Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ticket for Texting while driving? New Kansas Law makes texting on the road illegal.

We have all seen it.  A car swerving from lane to lane in the middle of the day.  At first you might think, "That guy is drunk!"  But, as you pull up next to the offender you see them, cell phone in hand, pushing those tiny little buttons.  Texting while driving.  It is dangerous.  It does cause accidents.  It's illegal.

This last legislative session the good people of Kansas decided texting while driving was illegal.  Please look below to read the law yourself.  Please notice the highlighted sections.

8-15, 111. (Tentative Statute Number) Texting While Driving.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Wireless communication device" means any wireless electronic communication device that provides for voice or data communication between two or more parties, including, but not limited to, a mobile or cellular telephone, a text messaging device, a personal digital assistant that sends or receives messages, an audio-video player that sends or receives messages or a laptop computer. "Wireless communication device" does not include a device which is voice-operated and which allows the user to send or receive a text based communication without the use of either hand, except to activate or deactivate a feature or function.
(2) "Write, send or read a written communication" means using a wireless communication device to manually type, send or read a written communication, including, but not limited to, a text message, instant message or electronic mail.
(b) Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), no person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public road or highway while using a wireless communications device to write, send or read a written communication.
(c) The provisions of subsection (b) shall not apply to:
(1) A law enforcement officer or emergency service personnel acting within the course and scope of the law enforcement officer's or emergency service personnel's employment;

(2) a motor vehicle stopped off the regular traveled portion of the roadway;
(3) a person who reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in a wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a phone call;
(4) a person who receives an emergency, traffic or weather alert message; or
(5) a person receiving a message related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle.
(d) The provisions of subsection (b) shall not prohibit a person from using a wireless communications device while operating a moving motor vehicle to:
(1) Report current or ongoing illegal activity to law enforcement;
(2) prevent imminent injury to a person or property; or
(3) relay information between transit or for-hire operator and the operator's dispatcher, in which the device is permanently affixed to the motor vehicle.
(3) From and after the effective date of this act and prior to January 1, 2011, a law enforcement officer shall issue a warning citation to anyone violating subsection (b).
(f) This section shall be part of and supplemental to the uniform act regulating traffic on highways.

History: L. 2010, ch. ___, & 2; July 1. (SB 300).

If you are issued one of these tickets please contact our office.  Many of these tickets are capable of being kept off your driving record.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Driving on a Suspended License. Why is my license suspended?

If you have been pulled over and issued a ticket for driving on a suspended license or even arrested for driving on a suspended license you might have some questions.

Q: Why is my License Suspended?

A: This can vary widely depending on the state your license was issued.  Here are some common reasons I have run into.  This is not an exhaustive list and some of these reasons will not suspend you license in Kansas. However, if you have a suspended license in your home state you can still get a charge for driving on a suspended license in Kansas regardless if the offense would have suspended your license if you had a Kansas license.

1.  Failure to pay a speeding ticket
2.  Failure to go to court on a traffic violation
3. Failure to pay child support
4.  Failure to have insurance on a vehicle
5. Stealing gas from a gas station
6.  Conviction on a Minor in Possession charge
7.  Failure to renew your driver's license
8.  DUI
9.  Suspension pending a DUI.
10. Failure to pay taxes due to the state
11. Too many points on license
12. Too many traffc violations inside of year
13.  Failure to maintain an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
14.  License revoked per the habitual offender act
15.  Prior conviction for Driving on suspended license
16. Leaving the scene of an accident
17. Reckless driving.
18  Refusing to take a breathilizer

Q: I didn't know my license was suspended am I still in Trouble?
A: If you are caught driving while suspended, it does not matter if you knew or did not know your license was suspended.

Q: Will I really go to Jail?
A: If you are convicted, Yes, you will have a mandatory five days in jail.

Q: How can a Lawyer help?
A: Having an Attorney that knows what to do with a Suspended License Case is often the difference between Jail Time and just a fine. An experienced attorney can track down why your license was suspended, then get your license reinstated and avoid a conviction and jail time.

Q: Will I have to go to court if I hire an Attorney?
A: In many cases, an Attorney can handle a suspended license case without the client ever setting foot inside the courtroom.

Q: What are the different punishments for driving on a suspended license?
A:It varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and case to case. Some jurisdictions are more harsh on drivers, others are more lieniant. An experienced attorney can give you insight into your particular circumstance.   For a first-time conviction Kansas law requires you receive 5 days in jail up to 6 months in jail.

Q: Can an Attorney keep me out of jail?
A: You have an increased chance of staying out of jail if you are represented by an attorney. An attorney can work to get your license reinstated and negotiate an amendment to the charge of Driving while suspended to a lesser charge, that doesn't have mandatory jail time.

Q: If my license is not able to be reinstated can an attorney still keep me out of jail?
A: You have an increased chance of staying out of jail if you are represented by an attorney. An attorney can try to work out a plea deal to keep you out of jail.  If the prosecutor is unwilling to negotiate, an attorney can offer up mitigating circumstances to the judge and possibly get get the mandatory jail time suspended.

Q: What is a Habitual Violater? A: A "Habitual Violator" as outlined in KSA 8-285 is a person licensed in Kansas that within the past five years, has been convicted of three or more of any combination of the following offenses.
1. DUI (Including those on Diversion)
2. Vehicular Homicide (KSA 21-3405)
3. Driving While Suspended (KSA 8-262)
4. Driving While Revoked
5. Violation of the 5th Clause of (KSA 8-142)
6. Any Felony if a vehicle was used in the crime
7. Failureeee to stop at the scene of an accident and perform duties required by (KSA 8-1602-1604)
8. Driving with No Vehicle Liability Insurance (KSA 40-3104)

Q: What happens if I become a Habitual Violator? A: If you are deemed a habitual violator based on your record per KSA 8-285, your driving license will be revoked for three years.

Q: Can my license be suspended if I'm in an accident and I don't have insurance? A: Your license will be suspended unless proof of insurance is furnished to the Department of Revenue, Driver Control Bureau for the date of the accident, on the vehicle involved in the accident.

Q: Can my license be suspended even if I wasn't the driver? A: If you own the car then you can be subject to a suspension if the vehicle was involved in an accident even if you weren't the driver. (See KSA 40-3104 (h), KSA 40-3118.)

Q: If my license is suspended can I get a Hardship License?
A: No, Kansas has no provisions for a Hardship license. Simply put they do not exist in Kansas.  View our blog post on hardship licenses.

Q: What kind of Punishment can I get for a second or subsequent conviction?
A: A second or subsequent conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail and is a Class A misdemeanor.