Facing the potential consequences of a DUI arrest can seem overwhelming. If you are convicted, the sentencing can include jail time, license suspension, fines, and other punitive measures. Even if you are acquitted in the criminal trial, the DMV can still suspend your license. Working with a top DUI attorney in Jackson County, KS is your best chance of keeping your driving privileges and prevailing in the criminal trial.
Is Your License Suspended Immediately After a DUI in Kansas?
When you are arrested for a DUI in Kansas, the arresting officer will take your plastic license and give you slip of paper that will serve as your temporary license for 14 days. If you do not request a special hearing within this time frame, your license will be automatically suspended. That’s because in Kansas, a DUI is taken very seriously, and there is a process to determine the fate of your legal driving ability that is separate from the criminal trial.
Regardless of the outcome of your criminal trial, you will need attend an Administrative License Hearing where you will be given the opportunity to prove that you deserve the continued right to drive. If you found guilty at this hearing, your license will be suspended for a period of time that is determined by the number of previous DUIs you have, whether or not you took a blood alcohol test, and the reading of that test. To avoid license suspension, you must present a strong legal defense that will prevail in the administrative hearing.
What You Need to Know About the Administrative License Hearing
We understand that your driving privileges are a top concern after you have been arrested for a DUI. For many people, the ability to drive is essential for getting to work, appointments, and family obligations. Being informed about the legal processes following a DUI is the best way to avoid the worst consequences of a suspended license. To start, you must understand how the administrative hearing works.
Recognize That the Hearing and the Criminal Trial Are Separate
The Administrative License Hearing and the criminal trial are two separate events that will require you to present a legal defense. The outcome of one does not affect the outcome of the other.
Your License Will Be Suspended Automatically If You Don’t Request a Hearing
The state does not assume that you will request a hearing, and its administrative processes are set up to automatically suspend your license if you do not. It is your responsibility to take the initiative and schedule your hearing. Following your arrest, you will have 14 days to make the request.
After you request the hearing, your temporary driving privileges will be extended until the date for which it is scheduled. You can expect your hearing date to be 3 to 6 weeks after you make the request. The date will be chosen by the state and cannot be moved without extenuating circumstances.
You Are Presumed Guilty
In the criminal trial, the burden of proof is on the state. That means that you are innocent until proven guilty. However, in the administrative hearing, you are presumed guilty until you can prove your innocence. By separating the two, the State of Kansas has made it easier to suspend the licenses of people who are arrested for a DUI.
Carrying the burden of proof in the administrative hearing makes it especially important to work with a qualified attorney. During the hearing, your lawyer will be given the opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine your arresting officer. There is also the possibility of showing that your arrest did not follow proper protocols, which could result in the charges being dropped.
The Same Attorney Can Represent You in Both the Trial and the Hearing
While the hearing and the trial are separate, you should work with one attorney for both. He or she will get to know the details of your case during the discovery process. During that period, your lawyer will collect evidence including any footage of the arrest, test results, and witness statements. He or she will also look into the protocols your arresting officer followed, his or her training, and the type of test that was administered.
The material produced in the discovery process is relevant to both the hearing and the criminal trial. Having one attorney will produce a comprehensive legal strategy with a single individual who is familiar with the details of your case.
Suspension Time Ranges From One Month to One Year
If you are found guilty, you face having your license suspended for up to one year. Reinstating your license requires you to pay a fee that can range from $100 to $1000. After paying the fee, most sentences also specify that you must drive with an ignition lock for a period of time. The ignition lock is a device that requires you to pass a breathalyzer test before operating the vehicle.
Sentencing is lightest for a first time DUI and goes up with each subsequent offence. If you are convicted after having refused a test, your sentence will be more severe than if you had taken and failed it. Additionally, one month will be added to your suspension for each passenger under the age of 14 who was in your car at the time of the arrest.
You Can Appeal the Decision
The outcome of a hearing can not be negotiated. Unlike in the criminal trial, you will not be able to argue for a lighter sentence. However, you can appeal the suspension, which could result in a new hearing. Appealing successfully usually requires the legal support of a very skilled attorney, because the state uses its own lawyers to push back against these appeals.
The Role of Your Attorney at the Hearing
A lot is at stake in DUI cases. In addition to doing everything possible in the trial to help you avoid a criminal conviction that will stay on your record forever, your attorney will fight at the hearing to maintain your driving privileges.
Helping You Understand Deadlines and Protocols
After you have been arrested for a DUI, it is your responsibility to fill out and submit documents relevant to your case. The state will not hold your hand throughout this process, and minor errors can be damaging to your case. Your attorney can keep you informed and help you prepare to meet all of your obligations correctly.
Maintaining Knowledge of Local Laws
The laws pertaining to DUI vary within the state. If you were arrested in Jackson County, KS, it is important to work with an attorney who has expertise that is relevant to the local court rules there.
Preparing a Solid Defense
Many people are afraid that because they failed a breath or blood alcohol test, conviction is immanent. In reality, a skilled attorney can take many legal approaches to help you prevail. These include:
- Showing that you were arrested without due cause
- Arguing that you were not issued the implied notice of consent
- Proving that your test was faulty
- Demonstrating that the test was not administered correctly
Choose a Top DUI Attorney in Jackson County, KS
While a DUI arrest is a serious matter involving complex local laws that are continually changing, you can take control of your defense by working with a qualified DUI attorney. Chances are, your case has nuances that can be used to strengthen your argument against the state. To learn more about how our attorneys can support you throughout the administrative hearing and the criminal trial, contact Billam & Henderson, LLC.