Archive for the ‘Criminal Defense’ Category

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

Saturday, 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.

In Kansas Am I Entitled To A Trial By Jury For a Misdemeanor?

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

In Kansas, on misdemeanors court cases you do not automatically have a right to have a jury trial on those issues. You have to request a jury trial. If you request a jury trial then you’re entitled to a six person jury panel to have that trial.  If you don’t request a jury trial, then you’re deemed to have waived your right to a jury trial and then you have a trial to the court.

This is where the judge sits on the bench, so it is also called a bench trial.  The judge would then make the decision as to whether you’re guilty or innocent based on the evidence instead of a jury.  A lot of the times, it is a lot better to have a jury decide, especially in a case where it appears as if the evidence is more against the defendant.  This is because a judge is more likely to say, “Well, I think there is probable cause, or proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that you are guilty of this crime.  Also, you’ve got one person deciding this, rather than six people.

Call our Southwest Kansas misdemeanor defense attorneys to discuss your case and weigh out your options.

Why Should I Talk To An Attorney About My Kansas Criminal Charges or Case?

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

It is really important that people understand that what happens today could affect their future in a criminal case.  One of the first things that we ask people whenever they come in is “What is your criminal history.”  It is important because that is going to let us know what kind of possible ramifications they are looking at for sentencing.

For example in an assault and battery case in Kansas, there is usually probation that is attached to it.  There are also court costs that are associated with the case as well as fees and fines. Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor, so it’s up to 30 days in jail, but there are also fines associated with it. The fines vary upon the level and degree of the misdemeanor and/or felony. The other thing about these types of charges is that they are all misdemeanors, unless it’s a felony domestic battery.

However, in Kansas, if you get convicted of three person misdemeanors, that can then convert into a felony for sentencing purposes.  So, if you get three misdemeanor battery convictions you may not have a felony conviction on your record. However, if down the road you get charged with an aggravated battery, you could now have a felony on your record. That means that if you get convicted of that aggravated battery, the penalties are way more severe.

It is far more likely that you’ll be looking at going to prison if you get convicted.   It is important to realize that although assault and battery may be smaller crimes, they’re still very serious crimes.  They can have very serious ramifications upon you, if you either take a guilty plea or are found guilty.

Let us look at another example. Let’s say you have been charged with a battery, and have been brought in front of the court for a first appearance.   At that first appearance the judge will say, for example, “You’re charged with a battery Class B misdemeanor. It’s up to 180 days in jail, and up to a thousand dollar fine. How do you choose to plead?”.   At that first appearance, that judge expects you to plead to something, either non-guilty, guilty, or for diversion.  If you decide, “I did it. I’m just going to plead guilty to it”.  Ninety-nine percent of the time that is a bad decision.  The reason for that is, if you hired an attorney or had an attorney appointed to you, the attorney can turn around and 90 percent of the time get better results. This could possibly come through a plea deal and by the attorney explaining to you things about sentencing and criminal history that can affect you in the future.  These are not things that a court is required to inform you about.

It’s very important that if you are arrested or charged, that if you have any questions at all or are hesitant that you go and talk to someone that knows.   Doing your research and looking into it yourself, is fine, but you should really talk to somebody about it.

Speak to our Southwest Kansas criminal lawyers by calling us today.

In Kansas Domestic Battery is a Class B Misdemeanor First Offense and Class A Second and A Felony For Subsequent Offenses

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Domestic battery is a Class B person misdemeanor for a first offense and if found guilty a person may serve up to 180 days in jail.  In addition, a person found guilty of domestic violence in Kanas is usually also required to attend anger management classes. Kansas is interesting as far as the domestic battery law goes, in that if you get a second domestic battery, it is considered a Class A person misdemeanor. The penalty for that type of crime is up to a year in jail.  The person will again likely have to enroll in anger management classes. On a third offense of a domestic battery, it may be prosecuted as a felony.

Does a Spouse Have To Testify In Kansas Domestic Violence or Battery Trials?

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Concerning domestic battery, there is a general rule that a spouse does not have to testify against their spouse.  However, if a wife is accusing the husband of hitting her, there’s an exception in a Kansas statute that if a spouse is a victim, they do have to testify against the other spouse.  What a victim can do is they can file with the state prosecutor asking them to drop the charges.  This is called declining prosecution.  A common misconception is that the state has to drop the charges. That is not the case because it is an offense against the state, not against a person.

A lot people will say, “I don’t want to press charges, they need to drop them.”   This is simply not the way it works. The county attorney’s office or the district attorney’s office that are handling a case are the ones who decide whether a case goes forwards or gets dismissed.   It is not the victim’s decision, it’s the state’s.

Call us today to speak with our Southwest Kansas domestic battery lawyers about your case.

Is Disorderly Conduct a Class C Misdemeanor in Kansas?

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

There is also a disorderly conduct charge which is an unclassified or Class C-misdemeanor and may be punishable by up to 30 days in jail if found guilty of the disorderly conduct charges.  A criminal record will be noted on your record as well which can affect your ability to obtain certain jobs.

Is Battery a Class B Misdemeanor in Kansas?

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

The charge of Battery is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a 180 days in jail in most cases.

Is Assault a Class C Misdemeanor in Kansas?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Yes, Assault is a Class C person misdemeanor, where someone would be facing up to 30 days in jail found guilty.

How Does Alcohol Factor in Assault or Domestic Battery Cases in Kansas?

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

A lot of times with batteries, assaults or domestic batteries charges, alcohol tends to be involved.  Alcohol is involved for a number of reasons such as people dealing with enormous levels of stress with normal everyday activities or they are having marital problems.  Alcohol is widely used as a way to attempt to escape from those problems or stresses. The feelings of stress or anger coupled with alcohol commonly results in someone doing something out of character that leads to them being arrested.

If you or a loved one has been arrested, call our law firm for a free consultation with a Southwest Kansas defense attorney.

What Happens During A Domestic Violence or Battery Police Call?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Domestic battery often occurs when a husband and a wife get into a heated argument, the neighbor calls law enforcement, and the police visit the home of the married couple..  A domestic battery case is kind of interesting because the law basically states that if law enforcement feels like a domestic battery has taking place, they are then required arrest somebody.  To sum it up, if someone calls the police and reports domestic battery, somebody’s going to jail.

There also is a forty-eight hour hold in that situation.   That is just the way the law’s written and the reason behind that is to try to help protect the alleged victim and anybody else that could be in the house, including children.   It is basically designed to be a cool-down period.  There is a cool-down period for domestic battery to make sure that somebody does not turn around and do something more serious.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Southwest Kansas, call our law firm to speak with a Southwest Kansas domestic violence attorney for free.