DUI Legal Process in Kansas
The DUI process begins with arraignment. At arraignment, the defendant must decide on how to plead to the charges against him. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the judge will impose a sentence. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case will have to go to trial. Also, bail will be discussed by the judge and it may be reduced or it could lead to a release without any additional bail costs.
The defendant will receive a court appointed defense attorney if they have not obtained private representation. The state prosecutor will then provide preliminary evidence to the defense team such as test results or video/audio recording.
After arraignment, pretrial discovery will begin. Discovery is when both parties collect and exchange evidence that will be used to prosecute and defendant against the charges. Next, a preliminary hearing will take place where the judge will decide if there is enough evidence to convince a jury that the defendant was driving under the influence. This is also the time when a plea deal may be reached between the prosecution and the defense. While Kansa does not allow a judge to reduce mandatory penalties for a DUI conviction, the prosecutor and the defense attorney’s may reach a deal to modify or reduce the charges or penalties.
Before the trial commences, the defendant’s attorney may have motions to file in the court in order to prevent certain evidence from the trial. This will be determined in a motion hearing before a judge, and witness testimony including the testimony of the arresting officer may be heard. Oftentimes, the defense attorney will be attempting to remove evidence from the trial such as blood alcohol test results. This is an important phase of the trial process because the amount or type of evidence submitted in the trial will greatly influence the outcome.
After pretrial motions are complete, the trial will commence. In Kansas, the trial may be heard by a jury or judge. In trials involving a jury, the judge will still determine what legal issues the jury must apply with the facts of the case. Oftentimes, DUI cases are heard by a judge, or what is called a bench trial, because difficult legal issues can be too complex for a jury. It is up to the defendant what type of trial they would like to proceed with. At the end of the trial, the judge or the jury will come back with a verdict. If guilty, the judge will impose a sentence for the charge. If found not guilty, the charges will be dropped.
In the event of a guilty verdict, the offender can appeal the charges if they wish. Under Kansas law, any appellate court may reverse, affirm or modify the judgment or order appealed from, or may order a new trial in the district court. There is only a limited time to file for appeal, 14 days, and if this time is passed, the right to appeal is waived.
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