Archive for the ‘DUI Defenses’ Category

New DUI Laws and How They Affect You

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

New Kansas DUI laws were made effective on July 1 of 2011. Many changes have been made that people need to be aware of.

The first is that if you refuse to take a breath, blood or urine test to determine your blood alcohol level, you may face up to a year suspension of your driver’s license and the requirement of a ignition interlock device to be installed. If you take a breath test and the results are anywhere from .08 to .15, this being your first offence, you face a 30-day license suspension. Also you must install an ignition interlock device. The device must be used for 6 months. If this is not your first offence, you may be forced to keep the interlock device for a year.

If your breath test results exceed .15, then you are possibly facing 1-year suspension of your license and the installation of an ignition interlock device once your license is reinstated. If this happens to you, and you need to drive to work or school, you can receive a restricted license after 45 days if you agree to the terms of the interlock device. This also can be used to the advantage of people who had their license suspended before the law was put into effect. The fines for DUIs are increasing by $250.

Another alteration to the law is that rehab in no longer an option to jail time for the second DUI and the ones that follow. The third DUI will be tried as a misdemeanor if there are no previous DUIs over the course of the past ten years. If there are other DUI convictions in the past ten years, it is tried as a felony.

If you are arrested for a fourth DUI, it is considered a felony and you face a minimum of $2,500 in fines, 3 days in jail as well as work release and house arrest. DUI convictions before 2001 are not looked at as previous convictions. After ten years, a DUI may be taken off your record. This all sounds complicated, but it is accurate. Time will tell how the Kansas Department of Revenue will handle cases that were done before the new laws regarding old suspensions and the installation of interlock devices.

At The DUI Clinic, we like to say that friends don’t let friends plead guilty. While many people who have been charged with a DUI are proven guilty, many are not. We can help you level the playing field and get the best results for you. Our goal is to minimize the impact of a DUI charge on your life. Call us today at 888-4-DUI-CLINIC to get you started on your DUI case now.

Defense Strategy – Discovering Police Procedural Errors

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

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 and strengthen your case. An experienced Kansas City 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 Kansas City DUI defense attorney who will work to protect your rights and your freedom.

1. Making a roadside stop based on an anonymous phone tip.

If the arresting police officer did not witness you driving the auto in a dangerous manor himself, the witness will be required to appear in court to testify as to what they saw and reported to police.

2. Arrest based mostly or entirely on your statements.

The state prosecutor must be able to prove, with eye witness testimony, that you had been driving under the influence (DUI).

3. Stop without probable cause.

There must be a legitimate reason for you to be pulled over by police.  The officer must explain in detail what illegal activity the officer suspected you to be doing necessitating the stop.

4. Pulling you over for driving too slow or stopping in the middle of the road.

These are not unlawful or are legitimate reasons for a road stop.

5. Weaving within a lane.

6. Administering the field sobriety tests incorrectly.8. Administering the one-legged stand test incorrectly.

7.  Administering Field Sobriety tests to someone who is not a candidate to take these tests.

Someone with medical conditions, like a foot or back problem should not take the field test.

Call us today if you have been arrested for a DUI in Kansas City. We can help, call today.

Legal Standard for Breathalyzer Test

Monday, June 6th, 2011

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.

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 Attorney Discusses – DUI For Not Driving? Misguided DUI Enforcement

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Many people presume that they cannot be arrested for DUI if they are not driving.  This is a common sense reasonable assumption as the offense is actually called “driving under the influence”?  However, the law does not specifically require that the vehicle be moving or even that the motor of one’s vehicle be running.  Kansas DUI law uses a vaguer term and imposes liability if a driver is in “control” of the vehicle.  Control may be interpreted much broader than actually traveling along the roadway in a vehicle or even having the engine running.

It is possible to be arrested for DUI in Kansas even if you all you are doing is sitting in the car in a parking lot with the AC trying to stay cool or pulling over to sleep it off because you believe that it is not safe for you to drive.  Even if the ignition is turned off, it is still conceivable that you can be arrested for DUI, especially if the keys are in the ignition.  The wisdom of such zealous enforcement of Kansas DUI law can certainly be questioned because this approach effectively punishes drivers for making a decision not to drive if they are intoxicated.

Laws do not exist in a vacuum but are tied to public policy objectives.  In the case of Kansas DUI law, the purpose of the law is to discourage driving while intoxicated because it increases the likelihood of alcohol related auto accidents that result in a high number of injuries and fatalities.  The question one should ask is how is this policy served by citing someone who has made a decision not to drive.  Regardless, the statute permits a person to be prosecuted for DUI if the driver is in control of the vehicle.  Someone who is in the passenger seat with the keys in the ignition or readily accessible may be found to meet this requirement.

This means that if you have been drinking and believe it is not safe to drive, you should take certain steps to avoid a misguided DUI arrest.  The first option is to remain in the parking lot of the establishment as opposed to pulling over and parking on the side of the road.  This is basically a practical consideration because there is a higher probability that an officer will stop and inquire of you if you are parked on the side of a highway or a city street.  You should also sleep in the back seat of the vehicle and place the keys to the vehicle in the glove compartment or otherwise out of your reach so that it is clear that you do not have ready access to control of the vehicle.

The other reason to remain in a parking lot or off the roadway if you decide to pull over and sleep it off is that you may avoid giving an officer probable cause.  If you are laying down in the backseat of the vehicle, you are not visible so it looks like the car is simply parked in a parking lot.  If a passerby notices you sleeping in the vehicle or an officer happens to drive by and notices you sleeping in the vehicle, this still could be a problem.  However, if you are parked on the side of the road, Kansas courts have upheld the right of an officer to stop and inquire of a driver of an apparently disabled vehicle in this situation.  If the officer when inquiring smells alcohol or notices other commonly sited signs of intoxication including watery bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or the like, the officer may then initiate a DUI investigation and ask you to perform field sobriety tests and/or breath testing.  This may ultimately lead to your DUI arrest.

If you find yourself arrested for DUI in Kansas, you may face very serious penalties.  Our Kansas City DUI attorneys at The DUI Clinic of Hottman and Associates represents those charged with DUI offenses in Kansas and Missouri.  We have been successfully representing those charged with DUI in Kansas City for over 15 years.  Contact us today to see how we can help at 888-4-DUI-CLINIC.

Kansas City Drunk Driving Defense Strategy – Officer Overestimated Level of Intoxication

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

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.

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 drunk driving 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.

Kansas City DUI/DWI Field Sobriety Testing Defense Strategy Explained By Kansas City DUI/DWI Attorney

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

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.

A Law Firm Focusing on DUI Defense

The DUI Clinic is committed to defending people who have been charged with a DUI offense. Speak to an experienced Kansas City DUI attorney that 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.

Kansas City DUI Lawyer Discusses Defense Strategy No Impairment of Reasoning Skills

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

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.

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 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 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.