Before a driver can be cited for driving under the influence in Kansas, a police officer has to have a reason to contact that person. There are several ways that this contact can come about:
- A traffic accident
- A stop due to traffic infractions observed by the officer (i.e., speeding)
- A sobriety checkpoint
- Through investigation of another crime
- A stop due to unusual driving or actions observed by the officer.
Those are just the most typical. There are countless others.
In order for a police officer to lawfully stop a moving vehicle, he or she must have at least a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime is being, has been, or will be committed. Of course, this includes traffic infractions like speeding, weaving out of a lane, or running a stop sign. In fact, the Kansas Supreme Court has determined that a police officer may lawfully stop a vehicle that is weaving inside its own lane, even though doing so is not a traffic infraction.
If you are involved in a traffic accident that involves an injury or death, or that does more than $500.00 worth of damage to the vehicles or property involved, you are required by law to contact the nearest police agency. In the event of an accident involving less damage, you must exchange information with the other driver and any police officer investigating the accident. An investigation of an accident will often include law enforcement checking to determine whether any driver is DUI.
Frequently, law enforcement agencies will set up “sobriety checkpoints” where all drivers are required to stop. The Johnson County area has a lot of checkpoints throughout the spring and summer months. There are very specific rules and regulations pertaining to this practice, and they are illegal if not administered properly. In a checklane case, there is no evidence of any bad driving by the driver because somehow he or she safely arrived at the checklane, so the cases are inherently weaker than many traditional DUI cases. Your attorney can explain this area of the law to you.