This Is My First DWI. What Should I Expect?
Sept. 29, 2023
It is normal to feel stressed and uncertain about your first arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). For many people, DUI is the first crime they have been charged with. The thought of that alone is incredibly frustrating. But when they realize that a conviction will have implications beyond the legal DUI penalties they may have to pay, things can become even more overwhelming.
Some people think they should just accept their fate and pay the fine. However, a DUI—even a first DUI—is worth challenging. It’s important to arm yourself with accurate information, then strive for a favorable outcome.
At Chahine Legal LLC, I represent clients, like you, charged with DUI in Kansas. As an experienced DUI lawyer, I’m ready to offer detail-oriented and personalized legal counsel on your behalf.
I’m proud to serve individuals in Kansas, including Lawrence, Lenexa, Olathe, and Overland Park, as well as clients in Missouri. Set up a one-on-one consultation today.
What Are the Basics of DUI Charges in Kansas?
There are two ways you can be arrested for DUI in Kansas. The first is a DUI “per se,” which means there is an assumption that if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at a certain level, you are prohibited from operating a vehicle. The legal limits are .08 for most drivers, .04 if operating a commercial motor vehicle, and .02 if you are under the age of 21.
The second prohibition under Kansas law is driving under the influence of any substance that makes you unable to operate a vehicle safely. This means a high BAC is not necessary to convict you of drunk driving charges, only the officer’s observations regarding your ability to drive.
You should also know that you do not actually have to be operating a motor vehicle to be arrested for DUI in Kansas. You can, in the officer’s opinion, be merely attempting or about to attempt to operate a vehicle to face a possible arrest.
Do I Have to Comply with Tests?
The privilege of operating a motor vehicle in Kansas comes with a tacit agreement that you will consent to law enforcement’s reasonable request of a test of your breath, blood, or urine. If you refuse these tests, you may face an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. The refusal will be a separate charge from the DUI itself which will compound the penalties if you are convicted.
You do not, however, need to answer any questions asked by law enforcement except for requests for basic information, such as your name, driver’s license, and proof of insurance. In fact, it is wise to not answer questions about where you have been, where you are going, and whether you have been drinking. A polite response that you do not wish to answer questions without having an attorney present is sufficient.
You also are not required by law to submit to a field sobriety test. These include walking in a straight line and turning, focusing your eyes on a moving object, counting backward, and other tasks like these. Declining to take them cannot be used as evidence against you, but performing poorly on them can.
What Will Happen If I’m Charged with DUI?
If you are pulled over for DUI and the officer believes you are under the influence, you may be taken to jail and processed. You may be required to spend the night in jail or have someone pick you up once bail is posted. If your breathalyzer results were above the legal limit, or if you refused a test of your breath, blood, or urine, you will surrender your license and be given a form that allows you to continue driving temporarily. If your blood or urine was tested—which is often the case if substances other than alcohol are suspected—you will keep your license until those results come back.
If is advisable that you contact a criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer will help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Your attorney will discuss the events leading up to, during, and after your arrest to gather information helpful in challenging the DUI. Above all, though, your attorney will listen to your side of the story and advocate for your interests.
What Are the Possible Penalties for a First DUI Conviction?
A first DUI conviction, unless you caused an accident, injuries, and death, is typically a misdemeanor in Kansas. In addition to having your license suspended for DUI for at least 30 days, you may face 48 hours to six months in jail, fines of up to $1,000, and an IID requirement for up to six months. These are the legal conviction penalties. Ones related to your family and friends—as well as your professional life—may be even more difficult for you.
Personable Service. Fierce Advocacy.
You don’t need to fight DUI charges alone. Rely on the experience of a seasoned DUI defense attorney. When you’re ready to get started, reach out to Chahine Legal LLC in Lawrence, Kansas. I’m here to help you move forward.