Archive for February, 2015

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses DUIs with Child Passengers

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

A DUI conviction can result in some harsh penalties. Did you know that there are also things which can make the penalties even more severe? Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol while there are child passengers in their vehicle receive additional penalties.

One recent DUI arrest in Kansas may result in multiple charges for driving under the influence of alcohol with child passengers in the vehicle, in addition to other charges, including driving with a license that had been revoked. When the driver was arrested, he was passed out behind the wheel of an SUV containing nine child passengers.

In Kansas, passengers under the age of fourteen are considered children. If a driver is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol while a child passenger was riding in their vehicle, one month of imprisonment will be added to their sentence. The additional time must be served consecutively to their DUI penalty, and, if a judge orders it to be, it may be served as house arrest, work release, or some other form of conditional release.

Driving with child passengers is not the only way that a DUI defendant can incur an additional penalty. Some of the additional penalties can have far-reaching effects on a driver’s life, so it is essential that Kansas drivers understand when additional penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol may be imposed. For example, underage drivers who fail a blood alcohol test will lose their driver’s license for a year, in addition to the usual penalties for driving under the influence. Also, if a person is convicted of a third DUI within a five year period, they are considered to be a “habitual violator”. Habitual violators lose driving privileges for three years.

Commercial drivers risk incurring enhanced penalties if they drink and drive, even if they are not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest. They can lose their ability to drive a commercial vehicle for a year following their first DUI conviction, regardless of what type of vehicle they were driving when they were arrested. If a commercial driver is convicted of their first offense of driving under the influence of alcohol while they are transporting hazardous materials, they may not drive a commercial vehicle for three years. A commercial driver who is convicted of a second DUI in any vehicle loses their commercial driving privileges for at least ten years, and perhaps even for life.

If you are charged with a DUI and you face an enhanced penalty because there were child passengers in your vehicle or for some other reason, it is important that you contact a Kansas DUI defense Attorney right away. A Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can help you to understand your rights and options at every stage of your Kansas DUI case. When you understand your rights, you will be able to make informed decisions about how you would like your Kansas DUI case to proceed. To learn more about how we can help you defend against Kansas DUI charges, call (316) 264-1548.


Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Recent Important Supreme Court Decision

Friday, February 6th, 2015

The Kansas Supreme Court hears cases on many different types of legal matters. Recently, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a decision which may be of interest to anyone who has recently been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, it may be of interest to all drivers, because it addresses police procedures during traffic stops.

In its recent decision, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed a DUI conviction after determining that the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated. The driver had been convicted by the Sedgwick County District Court of driving under the influence of alcohol after failing a field sobriety test.

Field sobriety tests are just one of the tools that law enforcement officers are supposed to use in determining whether they believe that a driver is intoxicated. In their interactions with drivers, law enforcement officers have an opportunity to observe the presence or absence of things like slurred speech and the smell of alcohol, which may indicate that a driver is intoxicated. When officers ask drivers to participate in field sobriety tests, they gather additional information which can, when taken together with other observations either provide probable cause to make an arrest or lead to a conclusion that the driver should not be arrested because there is not a reasonable suspicion that they have consumed alcohol.

In Kansas, law enforcement officers presently use a group of three field sobriety tests to assess drivers during traffic stops, but that may be changing soon. Currently, officers ask drivers to perform the one leg stand, the walk and turn, and the horizontal gaze Nystagmus vision test. The vision test is not admissible as evidence at trial, nor is it recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a reliable indicator of sobriety, but it is still widely used by law enforcement officers for the purpose of roadside sobriety testing. However, in light of the recent Kansas Supreme Court decision, the vision test may eventually become a thing of the past. In the case that was before the court, the driver had passed both the one leg stand test and the walk and turn test, but he had failed the horizontal gaze Nystagmus vision test. According to the Kansas Supreme Court, the driver’s overall performance on the group of three field sobriety tests did not provide the officer with the probable cause that was required to justify giving the driver a Breathalyzer test.

If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, there is a lot at stake. A DUI can not only affect your license and your liberty, it can affect your ability to earn a living, secure housing, and do other things. A Kansas DUI defense attorney may be able to help you to reduce or eliminate the negative consequences associated with being charged with a DUI. To learn more about what a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can do for you, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.

Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Charges Associated With Fleeing Law Enforcement

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Sometimes drivers who fear that they will be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol make decisions which take what is already a bad situation and make it much, much worse. When a driver flees from law enforcement officers who are attempting to stop their vehicle, they endanger their own lives as well as the lives of others. Their behavior is not only dangerous; it is also likely to lead to additional charges which would not have been brought if they had allowed the initial traffic stop to take place.

A recent car chase in Harvey County is an example of what can happen when drivers flee from law enforcement and attempt to evade arrest. Early one morning, an officer who was patrolling a residential neighborhood noticed a vehicle that was being operated in a suspicious way. When the officer tried to stop the vehicle in order to issue a traffic violation, the driver refused to stop.

The driver led the officer, along with other law enforcement officials who were assisting in the chase, on a high speed pursuit. During the chase the vehicle eventually became disabled, but the driver and his passengers fled on foot, still hoping to evade arrest. The driver made it about a hundred feet from the car before he was apprehended. Two passengers were detained shortly thereafter, and the third passenger was apprehended later on.

As you might imagine, the driver faces numerous charges, including felony theft (the car was stolen), DUI, felony flee and elude, and minor in possession of alcohol. The passengers also face charges, including obstruction of official duty.

The decision to flee from law enforcement is often made impulsively, when a driver realizes that they are about to be pulled over by the police and it is possible that they might be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. As you might imagine, DUI charges come with consequences. However, fleeing from law enforcement can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending upon exactly what happened during the pursuit.

Defendants who are charged with fleeing and/or eluding should know that there are defenses against these charges which may be available to you, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Kansas law recognizes that drivers occasionally make mistakes when they are driving, including failing to stop for a vehicle that appears to be pursuing them. Sometimes, it may not be readily apparent, for example, that a law enforcement officer who is in the roadway directing traffic is asking you to pull over to the side of the road instead of motioning for you to move in some direction. Drivers may not realize that they are being pursued by an official police vehicle, so they may fail to stop for an officer who is trying to stop them without actually intending to flee from the officer.

As with any type of DUI case, cases where DUI charges are combined with charges for fleeing or evading can be complicated. An experienced Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney can assess the unique facts of your case and build a solid defense to present on your behalf. Your Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney can also help you to understand and evaluate any alternative courses of action which may be made available to you throughout the course of your criminal case. To learn more, call (316) 264-1548 to speak with a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney today.