What is a DUI in Kansas?
In Kansas, driving, operating, or controlling a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs (including illegal and prescribed substances) is considered a DUI (driving under the influence). The Kansas state court system and the Kansas Department of Revenue treat such impaired driving acts seriously. These agencies impose stiff penalties on offenders, including prison time, high monetary penalties, and the loss of driving privileges. In addition, a DUI in Kansas becomes a part of the Kansas criminal record if the offender is convicted.
What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Kansas?
DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence) are legal terms that apply to the same type of offense: drunk or drugged driving. States can use either term officially or another term, e.g., OUI (Operating Under the Influence). What an individual is charged with depends on the nature and severity of their offense. According to Kansas statutes, drunk driving offenses are regarded as driving under the influence (DUI).
Kansas DUI Laws
The Kansas DUI legislation specifies five scenarios in which a person can be prosecuted for drinking and driving. Thus, if a person operates or attempts to operate a vehicle under the following circumstances, they may be charged with committing a DUI offense:
- While having a .08 or greater blood or breath alcohol content
- Having an alcohol content of .08 or more within three hours of operating or intending to operate a vehicle
- Being intoxicated to the point where the driver is unable to operate a vehicle safely
- Being under the influence of any substance (including lawfully purchased drugs) to the point where the driver is unable to operate a motor vehicle properly
- Being under the influence of a mixture of alcohol and drugs, to the point where the driver cannot properly operate a motor vehicle.
Furthermore, the state's DUI laws mandate a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21 and commercial drivers. As a result, drivers under the age of 21 who are found to have a BAC of .02 or more violate the DUI laws, and commercial drivers (truck and bus drivers) are guilty of a DUI if found to have a BAC of .04 or higher.
Kansas DUI Laws for Non-Driving Offenses
In Kansas, driving while intoxicated is sufficient for a DUI conviction. However, there are circumstances where a motorist can be charged with a DUI even if they are not driving. According to the Kansas statutes, a DUI is defined as "operating or attempting to operate" a vehicle while intoxicated or with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration (BAC). As such, the state courts maintain that a DUI can include any "overt act to engage" and does not require the actual movement of a vehicle.
Kansas Laws on DUI Penalties
DUIs are prosecuted as misdemeanors in Kansas when it is the first or second offense. However, upon a third, fourth, and subsequent DUI, a person may be charged with a felony. Also, other factors like a child passenger or involuntary manslaughter can increase the severity of the punishment imposed for a DUI offense.
Kansas Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws
All drivers lawfully apprehended for a DUI in Kansas must submit to a blood or breath test. (Such drivers can also request a second, independent chemical test at their expense.)
According to the state's implied consent laws, any licensed individual operating a motor vehicle consents to a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine) to check intoxication. If a driver refuses to take the test, their license will be suspended, and they will be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) for one to ten years, depending on their prior offenses.
DUI Penalties in Kansas
The following factors are used to determine Kansas DUI penalties:
- Previous convictions
- The offender's age
- The type of license the offender possesses (commercial or non-commercial)
- The severity of the DUI incident
Typically, the sanctions are heavier for repeat offenders. It is important to note that prior DUI convictions, test refusals, entering a diversion program in place of criminal proceedings, and out-of-state convictions count as prior convictions.
DUI convictions also result in administrative consequences, including license suspension, driving limitations, and vehicle impoundment.
Minors and Commercial Drivers
While the standard BAC limit for DUIs in Kansas is.08, a driver under 21 years old can be charged with a DUI if found with a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .02 to .079 percent, and a commercial driver can be charged with the same offense if found with a BAC of or over .04
If the offender is under 21, the individual can face a 30-day suspension of driving privileges, followed by 330 days of restricted driving privileges. In addition, if the offender is guilty of ingesting or carrying alcoholic beverages, Kansas law requires that their driver's license be suspended for 30 days.
On the other hand, anyone caught operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04 or more within three hours of driving time will be charged with a Class B nonperson misdemeanor (KSA 8-A,144). Here, the penalty for a DUI can range from 48 hours to six months in prison. As part of Kansas' implied consent laws, commercial driver's license (CDL) holders who refuse to undergo a breath test will have their license revoked for at least three years. In addition to these rules, any CDL holder convicted of a felony while operating a commercial vehicle will have their commercial license revoked for life.
Kansas offers a DUI diversion program to drivers who have been charged with a DUI. The program is designed to provide defendants charged with minor criminal charges, such as a DUI, with a fresh start. A diversion program is an agreement between the state and the defendant, in which the state agrees to delay or defer prosecution of a criminal matter for a specified length of time, known as the diversion period.
Offenders may be eligible for a diversion program if they have no past DUI convictions and were not involved in an accident that resulted in personal injury or property damage. Also, a DUI with a child passenger disqualifies a person from participating in the diversion program.
In return for ceding the right to trial via the diversion program, an offender will not have a DUI conviction on their criminal record. However, the party will be obligated to obey the terms and conditions of the diversion program. This may include paying a fine, attending an alcohol treatment program, etc. The length and conditions of the diversion period are assessed at the prosecuting attorney's discretion and will vary based on the circumstances surrounding each case. However, in most cases, the length of a DUI diversion program is a year.
The charge(s) will remain on file with the court throughout the diversion term, but the criminal action will be stayed or deferred. Although the state agrees to dismiss the charge if the defendant completes the diversion period, the court reserves the authority to terminate the diversion if the defendant fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement. The charge(s) will be pursued again in a courtroom trial if the diversion agreement is canceled.
What Happens When You Get a DWI in Kansas?
Because Kansas is a DUI state, DWI offenses are considered the same as DUI offenses. As a result, the penalties are the same across the state.
What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Kansas?
A first DUI offense in Kansas is a misdemeanor punishable by:
- Forty-eight hours of mandatory incarceration or 100 hours of community service
- A court-ordered alcohol and drug safety action education or treatment program, paid for by the offender.
- Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, including court costs, probation, and evaluation fees
- Revocation of driving rights for 30 days, with a six-month obligation to use an ignition interlock device-equipped vehicle (if the blood, breath, or urine test results are between .08 and .149)
If the offender's breath or blood test results are .150 or above, the person's driver's license will be suspended for a year, followed by another year of driving a car fitted with an ignition interlock device. If the motorist refuses a breath test, the person's license will be suspended for a year, requiring that the person drives with an ignition interlock device for the next two years.
For a commercial driver, a first DUI will result in the suspension of the offender's commercial driver's license (CDL) for one year.
What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Kansas?
A second DUI violation in Kansas carries the following penalties:
- Ninety days to a year in prison
- Fines from $1,000 to $1,500, including court costs, probation, and evaluation fees.
- A court-ordered alcohol and drug abuse treatment program (at the offender's expense)
- Suspension of driving privileges for a year
- After completing the one-year suspension, the offender will be restricted to driving a vehicle with an ignition interlock device for one year
CDL holders who are convicted of a second offense will be charged with a Class A nonperson misdemeanor. Such persons will be sentenced to 90 days to a year in prison. They will also be subject to a fine ranging from $1,250 to $1,750, as well as court costs.
What Happens After a Third DUI in Kansas?
Suppose a driver in Kansas has had a prior conviction within the last ten years, not considering any period of incarceration. In that case, a third violation is deemed a nonperson felony under state law. Convicted individuals will be subject to:
- A minimum sentence of 90 days and a maximum sentence of one year in jail. (At the judge's discretion, the jail sentence can be served via incarceration, work release, and house arrest.)
- A fine ranging from $1,750 to $2,500, including court fees, probation fees, and evaluation charges
An individual will not be eligible for probation, suspension or reduction of sentence, or parole after a third and subsequent conviction unless they have served a minimum of 90 days in prison. Only once the individual has served 48 consecutive hours of incarceration can the 90 days of imprisonment be served in a work-release program.
In addition, the offender must pay for and complete a court-ordered alcohol and drug abuse treatment program, and the person's driving rights will be suspended for one year. After completing the one-year suspension, the offender will be limited to driving a vehicle with an ignition interlock device for another year. Before driving privileges can be fully restored, proof of the device's installation and use must be presented to the Division of Motor Vehicles. The offender's vehicle may also be impounded for up to a year.
Fourth DUI Offense
A fourth DUI offense in Kansas is also considered a nonperson felony under the law. The penalties for this conviction are similar to those for a third conviction, except that:
- Only after the individual has served 72 consecutive hours of incarceration may the 90 days of imprisonment be served in a work-release program.
- After completing the incarceration/work release program, the offender will be placed in the custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary for a one-year term of post-release supervision, which must entail completing a drug/alcohol rehabilitation program at the offender's expense.
Fifth or Subsequent Offense
This is also a felony offense, punishable penalties similar to those of third and fourth DUI convictions. However, an offender convicted for a fifth DUI offense will have their driving privileges permanently revoked.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Kansas?
DUI convictions and diversions in Kansas stay on a driver's record for the rest of a person's life. However, after completing probation for at least five years and at the court's discretion, an individual may have a first-time DUI conviction removed. After ten years, a second or subsequent DUI can be removed too. As such, while the DUI conviction may still appear on some government records or background checks, the convicted party can reduce the chances of an employer or other organization finding it.
DUI Expungement in Kansas
In Kansas, an expungement is the process of clearing convictions from a person's criminal record. As previously stated, a DUI arrest, diversion, or conviction in Kansas can be deleted when the motorist completes 5-10 years of probation or diversion. However, this will not occur automatically.
Anyone who wants a DUI conviction or diversion removed from their record must file a petition with the court. An expungement request for a first-time DUI or a refusal to submit to a chemical test must be filed after a five-year waiting period. A 10-year wait is required for the second DUI or refusal. If three years have passed since any mandated sentence was completed, or since the offender was freed from probation, parole, or a correctional services program, a petition can also be filed to have any arrest records relating to a DUI erased.
Expungement is subject to a judge's discretion. As a result, petitioners are urged to hire an attorney to assist them in preparing an expungement petition that includes all necessary data, which will increase their likelihood of succeeding. An impeccable probationary record, clean urine tests, participation in community and charity activities, and a clean record can help approve a petitioner's request.
How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Kansas?
Although a first-time DUI is treated more leniently than a subsequent DUI crime, the convicted offender is still likely to go to jail. A first DUI carries a minimum sentence of 90 days and a maximum sentence of six (6) months in prison. At the court's discretion, the perpetrator may be punished with 100 hours of community service instead of jail time.
Alternatively, the court may choose to put an offender on probation. Probation for a DUI in Kansas is usually for a year. Probationers must adhere to specific guidelines, such as not ingesting alcohol or drugs, submitting to drug and alcohol testing, and following all other conditions and laws. Violation of the probation requirement might result in incarceration.
What is the Average Cost of DUI in Kansas?
In Kansas, the average cost of a DUI is around $4,000, but it can be more depending on the gravity of the offense. A DUI conviction in Kansas can have substantial financial implications, and these can last for years, costing thousands of dollars.
While the financial repercussions of a DUI conviction vary based on prior driving records, city/county of conviction, blood-alcohol level, fines, and the crime itself, here are some of the costs an offender may incur:
- Court-imposed fines and court costs
- Legal fees
- Bail bond
- Auto insurance increments
- License reinstatement
- Court-mandated alcohol education programs
- Costs of alternate transportation (if the offender's license was suspended or their vehicle confiscated)
- Loss of earnings (if the individual loses their job because of the conviction)
Legal fees for a competent DUI attorney may account for a large portion of DUI costs. The fees charged by attorneys are determined by their expertise, reputation, and specialty, as well as the case. Regardless, a Kansas DUI attorney's cost often ranges from $1,000 to $10,000. Legal services for a felony DUI (third or subsequent offense) are usually more expensive than a misdemeanor DUI (first or second offense), as complex situations usually induce higher rates.
How Much is Bail for a DUI in Kansas?
Bail for a DUI in Kansas is usually set by a judge or judicial officer who considers the offender's previous offenses, present charges, and other variables to evaluate the seriousness of a charge. This evaluation also impacts whether or not an offender is eligible for bail and how much it will cost if they qualify. After being arrested, most people will post bail and leave jail unless they face serious charges, such as manslaughter. Although a court usually imposes bail, many Kansas state jails and police agencies maintain a regular bail schedule that allows offenders to be released before their hearing.
How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Kansas?
The process of restoring a license after a DUI starts when a person is arrested and their license confiscated by the arresting officer. This is because, while a DUI offender faces criminal charges, the Kansas Department of Revenue brings an administrative complaint against their driver's license.
After an arrest, the arresting officer will issue an "Officer's Certification and Notice of Suspension" document, commonly known as a DC-27, and inform the offender that they have the right to request a hearing to oppose the impending suspension. Failure to do so will lead law enforcement to believe that the offender has agreed to the suspension. As such, it is critical to act quickly to get a driver's license reinstated. The individual will only have 14 days to file a written request for a suspension hearing with the Kansas Department of Revenue.
At the hearing, the individual will be allowed to state their case, preferably with the help of an experienced criminal counsel. It is advisable to have a compelling reason for challenging the suspension, such as:
- The law enforcement official did not have legitimate cause to conduct a traffic stop from the start.
- The officer had no reason to suspect the individual of being under the influence.
- The person was not properly arrested or notified of their Miranda rights.
- Before declining a chemical test, the individual was not given the implied consent notice.
- Chemical testing methods were not carried out adequately.
- The person did not refuse to take a chemical test.
The offender may successfully dispute the suspension by demonstrating that one or more of the above factors contributed to the loss of their driver's license.
On the other hand, individuals convicted on DUI charges or who did not oppose the suspension must first guarantee that all suspension terms have been met to reinstate their license. This includes the waiting period, court-ordered DUI programs, fines, reinstatement costs, IID restrictions, etc.
How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Kansas?
A DUI conviction in Kansas can harm an offender's personal and professional life, in addition to the financial repercussions. Generally, even a single conviction on one's public record can significantly impact one's personal life, making it impossible to integrate into some social and professional communities. For example, because a DUI conviction remains on a person's permanent criminal record, it may jeopardize their job and make it difficult to get a professional license. This is because many professional organizations include a morality clause in their licensure requirements.
Also, DUI or other substance abuse-related matters are regarded very seriously in certain professions, particularly medical disciplines such as nursing and pharmacy, because registered practitioners have access to prescription medication.
Furthermore, many jobs require a valid driver's license as a condition of employment. If a license suspension is among the penalties imposed by the state court or Kansas Department of Transportation, an offender can find it hard to keep or get a job.
Aside from professional areas, a DUI conviction can also impact a convicted offender's education and immigration goals. College students or aspiring college students who are convicted of DUI may forfeit their scholarships. If the individual is a high school student about to enter college, any admission letter received by the offender may be rescinded. A DUI conviction can also have a detrimental effect on an individual's immigration status, especially if they have not yet obtained citizenship.
Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Kansas?
Yes, a DUI in Kansas can result in a person being fired. Kansas is an employment-at-will state. This means that an employer has the authority to fire an employee for any cause that is not discriminatory or retaliatory. An employee can also resign from their position at any time. The only time an employee will be considered wrongfully terminated under this rule is if they are fired for reasons other than poor work performance, misconduct, or because the business can no longer afford to hire their services.
A DUI is regarded as misconduct, and an employer may conclude that the offending employee is unfit to continue working for the organization. A DUI conviction is more than simply a crime; it also affects a person's capacity to function, which is a requirement for most occupations. In this circumstance, most companies will be well within their rights to fire any employee who has been charged with a DUI, especially if the work involves driving.
How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Kansas?
DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety or saturation checkpoints, are temporary obstacles that authorities deploy to determine whether drivers are intoxicated or not. They are usually conducted on busy public roads and highways. These checkpoints are used to deter drunk driving while also reducing the number of drunk driving offenses.
Sobriety checkpoints are permitted in Kansas. Because these roadblocks are legal, the Kansas Highway patrol agency publishes a calendar that informs citizens of the locations of DUI checkpoints throughout the state and the participating law enforcement authorities. This is because state law requires some form of public notification when a sobriety checkpoint is scheduled. By entering their preferred date, members of the public can view a specific schedule on the calendar. They may also ask to be informed about upcoming events.
In Kansas, a driver will be arrested for DUI if stopped at the checkpoint and their breath or blood test is .08 percent or higher, or if the individual is considered incapable of safely operating a vehicle.
The most typical approach to verifying a driver's BAC at these checkpoints is administering a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). Before conducting the PBT, the officer may ask the motorist to take a field sobriety test to check the individual for intoxication. The three standard tests are One-Leg Stand, HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus), and the Walk and Turn test. These tests are used to assess a driver's cognition, coordination, balance, and dexterity in general.
Failure to pass these tests can lead the law enforcement official to conclude that the driver is intoxicated, and this can result in a DUI arrest. While a motorist has the option to refuse these tests, doing so has implications. Suppose a driver refuses to take a breath or field sobriety test. In that case, it can be regarded as reasonable grounds for an arrest if there are other signs of impairment.
Which is Worse, DUI vs. DWI?
A DWI (driving while intoxicated) is generally considered more severe than a DUI (driving under the influence). This is because DWIs are criminal offenses that indicate a higher level of impairment due to the consumption of intoxicants. As a result, the sanctions for a DWI are more severe than those for a DUI. However, in Kansas, all drunk driving charges are classified as DUIs. The severity of a DUI charge is primarily determined by the offender's prior convictions and the circumstances surrounding the drunk driving incident.