Kansas DUI Laws & Penalties

There is still a perception amongst some people that DUI is simply a traffic violation – but the consequences are far more serious than that.

A DUI in Kansas can land you in jail. And, if you are a repeat offender you are almost certain to go to prison for longer than a few days.
That’s quite apart from the lifelong criminal record that can impact everything from employment to finding insurance or a home.

Familiarizing yourself with the DUI laws and the associated penalties is a good idea if you are ever tempted to drink and drive. They will certainly make you think twice.

Types of DUI in Kansas

Did you know that there are two types of DUI in Kansas?

A prosecutor may be able to convict you if either of the following can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You were incapable of safely driving due to intoxication by alcohol and/or drugs (including prescription or non-prescription drugs). Evidence generally includes the observations of police officers, field sobriety tests, etc.
  2. You were driving a vehicle while your blood alcohol level was .08 or greater, as measured by a valid blood, breath or urine test that was properly administered within three hours of the stop (this is known as a per se DUI).

DUI penalties in Kansas

The precise penalties for DUI depend on the circumstances of your case. One of the most significant factors in deciding the severity of the penalty is whether it is your first offense or not.

The judicial system in Kansas is generally more lenient and flexible for first DUI offenses.

Type of Offense 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Jail 48 hours to six months 5 days to 12 months 90 days to 1 year
Fines Up to $1,000 Up to $1,750 Up to $2,500
License Suspension 30 days (1 year with BAC of .15 g/mml or more) 1 Year 1 Year
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) 180 days (1 year with BAC of .15 g/ml or more) 1 year (2 years with BAC of .15 g/ml or more) 2 year (3 years with BAC of .15 g/ml or more)

DUI first offense

A DUI first offense is a Class B misdemeanor in Kansas.

After you have spent 48 hours in jail, you may be eligible for probation. However, this comes with strict conditions, such as no drinking and mandatory participation in alcohol school.

Your vehicle may be impounded and a conviction will result in the suspension of driving privileges of at least 30 days. You may be able to apply for a restricted license if your driving suspension lasts for longer than 45 days.

DUI second offense

A DUI second offense is a Class A misdemeanor in Kansas.

After you have spent five days in jail, you may be eligible for probation. Two of the days of imprisonment must be served consecutively in a jail facility or weekend treatment program. The remaining time may be served in a work-release facility (where you go back to the jail each night after work) or even under house arrest.

A conviction for a second DUI will result in the suspension of driving privileges for at least one year. Again, you may be able to apply for a restricted license after 45 days.

DUI third offense

A DUI third offense is a felony in Kansas if there has been a diversion or conviction for a DUI within the previous 10 years. No diversion or conviction in the past 10 years will see it treated as a Class A misdemeanor.

No probation is possible until after 90 days in custody but after 48 hours in jail, you may be eligible for a work-release program. House arrest with GPS monitoring may also be possible.

A conviction for a third DUI will result in the suspension of driving privileges for at least one year.

DUI 4th offense or more

A DUI fourth offense (or more) is a felony in Kansas and your term of imprisonment may be served in state prison.

No probation is possible until after 90 days in custody but after 72 hours you may be eligible for a work-release program. House arrest with GPS monitoring may also be possible.

After serving your sentence, you will be placed under supervision for a year and you may need to participate in recommended substance abuse and mental health programs.

A conviction for a fourth DUI will result in the suspension of driving privileges for at least one year.

DUI and plea bargains in Kansas

An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to push for the charges against you to be dismissed if there are problems with the evidence or the police officers did not follow the correct protocol.

Failing that, a plea bargain may be in your best interests.

Sometimes, a diversion agreement with the prosecution is possible whereby you do not serve jail time but a DUI charge cannot be reduced to a lesser offense according to Kansas statute.

Also, plea bargaining to avoid a DUI mandatory minimum penalty is prohibited in Kansas.

Can you refuse a blood or breath test in Kansas?

Kansas is an “implied consent” state, which means that if you are lawfully arrested for a DUI, you must submit to a blood or breath test.

If you refuse to take a test, it is a criminal offense and the prosecutor will likely pursue a DUI case against you.

Penalties for refusing a test are the same or even harsher than if you are convicted so refusing a test is generally inadvisable. The penalties increase in severity depending on the number of prior convictions on your record (including all prior DUI convictions, refusals, and failed BAC tests in your lifetime).

In addition to the potential criminal penalties, your license will be suspended for between one and three years, regardless of the outcome of your case in court.

What happens to minors in DUI cases?

Kansas has a “zero tolerance” law for minors who drive after consuming alcohol. Accordingly, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol of .02 or more.

This means that you cannot even have one standard alcoholic drink and drive legally in Kansas if you are under 21.
Penalties are as follows:

  • For a test result between .02 and .08 (first occurrence): suspension for 30 days and restricted thereafter for 330 days.
  • For a test result of .08 or greater: suspension of 30 days followed by six months of driving a car equipped with an interlock device.
  • For a test result of .15 or greater: suspension for one year followed by one year of driving a car equipped with an interlock device.
  • Refusing a test: suspension of driving privileges for one year.

Note that juveniles between the ages of 14 and 18 will be tried as adults for traffic offenses, rather than being prosecuted in juvenile court.

Have your DUI rights been violated?

One of the best defenses to a DUI charge is a violation of your rights by law enforcement. If that happens, your DUI lawyer may have a strong case for the dismissal of charges against you.

To determine whether your rights were violated during a DUI traffic stop and arrest, you may be asked the following questions by your DUI attorney:

  • What driving infraction were you being cited for that caused the traffic stop (was there probable cause)?
  • Did the officer witness you operating your vehicle?
  • Did you take a breathalyzer test?
  • If so, how long was this after your last alcoholic drink?
  • Did you take a field sobriety test?
  • If so, what happened?
  • Were there any external factors that influenced your sobriety test (e.g., weather conditions?)
  • Were you clearly informed of your rights when arrested?

Even if the evidence against you for DUI seems overwhelming, you always have a defense.
Police officers can and do make mistakes and violation of your rights is a relatively common way to avoid a lifelong criminal record in DUI cases in Kansas.