Frequent Questions

Commitment

A filing fee of $76.50 is required at the time the petition is signed. Petitioner must have exact change or write a check made payable to Johnson County District Court. Attorney's fee for proposed patient's court appointed attorney is assessed by the Judge and can be charged to the patient, the petitioner or to the County general fund. Attorney's fees can also be assessed to husband, wife or family member.

Once the case has been filed by the District Attorney's Office, the case will not be dismissed except on the medical advice of the doctors who evaluate the patient.

Yes. Once the petition is signed by you and filed with the Court, a probable cause hearing is set within 48 hours of the filing of the petition. As a petitioner or as a close family member with pertinent information concerning the patient's history and recent behavior, you will likely have to testify at the probable cause hearing, the trial of the case or both.

Please phone the Office of the District Attorney commitment staff: Carol Garrett, (913) 715-3035 or Angela Morris, (913) 715-3043, by 10:00 A.M. the day following the date of the person's admission to a treatment facility. You will be interviewed to establish whether or not you can supply the pertinent information to file a petition. An appointment will be set for you to come to the Office of the District Attorney to sign the petition. This must be done the day following the date of the person's admission to an inpatient facility.

You can call your local police department and ask for public assistance. Any law enforcement officer who has a reasonable belief formed upon investigation that a person is a mentally ill person and/or a person with an alcohol and/or substance abuse problem and because of such is likely to cause harm to self or others if allowed to remain at liberty may take the person into custody without a warrant.

The officer shall transport the person to a treatment facility where the person shall be examined by a physician or psychologist. See K.S.A. 59-2953 at  Information Network of Kansas (INK) statutes page.

Consumer Protection

The Direct Marketing Association Consumer Assistance website contains detailed information about their free Mail, Telephone and e-Mail Preference Services which are designed to reduce targeted advertising.

Many charities provide valuable services for people. Unfortunately, there are some solicitors that take advantage of individuals who really want to donate money for a good cause. The following are suggestions by our office that may help you in determining which charity to give to:

  • Beware of solicitors that use names of well- known charities and/ or use common pleas for police, firefighter, veteran’s and children’s causes.
  • Check out the charity before you make a donation.
  • Pay the charity directly instead of going through the solicitor. Remember, solicitors receive a portion of the actual money donated.
  • Contact the charity directly to determine how much of your money donated actually goes to the charity. Ask for financial statements. Ask for information on the board of directors and other services that the charity has provided. A legitimate charity will gladly answer your questions.
  • Be aware of solicitors who refuse to answer your questions or insist that you donate your money first.
  • Ask if the charity is registered in Kansas or check online. Most charities are required to register with their office, although there are some exceptions.
  • Remember, what sounds too good to be true, probably is.
  • Contact our office at 913-715-3003 to determine if complaints have been filed against a specific organization.
  • Contact the National Charities Information Bureau at 212-929-6300.

First, try to resolve it yourself.

Our office covers several forms of consumer fraud. However, the Kansas Consumer Protection Acts prohibits our office from acting on behalf of consumers who have problems in certain areas:

  • For lemon law problems, contact the Kansas Attorney General's Office and 1-800-432-2310.
  • For landlord-tenant difficulties, contact the Greater Kansas City Housing Information Center at 913-829-4584.
  • For shoddy-workmanship, business-to-business complaints, contracts disputes or other areas, you may wish to contact an private attorney with regards to your legal rights.

Our office, through enforcement of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, identifies and investigates deceptive and unconscionable acts committed by area merchants against consumers within Johnson County. Some areas of fraud that our office will investigate are:

  • Automobiles
    • New/Used Car Purchases
    • Car Repairs
    • Odometer Rollback
  • Charitable Solicitations
  • Door-to-door Sales
  • Home Improvement
  • Telemarketing
  • Slamming/Cramming
  • Magazine Sales
  • Travel Scams
  • Vacation Time Shares
  • Investment Scams
  • Pyramid Schemes

No, the District Attorney’s Office cannot offer legal advice or act on behalf of individuals. Our office can provide general information and direct you to the appropriate agencies. You may wish to contact a private attorney or Kansas Legal Services of Olathe, which offers free assistance in certain areas, at 913-764-8585.

Yes. According to the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, KSA 50-671 through 50-674, the telemarketing laws in Kansas requires some of the following:

  • If a call if placed from an automatic dialing device and the consumer hangs up, the call must be terminated within 25 seconds.
  • A telemarketer must identify themselves and the business on whose behalf they are soliciting and the purpose of the call.
  • Tell the telemarketer to be taken off their call list.
  • Just say “NO.” Upon receiving a negative response the telemarketer is required to immediately discontinue the call.
  • If you receive these types of calls and your attempts to terminate the conversation are not successful, you can contact our office at 913-715-3003 or file a formal complaint with us. You can also contact the Kansas Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-432-2310 or the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Home improvement repairs are some of the top complaints that our office receives. To avoid being a victim of a home repair scam, you should be aware of the following:

  • Get several estimates before deciding which person you want to do business with.
  • Get their business name, their name, address and telephone number.
  • Check their references.
  • Contact our office at 913-715-3003, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau and ask if any complaints have been filed against that business.
  • Be extremely cautious of individuals who solicit business door-to-door.
  • Make sure you get the agreement in writing and that you are provided a copy. Be sure to require the “start date” and “complete date” to be specifically set out in the contract.
  • Never pay for the entire job before the work has started. Most legitimate companies require only a percentage of the cost up front.

If you are buying a new or used car consumers should know the following tips:

  • Never purchase a vehicle on impulse or in response to high pressure sales tactics.
  • Have the dealer provide you with prior information on the vehicle, such as, title history and Carfax information.
  • Ask the dealership if the vehicle has had any prior damage or mechanical problems.
  • Determine what the actual miles of the vehicle.
  • Get all promises in writing. Fully understand all language contained in any financing statements, such as number of payments, insurance, early termination if it is going to be leased, etc.
  • Remember, once you purchase the car, it’s yours. There is no three-day right to cancel.

The Kansas Consumer Protection Act, KSA 50-640, refers to door-to-door sales, cancellation and required disclosures. According to the statute the consumer has the right to cancel a door-to-door sale made within this state until midnight of the third business day after the day on which the consumer signs an agreement or offer to purchase goods or services. Some of the disclosures are:

  • Consumers should be provided a fully completed receipt or copy of any contract pertaining to such sale at the time of its execution, and which shows the date of the transaction and contains the name and address of the supplier, and a space for the signature of the consumer.
     
  • Merchants are required to advise consumers, orally and in writing, of the consumer’s three-day right to cancel. A statement in substantially the following form should be provided to you by the merchant and state: “You the buyer, may cancel this transaction at any time prior to midnight of the third business day after the date of this transaction, see the attached notice of cancellation form for an explanation of this right.” “Buyer” means “consumer.”

Juvenile

Generally, parents are obligated to care for their children until they reach age 18. Emancipation is a term used quite often as a panacea for situations of parent/child conflict. Emancipation simply allows someone under the age of 18 to: hold property; enter into contracts; and to sue and be sued. Emancipation does not necessarily relieve a parent of their obligation to provide for their child until age 18. To be emancipated, a petition is filed in District Court. At hearing, a judge would have to determine that the juvenile has the ability to enter into contracts and is responsible and mature enough to be treated as an adult by the outside world.

Enforcing house rules is tough for parents. A parent is allowed, even expected, to provide discipline in the home. However, a child may not be locked out of the house unless other arrangements have been made. This might be to allow the child to stay with a relative, or in another furnished part of the house.

Yes. Kansas law requires that all juveniles appearing in court must be represented by counsel. A parent cannot represent their child in court.

All citizens enjoy the right to be informed of their rights when they are in police custody and are being questioned about suspected criminal acts. If a child is under the age of 14 and in custody, they must have the opportunity to consult with a parent or guardian prior to waiving Miranda rights and giving a statement. In all cases of police questioning of juveniles in custody, the court will look at their age, the presence of parents, and other factors to determine whether any statement was freely and voluntarily given.

The Kansas Child in Need of Care (CINC) code does not have a specific answer. Generally, a parent or guardian must provide supervision and care for their children until they reach 18 years of age. Younger children have a greater need for supervision and care than older children. Obviously, young children under age 10 should not be left without supervision at any time. In most cases, older teenage children may be left alone for short periods of time.

Kansas Statutes allow a juvenile adjudication to be expunged. Recently, the law was also changed to allow Immediate Interventions and uncharged police records to be expunged as well.  A record that has been "expunged" means that to those persons or agencies outside the court system, it can be treated as if it never occurred.  At least two years must have elapsed from discharge from court jurisdiction for a person to be eligible for expungement of a juvenile adjudication. If interested, you should contact your attorney or our office.  If eligible, you may start the process with the Petition For Expungement.

The important thing is to be honest. If the question asks about convictions only, juvenile records (which are adjudications, and not convictions) would not count. If the question calls for convictions and adjudications, then the answer would be different. If a juvenile record is "expunged," it can be honestly treated as if it had never occurred.

Traffic

Tickets issued by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Johnson County Park Police, Kansas Wildlife and Parks, and Alcohol Beverage Control are handled in Johnson County District Court. Check your ticket to determine appropriate jurisdiction.

If you ned a fine amount set, or wish to show proof of insurance from the date of your ticket, you may come to the 5th floor District Attorney's Office on Tuesdays from 8:30am-11:30am. We request your patience during this time and we will do our best to talk with you within 15 minutes of your arrival.

If you want to plead not guilty and request a trial, you must come to court. The court date listed on your ticket is a first appearance date, not a trial date. There are hundreds of people at first appearances, so please be prepared to wait. At your first appearance date, you may plead "not guilty" and request a trial date. The Judge will assign you a trial date. Trials take place on Thursday mornings.

If you know your case number you may pay online at www.jococourts.org or by phone at 1-888-877-0450. You must know your case number to pay online or by phone. You may go to www.jococourts.org or call 913-715-3390 to obtain your case number. You may also pay in person at the Traffic Clerk's Office.

Contact the Johnson County District Court Traffic Clerk at 913-715-3470.

If your ticket requires a court appearance ( if "court" is written on the back of your ticket instead of a fine amount), you must appear in court at the time and date shown on the bottom of your ticket. Failure to appear may resort in the suspension of your driving priveleges or the issuance of a warrant for your arrest. If your ticket does not require a court appearance, you may complete the diversion process or pay the ticket in full before your court date.

The Diversion office is open Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Traffic Diversion

Diversion is an agreement between you and the District Attorney that if you follow certain conditions, the District Attorney will dismiss your ticket after six months. Diversion will keep your ticket from being on your record.

You will need to refrain from getting a traffic citation for the next 6 months for the same offense(s) for which you are currently on diversion.

The citation number to use is the lower of the two numbers preprinted in red or black located on the right side of your ticket.

Diversion fees vary in accordance with the level and number of offenses cited.  Please call 715-3011 for further information.

After your application has been processed, you will receive an agreement and a letter via mail. You will sign and date the agreement and return it along with the monies outlined in the letter.

Yes. However, ALL charges on the ticket must be eligible for the mail in program and you cannot currently be on diversion for any one of the charges listed on your ticket.

Diversion will allow you to keep the traffic ticket from appearing on your record.

Victim Assistance

You may discuss the case with the defense attorney if you wish, but you should report the contact to the Johnson County District Attorney in charge of the case.

This person is committing a new crime, whether the harassment occurs before the crime is reported, or during the prosecution of the case. Contact the law enforcement officer in charge of the case immediately. A judge may issue a warrant against the person threatening you. They may also revoke the defendant's bail.

Victims of violent crime, including DUIs or their survivors, may be eligible for state compensation to cover medical expenses, psychological counseling, loss of earnings, or funeral expenses which are incurred as a result of their victimization. If you are a resident of Kansas, the crime occurred within the last two years, and you feel that you qualify for such assistance, please contact the Johnson County Victim Assistance Unit or Kansas Crime Victim Compensation Board.

The person accused is called the defendant. They will make their first appearance before a judge shortly after their arrest or after the criminal complaint is filed. Your appearance at this court hearing is not required.

A warrant is an order signed by a judge authorizing the police to arrest a person believed to have committed a crime.

A criminal complaint is a statement of facts about an alleged crime which, when filed in court, formally charges a person. These facts are first submitted by local law enforcement agencies. If the evidence submitted is deemed sufficient, a criminal complaint is filed.

The law provides many rights to those who are victimized by the criminal acts of others.

As a witness for the state, you have an important part in the trial. You may be questioned by the prosecutor about who you are and what you know about the case. The defendant's attorney may cross examine you. You may feel during the questioning that your personal motives are doubted, but the process of cross-examination is not meant as a personal attack against you. It is to ensure that all sides of the case are told, and to establish the truth. If you are concerned about what will happen, contact the Victim Assistance Unit.

In a trial, the prosecutor presents the case for the state, attempting to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did commit the crime as charged. The defendant may present their side through the use of an attorney. It is the defendant's choice whether the judge or a twelve person jury is deciding the verdict.

If the judge decides that probable cause has not been proven, the court will dismiss the case. This means that all legal action has come to an end, and the defendant is released.

Witnesses may watch the proceedings unless excluded from doing so by the court. In any event, witnesses should not discuss their testimony among themselves.

Victims of sexual assault are guaranteed the right to have an attendant of their choice in court to provide support at both the preliminary hearing and trial. However, this support person must not be a witness in the case.

If you are subpoenaed to appear at a preliminary hearing, the Prosecutor may want you to sit in the witness chair and answer questions about who you are and what you know about the case. Give your answers as truthfully as you can. The judge is there to assist you if you do not understand a question and to see that you are treated respectfully.

It is a scheduled courtroom event held in felony cases with testimony under oath, where the judge, the defendant, the defendant's attorney, the prosecutor from the District Attorney's Office and any victim or witness subpoenaed is present. The purpose of the hearing is to establish that a crime has been committed and that the defendant committed it.

Witnesses are notified by subpoena when and where to appear. On the morning of your scheduled court appearance, you should call the telephone number printed on the subpoena. You will then be told the status of your case. This may save you an unnecessary trip to the courthouse.