Posts Tagged ‘Kansas DUI defense attorney’

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

Wednesday, 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 DUI Defense Attorney Explains the Basics of DUI Defense

Tuesday, 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 DUI Defense Attorney Shares Tips for Avoiding Holiday Season DUIs

Sunday, 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 DUI Defense Attorney Talks About Why Science Matters in DUI Cases

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Did you know that science is an important tool which DUI defense attorneys can use to build strong defenses for their clients? Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys use a variety of tools to defend their clients against DUI charges. For example, an attorney’s knowledge of Kansas DUI laws helps them to find the weak spots in the prosecution’s case. Likewise, an attorney’s knowledge of the procedures that law enforcement officers must follow during traffic stops and arrests, can enable them to challenge the validity of a stop or an arrest. Scientific knowledge is also an important tool for the Kansas DUI Defense Attorney, because it enables them to make challenges to scientific evidence which the prosecution may be relying on to support their case against the DUI defendant.

There are many points at which errors in the collection or handling of scientific evidence can occur in any given DUI case. These errors can be made as early on in the case as during the initial traffic stop, where a blood or breath sample could be collected or tested improperly. While it may seem like a shot in the dark to wonder whether there was an error made during any given traffic stop, it is important to remember that there are a number of different devices which may be used to collect and test blood and breath samples, and each has its own set of operating instructions and its own potential for providing inaccurate results under certain circumstances. Once the samples have been taken, further errors could occur in the handling and testing of the samples as them move from the law enforcement officer or medical personnel who collected them to the lab where they are analyzed, and also as the results are conveyed back to the law enforcement officials who ordered the testing.

There are also other ways in which science can be useful in building a DUI defense, even in situations where there has not been any error in the sampling or testing of the samples that were obtained from the defendant. These errors are based upon scientific knowledge of our bodies, and how individuals with different body compositions process the substances that they ingest. In a DUI case, knowledge of what happens to alcohol once it is ingested can prove helpful, as can information about how other things like medication or food may factor into the results which were provided by blood or breath tests.

DUI charges can have serious consequences, and Kansas DUI defendants deserve to have access to all of the tools that could help to provide them with a successful defense. If you have been charged with DUI in Kansas, contact a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney immediately. Retaining an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney will give you the very best chance at obtaining the best possible result in your Kansas DUI case. To learn more about how a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can help you, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548

Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses DUI Checkpoints

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Drivers throughout Kansas may have noticed that there have been more DUI checkpoints set up along the roads than there ever were before. This past Labor Day weekend, the Lawrence Police Department set up a DUI check lane from eleven in the evening on Friday until three in the morning on Saturday. Nearly four hundred vehicles passed through the checkpoint. Of those vehicles, twenty drivers participated in field sobriety tests. Ten of those drivers were arrested for DUI. In addition to the DUI arrests, officers issued two citations for drug offenses and six citations for traffic violations.

The Labor Day weekend DUI check in Lawrence was just one of the many recent DUI checkpoints which were set up throughout the state. One late-night checkpoint in Sedgwick County resulted in two DUI arrests and one drug-related arrest. There were two DUI checkpoints in Kansas City on September 12th and 13th. At those checkpoints, Missouri police made a total of twenty two DUI arrests, four arrests for driving with a suspended or revoked license, three arrests for driving without a valid license, nine traffic violations, and six drug-related arrests. As you can see, DUI checkpoints are an easy way for law enforcement officials to look for multiple types of motor vehicle violations at once, including driving under the influence of alcohol, seatbelt use, drug use, and possession of weapons.

Since law enforcement officials have stepped up their use of DUI checkpoints, it is essential that drivers understand how checkpoints work, and how they can do their best to pass through them without incident. When checkpoints are to be set up, their locations are publicized in advance, often on the internet and in newspapers. Drivers can learn about the locations and dates of checkpoints ahead of time, and plan accordingly. Also, signs are posted near the checkpoint area to inform drivers that there is a checkpoint ahead. Some drivers interpret these signs as a cue to take an alternate route in order to avoid the checkpoint; however, this is not always a good idea. There are often officers stationed outside of the checkpoint area, near streets that lead away from the checkpoint, and they are looking for drivers who appear to be attempting to avoid the checkpoint. The end result is that drivers who make a last-minute decision to avoid the checkpoint are likely to be stopped.

Since attempting to avoid a checkpoint is likely to focus unwanted law enforcement attention on your vehicle, going through the checkpoint is probably your best bet. Officers at checkpoints may only examine each vehicle for a short amount of time, unless they develop a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity. The best thing that you can do is to exercise your right to remain silent, and give as little information as you can. For example, you are not required to provide an answer to the question of whether you have had anything to drink, how much you have had to drink, where you are coming from, or where you are going. It is entirely possible to remain calm and be polite while doing so, and your attitude does play a role in how smoothly your checkpoint experience will go.

If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important that you contact a Kansas DUI Defense Attorney immediately. Retaining a knowledgeable Kansas DUI Defense Attorney will give you the best chance at obtaining the best possible result in your Kansas DUI case. 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.

What Could a Kansas DUI Conviction Cost You?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, you are probably very concerned about the effects that a possible conviction could have on your life. Even if you are not convicted, being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol can affect your life for quite some time, as you work to get the charges dropped or reduced. In addition to consequences which affect your freedom and your options, you are likely to experience a variety of economic consequences as the result of being charged with a DUI, and even more if you are convicted.

Unfortunately, these costs begin to add up as soon as you are arrested. Your car may be towed from the scene of the traffic stop, and you are likely to have to pay fees for towing and storage in order to have it returned to you. After your arrest, there is the possibility that you will be required to post bond before you can be released. The exact amount of your bond may vary, but it could be more than you have available to you and you could incur the additional expense of paying a bail bondsman to post your bond for you.

Some DUI defendants believe that they can save money by representing themselves in their DUI cases. This is a risky proposition, as money spent on a DUI defense attorney is an investment which increases your chances of obtaining the best possible outcome in your DUI case under the circumstances. The fees for attorneys do vary, but be sure to select an attorney who is both skilled and experienced in the field of DUI defense instead of simply choosing the attorney who promises to charge you the lease amount of money. Ask your attorney what their fee includes, so that you can understand what you will be getting for the money that you are spending. Do not be afraid to spend a bit more on someone who specializes in DUI cases, and who spends plenty of time on each case reviewing evidence and exploring the feasibility of various defense strategies.

Regardless of the options that are presented to you for the possible resolution of your DUI case, it is likely that you will have to pay fees associated with the option that you choose. Diversion programs cost money, as do classes, counseling, and other items which may be required as conditions of resolving the case in a particular manner. There are also costs associated with the suspension and eventual reinstatement of your driver’s license, including reinstatement fees, higher insurance costs, and the cost of a vehicle interlock device if you are required to get one.

Other costs associated with being accused of a DUI or convicted of a DUI include court costs, and the cost of taking time off of work to go to court or because you do not have a vehicle to drive. If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important that you contact a Kansas DUI defense attorney immediately. Retaining a knowledgeable Kansas DUI Defense Attorney will give you the best chance at obtaining the best possible result in your Kansas DUI case. 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

Silence is Golden During Traffic Stops

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

When you are stopped by the police, your encounter with the officer will most likely begin with a simple request for your license, insurance card, and registration. All of these items should always be within your reach, and it is important that you hand them over to the officer with as little fanfare as you can, because you are required by law to do so. As you search for your license, registration, and insurance card, you may be wondering how the rest of the traffic stop will go and whether there is anything that you can say or do to get out of there quicker, do not share those thoughts with the police officer who is outside of your window. Instead of saying something, think about whether and how you will answer any additional questions that the law enforcement officer decides to ask you.

You may not realize it, but the law enforcement officer who has detained your vehicle on the side of the road is not looking for an entertaining conversation. They are on a fishing expedition of sorts, looking for any and all information that they could possibly use to get you into trouble. Sometimes, this excessive questioning is even paired with an aggressive attitude, which can be downright intimidating. As scary as the situation might be, remain calm, stay quiet and remember that you have rights, including the right to remain silent.

Of course, knowing that you have a right to decline to answer an officer’s questions is one thing. Actually exercising that right by calmly and confidently refusing to answer questions while you are in the presence of a law enforcement officer is another thing entirely. Police officers know that many drivers have no idea that they are only legally required to provide three items during a traffic stop. Officers are also well aware that many drivers and passengers are intimidated by authority figures. With these things in mind, officers are quick to ask lots of questions, and they expect answers. Do not be surprised if the police officer seems surprised that you are not answering their questions. They may even become frustrated, or annoyed. This does not mean that you have to speak, though. If things seem to be taking a while, simply ask the officer “Am I free to go now?” to see whether the traffic stop is coming to an end.

It is difficult to predict how a traffic stop will go, or what questions the police officer will ask you. You can minimize the chance that you will provide the officer with information that could harm you knowing your rights and exercising them by saying as little as you possibly can during the traffic stop. Regardless of what you do or do not say, know that retaining a knowledgeable Kansas DUI Defense Attorney will give you the best chance at obtaining the best possible result in your Kansas DUI case. 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


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.


Kansas Supreme Court Rules Vehicle Search Not Justified by Scent of Alcohol

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Kansas drivers can breathe a collective sigh of relief after a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling which requires police officers to have more justification than just the smell of alcohol to search a vehicle. This ruling makes an important statement about what the Court considers probable cause. While it may take the police a while to abide by the Court’s ruling, drivers should be aware of it so that they do not consent to an illegal search of their vehicle upon the mistaken belief that the search is legal.

In 2008, Robert Stevenson was stopped by officers in Sedgwick County for a minor traffic violation involving a turn signal. The officers who stopped Stevenson were looking for a reason to pull him over because they suspected that he was involved in drug activity. The turn signal violation was therefore merely a pretext for the vehicle stop.

When Stevenson rolled down his window, the officers smelled alcohol. The officers then asked Stevenson to participate in a field sobriety test, which he passed. When one officer looked in the window of Stevenson’s vehicle, there was nothing within view that would justify a search. There were also no warrants out for Stevenson’s arrest. The officers were intent on searching Stevenson’s vehicle, so they claimed that the strong smell of alcohol gave them probable cause to conduct the search. Unfortunately for Mr. Stevenson, the officers found drugs in his vehicle. He received a conviction for the charges associated with the drugs which were discovered in his vehicle. Stevenson’s attorney appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court on the grounds that the search was illegal.

The Kansas Supreme Court agrees with Stevenson’s attorney. In its ruling, the Court says that the smell of alcohol, without more, is not enough to support a finding of probable cause. The reason that additional evidence must be available to support a finding of probable cause is that alcohol is a legal substance. Police officers may not legally search a vehicle without probable cause, and many cases that involve vehicle searches turn on whether or not officers had probable cause to search a vehicle.

This ruling makes sense, because there are other reasons besides drunk driving that could cause a person or a vehicle to smell like alcohol. For example, if you and your spouse attend a friend’s wedding and someone accidentally spills their drink on you, you may smell like alcohol until you get home and change your clothes. Likewise, bins or bags of returnable bottles in the back seat or trunk can sometimes smell like alcohol if the bottles or cans were not thoroughly rinsed out before you packed them up for recycling. If beer or wine from those bottles or cans gets on the upholstery, the smell of alcohol may stay in your car even after the bottles and cans have been dropped off at the recycling center. In Stevenson’s case, the alcohol smell was coming from a half-full bottle of wine which had been sealed for transport but had leaked onto the floor.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an experienced Kansas DUI defense attorney. Whether your case involves an illegal vehicle search, violations of your rights, or some other wrongdoing by law enforcement, we are here to help you. To learn more about how a knowledgeable Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can improve your chances of successfully defending your DUI case, please call our Wichita office today at (316) 264-1548.