Archive for May, 2014

Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney Explains Your Guide to Probation in Kansas

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Whether you have never been charged with a crime before, or you have recently been charged with a criminal offense, it is possible that you have an idea in your mind of what probation is all about. Many people are aware that being on probation includes not being incarcerated, but some people do not know much more about it than that. Perhaps even more importantly, some people who are facing criminal charges may not fully understand what probation is, and how it could affect their life if it is offered to them as an option and they choose to accept it.

The first and most important thing that people should know about probation is that it is not something which is offered to in lieu of jail time. Each defendant who has been convicted of a crime receives a jail sentence. Some people who have been convicted of crimes, particularly less serious offenses, are given an opportunity to continue living in the community if they abide by certain conditions for a specified period of time, which is referred to as the term of their probation.

While a person is on probation, their jail sentence is placed on hold until one of two events occurs. If a probationer violates one or more conditions of their probation, a judge may send them to jail to serve the original sentence that was ordered when they were convicted of the crime that they committed. Depending upon the nature and extent of the violation, the judge does have the option of sending them to jail for part of the original sentence, or to place them back on probation. For example, a missed appointment with a probation officer is likely to be considered in context with the probationer’s other behaviors. If it was a one-time occurrence, and all other conditions are routinely complied with, then it may be overlooked. If, however, the probationer misses other appointments, fails drug tests, and loses their job, then the sentence is likely to be imposed. If a probationer successfully completes the term of his or her probation, a judge may excuse them from serving their jail sentence.

Probation orders vary as far as what they require of the people to whom they apply. A typical probation order may include requirements to refrain from certain types of activities, or to refrain from interacting with certain people or going to certain places. Participation in rehabilitative programs like counseling, substance abuse treatment, or anger management may also be part of a probation order. Drug and alcohol testing are common probation requirements, as are regular check-ins with a probation officer. If the court deems it feasible for a person to hold a job, employment may be required as a condition of probation. Community service work may also be required. Probationers may be required to pay fines, child support, restitution, or other fees as conditions of their probation. Some probationers may be required to live in a specific type of housing, or to permit random inspections of their living quarters.

If you have been accused of violating the conditions of your probation, your freedom is at stake. It is essential that you seek the assistance of a skilled Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney, who can help you to present your best possible case to the court. If you have successfully completed your probation and you want to know whether you could possibly qualify for expungement of your criminal record, a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney can help you with your questions on that topic. To learn more about how a Kansas criminal defense attorney can help you with any questions that you may have regarding probation, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.

Kansas Personal Injury Attorney: Three Kansas Bus Accidents Happen Within Two Days

Friday, May 16th, 2014

On weekdays, parents throughout Kansas entrust school bus drivers with the task of transporting their children to and from school safely. On certain days, some children spend additional time on buses when they go on field trips, or to sporting events and other school-related activities. Most of the time, school bus rides are uneventful. Unfortunately, school buses and charter buses which carry students to school activities are sometimes involved in accidents.

This May, three separate accidents involving buses occurred within a span of two days. The first incident occurred on Thursday, May 8, 2014, south of Topeka. A car crashed into the back of a stopped school bus. Fortunately, no injuries resulted from that crash. The next morning, in Smithville, a school bus went off of the road as the driver of the bus swerved to avoid hitting a car which was in the bus’s lane. Unfortunately, seven students sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash. Later that morning, in Kansas City, a charter bus was taking children to a performance when it struck a power pole. The accident appears to have been caused by a medical condition which caused the driver to swerve onto the curb. Fortunately, none of the passengers in the bus were injured, and they were taken to the performance by another bus.

If you are a parent, these three bus accidents may have you wondering just exactly how safe school buses are. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has researched this issue, and has found that school buses are, in fact, the safest way for kids to get to and from school. Their research suggests that children who take the bus to school are seven times safer than those who ride in other vehicles driven by parents, family, or friends.

While those safety statistics may be reassuring, you may still be wondering how a vehicle with no seatbelts could possibly keep children safer than a car. There are some important differences between school buses and passenger vehicles which enable them to transport children safely and keep them safe in the event of a collision. One of these differences is size. In a crash, the impact of the collision is distributed throughout the entire school bus. A passenger vehicle is much smaller, so there is less area for the impact to be dispersed through. Inside the bus, school buses differ from passenger vehicles in that their cushioned, high backed seats divide the bus into compartments. These compartments reduce the amount of movement that each passenger experiences during a crash, much like the compartments in an egg carton reduce the likelihood that eggs will break by preventing them from moving around.

Fortunately, the injuries which are sustained by students in school bus accidents are usually minor. Sometimes, though, people who are not inside of the school bus are injured or killed in accidents involving school buses. Pedestrian fatalities can occur if a person is hit by the school bus, or by another driver who is passing the school bus illegally. Other injuries and fatalities can occur if a school bus crashes into a smaller vehicle. If you or someone that you love has been injured or killed in a school bus accident, an experienced Kansas Personal Injury Attorney can help you to recover both physically and financially from your accident. To learn more about how a Kansas Personal Injury Attorney can help you to obtain the settlement that you deserve, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.

Memorial Day is Coming, and so are DUI Checkpoints

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Memorial Day is coming soon, bringing with it the promises of sun, fun, and summertime activities. Unfortunately, Memorial Day weekend is prime time for DUI checkpoints, which can quickly turn a day or night of fun into very a stressful experience. In preparation for Memorial Day weekend and the DUI checkpoints that are sure to be set up throughout Kansas, here are a few helpful tips regarding DUI checkpoints.

While a DUI checkpoint may be set up at any time of day or night, be aware that checkpoints are more likely to be present late at night or early in the morning. Also, while some states consider DUI checkpoints to be unconstitutional, illegal, or both, they are considered to be both constitutional and legal in Kansas.

Being prepared for your encounter with law enforcement at a DUI checkpoint can make the difference between being allowed through and being detained for investigation. Your attitude towards the law enforcement officers who are working at the DUI checkpoint is a major factor in what your experience at the checkpoint will be like. It is possible to have a polite and cooperative attitude without offering up information which could later be used against you. Stick to the basics, and provide the officers with information regarding your identity, insurance, and registration when those items are requested of you.

Many drivers get themselves into trouble unnecessarily because they do not realize that they may respectfully decline to answer questions about where they are coming from or going to, and whether they have been drinking, without incurring consequences for doing so. Likewise, you may decline to participate in field sobriety tests without being penalized for doing so. It is essential that you resist the urge to perform the tests in order to “prove” your sobriety, because the tests are designed for you to fail. Even individuals who are perfectly sober can fail field sobriety tests, because the determination of whether you pass or fail depends upon the judgment of the officer. Whether you are naturally clumsy, wearing high heels, or just plain nervous, you may exhibit behavior that the officer deems evidence of intoxication.

While it is always good to hope for the best as you approach a DUI checkpoint, it is also essential that you be prepared for the worst case scenario, an arrest. If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint, be sure to exercise your right to remain silent, and respectfully ask the officer to let you speak with your attorney. Also, remember that it is in your best interest to participate in any blood tests or breath tests that are requested of you. In Kansas, a refusal to participate in these tests could result in the imposition of additional penalties if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

If you run into trouble at a DUI checkpoint this Memorial Day weekend, get help from a knowledgeable Kansas DUI Defense Attorney right away. Your Kansas DUI Defense Attorney understands the Kansas drunk driving laws, as well as the mistakes that law enforcement offices make which could weaken or destroy their case against you. A skilled DUI defense attorney is your best protection against the consequences of a DUI conviction, which could drastically impact many areas of your life. To learn more about how a Kansas DUI defense attorney can help you with your DUI case, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.