Archive for February, 2011

Kansas City DUI Defense Attorney Discusses DWI Defense Strategy – Failure to Give Miranda Warnings

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Failure to Give Miranda Warnings: Once the officer has arrested you or has made it clear that you are not free to leave, the officer must give you the Miranda warning which advises you of such critical rights as your right to have an attorney present during questioning and your right to remain silent.  If the officer fails to give you the Miranda warnings once you are “in custody” (i.e. under arrest or not free to leave), any incriminating statements or spontaneous statements may be suppressed if your DUI defense attorney files a motion to suppress.

A Law Firm Focusing on DUI Defense

The DUI Clinic is committed to defending people who have been charged with a DUI offense. Our Kansas City DUI defense attorney has represented people in the entire Kansas City metro area and throughout the states of Kansas and Missouri for more than more than 15 years. Our extensive knowledge of these states’ laws concerning DUI charges and DUI defense has allowed us to seek positive resolutions for countless clients.

Contact The DUI Clinic by calling us at 913-262-4444, toll free at 888-4-DUI-CLINIC.

Defense Strategies in a DUI Case Arising Out of Mistakes during the Arrest Process in Kansas City

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

If you have been drinking, a DUI/DWI stop can be a stressful and disheartening experience. However, an experienced Kansas City DUI defense attorney may employ a number of defense strategies that can be used effectively to seek a reduction or complete dismissal of the charges. Many of these defenses may be based on mistakes by the officer during your DUI stop and the subsequent arrest process. These are effective defense strategies that may keep you out of jail and allow you to avoid the serious consequences of a DUI conviction. An experienced DUI defense attorney may challenge the proper administration of sobriety tests, chemical tests, probable cause and search and seizure procedures. Mistakes by the officer in the mechanical or procedural aspects of your initial stop or subsequent arrest can form the basis of a successful DUI defense. We have provided an outline of some of these key defenses below.

Legal Basis for Stop: A police officer cannot stop you without “reasonable suspicion” based on specific facts. The stop cannot be arbitrary or simply based on a hunch. The officer must either stop you because you are observed violating a law or because the officer has reasonable suspicion that a violation of law is being committed. An officer may stop you because he observes you violate a law that suggests you are intoxicated or for a completely unrelated violation of law. If you are stopped for having a taillight out, the question will arise whether the officer can articulate specific observations during the stop that provided the officer with reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence, such as, red watery eyes, slurred speech, an admission that you had been drinking or slurred speech. These observations may provide the officer a reasonable suspicion of DUI so that he may request that you perform field sobriety tests. If you are pulled over for weaving between lanes, and the officer simply smells the odor of alcohol, these facts taken together may be sufficient to meet the reasonable suspicion requirement. If the officer cannot articulate specific facts that explain the officer’s basis for stopping you or requesting field sobriety tests, an experienced DUI defense attorney may use this to have your case dismissed or the charges reduced.

Improper Use of Speeding as Basis for Reasonable Suspicion: An officer may claim the reason for your initial stop was that you were speeding. While this is a legitimate basis for an initial stop it is in no way evidence of intoxication. Studies show that a driver is no more likely to speed when intoxicated than when sober. This means that the officer may not use evidence of speeding as part of his reasonable suspicion to conduct a DUI investigation. If the officer does not have sufficient other evidence to establish reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence, your DUI defense attorney may be able to suppress evidence obtained based on a lack of reasonable suspicion.

No Impairment of Reasoning Skills: Research shows that physical impairment from alcohol does not occur until after mental impairment. The police officer may testify that you were mentally coherent and both understood and answered the officer’s questions and followed directions. Based on scientific research, if you were not mentally impaired, then you could not have been physically impaired by alcohol. A DUI defense attorney will argue that the officer’s observations suggesting impairment must be linked to something other than intoxication including such factors as illness, physical disability or injury, advanced age, excessive weight, anxiety, or poor coordination.

Field Sobriety Testing: The field sobriety test can actually consist of a number of tests, including walking in a straight line; counting backwards; touching one’s nose while one’s eyes are closed; reciting the alphabet; and tracking a moving flashlight with one’s eyes. The police officer is testing the motorist for the effects of alcohol or drugs, but also gathering evidence that could be used in court. All of these tests have a significant rate of false positives and some are not even sanctioned as a reliable indicator of intoxication. An experienced DUI attorney may successfully challenged field sobriety tests on the basis of many factors including bad weather, language barriers, officer prejudice, medical conditions, obesity or physical disability, lack of certification to perform the tests, incorrect selection, administration or scoring of the tests and other arguments.

Officer Overestimated Level of Intoxication: A study conducted by Rutgers University found that police were no more accurate at determining intoxication levels than social drinkers. Police officers like social drinkers accurately judge whether a person is intoxicated only 25% of the time. When an appeal to the jury is made by a DUI prosecutor based on the officer’s ability in this regard, an experienced DUI attorney will argue that the officer’s opinion deserves to carry no special weight.

Legal Standard for Breathalyzer Test: The officer must have “reasonable suspicion” that a driver is intoxicated to request a Breathalyzer test. If you were stopped for having a taillight out and did not admit having anything to drink, the officer must develop evidence to justify a Breathalyzer test. You have the absolute right to decline to perform field sobriety tests and should politely do so. They are subject to the officer’s subjective judgment, and the officer has typically already determined that he believes you are under the influence. The only purpose of the field sobriety test is to develop “probable cause” to support a DUI arrest. This means if the officer did not observe you driving erratically, did not observe any specific signs of intoxication, such as, red eyes, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, etc and you refuse field sobriety testing, the officer probably lacks probable cause to conduct a breath test. If the officer directs you to take a breath test anyway, your attorney can seek to have the breath test results suppressed.

Failure to Give Miranda Warnings: Once the officer has arrested you or has made it clear that you are not free to leave, the officer must give you the Miranda warning which advises you of such critical rights as your right to have an attorney present during questioning and your right to remain silent. If the officer fails to give you the Miranda warnings once you are “in custody” (i.e. under arrest or not free to leave), any incriminating statements or spontaneous statements may be suppressed if your DUI defense attorney files a motion to suppress.

These are just a few of the mistakes that a police officer may make during an initial or DUI arrest that may form the basis for a valid defense. An experienced DUI attorney will be familiar with these defense strategies and can use this information to negotiate a reduction in charges or to seek acquittal at trial. If you have been arrested for DUI, you should seek an experienced DUI defense attorney who will work to protect your rights and your freedom.

A Law Firm Focusing on DUI Defense

The DUI Clinic is committed to defending people who have been charged with a DUI offense. Our lawyers have represented people in the entire Kansas City metro area and throughout the states of Kansas and Missouri for more than more than 15 years. Our extensive knowledge of these states’ laws concerning DUI charges and DUI defense has allowed us to seek positive resolutions for countless clients.

Contact The DUI Clinic by calling us at 913-262-4444, toll free at 888-4-DUI-CLINIC.

Kansas City DUI/DWI Defense Strategy – Improper Use of Speeding as Basis for Reasonable Suspicion

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Improper Use of Speeding as Basis for Reasonable Suspicion: An officer may claim the reason for your initial stop was that you were speeding. While this is a legitimate basis for an initial stop it is in no way evidence of intoxication. Studies show that a driver is no more likely to speed when intoxicated than when sober.

This means that the officer may not use evidence of speeding as part of his reasonable suspicion to conduct a DUI investigation. If the officer does not have sufficient other evidence to establish reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence, your Kansas City DUI/DWI defense attorney may be able to suppress evidence obtained based on a lack of reasonable suspicion.

A Law Firm Focusing on DUI Defense

The DUI Clinic is committed to defending people who have been charged with a DUI offense. Our lawyers have represented people in the entire Kansas City metro area and throughout the states of Kansas and Missouri for more than more than 15 years. Our extensive knowledge of these states’ laws concerning DUI charges and DUI defense has allowed us to seek positive resolutions for countless clients.

Contact The DUI Clinic by calling us at 913-262-4444, toll free at 888-4-DUI-CLINIC.