Manhattan Kansas DUI attorney explains what the prosecutor must prove to get a DUI conviction

Kansas law provides the prosecutor with two alternative ways to obtain a DUI conviction: 1) by proving your alcohol concentration was above the legal limit or 2) by proving you were incapable of driving safely because of alcohol and/or drugs. The prosecutor must prove at least one of these is true beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor can charge you with one or both offenses based on a single driving incident. But a conviction counts as a single DUI.

A. Alcohol concentration above legal limit (the per se offense)

Kansas DUI law prohibits a person from operating or attempting to operate a vehicle in the state while the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is .08 or more as shown by competent evidence or as measured within three hours of the time of operating or attempting to operate a motor vehicle. “Alcohol concentration” means the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of breath.

The prosecutor proves alcohol concentration with the results of a breath or blood (or rarely urine) test. This offense is known as the “per se” offense because the prosecutor does not need to prove that your driving was impaired or you were intoxicated to obtain a conviction.

Many people believe that they must plead guilty or they will be convicted if their test results were over the legal limit. That is not necessarily true. As seasoned Kansas DUI attorneys, we know all the ways that breath, blood, and urine test results can be attacked. All chemical tests must be administered by qualified personnel according to rigorous protocols. If your test was not administered according to these standards, it may not hold up in court. Our attorneys regularly receive training in the latest DUI defense techniques as well as the latest scientific developments in breath and blood testing.

B. Incapable of driving safely

Kansas DUI law prohibits a person from operating or attempting to operate a vehicle within the state while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or any combination of drugs and alcohol to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle. Having a prescription for a drug is not a defense.

To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor does not need to prove your alcohol concentration was .08 or more. You can be convicted even with a breath or blood test result under the legal limit or even if you refused the test. Moreover, the prosecutor does not have to prove you consumed any particular amount of alcohol or drugs. However, the prosecutor may use the result of a chemical test, even if the result is under the legal limit, to prove you were under the influence.

The arresting officer’s testimony is usually the key evidence presented by the prosecutor to prove a person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and incapable of driving safely. The arresting officer will testify about the person’s driving, e.g. that he or she—

  • drove too slow or fast,
  • drifted out of the lane,
  • was weaving,
  • turned wide or ran over curbs,
  • ignored traffic signs and signals or stopped too long at them.

The officer will also testify about the person’s appearance and behavior, e.g. he or she—

  • smelled of alcohol,
  • had a flushed face, red or glassy eyes, or slurred speech
  • was disheveled or unkempt,
  • fumbled to find his or her driver’s license or vehicle registration,
  • had difficulty exiting the vehicle and needed to lean on the vehicle for support,
  • was uncooperative and belligerent, or
  • failed field sobriety tests.

As knowledgeable Kansas DUI lawyers, we will examine the circumstances of your stop and arrest and, if your rights were violated, we may be able to obtain a dismissal or other favorable disposition of your case. If your case goes to trial, we are skilled at various techniques for cross-examining the officer to discredit his testimony or minimize its impact. We know how to attack police testimony regarding field sobriety tests. Our defense attorneys have received the Standardized Field Sobriety Test training developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, administered by the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Get help with your Kansas DUI case from former prosecutors

We know how prosecutors think because we used to be prosecutors. We are the only firm in the area with two former DUI prosecutors. If you have been arrested for DUI in northeast Kansas and want help from experienced Manhattan DUI lawyers, give us a brief description of your case using the form on this page. Or if you prefer, you may call our office.

Addair Thurston Chtd.
Manhattan, Kansas DUI lawyers

900 Poyntz Ave.
Manhattan, Kansas 66502

725 N. Washington Street
Junction City, Kansas 66441