I recently challenged a DUI stop under the Kansas “basic speed rule” (K.S.A. 8-1557) whereby law enforcement may stop a driver for speeding based soley on the officer's opinion and experience in estimating speeds without the use of radar. In my case, the driver was stopped for speeding after leaving a McDonalds drive-thru. A report was made by a McDonalds employee of a suspicious vehicle that was stopped in the Drive-thru lane for an extended period. Soon after the call, the vehicle left the drive-through lane without incident. A responding officer eventually located the vehicle and followed it until making a stop within a block of the driver's home. At trial the officer admitted he observed no traffic violations but claimed “it appared” my client's car was speeding in excess of the 65 mph posted limit. On cross-examination, the Officer acknowledged the driver maintained his lane of travel and had his headlights on, contrarary to the report from the McDonalds witness that the vehicle left the location with its headlights off. The sole issue at trial was whethter the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle based on a speeding violation, The officer further testified that he made the stop based on “public safety” concerns, relying on the vague witness statement that the driver appeared to be “passed out” while in the drive-thru lane. Since the witness was unavailable to testify, then no credible evidence was offered supporting the driver's alleged condition. In ruling against the legality of the stop for 'speeding' and ‘public safety' concerns, the court considered the fact that the driver was not in need of medical attention, did not violate the ‘basic speed' rule in the absence of radar or other method, and his 'delay' in the drive-thru lane was not due to intoxication in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
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