If you have been charged with a DUI, you have a limited amount of time to get the information you need and start building your defense. We recommend that individuals facing a DUI consider the consequences of a conviction before they agree to a plea bargain. In many cases, acting quickly and understanding the legal system can result in acquittal. Here is some advice from one of our top DUI attorneys in Olathe, KS.
Ask a DUI Attorney: 10 Frequently Asked Questions
1. What If I Fail a Breathalyzer Test?
If you took a breathalyzer test and had a reading of 0.8% or higher, you can count on the prosecution to use the results as a key piece of evidence against you. However, failing a breathalyzer does not necessarily equal conviction. You may be able to show that the test kit was faulty or that the officers who administrated it did not follow the directions.
In either of these cases, any evidence pertaining to the results of the test would likely be suppressed. Another way to overcome a failed drug test is to argue that your prescription medications interfered with the reading. It is also possible that the test was administered outside the acceptable timeframe following your arrest.
2. Did the Police Really Have the Right to Pull Me Over?
Many DUI cases are dismissed because the police failed to uphold correct protocols. For example, if a police dash cam reveals that you did not, in fact, cross a white or yellow line before being pulled over, you can argue that the traffic stop was illegal. Failure to Mirandize an arrestee can also result in the case being thrown out.
Many other types of police errors can be used by the defense, including:
- Racial profiling
- Improper administration of field sobriety tests
- Failing to correctly submit the police report
3. What Are the Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated?
Sentencing options in a DUI case include jail time, heavy fines, and mandatory enrollment in a counseling program. If you are convicted, the severity of the penalties will be determined according to the number of previous DUIs on your record, the results of the breathalyzer test (if you took one), and whether or not any minors were in the car with you. You may also be subjected to probation, license suspension, traffic safety education, and an ignition interlock device.
4. What Are the Secondary Consequences of a DUI?
The state may try to pressure you into pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. They will likely focus on your potential ability to avoid jail time by accepting the charges against you. What they won’t tell you is that having a DUI conviction on your record can lead to all kinds of secondary consequences that can have a serious impact on your quality of life, regardless of whether or not your official sentence was reduced.
First, let’s examine the insurance implications of a DUI. Conviction can cause your premium to increase by as much as 300%. Over the course of several years, the cost of paying for this increase can easily exceed the fine associated with the DUI. You may find it difficult to secure a job or an apartment after receiving a guilty verdict, and you may be barred from visiting some countries, including Australia, Canada, and Mexico.
5. What Are the Fees Associated With a DUI?
Being subjected to a heavy fine is not the only financial consequence of incurring a DUI. Court fees, a license reinstatement fee, and the cost of participating in a road safety education program are likely to come up, as well.
If you are ordered to drive with an ignition interlock device, you will need to pay an installation fee and a monthly maintenance fee. Beyond these fees, you will likely need to cover the cost of public transportation while your license is suspended.
6. Should I Refuse the Breathalyzer Test?
In Kansas, implied consent laws apply. In other words, the act of driving constitutes the willingness to submit to a breathalyzer test if the authorities pull you over. Refusing the test is a violation of the law, which could incur additional charges and penalties.
The minimum penalties for refusing the test include 90 days of jail time, license suspension for one year, and a fine of $1,250. Consider, also, that the prosecution may be able to come up with enough evidence to still convict you of a DUI, in addition to the crime of refusing the test.
7. How Can I Get My License Back?
Before going to court, you will have the opportunity to regain your driving privileges temporarily. When you are arrested, your license will be taken, and you will be given a permit that is good for 14 days. During that time, you will need to schedule an administrative hearing. If you do not schedule the hearing, your driving privileges will be revoked by default.
The hearing and the criminal trial proceed separately, with no bearing on one another. The State of Kansas has implemented this system in an effort to facilitate suspending the licenses of people who are charged with a DUI. To preserve your driving privileges, you will need to work with a qualified attorney who can demonstrate your ability to handle the responsibilities of driving. Unlike the criminal trial, the administrative hearing does not presume that you are innocent until proven guilty.
8. How Long Would a DUI Stay on My Record?
Kansas considers driving while intoxicated a major offense. If you are convicted of a DUI, it will stay on your record for life.
9. What If I Cannot Avoid Conviction?
The state may suggest that you accept a plea bargain even before you have the chance to speak with a lawyer. You should know that every individual who is charged with a crime has the right to enlist the help of an attorney, regardless of the nature of the crime or the strength of the evidence against the defense.
Even if you believe that conviction is unavoidable, having a trained lawyer on your side will strengthen your ability to negotiate for a lighter sentence. Your lawyer may be able to find creative solutions for your case, using defense strategies that you would not have anticipated to help you overcome the charges.
10. How Can I Speak With DUI Attorneys in Olathe, KS?
Kansas has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, and our attorneys have a strong track record of helping clients avoid convictions against challenging odds. We are available to consult with you regarding your case, offering candid assessments and practical advice. If you choose to fight your charges with us, we will fight hard to see that your case is dismissed or acquitted. To schedule a consultation with us, call (913) 675-2593.
Our DUI attorneys in Olathe, KS will take the time to make sure all of the questions regarding your case are answered. We use proven defense tactics in the courtroom that can optimize your chances of avoiding jail time and retaining your license. For more information on how to fight DUI charges, contact Billam & Henderson, LLC.