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Every year, more and more people are charged with the crime of DUI. As a result, the legislatures in Kansas and Missouri are constantly providing for enhanced penalties and increased fines if you are found guilty. In addition to mandatory jail time and steep fines, being convicted of DUI can have disastrous effects on your current or future employment opportunities.
If you or a loved one is charged with DUI, it is important that you hire an experienced DUI defense lawyer who has the knowledge and skill to challenge the State's evidence at each stage of the prosecution. At Duma Law Offices, we stay up to date on the most recent trends in DUI law so that we can provide our clients with the focused legal representation they deserve.
What to Do When Stopped for DUI in Johnson County
Quickly and Safely Pull Over
When you notice you are being stopped by law enforcement, quickly and safely pull your vehicle to the side of the road, if safe to do so. Do not delay pulling over so that you can pull into a parking lot or some other off-road area. This arises suspicion in law enforcement and often makes them uneasy if the location you park your vehicle is not viewable to the public.
If the officer wants you to move your vehicle, he or she will request that you do so. Make sure that you don't exhibit any "bad driving" such as swerving or striking the curb when you pull to the side of the road. Any bad driving will be used as evidence against you.
Be Respectful and Cooperative, for the most part
It is important that you are respectful of the officer and cooperative with his requests. While you are not required to tell the officer whether you have been drinking if he asks, be aware that police officers are human and if you refuse to answer their simple questions, it will likely arouse suspicion that would justify further investigation of DUI. Do not do anything that would overtly draw suspicion, such as lighting a cigarette, refusing to roll the window down all the way, or making sudden or furtive movements within your vehicle.
Understanding the Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Being charged with a DUI can have serious consequences that can affect your personal and professional life. It is important to understand the potential penalties and long-term effects of a DUI conviction.
Some of the consequences of a DUI conviction may include:
- Driver's license suspension or revocation
- Heavy fines and court fees
- Mandatory DUI education programs
- Increased insurance rates
- Possible jail time
Additionally, a DUI conviction can have a lasting impact on your reputation and future employment opportunities. It may affect your ability to obtain certain professional licenses or security clearances.
At Duma Law Offices, LLC, our experienced DUI attorneys are dedicated to providing aggressive defense strategies to protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences of a DUI charge. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your legal options.
Types of Field Sobriety Tests
If you are stopped for DUI, whether at a checkpoint or in any other situation, you are likely to be asked to perform roadside sobriety tests of some kind:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test - In this test the officer will observe the eyes of the person in question as they slowly move a pen back and forth to look for signs in their eyes that they are intoxicated.
- Walk-and-turn test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to take nine steps in a straight line and the return back. The officer is looking for signs that the person is impaired such as not being able to keep their balance or not following the instructions properly.
- One-leg stand test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to stand with one foot off the ground and hold it for about 30 seconds. The officer looks for signs of impairment such as swaying or using their arms to balance.
Always be polite, courteous, and predictable - bear in mind that you are almost certainly being recorded, and how you comport yourself in the moment can lend a great deal to your case down the line should it become necessary.
You are not required to perform field sobriety tests, but if you refuse, you should expect to be arrested for DUI. If there is anything that might impact your ability to successfully perform the test (e.g. age, weight, disability, clumsiness, hip, ankle, or joint problems, inner ear problems, outside conditions) let the officer know prior to attempting to submit to the test. Regardless of how you perform on the standardized sobriety tests, the officer will likely ask you perform a preliminary breath test.
In Kansas, a refusal of a PBT is not a criminal offense, but rather a traffic citation. Refusing a PBT will not affect the status of your license. PBT's are notoriously inaccurate and subject to operator error. However, refusal of a PBT can serve as evidence that allows an officer to effect an arrest.
Intoxilyzer Breath Tests
Roadside breath tests, particularly the older models of the Intoxilyzer, are notorious for providing unreliable readings and being susceptible to user error. Prior to submitting an evidential breath test, one should be aware of the consequences of refusing to submit a breath test versus failing the breath test. In Kansas, if you refuse an evidential breath test, the penalties against your license are substantially greater than if you take the test and fail.
However, if you fail the breath test, you may have provided per se evidence that you are guilty of DUI. As it often happens, a license suspension can be equally as devastating to a person’s freedom and employment as a criminal conviction for DUI. If you have refused or failed a breath, blood, or urine test, it is important that you hire an Olathe County DUI lawyer who are experienced in DUI defense to preserve your license and your freedom.
Once you are released, you should memorialize as much as you can remember of the event in writing. Then, call an Olathe DUI attorney the next day and schedule a meeting. If you fail or refuse a test in Kansas, you have 14 days to file for a license hearing or you will automatically lose your license.
It is important that you understand Kansas DUI laws and the possible penalties you might be facing if you are charged with DUI. Under Kansas law, you could be facing a variety of harsh penalties depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage at the time you were pulled over, and if you have had prior convictions.
- 0.02% - Zero Tolerance (underage)
- 0.08% - “Per Se”
- 0.15% - Enhanced Penalty
When you apply for a driver’s license in Kansas it is understood that you consent to BAC tests. If you refuse to take the test, you could be facing additional penalties.
If convicted of DUI, you could be facing the following penalties:
- Jail Time
- Monetary Fines
- License Suspension or Revocation
- Vehicle Confiscation
- Alcohol Education or Treatment
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Administrative License Hearings
Most people are not aware that a person can be found not guilty of DUI and still lose their privilege to drive. In Kansas, when someone fails or refuses a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine, that person's driving privileges are subject to suspension regardless of the outcome of the criminal case.
At Duma Law Offices, Michael understands that losing one's driver’s license can often be just as devastating as a conviction for the crime of DUI. This is especially true if your source of income is dependent upon your ability to drive a vehicle. If you receive a notice of suspension ("DC-27" Form) for failing or refusing a chemical test, it is important that you contact an experienced DUI attorney in Olathe immediately so that the necessary steps can be taken to save your driving privileges. A driver has 14 days to file a request for hearing or they will automatically have their license suspended.
How long will a DUI stay on your record in Kansas?
The driving record remains on the driver's record for three years after a minor offense conviction (i.e., speeding). A conviction for a major offense (such as driving while suspended) remains on the driver's record for five years. It is impossible for a driver to get a driving record clean after a DUI conviction, or a DUI diversion.