As the holiday season arrives, some advice on staying safe, ( and jail-free )
So... you're ready for a night out on the town, concert, movie , meeting
up with some friends, maybe having a drink or two. Easiest way to avoid
a DWI? Designate a driver or take a taxi home. The reality is that this
doesn't always happen, and that next drink may just put you at or
over the legal limit of .08 depending on what you've had to eat, gender,
body size, medical conditions...etc. But you don't feel drunk or intoxicated,
you feel fine to drive home, so you get behind the wheel...and end up
charged with DUI.
DUI charge in Kansas City can be as easy as taking some common-sense measures to avoid the initial
traffic stop in the first place. First, make sure your tags are current
and all of the lights on your vehicle are in working condition. I know,
common sense. But here is something most people are not aware of:
check the light illuminating your license plate. Under both Kansas and Missouri law this is a traffic infraction and constitutes
probable cause for a traffic stop. Believe it or not this has become one
of the most common reasons for late-night DUI traffic stops. In other
words, I have clients who were not weaving, speeding, or exhibiting any
kind of unsafe driving being stopped and subsequently arrested for an
DUI because of a burned out, $.50 lightbulb. Typically, the sensors on
your vehicle's display won't inform you that this light is burnt
out. You have to check it manually.
Not having your tag light working is an open invitation to a DUI Officer
to pull you over.
In Kansas : In addition to having all equipment in working order,
obey all traffic laws, especially the speed limit; again, common sense. Most municipalities in the Kansas City Metro Area,
especially on the Kansas side run radar or 'Speed Enforcement'
late at night. Prairie Village, Mission Hills, and Mission all come to
mind and they are very effective. These officers work the night shift
DUI Patrol, are expertly trained in DUI enforcement; and they are looking for
any reason to pull you over in the anticipation that a late-night traffic
stop will turn into a DUI Arrest. A ticket for speeding gives them probable
cause to pull you over and begin a DUI investigation.
In Missouri : Most DUI arrests made on the Missouri side are because the client had
an accident, or committed a traffic infraction in direct view of an Officer.
A major focus of Kansas City DUI Enforcement has been conducted through
the use of DUI Checkpoints. See my earlier post about the
$500,000 DUI Mobile Enforcement Vehicle now being used in KCMO.
DUI Checkpoints : Kansas and Missouri both utilize DUI checkpoints, with KCPD leading the
way. When you are stopped at a DUI Checkpoint, there is no traffic violation
so the Officer has to build the case 'From the Ground Up', meaning
he wants you to incriminate yourself by asking you if you have had anything
to drink that evening. Your admission that you 'had a glass of wine
with dinner' is enough for the Officer to have you exit your vehicle
and submit to a battery of testing.
I advise clients that they are not under oath and to tell the Officer that
you have not been drinking is not a crime, and generally in their best interests.
Field Sobriety Tests . These tests are deceptively complicated and easy to fail, but will be
considered as serious evidence of intoxication in Court; however often
the Officer rushes the process and takes less than thirty seconds to 'Instruct'
you on how to perform each test. At the end of each 'Instruction'
the Officer will ask you if you understand the instructions.
You have the right to ask the Officer to explain the test again and demonstrate
the test if you don't understand the instructions . For Example: 'That sounds really complicated, would you mind explaining
it to me again and demonstrating how it's done?' is completely
acceptable. Also, inform the Officer if you have any physical disabilities
that might prevent you from performing these tests.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Kansas or Missouri, please do not
contact our office today or submit a
Free Case Evaluation Form on-line.