Why the Evidence in Your Kansas DUI Case May Be Less Compelling Than It Seems

February 10th, 2011

Many people forget that it is not against the law to drink and drive. A person only commits a crime if one’s blood alcohol level (BAC) exceeds .08 (DUI per se) or one’s driving ability is actually impaired so that a driver drives recklessly and violates traffic safety laws like speeding and drifting between lanes or is involved in a motor vehicle accident. Nonetheless, many people faced with a DUI arrest presume that a DUI conviction is inevitable based on law enforcement testimony and field sobriety or Breathalyzer tests results. What most people do not realize is that all of these forms of evidence can be effectively challenged by an experienced Kansas DUI attorney. Most people are shocked to learn that the national average for successful defense in drunk driving jury trials is 50%. We have provided some basic flaws in the common evidence used in Kansas DUI cases.

Police Officer Observations: When a police officer stops you because he suspects you are under the influence of alcohol, he will make initial observations. When you step out of your vehicle, you may seem unsteady on your feet or lean against your vehicle for balance. While an officer may attribute this to being intoxicated, the officer does not know you or your physical traits. You may have mobility issues, weight issues or other physical injuries and limitations. Because the officer does not know you he has no way to evaluate what is “normal” for you.  The fact that you may give off an odor of alcohol is only evidence that you have had something to drink not that you are impaired or over the legal limit.

Field Sobriety Testing: This complex set of unnatural movements and physical requirements are commonly and effectively challenged by an experienced Kansas DUI attorney. Many of those arrested for DUI assume there is some scientific validity to field sobriety tests (FSTs). To the contrary, FSTs result in false positive results (indicating a non-impaired person is impaired) 23% of the time.  Field sobriety tests are routinely challenged because the tests are not reliable, not administered according to strict procedures, scored inaccurately, turn on subjective impressions and fail to account for physical limitations and abilities between different subjects including being overweight or having limited mobility.

Breathalyzer Testing: Most of the time police officers will use a Breathalyzer test to measure a driver’s BAC. Breathalyzer results may be inaccurate for many reasons and can be challenged by an experienced DUI attorney in Kansas. Your DUI attorney may be able to get the Breathalyzer results excluded or otherwise call the validity of the test results into question.  Improper calibration or technical issues with the devices include sensitivity to ambient temperature as well as subject temperature; failure to properly account for variations in the human hematocrit (cell volume of blood) range; and false assumptions of the conversion factor used in converting lung air alcohol concentration to blood alcohol concentration may all form a basis for challenging Breathalyzer results.

This article presumes that you have submitted to both FSTs and Breathalyzer testing.  Hiring a Kansas DUI defense lawyer is able to have some or all of this evidence excluded if the officer lacked sufficient cause for the initial stop or otherwise violated your Constitutional rights. The point is that a DUI arrest does not mean that you will be convicted. An experienced Kansas DUI defense lawyer will know how to challenge what may appear to you to be overwhelming evidence. Remember that experienced DUI defense attorneys are able to prevail in front of a jury 50% of the time in DUI cases.

In Kansas, What Kind of Damages Am I Entitled to When In An Auto Accident?

January 4th, 2011

Kansas courts provide redmedies for personal injury and traffic accident victims for obtaining compensation for damages such as pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement; mental anguish, lost wages, property damage, loss of consortium  and medical bills and other accident related expenses. These damages are recoverable from the date of the accident and under certain circumstances, for the rest of your lifetime should you be suffering from a permanent impairment or injury.

In Kansas there are limits to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional harm and mental anguish. Insurance coverage held by the wrong doer will greatly impact you ability to recover damages.

Call us today to discuss your Kansas car accident claim and obtain a free initial consultation with a Liberal Kansas auto accident attorney. 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 My Criminal Record Was Expunged, Do I Report This on My Immigration Forms?

January 4th, 2011

Many people turn to our law firm for an expungement of a criminal record because it helps people that have made a mistake regain opportunities in life.   Not all charges can be expunged and not everyone is eligable hwoever one of our attorneys here in Liberal, Kansas can answer that question for you when you call us.  If you want to expunge your criminal record or if you have already done so, a question concerning disclosure during the immigration process will arise.

If you have been convicted of a crime and had your criminal record expunged, your should always indicate that on any government forms or applications.  The reason is that government agencies still have access to your criminal record.  Expungements will not necessarily prevent the government from finding any history of criminal convictions. You should always be honest with Immigration officials at all times for your best chance of successfully immigrating in to the United States.

We recommend call our law firm for a better understanding of your situation, but here are some additional and basic items you should disclose to immigration officers.

  1. Arrests (including those by police, Immigration Officers, and other Federal Agents);
  2. Convictions (even if they have been expunged); and
  3. Crimes you have committed for which you were not arrested or convicted.

It is important that you tell Immigration about any arrest, even if someone else has advised you that you are not required to do so.

For immigration and/or expungement questions call Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. at (620) 624-8158 for a free consultation with a Kansas immigration attorney.

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.

Can I File a Legal Separation in Kansas?

January 2nd, 2011

There are various types of domestic relations actions that may be filed in Kansas courts.  These actions will vary depending on the type of relationship involved as to whether or not the couple’s relationship is considered  “marital” or “non-marital.”

A “separate maintenance” action is very simular to the commonly referred to as  a legal separation.  A seperation maintenance action doe not grant the couple a final judgement of divorce but rather enables the parties to settle legal matters prior to a final marriage dissolution.  Again, the parties’ marriage is not dissolved with a separation maintenance action however the court may be requested by the parties to rule or and provide orders for child support and visitation rights, the division of assets and property, alimony ot spousal support and debt ownership or transfer issues.

A separate maintenance action was more common when divorce actions were more difficult to obtain or took long periods of time in the courts.  These separation actions would enable the parties to settle certain affairs while working through the divorce process.

Call (620) 624-8158 if you have questions concerning a divorce or separate maintenance action or any other Kansas family law matters.  We offer a free initial consultation with a Liberal Kansas divorce attorney.  Courage, Caring, and Commitment for Every Case.

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

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.

Am I Entitled To A Jury Trial Involving Traffic Court in Liberal or Other Kansas City Courts?

December 14th, 2010

In Liberal, Kansas and other city courts throughout the state of Kansas, these courts try a lot of misdemeanors and traffic cases.  In city courts in the state of Kansas you are not entitled to a jury trial.  You will have a trial to the bench.  Keep in mind that if you do not like that decision you may appeal it to a district court judge.

Call our Liberal Kansas traffic court attorneys to discuss your traffic court case today.

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

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

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.

Southwest Truck Accident Attorney Discusses Kansas Accident Insurance Coverage

December 6th, 2010

As far as personal injury and truck accidents, premises liability, the insurance that those businesses have will be high enough to make sure that that actual business is not going to have to go bankrupt.   This is because the business knows that they need to cover themselves.  They know they are in need of a million dollar, or two or three million-dollar policy on their business in case something happens.   Therefore those type of cases can actually make it possible for a potential plaintiff’s to get more money.  The case may not necessarily be worth more, but they could be able to get more because the money is there through the insurance companies.

This is the same with trucking type accidents. Trucking companies have a lot higher insurance than individuals because they’re carrying loads of materials.  Even if you’re talking about hauling a load of grain down the road, if something happens with that truck and all that grain is on the ground, you’re talking about a lot of money.  Therefore these trucking companies realize this and they have really high policy limits.

So if someone is involved in a truck accident, the trucking company is going to have insurance that is probably more likely above and beyond the amount of damages that somebody will actually suffer.  In that regard, you’ll have a better likelihood of being made whole, even if you don’t have very good insurance yourself.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call for a free consultation with a Southwest Kansas accident attorney.

Things to Consider When You Are Injured in A Kansas Car Accident.

December 5th, 2010

An important thing to note when dealing with insurance companies is that the insurance company may send you a letter in the mail.   At this point you do not really know where you stand as far as medical bills, repairs to your car or anything. You may receive this letter with an offer for a specific sum of money as long as you sign on the dotted line.

To a person who has just been hit by another car it seems like a lot of money and appears that it will go a long way.  However, with medical bills, car damage, and other expenses it may not be enough.  Many people make a mistake by failing to consider  what is going to happen a year from now. What is going to happen when the injury I thought I had ends up being a more severe injury?  What is going to happen when you are in rehabilitation and not working and do not have any income coming in?

If someone takes that settlement offer, they are really stuck.  They are stuck with whatever amount you agreed to at the time.  These type of settlement offers are something that people need to be really hesitant about. They really need to look at that amount of money and think about how many medical bills are going to be outstanding.

They need to weigh medical bills outstanding versus if they have health insurance or not.   They also need to consider If that amount is going to be able to help pay for their lost wages and if they’re going to have more lost wages in the future.  People really need to be hesitant when they get correspondence from the insurance company with a settlement offer.  Not all settlement offers are bad.  Some of them are okay.  Some settlement offers can get you where you need to be.

Keep in mind, the insurance companies are not in business to lose money.   They are out to make as much money as they can.  In order for them to do that, they often try to settle for the least amount of money that is going to come out of their pocket.  People really need to be aware of that that is the way they operate.  They need to be on the look out for that.

Call our law firm to speak with a Southwest Kansas auto accident attorney about your claim.