Kansas DUI laws

If you made an honest mistake on the road, you should not have to pay for the rest of your life. 

Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a stressful time.

Many people panic about the consequences not only of losing their driving license but also losing their job. Not to mention the effect on their families, relationships, and future prospects.

They may face:

  • Criminal charges
  • Civil litigation
  • Loss of their driver’s license
  • Loss of career opportunities
  • Challenges with immigration

While DUI is a serious charge with serious consequences (including jail time), we believe that honest mistakes do happen regularly on the roads. Good people should not have to pay for the rest of their lives for a simple mistake.

We can help you navigate these stressful times and fight your case so that you can start planning a more positive future.

Prosecutors in Kansas can prove DUI by:

  1. Officer’s observations that a person was incapable of driving safely due to intoxication by alcohol and/or drugs
  2. Proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater was recorded by administering a valid test within three hours of driving

For people who refuse a blood, breath or urine test, the prosecutor will pursue the first type of DUI case. Penalties can be severe, especially for repeat offenders.  Bear in mind that you have only 14 days to request a hearing before your license is automatically suspended. That makes it critical to get in touch with an attorney as early as possible. An experienced DUI lawyer will attempt to mitigate the penalties you pay so that your future is less impacted.

What are DUI penalties in Kansas?

Penalties for a DUI conviction in Kansas depend on whether or not it is your first offense – and the skills of your DUI defense lawyer.

For first-time offenders, a DUI conviction will be treated as a Class B misdemeanor. It will result in:

  • Jail time of between two days and six months (not less than two consecutive days in jail or 100 hours of public service – that’s up to the judge) 
  • A fine between $750 and $1,000 plus additional fees and court costs
  • Suspension of driver’s license for 30 days and a six-month requirement to drive only a car equipped with an ignition interlock device (if your Blood-Alcohol reading is under 0.150)
  • Requirement to complete an alcohol class

For a second offence, a DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor and will result in:

  • Jail time of between 90 days and one year (a good DUI defense lawyer will arrange for two consecutive days in jail with the remaining time spent under house arrest, doing community service, and on parole)
  • A fine between $1,250 and $1,750 plus additional fees and court costs
  • Suspension of driver’s license for one year and a one-year requirement to drive only a car equipped with an ignition interlock device 
  • Requirement to complete a treatment program for drug and alcohol abuse

For a third DUI offence (after a 10-year period with no convictions), a conviction will still be classed as a Class A misdemeanor and the sentence will be identical to the second-offence punishments except the house arrest period is longer (if granted).

If it is your third DUI conviction or more within 10 years, it will be classed as a felony.

This means:

  • Jail time of between 90 days and one year (a good DUI defense lawyer will arrange for not less than five consecutive days in jail OR two consecutive days in jail followed by five days of house arrest. If this is not permitted, participation in a work-release program is possible)
  • A fine between $1,750 and $2,500 plus additional fees and court costs
  • Suspension of driver’s license for one year and two-to-ten-year requirement to drive only a car equipped with an ignition interlock device
  • Requirement to complete a treatment program for drug and alcohol abuse

Note that certain aggravating circumstances (such as having a child under the age of 14 in the car when you were stopped and arrested for DUI) will make the jail sentence or house arrest period longer by 30 days.

What should you do when being stopped for a DUI?

Knowing what to do and what not to do when stopped for a DUI in Kansas can help prevent misunderstandings, complications, and more serious penalties.

The following are some very general DOs and DON’Ts.

DO:

  • Exercise your right to remain silent
  • Give your driver’s license, insurance, and registration details to the police officer(s)
  • Ask the officer frequently for permission to leave 
  • Ask to speak to your DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible
  • Ask for a hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license (the Administrative License Hearing, which is handled separately to your DUI charge)

DO NOT:

  • Answer questions or feel that you need to say anything (it may harm your position)
  • Take a field sobriety test – decline the offer (it is not against the law though your license may be suspended for a year)
  • Take a preliminary breath test – even if the officer says that you may face extra charges (these are minor charges)

Note that the DUI laws in Kansas are subject to change at short notice. It is best to check with your DUI defense lawyer for specific, up-to-date legal advice.

Refusing a field sobriety test in Kansas

Refusing a field sobriety test in the state of Kansas is no longer illegal.

A new state law was passed in mid-2019 stating that you can refuse to take a field sobriety test (being required to walk in a straight line, walk-and-turn, and stand on one leg, etc.)

However, it will result in a year-long license suspension – the same as if you failed a breathalyzer or blood test.

Note that the police can also still charge you for DUI based on other evidence.

Can I have a DUI conviction expunged?

A DUI conviction can remain on your criminal record forever unless you take steps to have the record expunged.

After you have been off probation or diversion for at least five years following your first offense, an arrest, diversion or conviction for a Kansas DUI can be expunged. If you have been convicted for a second time for a DUI-related offense then it is 10 years after the offense that you can apply to have your record expunged.

However, this will not automatically happen. To achieve the expungement, you must file a petition with the court that your case was heard in and the judge must grant it.  

Diversion of a DUI charge

In Kansas, if you are willing to plead guilty to a first DUI charge, you may have the option of a diversion with the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer.

This means that, rather than having a conviction and a criminal record, you admit guilt and agree to be supervised for a year and to fulfill several conditions.  

If all goes well during that period, the prosecutor will dismiss the case against you so that you will have no conviction.

Your DUI charge and diversion will appear on your criminal record but you can later have this expunged.

However, if you have a subsequent DUI charge, your diversion will be considered as a prior conviction, and so the new DUI will be classed as a second offence (a Class B misdemeanor).



Kansas State DUI FAQ

In Kansas, is a DUI considered a felony?

If you are charged with a first-time DUI in Kansas it will normally be considered a misdemeanor offence.

However, if your BAC (blood alcohol content) is .08% or greater and/or you have multiple previous convictions, your case may be treated as a felony.

How many DUIs is a felony in Kansas?

If you are convicted of DUI and have a prior DUI conviction within the last 10 years, a third offense DUI conviction will be considered a nonperson felony.

This will mean that more severe rules and restrictions apply to you.

What happens when you get a DUI in Kansas?

A DUI conviction in Kansas will mean mandatory prison time if it is not your first offence.

With a first DUI, you may get 48 hours prison time or 100 hours of community service, in addition to:

  • Mandatory attendance at a court-ordered alcohol safety and/or substance treatment program
  • A fine of between $500 and $1,000
  • A 30-day license suspension

There will also be court costs and other fees to pay.

Things get more serious for a second, third, or fourth offence. This will mean:

  • At least 90 days in prison
  • Higher fines
  • Longer driver's license suspension
  • Longer probation periods

If you are facing DUI charges in Kansas, you need strong legal representation so that you have the best chance of escaping these punishments.

Can I get a first-time DUI dismissed in Kansas?

There is a chance that your DUI charge will be dismissed if you have an experienced lawyer defending you.

No matter how much evidence there is against you, police officers need to follow the correct procedure.

Any violation of your rights during a traffic stop or in testing procedures can result in evidence being excluded and the case being dismissed.

The technical requirements in a DUI case are extensive and an experienced lawyer will know precisely what to look for.

Can I get a DUI on private property in Kansas?

Yes, you can.

While it is far more common to be stopped for DUI on pubic roads in Kansas, you can be charged for DUI on private property. This applies to parking lots with public access as well as friends’ or relatives’ properties.

In a parking lot, a police officer can investigate and arrest you for DUI if they have probable cause.

However, a police officer is not entitled to enter a friend’s private property and arrest you if your friend has given consent for you to be there and is aware of your conduct.

Can I keep my license after a DUI in Kansas?

If you are charged with DUI in Kansas you will have your license suspended by the Motor Vehicle Commission.

You may challenge this suspension in court. This will be separate from your DUI trial but will still require you to appear in front of a judge or administrator and make a case for retaining your license.

Some typical arguments for challenging license suspension include the loss of employment without a license or the need to drive children to school.

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Who can we help with DUI or other driving charges?

Our DUI lawyers are experienced in defending cases for Shawnee county residents who are accused of driving:

  • Over the legal blood-alcohol limit
  • With a suspended license
  • Underage while over the legal limit
  • Carelessly or dangerously
  • Under the influence of drugs

While many of our clients are first-time offenders who make honest mistakes, we can also assist repeat offenders who may face imprisonment for their actions.

Initially, we will listen to the circumstances of the charge. Then we will advise if and how we can help your case.

First, we listen.

Book a free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your case.

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