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Vehicle Stops for DUI in Kansas

A law enforcement officer may stop any person in a public place that the officer reasonably believes is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime.  Also, the law enforcement officer may demand an explanation of the persons actions.

Once the driver has been reasonably stopped by a law enforcement officer, the officer may arrest a person if there is an outstanding warrant for the driver.  If no warrant exists, the officer can lawfully arrest the driver if:

1. The officer has probable cause to believe that a warrant for the person’s arrest has been issued in this state or in another jurisdiction for a felony committed therein, or

2. The officer has probable cause to believe that the person is committing or has committed:

(1) A felony; or

(2) a misdemeanor, and the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that:

(A) The person will not be apprehended or evidence of the crime will be irretrievably lost unless the person is immediately arrested;

(B) the person may cause injury to self or others or damage to property unless immediately arrested; or

(C) the person has intentionally inflicted bodily harm to another person.

(d) Any crime, except a traffic infraction or a cigarette or tobacco infraction, has been or is being committed by the person in the officer’s view.

Therefore, as long as the officer has probable cause to believe that the person is driving or is about to drive while under the influence of alcohol, the vehicle may be lawfully stopped.  Further, if the vehicle has been a part of a traffic accident or if the officer reasonably believes that a vehicle was involved in an accident that the officer may not have seen, the officer may lawfully stop the vehicle to further investigate.  If the officer viewed an accident occur, reasonable cause will be satisfied.

Sobriety checkpoints are Constitutional in the United States.  However, some guidelines must be followed in order for the courts to uphold a DUI arrest occurring at the checkpoint.  First, the state must be able to show that the checkpoint is a part of an ongoing program that deters drunk driving.  Also, each department must have their own policy on how to conduct the checkpoints. In Kansas, they must publicize the checkpoints and make sure the locations are in an area that warrants the checkpoint, such as a large quantity of DUI stops or accidents in the area.  Once stopped at the checkpoint, education should also be a goal and in Kansas, they often hand out pamphlets that warn on the dangers of driving under the influence.  Under all circumstances, the officer must be qualified at operating the breath testing unit.  The Supreme Court suggests that the officers be properly trained in detecting the signs of impaired drivers.  However, Kansas goes a step further by stopping all drivers and checking for signs of impairment.  If no signs of impairment are detected, the driver should be given the educational materials and sent on their way.  The website for the Kansas Department of Transportation issues press releases when they are planning a sobriety checkpoint that releases the dates, times, and locations of the checkpoint.  If arrested for DUI in Kansas at a checkpoint, the defendant should be sure to confirm that all of these guidelines have been satisfied.

An unlawful stop would occur when the officer does not have reasonable cause to believe that the driver is/was driving under the influence.

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