The Lawrence Police officer who arrested Councilman Quinton Lucas on suspicion of a DUI did so without probable cause and the case should be tossed, Lucas’ attorney argued in a motion filed Monday.
Tim Riling, an attorney representing Lucas, filed a motion in Lawrence Municipal Court to dismiss the case against the 3rd District at-large councilman and mayoral candidate. Lucas is due in court next month.
In the filing, Riling argues the officer, Richard Nichols, was responding to a reported medical emergency when he found Lucas asleep in his car near 8th and Massachusetts streets in downtown Lawrence and that the encounter should have ended when he learned Lucas wasn’t in need of assistance.
“A public safety stop or encounter is not for investigative purposes,” Riling says in the filing. “Asking for...Lucas’ driver’s license and questioning him about, among other things, where he was headed, then having him step out of his vehicle exceeded the justification for the stop.”
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Lucas was arrested in October and charged with driving under the influence after he was found by police in his parked car. He says he made the decision not to drive home following a fundraiser for Kansas Legal Services and to, instead, wait until he felt he could get back to Kansas City safely. In that time, he fell asleep.
Lucas has said repeatedly he stands by the decision he says he made that night not to drive under the influence.
In the motion, Riling goes on to argue that for Nichols to detain Lucas he would have needed reasonable suspicion Lucas had committed or was going to commit a crime.
Since there is no evidence Lucas attempted to move the car, Riling argues, Nichols didn’t have the reasonable suspicion necessary to ask Lucas to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, and he didn’t have the probable cause to arrest Lucas for a DUI.
Lucas said most Kansas Citians have known “the facts of the case” since his arrest was first reported in October.
“Nobody really asks about it,” Lucas said. “I think most Kansas Citians are interested in the actual issues that affect Kansas City each day.”
He said again he stands by the choice he made not to get on the road.
“I actually continue to think that was a far better choice than trying to drive at that time,” Lucas said.