Archive for April, 2015

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Illegal Searches

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Last month, the Kansas Court of Appeals panel ruled that a District Court judge had incorrectly suppressed blood evidence in a case where a driver was charged with operating under the influence of drugs, involuntary manslaughter, and aggravated battery at the time of his involvement in an accident involving a fatality. The suppression was based upon a lack of probable cause. The case has been remanded to the district court in Hutchinson.

The blood evidence that is at issue in this case is a blood sample that was drawn while the defendant, Troy Meitler, was unresponsive. At the time that the blood sample was drawn, Meitler was receiving emergency medical treatment after he was injured in an automobile accident. Since Troy Meitler was unresponsive, he was unable to consent to having his blood drawn when a state trooper asked him for consent to do so. The state trooper maintains that no such consent was required for the sample to be taken, though, due to a Kansas statute that was enacted in 2008 which states that a driver’s involvement in an accident which results in serious injury or death constitutes a traffic violation which provides probable cause to conduct a warrantless search.

There is more to this case than the text of the 2008 Kansas warrantless search statute, though. In suppressing the blood evidence, the District Court judge cited a ruling from the Court of Appeals which declared the 2008 Kansas warrantless search law unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches. In that same ruling, the Declerck decision, the Court of Appeals further concluded found that a driver’s involvement in a traffic accident is not a valid reason to suspect that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even if the accident caused serious injuries or death. However, the Court of Appeals, in its decision, ruled that evidence obtained from Meitler’s blood sample could be admitted as evidence because the trooper acted in good faith when ordering the blood sample, and the trooper’s lack of awareness regarding the unconstitutionality of the statute was reasonable.

It will be interesting to see how the district court rules now that the case has been remanded, as well as whether the case will be appealed again. In his dissenting opinion, Appeals Court Judge Gordon Atcheson mentions the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Illinois vs. Krull, which states that there are two situations in which an officer’s good-faith reliance on an unconstitutional statute does not justify their actions. The situation which applies to the Meitler case is that the legislature completely abandoned its responsibility to enact constitutional laws when it enacted the statute in question, the law permitting warrantless searches after automobile accidents which result in injury or death. Atcheson feels that allowing the trooper to rely on the 2008 Kansas warrantless search statute serves to override the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Krull.

Warrantless searches are just one type of illegal search that can lead to a DUI arrest. If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can help you reduce or eliminate the negative consequences associated with those charges. To learn more, please call (316) 264-1548.

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Personal Breath Testing Devices

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

One of the best ways to avoid getting a DUI is to avoid driving while intoxicated. If you have ever enjoyed an alcoholic beverage or two in the company of others, you understand that the state of being intoxicated can look very different from one person to another or even for the same person on different days. While it can be interesting to guess how intoxicated you are, or to assess whether someone else is drunk or sober, guessing alone is not a good idea if you are trying to gauge your own or someone else’s level of intoxication for the purpose of deciding whether either of you should drive. The consequences of getting a DUI are severe, and there is just too much at stake to put your safety on the line without knowing for sure that you are okay to drive.

Fortunately, there is another way to assess your blood alcohol level – the breathalyzer test. It is not possible to know whether your blood alcohol content is over the legal limit without taking some sort of chemical measurement, like a blood test or a breathalyzer test. Unfortunately, the breathalyzer testing devices that are used by police departments cost thousands of dollars. Thanks to recent innovations in technology, breath testing devices have been developed for personal use, and they are being offered to the public at affordable prices.

There are several different types of personal breath testing devices available for purchase, including some models which feature Bluetooth capabilities that can be used to send information to the user’s smartphone. Personal breath testing devices cost between thirty and one hundred dollars and they can achieve close to the level of accuracy that professional quality breathalyzer devices attain.

Personal breath testing devices have the potential to help users to enjoy themselves responsibly, and to avoid getting behind the wheel if they have had too much to drink. They are easy to use, and they are available for sale online as well as in stores. If you choose to invest in one of these helpful devices, be sure to read and follow all of the instructions closely so that you will obtain accurate readings.

The availability of personal breath testing devices could reduce the number of DUI arrests if drivers use them to make more responsible choices. Unfortunately, some drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol are not at all intoxicated. When the police make a mistake and arrest an innocent driver, that driver deserves the very best defense. DUI charges can have serious long-term consequences, and a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can help you to protect your rights, your freedom, and your license. There is a lot at stake in every DUI case, and your Kansas DUI Defense Attorney is dedicated to helping you obtain the best possible result. If you have a question about DUI defense or if you need representation, please call (316) 264-1548 today, to speak with a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney.

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Talks about Diversion

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Sometimes, people who are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol have options that are available to them which are much more appealing than the standard penalties of fines and jail time. Diversion is one such option, and while it can be a wonderful opportunity for any DUI defendant who is eligible for it, it is important that drivers understand what diversion is so that they can decide for themselves whether it is something that they want to pursue.

Earlier this year, a men’s basketball player from Wichita State University was charged with DUI. The young man was offered diversion in exchange for admitting that he did drive while he was intoxicated, and he has entered into a diversion agreement. If he abides by all of the terms of the agreement for one full year, the DUI charges that were brought against him will be dismissed. If he does not abide by the terms of the agreement, the state can resume its pursuit of the DUI charges against him.

Diversion is a way for first-time DUI defendants to take responsibility for their actions and show the court that they have learned their lesson and that they will not drink and drive again. Each DUI defendant’s diversion agreement will contain terms that are unique to their situation and that are designed to encourage the development of more responsible behavior. Some of the things that may be offered for your diversion program include attending presentations, undergoing evaluation for alcohol and substance abuse issues, alcohol treatment programs, driver education classes, and random drug testing. Participants in diversion programs often have to pay fines and court fees, but the overall outcome is often much more appealing than fines paired with jail time, loss of driving privileges, or other consequences.

Drivers who are offered diversion should know that whether or not they are successful in fulfilling the terms of their diversion agreement, their driving records will show the DUI charges. If a driver completes diversion, their driving record will indicate that they completed diversion. Another important thing to know about diversion is that if a driver is charged with DUI after having completed diversion, the charges will be brought as a second offense DUI. Also, some drivers are not at all eligible for diversion, including those with prior DUI convictions, those who were involved in accidents involving injuries, or those who have commercial drivers’ licenses.

If diversion is an option in your DUI case, it is essential that you obtain a diversion agreement that will work for you. A Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can assist you in negotiating a fair diversion agreement that gives you a high likelihood of success. Your attorney can also help you decide whether diversion is the best option for you. If it is possible that your case could be dismissed because the prosecution lacks evidence, it may be best for you and your attorney to pursue dismissal or some other outcome instead of diversion. To learn more about diversion and other ways to address Kansas DUI charges, please call (316) 264-1548.