Bankruptcy and Future Credit

June 25th, 2011

Will bankruptcy affect my future credit? How long does it stay on my credit? How do I know if bankruptcy is the right decision? Will I ever be able to finance another car or house? Can I get new credit cards? Will I lose my job?  Questioning things is normal when troubled times are on the forefront.  Our law firm is available to help you answer these very questions, analyze your individual situation, and help you reach a financial goal or solution. An experienced Liberal bankruptcy attorney is able to provide advice and guidance throughout the difficult times and help prepare the debtor for a brighter more financially stable future.

Bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. It does stay on your court records as public record for 20 years. Though there is nothing the debtor can do to remove the bankruptcy from your record there are things that will possible help. Many creditors allow the debtor to file an explanation of circumstances resulting in bankruptcies with reporting agencies. If the account is record incorrectly you can request a corrected update. Credit reports are often full of inaccurate information. It is the debtor’s responsibility to continually check credit reports, dispute inaccurate or outdated information as well as request bankruptcy removal at the end of the 10 year period. Bankruptcy does not carry the same burden it did not so many years ago. Creditors are aware of some unavoidable situations causing bankruptcies. Whether illness, unemployment, medical bills, death or divorce, once drastically behind on financial obligations it is often impossible to catch up.

Once you have filed for chapter 7 bankrupcty and you have received some relief from debt it is very tempting not to accept the new flood of credit cards. There are no laws requiring creditors to extend credit to individuals with bankruptcy records yet there are also no laws preventing it. Each company makes their own decisions. I guide clients to be extremely cautious obtaining new credit cards which most likely come with excessively high interest. Though it is not necessary to wait years to begin rebuilding credit debtors need to enjoy a more relaxing debt free or affordable financial life style for a while after bankruptcy has been filed and settled. In the greater scheme of credit filing bankruptcy can at times actually improve your credit over time. Old debt is wiped out with chapter 7 and fresh start leads to new beginning. Over the course of a few years individual credit may be better than it ever has been.

Legal counsel is the best solution to questions concerning bankruptcy. We offer a free initial debt relief consultation. Call our law firm for personal attention to your debt relief needs.

If I File Bankruptcy in Kansas, Can I Keep My Car?

June 6th, 2011

In most cases you may be able to keep your car when filing for bankruptcy protection and debt relief.   In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in order for you to be able to keep your car, you must understand the whether or not if there is non-exempt equity in the car.  If your car has no equity,  a bankruptcy trustee will not take the car.  To determine the equity of your car, subtract any car loan and exemption from the car’s present sale value.  If the number you calculate is a negative number, than there is no equity in the auto.

If your car does have equity or the current value of the car is above the loan amount or the value of any exemptions, a debtor pursue any unprotected equity from the Chapter 7 trustee.

What if you still owe money on the car and want to keep it after the bankruptcy?  If  you still owe money on your car, you may opt to “reaffirm” the debt to the secured lender.  This enable you to keep the car and continue paying under the existing terms.  You may also buy the car from the secured creditor in a single payment for its present value which is called redemption.

Lastly, you are allowed to surrender the vehicle and eliminate the obligation to pay for the auto.

For answers to all of your Kansas bankruptcy questions, call Koehn & Tahirkheli Law Firm, L.L.C. for a free initial bankruptcy consultation with a Liberal Kansas bankruptcy attorney at (620) 624-8158.  Our attorneys serve the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublet and all other communities located with Seward County, Finney County, and Ford County, KS

The Importance of School Performance in Kansas Child Custody Cases

May 10th, 2011

Divorce is never an easy or stress free experience, and few issues are as emotionally challenging as child custody disagreements.  In the best case, child custody arrangements in Kansas are resolved amicably by agreement between the parents.  Amicable resolution to child custody disputes ease the potential emotional harm that can be inflicted on a child in a Kansas child custody case and provides a foundation for a constructive future co-parenting arrangement.  A divorce will not change the fact that parents share a child, which makes it critical to find ways to develop constructive interactions with the other parent for both your own sanity and the long-term wellbeing of your children.  Sadly, the hurt and conflict that often leads people to divorce sometimes prevents a mutually agreeable resolution to child custody disputes in Kansas.  When child custody conflicts cannot be resolved, school performance can be a critical factor in determining the outcome of a Kansas child custody case.

When courts must make residential orders for children in a divorce, the court will look at a wide range of factors.  Custody cases are difficult because obtaining reliable evidence to guide the court can be a challenge.  This places a premium on objective reliable evidence that is hard to manipulate.  One of the best sources for such evidence is school performance.  It is very common that parents will physically separate prior to a court making formal child custody orders.  A parent who moves out of the home to keep the peace or because cohabiting with one’s spouse is no longer a tenable option should be aware of the potential impact on future child custody orders.  If the child remains behind in the family home, which is common to facilitate transportation for school, the child’s school performance may have a substantial impact on future custody orders.

A child’s successful social, behavioral and academic performance in school is considered a reliable indicator of a child’s adjustment.  This means if a child remains with the parent in the family home after the child’s parents separate, the court may be persuaded by a child’s performance in the classroom.  If a child is thriving in the classroom, a Kansas family court may be inclined to preserve the status quo in terms of the informal child custody arrangement that evolves when a parent leaves the home.  If the child is not performing well in school, then the court may be more inclined to make changes to the residential arrangements.

Kansas courts like those in most states look to the best interest of the child to determine appropriate timeshare arrangements.  Unfortunately, many of the factors that go into this determination tend to be either conflicting or easily manipulated.  For example, the parents will frequently provide completely conflicting accounts.  The minor child also may express a preference, but there is always a substantial risk that the child is being influenced or manipulated by one of the parents.  School records are objective so the court will tend to rely heavily on such evidence.  Our law firm has successfully represented many Kansas parents in child custody disputes by effectively utilizing school records including report cards, letters from teachers, attendance records, school disciplinary records and other evidence that provides an objective third party measure of a child’s adaptation to a timeshare arrangement.

At Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C., we represent parents in child custody disputes in the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county and all other communities in Southwest Kansas.  If you are involved in a Kansas child custody dispute, our Liberal Kansas child custody attorneys represent clients with compassion and commitment so call us at (620) 624-8158 to see how we can help.

Garbage Trucks Extremely Dangerous Cause of Kansas Accidents

May 8th, 2011

Every week we roll out the trash bins and hear trash trucks as they move down the street, but few people realize the serious risk of accident posed by these vehicles.  Garbage trucks substantially outweigh passenger vehicles and have more limited visibility then a typical passenger vehicle.  The size and weight of a garbage truck is similar to that posed by tractor-trailers but with a significant distinction that creates a unique risk.  Tractor-trailers are limited to specific roads and highways and are rarely if ever found on suburban residential streets whereas garbage trucks are routinely found in residential areas where pedestrians, bicyclists and small children are common.

Not surprisingly, the most frequent garbage truck accidents are back-over accidents and rear-end collisions.  Those that are at-risk from garbage truck accidents include passenger vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.  Back-up accidents often involve children who are pedestrians or riding bicycles that are hard to see because they are smaller and less visible than motor vehicles.  Because of their size and weight, trash truck collisions often result in catastrophic injury and wrongful death.  Back-over accidents are particularly dangerous to small children who may not appreciate the risk of a garbage truck or anticipate the frequent start and stop pattern of garbage trucks.

The leading causes of trash truck accidents are following to close and distracted driving.  One study conducted of trash truck accidents revealed that as many as 70 percent of garbage truck accidents may be the result of the garbage truck driver following the vehicle in front of the truck too closely.  The analysis also found that distraction of drivers combines with lack of adequate following distance in many garbage truck accidents.  Trash truck drivers may be studying a map or GPS device, which compounds the problem created by insufficient following distance.

Garbage trucks are supposed to have an employee positioned on the back of the truck who is also often placed in danger by garbage truck accidents.  If a motor vehicle sideswipes a garbage truck or rear-ends the truck, there is a high risk of injury.  If the driver of the garbage truck is not paying attention, the truck may back over employees who are riding on the back of the truck.  Falling from the garbage truck during its sudden starts and stops may also injure the employee riding on the back of the truck.

Many people presume that garbage truck accidents are extremely rare events.  However, a study conducted by a pedestrian rights group, Right of Way, found that garbage trucks kill more people per mile traveled than any other motor vehicle.  The erratic driving patterns, size, weight, lack of maneuverability and impaired visibility create a dangerous combination of accident risk factors.  These accidents also result from other factors such as poorly maintained vehicles and trash or other debris that falls from the Kansas garbage trucks.

If you are seriously injured in a garbage truck accident in Kansas, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries including lost wages, impaired future earning capacity, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, medical expenses as well as loss of society and services of a spouse.  Garbage truck accidents often result from the negligence of multiple parties including the disposal company, the municipality that hired them, the driver’s negligence or substandard repairs by the independent maintenance company that services the vehicle.

It is important to identify all potential responsible parties to maximize your potential recovery in a Kansas trash truck accident.  Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury or wrongful death in a Kansas truck accident, our knowledgeable Kansas truck accident attorneys can represent your family with compassion, commitment and personal attention. Call us today at (620) 624-8158.

High Conflict Custody Cases: How Can They Be Avoided

April 7th, 2011

Most family therapists and other mental health professional agree that divorce can have a profound affect on children.  A child often loses daily contact with one parent and may also have reduced contact with extended family, which may be part of the child’s support structure.  Children may also be forced to change schools and move from the family home.  Depending on the distance of the relocation, children may even lose contact with their friends.  The impact of a bitter high conflict divorce and child custody dispute can have profound long-term effects on one’s children.  However, this result is not inevitable; there is a better way.

The attorneys of Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. are committed to helping parents facing divorce reach constructive workable long-term resolution of their child custody issues.  Our experienced family law attorneys recognize that conflict and dispute does more to increase the stress and cost of your divorce than to promote your best interest and the long-term well being of your children.  We also know that the reasons behind a divorce can mean that a parent may be struggling with anger, pain and hostility.  Our experienced Kansas family law attorneys can provide a candid and straightforward evaluation of what a court may do and help you cut through the emotional turmoil and animosity to negotiate workable solutions.

It is almost always better to reach a negotiated settlement of child custody issues because it will make the process easier on your children and result in more stable and lasting child custody arrangements.  Sometimes a highly contested custody dispute is unavoidable, especially where certain issues are involved including:

  • Drug or alcohol use or abuse
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Domestic violence toward a spouse or others in the household
  • Criminal offenses by a parent (particularly criminal offense involving violence or unsafe conduct)
  • Failure of a parent to protect a child from harm by a third party (i.e. new relationship)

Where these issues are not present, the more reasonable and constructive the communication between parents the less a divorce will hurt their children.  A child custody case that is negotiated effectively and constructively will also significantly reduce the cost of a divorce.  Our experienced Kansas child custody attorneys have provided some suggestions for reducing the adverse impact of a divorce on your children:

  • Avoid disparaging comments about the other parent in your children’s presence
  • Do not discuss issues of contention in the divorce with your children
  • Give the other parent the first option for providing “daycare” when you are unavailable
  • Advice the other parent of significant developments involving your children with regard to school, heath, religion and other significant issues.
  • Invite the other parent to your children’s extra-curricular activities
  • Encourage your children’s visitation with the other parent
  • Engage in positive constructive communication with your spouse in your children’s presence

These suggestions may sound excruciatingly difficult if the other parent is hard to deal with or your divorce is extremely contentious.  However, the more that you can follow these suggestions, the easier your children will adjust to a divorce.  It will also tend to promote trust and effective co-parenting with your spouse.  If you approach your child custody dispute with this type of cooperative approach, there may be benefits even if your spouse does not reciprocate.  If the court must determine custody orders in your divorce, it will look to the best interest of your children.  While a number of factors are relevant to this consideration, one of the things the court looks at closely is the your willingness and ability to promote and encourage your children’s relationship with the other parent.

We know that even basic civility can be difficult in the context of the anger and hurt that often accompanies a divorce.  Our compassionate family law attorneys will guide you through these emotional hurdles so that you and your children can get on with your lives.  The Kansas child custody attorneys of Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. want your divorce to be a new beginning rather than a bitter ending.

Kansas Construction Zones Filled with Serious Auto Accident Hazards

April 5th, 2011

Some of the most dangerous roads in Kansas are the ones where road construction or maintenance is taking place, but many Kansas drivers do not think of road construction as a driving hazard.  Most people view construction zones as a place of traffic tie-ups, and delays, but they are also a dangerous place for Kansas drivers, pedestrians, and road construction crews. Certain safety measures are implemented to insure drivers’ safety in construction zones, but there are over 40,000 people injured each year in road construction areas.  Most people assume that construction zone safety measures such as orange cones, warning signs, orange flags and reduced speed limits are primarily for the protection of construction workers.  However, eighty percent of those involved in serious or fatal accidents in construction zones are motorists and pedestrians.

If you are seriously injured or lose a loved one in a serious Kansas car accident, you may have a right to financial compensation for your injuries and loss.  At the Liberal, KS law firm of Koehn &Tahirkheli. L.L.C., we are committed to providing the highest quality legal services to those who are the victims of the negligence of others in Southwest Kansas.

The most common causes of construction zone accidents in Kansas include the following:

  • Heavy equipment in roadways blocking traffic
  • Confusing signs
  • Unsafe detours
  • Confused drivers in wrong lanes
  • Poorly placed barriers
  • Debris in the road

There are frequently many distractions in a construction zone that cause drivers to make serious errors in judgment when passing through these areas resulting in car accidents.  Sometimes construction zone accidents are caused by incompetent workers who are hired when private contractors do road construction and do not adequately screen, train or supervise their employees.  These poorly trained workers can confuse motorists traveling through construction zones increasing their confusion and the probability of a serious construction zone car crash.  There are many individuals and entities that may be responsible for a construction zone accident including government entities, private contractors, sub-contractors, equipment rental companies or other motorists.

Many times work zone accidents are caused by drivers, who disregard lower speed limits, detour signs, warning signals or protective barriers.  Motorists must pay special attention when driving through construction zones because road conditions can change daily along with the placement of signs and barriers.  It is important that you retain a law firm that has knowledge and experience with the state and federal safety standards that apply to construction zones.  Construction zone car crashes can be challenging to litigate because the situation changes rapidly so evidence can disappear or be destroyed. Issues involving the preservation of evidence can become even more complex if the construction ends, and the roadway re-opens during an investigation because this may leave no evidence at all of the accident.

If you are involved in a car accident caused by road construction, it is important that you seek legal advice from an attorney who is experienced in handling Kansas road construction accidents.  The experienced Kansas car accident lawyers at the law office of Koehn &Tahirkheli. L.L.C. are dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcome for injured Kansas residents.  We offer a free initial consultation so that we can assess your case so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  We represent auto accident victims in all types of Kansas auto accidents so give us a call today at (620) 624-8158.

Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward County, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.

Is It Possible To Get A DUI in Kansas If You Were Not Driving An Automobile?

March 26th, 2011

Most people know that intoxicated driving can have serious criminal, civil and financial consequences. It can also endanger your life and others. A motorist who has had too much to drink and chooses not to drive should be commended, but they have to be aware that climbing into their car to sleep or to wait until some of the alcohol effects wear off can still expose them to a DUI charge.

A motorist does not have to be driving to be arrested and convicted of intoxicated driving.  Every state requires that for a DUI to be charged, a motorist has to be in “actual physical control” of the vehicle.  Typically, this means that if a person is in the car and the keys are in the ignition, even if the motor is not running, they are considered in “actual physical control.”  It may not matter if the potential driver had no intention of driving the vehicle.

The states differ in their interpretation of “actual physical control.” The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld a DUI conviction of a man with a blood alcohol level of 0.18 who had had his keys in the center console of his car. His car also would not start, but the court interpreted the phrase “physical control” to include the possibility that the defendant could have started his car, regardless of whether he intended to or not.

The New Mexico Supreme Court, however, limits physical control to situations where the state must prove the driver intended to drive.  It reasoned that public safety would be better served if motorists decided to use their vehicles as temporary shelters with no intent to drive.  In other words, being a passive occupant may does not rise to the level of actual physical control.

In most states, a motorist in their car with the engine running usually signals to law enforcement that the driver is in physical control and can drive at any moment. To escape a conviction, an intoxicated motorist should either leave their keys outside their vehicle, or find someplace else to sleep it off.

If an officer comes upon a vehicle with a driver asleep in either the front or back seat, they can ask the motorist to take field sobriety tests (FST) so that the officer can observe the driver’s coordination and performance.  A motorist can refuse to take the FST, and if the driver has a physical disability, the driver should advise the officer of his or her condition.

The FST must take place on a dry, even surface. It can include standing on one leg while counting out loud, a finger to the nose with eyes closed, a heel-to-toe walk along a line with turns, and reciting the alphabet. The officer is looking for balance, signs of swaying, and an ability to follow directions.

If a motorist performs poorly, the officer can request that the driver take a breath or blood test. A refusal can result in license suspension of at least one year.  The question of physical control can be complicated so a motorist in this situation is advised to see professional assistance from an experienced DUI or criminal defense attorney.

Receive a free initial consultation with a Liberal Kansas DUI attorney by calling (620) 624-8158 today. Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.

Getting Convicted of a DUI in Kansas and The Impact On Your Insurance Coverage

March 15th, 2011

Getting a DUI can wreak havoc on your bank account, including fines, attorney fees, impound fees, suspension fees not to mention paying to get your license reinstated.  However, one of the most expensive consequences your likely to face is the long-term effect on your insurance.  If you are convicted of a DUI, your insurance company will almost certainly find out.  If you do not notify them in a certain period of time, they could cancel your insurance coverage entirely.  In most situations, your insurance company will work with you if you have had a DUI, or even multiple offenses, but it will not be cheap.

Insurance companies generally discover that a policyholder has received a DUI in a number of ways.  The first way that an auto insurance provider may learn of a policyholder’s DUI is that the policyholder may simply inform his or her insurance carrier after being arrested or convicted.  Secondly, the insurance company may uncover the DUI through its annual driving record investigations.  Finally, an insurance company may learn of a DUI through the filing of a SR-22 form (depending on state law), which is a proof of insurance certificate form that is needed when a driver’s license is re-instated.  In rare cases, insurance companies never find out about a DUI, but this is quite rare.

Insurance companies tend to deal with DUI cases in two ways.  They will either maintain a policyholder’s coverage but substantially increase the rate or cancel the policy entirely.  If the insurance carrier does not cancel the policy, they will label the driver “high risk” and substantially increase the rate.  If a person has prior DUI convictions, the insurance company will increase the rate even more.  If the insurance carrier decides to cancel coverage, it can be difficult to find an insurance company that will provide coverage at an affordable rate.

The rate may eventually go down because a DUI may come off your record after a certain period of time.  If you are cancelled and must find a smaller insurance company that insures higher risk drivers at a more expensive premium, the insurance company will file the SR-22 (depending on your state) for you so that your driver’s license can be reinstated.

Receive a free initial consultation with a Liberal Kansas DUI attorney by calling (620) 624-8158 today. Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.

Not the Stereotypical Kansas Drunk Driver: DUI Risks from Legal Drug Use

February 23rd, 2011

The phrase “drunk driver” tends to elicit certain stereotypes like a person stumbling out of a bar at closing time and fumbling to find his car keys or a teenager smoking marijuana before climbing behind the wheel of his car. However, a middle aged soccer mom driving to the grocery store or young professional on his way to the office who is taking medications prescribed by one’s doctor can also find themselves facing an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in Kansas.

Kansas considers any drug, including prescription drugs and over the counter drugs, that causes one to fail a sobriety field test to be the basis for a DUI arrest. Kansas state laws permit a DUI arrest for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Many people who never drink alcohol or take illegal drugs do take prescription and over-the-counter medications. The definition of a drug, which can form the basis for DUI is very broad in most states, and typically includes any substance that can affect a person’s mental or physical driving abilities. It is even possible to be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs where the drug is of the over-the-counter variety, such as cold medicine, or even coffee or caffeine pills, if the drug adversely affects one’s driving ability. Common legal drugs that can negatively impact one’s driving and lead to an arrest for DUI include tranquilizers, sedatives, asthma or allergy medications, diet pills, energy supplements and sleep aids.

DUI cases in Kansas involving prescription and over-the-counter drugs can be more difficult for a prosecutor to prove. One reason for this is that a properly conducted prosecution requires that the prosecutor incur more cost to prosecute a DUI drug case than a generic DUI criminal case. Presuming that you do not disclose the specific drugs you have taken, the prosecutor typically will need to test your blood or urine sample for multiple substances. With each particular category of drug that is tested, the cost of the chemical testing increases. The prosecutor also will typically need to present testimony from a medical expert as to the effects of a particular drug at levels detected in your blood on your ability to operate a motor vehicle.

The worst thing that you can do if you are stopped for suspicion of DUI in Kansas and have taken prescription or over-the-counter medication that may cause you to be drowsy or affect your ability to drive is to admit this information to the police officer. If you disclose the drugs that may be in your system, you make it easier to conduct blood tests that will detect the particular substance and may provide the officer sufficient legal basis to conduct field sobriety tests, which typically play an important role in DUI cases involving prescription or over-the-counter medications. If the officer asks you to participate in a Breathalyzer test after conducting field sobriety testing, however, you should be aware that some drugs might cause a false positive result.

Unlike DUI charges based on alcohol, there is no specific amount of a drug in one’s blood that constitutes a legal presumption of being under the influence. This is both good news and bad news. Because there is no per se violation involving a presumption of impairment when you have a certain amount of a drug in your system, this often means there is no separate administrative suspension of your driver’s license. This also means that the prosecutor must rely on observations of a driver including the following:

• Erratic driving

• Smell of alcohol

• Red watery eyes

• Lack of balance or stumbling

• Slurred speech

All of these observations by the officer combined with field sobriety results as well as chemical testing results will typically be used to establish that a driver is under the influence of drugs. Fortunately, there are many plausible reasons for these physical symptoms that have nothing to do with alcohol consumption including allergies, contact lenses, fatigue, physical injuries or disabilities just to name a few. An experienced DUI defense lawyer also will have a great deal of experience in challenging field sobriety tests that are often conducted or scored improperly.

The bad news is that ANY amount of a drug in your system can form the basis of a DUI if it can be established that it impaired your driving. Prosecutors will typically use an expert witness to testify concerning how a certain amount of a drug in your system would affect you physically or mentally leading to impaired driving. It is very important in DUI cases involving prescription or over-the-counter drugs that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney who can cross-examine the prosecutor’s expert and present conflicting expert testimony or scientific evidence.

If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI due to either a prescription medication or an over the counter medicine in your system, call us today to speak with a Liberal Kansas DUI attorney to discuss your case.

Courage, Caring, and Commitment for Every Case – Call (620) 624-8158.

Cities We Serve

Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the Southwest Kansas cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.

Facing a Request for an Interview with Police or a Request to Search in Kansas: Just Say No!

February 19th, 2011

Many people facing a confrontation with the police believe that they cannot say “no” or that telling the police no makes a person seem like the he or she has something to hide. However, the reality is that the police never ask you to make a statement, to answer questions or to search your person, property, home or vehicle because they want to keep you from being arrested. Anything you tell the police may be used to build “probable cause” to conduct a search of your home, office, vehicle or person, which may create a legally sufficient basis for an arrest. The best choice if an officer request to speak to you is to decline an interview without legal representation. Your exercise of your Miranda right to remain silent does not create probable cause to conduct a search nor sufficient legal basis for an arrest. You should not lie but instead politely indicate that you are not comfortable speaking without an attorney present.

The jails and prisons throughout the state of Kansas are filled with people who may have avoided incarceration had they just told the police “no.” Any waiver of your Miranda rights and consent to conduct a search must be voluntary for it to be effective, but the very nature of a citizen’s interaction with a police officer rarely is without some feeling of coercion. The reality is that once you decide to talk to a police officer after receiving a Miranda warning, it makes your defense much more difficult for a criminal defense attorney, particularly if you have provided damaging information. In some cases, the police will use that information as probable cause to obtain a warrant and search your home, vehicle, place of work or person. This search may turn up the evidence that lands you in jail.

If you refuse to speak without an attorney present, this is half the battle. It is equally important to refuse consent to a search when asked. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by consenting to a search. Most people presume that the officer is going to search regardless of whether consent is given. This is not a logical assumption. If the officer had sufficient legal basis to search, the officer would conduct a search without even bothering to ask for consent. If the officer is requesting consent to search, there is a good chance the officer knows that there is not sufficient legal basis to search (i.e. exigent circumstances or emergency) or to obtain a warrant.

Discovery of contraband often provides the most damning evidence in criminal cases like those involving drug offenses, theft offenses or weapons offenses. The probable cause to obtain a warrant and the specifics of how the search is conducted can often be challenged. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to get evidence like drugs, stolen property or weapons excluded if the search was illegal. If you consent to a search, your Southwest Kansas criminal defense attorney may lose these grounds for challenging the legal basis for the search as well as the way the search was conducted.

The bottom line is that cooperation with the police will almost never work to your benefit. While the fear of being arrested may motivate you to say “yes” when asked to waive your Miranda rights or to consent to a search, the desire to avoid a criminal conviction is the reason you should just say “no.” Even if you make a statement and consent to a search, an experienced criminal defense attorney, may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. However, you can start building your defense the moment you are contacted by police by refusing to cooperate, which may create additional legal defenses that your criminal defense attorney will use in plea negotiations or at trial.

If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a crime, call us today to speak with a Liberal Kansas criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.

Courage, Caring, and Commitment for Every Case – Call (620) 624-8158.

Cities We Serve

Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the Southwest Kansas cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.