When one is accused of driving under the influence they are facing criminal charges as well as an administrative revocation of their driving privileges. The chart below outlines the process for each.
DUI charges are one of the most complex areas of law. There are two processes in handling a DUI charge, the criminal courts where one is facing jail time and the administrative hearing where one is facing a loss of driving privileges.
We handle both the criminal case and the administrative hearing for our clients. Our firm has defended hundreds of DUI cases and tried many others. Our attorneys began their career as prosecutors. We understand the process the officer is supposed to follow and analyze where he or she may have made any errors. We have been successful at getting some cases dismissed prior to trial by challenging these errors, while others we have won acquittals at trial.
The first thing to analyze is whether there was reasonable suspicion for the officer to initiate the stop on the vehicle. After a vehicle is stopped and the officer suspects impairment, they ask the individual to participate in voluntary field sobriety tests. The officer is collecting information of impairment to move to the next stage of the investigation, the preliminary breath test or PBT. The PBT is voluntary, but refusal may result in a traffic infraction. The officer then decides if there is probable cause for an arrest. When the individual is arrested he or she is then presented with the implied consent law, that states by driving a vehicle in the state of Kansas the driver has already given consent to collect a blood, breath, or urine sample. Refusal of this test may result in criminal charges as severe as the DUI itself. If an individual refuses this test they will still be tried for DUI and will face loss of driving privileges.
The Kansas implied consent law is difficult to understand while under arrest in a police station and you have no opportunity to discuss the law with your lawyer before making a decision. That is why Bath & Edmonds analyzes each stage of the investigation looking for any errors or breach in procedure as soon as you arrive at our office. Keep in mind, in order to convict a jury must find the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a higher standard of proof than what the officer uses to make an arrest.
The penalties for a DUI conviction can vary considerably depending upon several factors including whether the individual has a prior drinking and driving offense, the age of any prior alcohol offenses, their level of impairment, whether they consented to a chemical test, the strength of evidence seized against them, their driving during the incident and if any extenuating circumstances were involved such as an accident or injury.
Deadlines and requirements vary from state to state to challenge the administrative suspension of a driver’s license. For example, in Kansas a driver must request a hearing within 14 days of being arrested. A hearing will occur in Kansas several months later and the individual can elect to continue to drive up until the day of the hearing. We analyze the case for any errors in the officer’s process. In Kansas, if the officer fails to appear, we automatically win the hearing.
We are here to help take care of this process for you. Our clients report feeling a huge weight lifted off their shoulders so they can focus on their life while we handle all the paperwork and secure the best outcome. In DUI cases, time is extremely important to request the administrative hearing.