“I Just Want to Get This Over With”: The Importance of Attorney Consultation, Even When You Would Rather Just Move On
Way too often we’ve heard people come into our office and say, “I just wanted to get it over with, so I pled guilty.” These people did not hire a lawyer. They did not ask the court to appoint them a lawyer. And, in many cases, they did not even sit down and have an initial consultation with a lawyer. They went to court and simply pled guilty.
Even when you would rather just move on, it is incredibly important to consult with an attorney about how your current legal situation may affect you in the future. Even if such a meeting only takes 20 to 30 minutes of your time, it can be immensely helpful.
Take, for instance, something that most people think is “minor”: a speeding ticket. That could be a moving violation. In Kansas, if you commit three or more moving separate moving violations in a twelve-month span, your license may be suspended or revoked for at least 30 days. This may lead to more severe charges (such as driving while suspended), which counts as a habitual violator conviction.
Under Kansas’s habitual violator law, three or more convictions for certain crimes within a five-year period can result in a three-year revocation of driving privileges. All applicable crimes are listed in in K.S.A. § 8-285, but the most common ones are: driving while suspended, driving under the influence of alcohol, no proof of liability insurance, and leaving the scene of an accident. During this revocation period, there is no restricted license. Many people (including judges and prosecutors) do not realize that diversions are included in this calculation.
A conviction for driving while suspended is especially punitive because it also carries a 90-day suspension of driving privileges. And a second conviction for driving while suspended carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 days’ imprisonment. A third conviction for this offense may result in 90 days’ imprisonment. We’ve encountered people who were caught driving while suspended, didn’t know how or where to start to get their licenses reinstated, and decided to plead guilty “to get it over with”—without considering the long-term consequences for their driving privileges.
For these reasons, it is important to consult with an attorney no matter how minor you think your offense may be. The defense attorneys at Joseph, Hollander & Craft defend against criminal charges and traffic infractions including DUI with the objective of getting you the best results for your current situation, while remaining mindful of the future impact. With attorneys in Wichita (316-262-939), Topeka (785-234-3272), Lawrence (785-856-0143), and Overland Park (913-948-9490), we serve clients from the Oklahoma border to the Kansas City area.