm and pleasant. Remember that you have rights, and do not be afraid to provide very little information about where you have been and what you have been doing. You are under no obligation to provide information that could incriminate you.  If, despite your best efforts, you do end up being charged

Field Sobriety Tests: To Walk or Not Walk the Line

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Even if you have never been pulled over by a police officer and asked to partake in a field sobriety test, most Americans are familiar with this roadside assessment. Movies and television shows often depict scenes where an officer has a suspected drunk driver walk a straight line in a heel to toe fashion. Johnny Cash may have walked the line, but if you are pulled over on a Kansas roadway, it may be a good idea for you not to do the same. Before you agree to submit to a field sobriety test, here are a list of things you should know and consider before making the decision to walk the line:

  • Tests are voluntary: Yes, you heard that correctly. Most people submit to a field sobriety test because they believe that they are required by law to do so. The majority of people who are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence do not realize that they have the option to politely decline participating in the test.
  • If you fail the test, you will likely be arrested: One of the main reasons to consider not submitting to a field sobriety test is that you have nothing to gain by taking the test. If you take the test and fail you will likely be arrested. If prior to taking the test you admitted to the officer that you had been drinking, you may also be arrested, regardless of whether you took and passed the test.
  • Only three tests are approved by the NHTSA: Although many different tests are depicted in popular media, there are only three tests that have been studied and approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The three approved tests are the “walk and turn”, the “one-leg stand” and the “horizontal gaze nystagmus.”
  • Tests are more difficult than they appear: Watching a person on a television drama perform a sobriety test can make these tests look out to be fairly simple and straight-forward. People are surprised to learn that these tests can have false positive results between 20 and 30 percent, depending on the test. Not to mention, completion of these test on the side of road, most often at night in the dark, can make these tests even more challenging.
  • Tests are admissible evidence in court: If a person submits to a field sobriety test, this evidence can and most likely will be used against the person in court. This includes not only the test result but also video of the test while the test was conducted by the officer.

The good news is that an experienced DUI defense attorney can help. A seasoned DUI defense attorney will thoroughly review your case, including any documents or video related to field sobriety tests. The attorney will then scrutinize these tests to determine if tests were carried out in a flawed manner or if other explanations exist for your inability to complete the test. Any errors can be used to call into question the validity of the test results and possibly result in the test being inadmissible in court.

Regardless of whether you submitted to a sobriety test, if you were arrested and charged with a DUI you need a zealous advocate to protect your rights. For more than three decades attorney Charles E. Whitman has been defending men and women charged with DUI. Contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free confidential consultation. At the Whitman Law Offices, we will take the time to educate you on the law and review with you, your rights and defenses. Trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with superior legal services.