Archive for March, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions about DUI in Kansas [Part I]

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Many Kansas motorists assume that the odds of being arrested for DUI are fairly low, but the reality is that 1.5 million people are arrested for DUI annually.  The short-term penalties for a DUI may include but are not limited to incarceration, significant fines, probation, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), alcohol classes and community service.

The long-term consequences can be far more severe, such as a criminal record, loss of employment, ineligibility for certain occupations, immigration consequences and more.  It is normal to be worried if you have been arrested for DUI because it may be your first interaction with the criminal justice system.  Experienced Kansas DUI attorney Bill Cummings has provided answers to many questions about DUI cases in Kansas.  We also invite you to review Part II of this FAQ about Kansas DUI.

If my BAC tested at .08 percent during a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) test does not mean I will be convicted?

Many people presume that the use of a breathalyzer device along with the establishment of a “per se” threshold for DUI at .08 percent is akin to a DUI conviction.  This is a misconception that discourages many motorists from fighting winnable DUI cases.  Police officers must have sufficient articulable facts that you were committing a criminal offense to justify your initial stop.  Breathalyzer results also can be effectively challenged based on a number of factors, such as calibration of the device, failure to observe the mandatory waiting period, mouth alcohol and other factors.  The bottom line is that DUI cases that involve a breath test result over the DUI per se threshold are successfully fought by defendants throughout the U.S. on a daily basis.

Are Field Sobriety Tests a reliable indicator of intoxication?

Even when an officer conducts these tests precisely according to the prescribed procedures, the tests still have an extremely high error rate for incorrectly identifying sober drivers as being intoxicated.  While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed a system for administering field sobriety tests (FSTs), many officers lack adequate training in conducting and evaluating these tests.  The FSTs that were determined to have any degree of reliability still have staggeringly high error rates in an NHTSA study.  For example:

One Leg State: 68 percent accuracy

Walk and Turn: 65 percent accuracy

Further, FSTs assume the person taking the tests is “an average person,” which means the accuracy of these physical exercises is even more suspect when the person performing FSTs is elderly, fifty pounds or more overweight or suffers from a medical condition.  Because Mr. Cummings has successfully handled many Kansas DUI tests, he works diligently to communicate to the judge and jury the unreliability of FST results.

While we have tried to answer common Kansas DUI questions, the best way to get specific information about your unique circumstances is to set up a confidential free consultation.  If you have been arrested for DUI, experienced Sedgwick County DUI defense attorney Bill Cummings provides a diligent defense to protect his clients from the harsh penalties of a Kansas DUI conviction.  We offer a free initial consultation that is absolutely confidential so call us today at 316-264-1548 to learn how we can help.