Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Recent Important Supreme Court Decision

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

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.



Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Reveals the One Thing You Must Never do After an Automobile Accident

January 28th, 2015

Repeat after me – there is never a situation where it is acceptable for a driver to leave the scene of a crash. Not even if you think that someone else will stop to help. Not even if you think that the people in the other vehicle are okay. Not even if you have been drinking and you are concerned that you will be charged with driving under the influence.

Kansas law clearly states that drivers must stop after being involved in an accident. Sections 8-1602 and 8-1603 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated require drivers to stop if they are involved in any accident involving death, personal injury, or damage to a vehicle or other property and remain at the scene of the accident until they have provided identifying information to the driver of the other vehicle (if they are in a condition to receive such information) and/or the police officer who is investigating the accident. Penalties for failing to stop include, depending upon the extent of the injuries or damage caused by the accident, misdemeanor or felony charges and revocation of driving privileges. Simply stated, if you drive while you are intoxicated and you fail to stop after being involved in an accident, DUI charges could be the least of your worries.

A recent case in Sedgwick County illustrates what can happen when a driver fails to remain at the scene of an accident. A man driving a commercial vehicle struck and killed a bicyclist. He left the scene of the accident, parked the commercial vehicle at his workplace, and took his own vehicle home. The man was convicted of second-degree reckless murder in addition to a misdemeanor DUI charge, and he has been sentenced to eleven years in prison. He had also been charged with failing to stop at the scene of a fatal accident, but those charges were dropped in exchange for his no-contest pleas to the reckless murder and DUI charges.

Aside from the legal reasons for not leaving the scene after you get into an accident, there are also safety concerns. Whether you feel like you were injured in the accident or not, you may have sustained injuries that you cannot yet feel. Some of these injuries could be very serious, like head trauma. If you know that you are hurt, go to the hospital where you can get treated right away. If you do not think that you are hurt, it is still a good idea to go to the hospital or your doctor’s office as soon as possible to get checked for injuries that you might not be able to feel.

If you are charged with a DUI as the result of an accident, having a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney on your side can help you to focus on recovering from any injuries that you might have sustained. Your attorney will help you navigate every stage of your Kansas DUI case, and will help you to pursue the best possible result. To learn more about how we can help you, call (316) 264-1548.


Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney Explores the Topic of Veterinary Forensics

January 17th, 2015

In any criminal matter, both the defendant and the state have the opportunity to present evidence in support of their positions. There are many types of evidence, from eyewitness testimony to fingerprints, tire tracks, and DNA. Many of us are familiar with the role of human DNA in criminal cases, but did you know that animal DNA can also be used evidence in criminal cases?

Once you start to think about it, it makes sense. Animals are present in many of the same places that humans are, from our homes to our yards, our cars, and other places that we go. Wherever humans or animals go, there is a chance that a bit of their DNA will be left behind. In the case of humans, it is often left in the form of hairs that we shed or little bits of skin that slough off. Animals shed hairs too, and they also leave their DNA in various places when they urinate and defecate. Injured animals or people may leave blood at the crime scene, which may also provide a source of DNA.

A man who was responsible for a triple homicide in Indiana was convicted based, in part, upon animal DNA evidence. While he was at the crime scene, the defendant had stepped in dog droppings. When traces of the dog droppings were later discovered on the defendant’s shoes, the matching DNA provided a link between the defendant and the crime scene.

The Indiana triple homicide is not the only case in which animal DNA has been used to connect a defendant to a crime scene or to a victim. From a case in which the victim’s dog urinated on a defendant’s tire to a case in which cat hairs from the defendant’s cat were found in a bag of the victim’s bloody clothing, DNA from animals that belong to both victims and defendants have been used in criminal cases. Although animal DNA evidence is not in widespread use, it is potentially useful in many criminal cases. Although much of the information which has been published about animal DNA and its use as a forensic tool is geared towards its usefulness in convicting suspects of crimes, it is possible that persons who have been accused of crimes that they did not commit could be exculpated if animal DNA (taken in conjunction with all of the other evidence in the case) links someone else to the victim or the crime scene instead of themselves.

No two criminal matters are alike. A seasoned Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney can look at the unique facts of your case and present the most convincing arguments possible on your behalf throughout the course of your criminal matter. Your attorney can also help you to understand and evaluate any alternative courses of action which may be made available to you throughout your criminal case. To speak with a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney today, please call (316) 264-1548.



Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Shares Tips for Safe Winter Driving

January 8th, 2015

Last month, a tragic accident on icy roads claimed the life of a young man and injured two other people. The accident happened at night, when the driver of a car lost control on a patch of ice and slid across a highway, where the car was struck by a tractor trailer that was traveling in the opposite direction.

Winter weather is always a challenge for drivers, especially at night when visibility is already reduced and temperatures are even lower than they are during the day. It can be very difficult for drivers to discern what the road surface is like, because there are so many possibilities. Road conditions can range from a little snow to a lot of snow, a layer of snow on top of ice, slush, black ice, or just about any combination of cold, wet substances that you can think of. To make matters worse, road conditions are not likely to be uniform, so a driver may begin his or her trip in light snow, only to experience slushy roads or ice without any snow on top just a few miles down the road. While some drives can be rescheduled due to slippery roads, people still need to drive to work, or for other essential purposes.

Fortunately, there are a few things that drivers can do to keep themselves and others around them, safe this winter. For example, snow tires are a great way to ensure that your car performs its best when the weather is at its worst. All-season tires can be helpful too, particularly on vehicles with all-wheel drive. Whatever type of tires you have, it is absolutely essential that you check the treads regularly, because bald or balding tires offer little traction on roads that are even just a little bit wet, let alone snowy or icy.

Unfortunately, even the best set of snow tires won’t prevent all winter weather-related accidents. Drivers must remember that in the winter, they may need to allow themselves extra time to get to wherever they are going. If for some reason you forget to leave yourself enough time for your drive, remember that arriving at your destination safely is more important than getting there right on time, and drive slowly if you need to in order to stay safe. As you drive, be sure to monitor the road conditions carefully and make adjustments to your driving habits as needed. Change your speed gradually, as sudden increases or decreases can cause you to lose traction. Avoid using cruise control because it prevents you from maintaining a constant “feel” for the road surface.

If an accident on icy roads has left you with injuries or has claimed the life of someone you love, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss or damages. A Kansas Personal Injury Attorney can help you to pursue the financial recovery that you need as you work on healing from your accident. To learn more about what a Kansas Personal Injury Attorney can do for you, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.



Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Explains the Basics of DUI Defense

December 30th, 2014

Every DUI defendant has had the experience of getting their first DUI. Unfortunately, many people do not know much about DUI defense and what a DUI defense attorney does until they have already been charged with a DUI. If you drive, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics of DUI defense. Even better, write down the names and phone numbers of a few local DUI defense attorneys and keep them in your car, just in case.

Drivers often wonder whether they need an attorney for DUI charges, or if they can take care of the matter on their own. If you are facing DUI charges, it is essential that you get help from a defense attorney. Criminal charges like a DUI can have far-reaching effects on your day to day life, even if you are not convicted.

It is also important for you to understand what a defense attorney does for their clients. Your attorney can help you to understand the charges that have been brought against you. They can also explain the defenses that may be available to you. In criminal cases, there are discussions that your attorney can have with the prosecutor that could result in an offer of a plea bargain or some other alternative to a trial. Your attorney will help you to understand all of the options that are available to you so that you can decide which direction your case should go in.

You may wonder how important it is to select a defense attorney who specializes in handling the type of criminal matters that you have been charged with. While all criminal defense attorneys focus their efforts on obtaining the best possible results for their clients, they do not all have the same level of knowledge and experience with every type of criminal case. Most criminal defense lawyers specialize in one or more practice areas, and this narrow focus enables them to have a very good working knowledge of all applicable laws and of the defenses that may be available to defendants like you.

Knowing the difference between a public defender and private counsel is also important. A public defender is an attorney who works for the state, providing legal assistance to people who cannot afford private attorneys. Private Counsel is just that, an attorney that the defendant selects and pays for out of his or her own pocket. Both types of attorneys are highly skilled, capable individuals who work hard to advance the interests of their clients. Unfortunately, public defenders have less control over the size of their work load than private counsel do. Public defenders often have hundreds of clients, and because of that, they often have very little time and resources to work on each case. Unfortunately, the amount of time that an attorney spends working on a case does have an effect on how likely the defendant is to succeed, so private counsel is the best option for anyone who is charged with a DUI.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important to choose an attorney who will work hard to help you obtain a successful outcome in your case. To learn more about how a knowledgeable and dedicated Kansas DUI defense attorney can help you, call (316) 264-1548.


Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Delivery Truck Accidents

December 10th, 2014

This is the busiest time of year for shipping companies like UPS and FedEx. Many people do as much of their holiday shopping online as they do in stores, and some people buy all of their gifts online. Additionally, people who are not able to visit all of their friends and family for the holidays ship packages of holiday cheer all over the world. Package delivery workers are hard at work day and night, and in all kinds of weather, doing their best to get all of those packages to their destinations in time for Christmas.

In addition to the increased numbers of package delivery trucks on the roads during the holiday season, there are also other factors like an increase in overall vehicle traffic and snow banks alongside the roads which make it difficult to find places to park a delivery truck in order to drop off a package, which increase the risk of delivery truck accidents. When a package delivery truck is involved in an accident, there are unique risks to its drivers, as well as to the drivers of the other vehicle. Delivery trucks are large, and they are often very heavy, with many trucks carrying loads that are at or near the upper limit of their weight capacity. Because of their size and weight, delivery trucks often do much more damage than ordinary vehicles when they are involved in a crash. Unfortunately, some of the design features of delivery trucks which make it easy for their drivers to get in and out of their vehicles quickly create safety risks for the drivers, such as a danger that they will be ejected from their truck during a crash.

If you are involved in an accident with a delivery truck, an accident response team from the trucking company’s insurer may arrive at the accident scene. Package delivery companies send teams of adjusters to accident scenes so that they may assess the damage and speak with the other drivers who were involved in the accident for a couple of reasons. One reason is that the other drivers might provide information that the insurance company can use to support its case in the event that any claims arising from the accident proceed to litigation. Also, the insurance company may use information that is gathered at the accident scene to create initial settlement offers for the accident victims. Insurance companies send settlement offers to accident victims as soon after the accident as they can, in an effort to entice the injured parties to accept a settlement that may be substantially less than they deserve before they are fully aware of the extent of their injuries or damages. Since the adjusters do not have your best interests in mind, politely decline to speak with them until after you have consulted with an experienced Kansas Personal Injury Attorney.

If you have been injured in a delivery truck crash, be sure to get medical attention right away. Even if you do not feel like you are hurt, you should get checked out for the purpose of creating a record of your care with your health care provider. In addition to seeking prompt medical attention, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable Kansas Personal Injury Attorney right away. 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.



Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney Explains the Crime of Conspiracy

December 1st, 2014

Conspiracy is a crime which is often talked about on the news, yet many people do not completely understand it. Everyone knows that certain acts are crimes, but some people do not realize that the very act of planning a crime may in and of itself amount to conspiracy, which is also a crime. Kansas law defines conspiracy in Statute 21-3302, as an agreement with another person to commit a crime or to assist in committing a crime. In order for a person who has been charged with conspiracy to be convicted, Statute 21-3302 requires that an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy is alleged and proved to have been committed by the person against whom the charges have been brought, or by a co-conspirator.

When a person is charged with conspiracy, it is only natural for them to wonder what the potential consequences may be if they are convicted. At the most basic level, the consequences that defendants are likely to receive for crimes that are committed in Kansas are set forth in a felony grid. The felony grid provides suggestions for sentencing and fines that are contingent upon factors like the type of crime, whether the defendant had prior convictions, aggravating factors, and mitigating factors. Unfortunately, as anyone who has been convicted of a crime can tell you, fines and prison sentences are not the only consequences of being convicted. Important things like your ability to obtain housing and employment are also likely to be affected, making the total impact of your conviction on your life rather extensive.

When someone is charged with conspiracy, there is a lot at stake. For this reason, it is essential that you enlist the aid of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney can offer you the best possible chance at avoiding a conspiracy conviction or reducing the consequences that are associated with a conviction that cannot be avoided. Your defense attorney knows how to examine the circumstances under which your conspiracy charges were brought and select the defense strategies which are the most likely to help you prevail. One potential defense to a conspiracy charge is that the defendant withdrew from the conspiracy. In order for this defense to be successful, the defendant must have withdrawn from the conspiracy voluntarily and in good faith, and with the knowledge of one or more of their co-conspirators before the “overt act” occurred. Evidentiary challenges may be available, depending upon the circumstances of your case. Your attorney also understands the processes which are associated with criminal cases, and they can help you to assess any options that are presented to you so that you can proceed with your case in the manner which will best accomplish your goals.

An experienced criminal defense attorney could help you to get the conspiracy charges that have been brought against you dismissed. If a dismissal is not possible, your attorney could help you to reduce or eliminate some of the short term and long term consequences of being charged with conspiracy. If you would like to know more about how a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney can help you with the conspiracy charges that have been brought against you, please give us a call at our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.



Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Shares Tips for Avoiding Holiday Season DUIs

November 30th, 2014

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, families everywhere are planning for a fun-filled December. Throughout the holiday season, there are many opportunities to enjoy time with friends, family, and even co-workers. At this time of year, there are many special foods on the menu, as well as plenty of seasonal beverages. Whether you are looking forward to enjoying a few glasses of wine with dinner, a cup of egg nog with your cookies, or both, it is essential that you plan ahead for each of your holiday events so that a DUI won’t spoil your holiday fun.

The holiday season is a popular time for law enforcement to set up DUI checkpoints. Law enforcement officers are well aware that there are many events going on, and in addition to the DUI checkpoints, they assign additional officers to patrol busy areas throughout the evening hours. Fortunately, you don’t have to get a DUI this holiday season. The following tips can help you to stay safe and have fun.

The best way to avoid getting a DUI is also the simplest – don’t drink and drive. If you plan to attend a few gatherings with the same group of family or friends, plan to take turns serving as the designated driver. Also, whenever you go to an event, check with other attendees ahead of time to see whether anyone plans to be a designated driver.  In many places, cabs, buses, and other types of public transportation provide an easy way to avoid driving home after the party.

Sometimes, you may have to travel quite a long way to an event. For these events, getting a hotel room at or near the event and spending the night is a great way to enjoy yourself safely. If you are attending the party with family or friends, why not share the cost of a room, or ask whether there is someone in the area with a guest bedroom or couch that you could use for the night.

If you find yourself in a position where you will be driving home late at night, you may feel like you are sober enough to drive.  Notwithstanding, it is important to avoid attracting any attention from law enforcement officers. Follow the rules of the road, and check your vehicle over regularly so that you won’t be singled out for a late night traffic stop because of a burnt out headlight.

If, despite your best efforts, you get pulled over, do whatever you can to remain calm. You have rights, and one of those rights is that you may choose to provide the officer with very little information about where you have been and what you have been doing. Be careful not to provide the officer with any information that could incriminate you. If you do get arrested and charged with a DUI, give yourself the best possible chance at avoiding conviction by calling a knowledgeable Kansas DUI Defense Attorney right away, at (316) 264-1548.


Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses the Crime of Stalking

November 11th, 2014

Sometimes, it can be rather annoying if a person continuously shows up wherever you go or won’t stop calling you or sending you texts or emails. Unfortunately, some people go beyond the level of annoying and escalate their conduct to a point where the person on the receiving end of the constant contact feels afraid that they or someone else close to them is in danger of being harmed. When this happens, the activity becomes a crime; the crime of stalking. Stalking is a serious problem, and while stalking victims are often women, there are also male stalking victims who know just how frightening it is to feel as though they could be harmed at any time.

Stalking is a course of action which one person takes towards another person that may include behaviors like incessant in-person, telephone, or electronic contact, harassment, humiliation, and threats of harm to the victim or to their friends, family, or pets. Stalking is something that occurs over time, and in many cases, the contact occurs for a period of time of at least six months to up to five years or more. It is reported that approximately a quarter of all stalking victims are contacted in some manner by their stalker at least once every single day. Because of their popularity and ease of use, it is not surprising that the most common methods of stalking involve cell phones and computers, with stalkers using phone calls, text messages, email, and social media to bombard their victims with messages.

Kansas takes stalking seriously, with first offenses being classified as a class A person misdemeanor, unless the alleged perpetrator’s behavior violated a protective order, in which case it is a security level 9 person felony. Second offenses are person felonies, with a security level of either five or seven depending upon the behavior and the circumstances. If you have been accused of stalking, it is important that you contact a seasoned Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Your attorney can look at the circumstances of your case and determine which potential defenses may help you avoid a conviction. For example, there are often evidentiary issues in stalking cases. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that and much of the state’s evidence comes from the victim’s own testimony.

A stalking conviction could have a serious impact on many areas of your life. You deserve to be represented by an attorney who will explore all of the options for defending your case, so that you can reduce your chance of being convicted or reduce the consequences that are imposed upon you. We take pride in giving each criminal defense case the personal attention that it deserves, because we feel that criminal defendants are unique people with unique needs who deserve fair outcomes in their cases. To get your questions answered by a Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney, please give us a call at our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.