How does a lawyer fight a DUI charge with case law?
The black and white law that makes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol illegal in Kansas doesn’t change that often, usually there are minor changes every few years. This is the law you can look at in a book. The law against DUI is a few hundred words long. The legislature can not anticipate every single fact scenario that may play out in the street and provide for its legality in a few hundred words. That is where case law comes in.
Case law is created when a defense lawyer and a prosecutor disagree on what a law means or how the law should be applied. When the lawyers disagree a client’s case gets litigated. During this process both sides make their best arguments and the judge rules on the issues before the court. If the lawyers don’t agree with the court’s ruling then they appeal to a higher level court. Ultimately when the appeals are exhausted the judge’s interpretation of what the law is or how it should be applied becomes law. When this happens other lawyers can view the judge’s decision and rely on it when making decisions in their cases.
As you can probably guess, there are volumes of cases that have been litigated on DUI offenses. Here are some examples of cases that have been appealed and helped create the current DUI law in Kansas.
Case Law for DUI in Kansas
*This is not an exhaustive list, just a few common issues
Schmerber vs. California
384 U.S. 757 (1966)
This case established that blood tests on a person accused of a DUI charge are a search subject to the fourth amendment.
State vs. Fish
228 Kan 204 (1980)
This case helps define “operating” in the context of the DUI statute. This case was the catalyst for adding the “attempt to operate” language in the most up to date version of the DUI statute.
State vs. Compton, et. al
233 Kan. 690 (1983)
These cases held that a person’s refusal to submit to an alcohol test is admissible at any trial for driving under the influence of alcohol. These cases also upheld the statute that forbids plea bargaining a DUI charge down to avoid mandatory penalties.
Skinner vs. Railway Labor Executives’ Association
489 U.S. 602 (1989)
This case established that breath tests on a person accused of a DUI charge are a search subject to the fourth amendment.
Michigan Department of State Police vs. Sitz
110 S. Ct. 2481 (1990)
This case upheld the constitutionality of some DUI checkpoints. It essentially says that when a DUI checkpoint occurs a “seizure” occurs in the Fourth Amendment context, however it is possible to have a checkpoint that is not in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
State vs. Branscum
19 Kan.App.2d 836 (1994)
This case interpreted K.S.A. 8-1001(k). It requires that an officer make you aware of your rights before you take a breath test. It also requires that the officer not mislead you as to your rights.
State vs. Tapedo
77 P.3d 1288 (2004)
A prior uncounseled DUI diversion can be used as a prior conviction for sentencing purposes for a subsequent DUI offense.
State vs. Jones
279 Kan. 71 (2005)
This case held that PBT (Preliminary Breath Tests) are subject to Fourth Amendment scrutiny and the statutory implied consent rule does not serve to give consent to an officer who wishes to administer a PBT to a person suspected of DUI.
State vs. Wahweotten
36 Kan.App2d 568 (2006)
This case held that evidence of a refusal of a preliminary breath test is not admissible to prove the crime of DUI. It also held that a defendant’s refusal to take a breath test does not implicate the privilege against self-incrimination under the 5th amendment.
State vs. Rickerson
47 Kan. App.2d 648 (2012)
This case held that the institutional noncompliance with and systematic disregard for a prior decision of the State Supreme Court, warranted dismissal of a DUI charge. This case established that law enforcement cannot hold a person charged with DUI whom wants to bond out of jail unless an individualized determination is made as to whether the driver is intoxicated and a danger to himself or herself or others.
State vs. Edgar
296 Kan. 513, 294 P3d. 251 (2013)
This case held that a misstatement of the law concerning the effect of taking or refusing a breath test, in that case a preliminary breath test, rendered the implied consent advisories out of compliance with the statute and interfered with the driver’s ability and right to withdraw his implied consent to the test.
Missouri vs. McNeeley
133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013)
This case confirmed that law enforcement must have a warrant to draw body fluids from a person suspected of DUI.
State vs. DeClerck
49 Kan.App.2d 908 (2014)
This case confirmed that the “implied consent” statute alone was not sufficient to give consent to search on behalf of a driver, to law enforcement for warrantless searches in the DUI context.
City of Wichita vs. Molitor
301 Kan. 251 (2015)
This case effectively killed the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test in Kansas. The Supreme Court equated the HGN to the “Magic 8 Ball” and the “Ouija Board.”
State vs. Meitler
51 Kan.App.2d 308, 347 P.3d 670 (2015)
This case held that the “good-faith exception” to the exclusionary rule applied to allow admission of blood test results obtained by police officer’s reliance on an implied consent statute that was later determined to be unconstitutional.
State vs. Ryce
303 Kan 899 (2016)
This case confirmed that the “implied consent” statute does not work around the Fourth Amendment, drivers have the ability to withdraw their consent. The statute that criminalizes the refusal of a blood or breath test is unconstitutional on its face.
State vs. Nece
303 Kan 888 (2016)
This case held that the DC-70 “Implied Consent Advisory” that was required to be read to all people that law enforcement intended to have submit to a breath alcohol test was inaccurate and the information in the advisory unduly coerced Nece (and thousands of other people suspected of DUI) into submitting to a breath test.
State vs. Stanley
367 P. 3d 1284 (2016)
This case held that prior DWI convictions out of Missouri could not be used as a prior for sentencing purposes, Missouri DWI convictions are not a similarly related offense under Kansas Law.
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