Drugged DUI Laws in Kansas
While most people associate DUI (Driving Under the Influence) with alcohol, drugged driving is a serious criminal offense with penalties that may be as severe as those for drunk driving.
In fact, according to the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Drugged driving is driving a vehicle while impaired due to the intoxicating effects of recent drug use. It can make driving a car unsafe—just like driving after drinking alcohol.
Drugged driving puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road at serious risk.”
A 2018 survey concluded that throughout the U.S., 12.6 million people aged 16 and older operated a vehicle while under the influence of illicit drugs.
Moreover, a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that in 2009, up to one in five drivers who suffered fatal injuries tested positive for drugs.
At Irigonegaray, Turney, Revenaugh, LP, we know how to help protect your future and freedom when you face charges of drugged driving in Kansas.
Drugged driving and implied consent
Getting a driver’s license comes with responsibilities. Among those is implied consent: when you get the right to drive, you also are legally obliged to consent to be tested if there’s suspicion that you are driving under the influence.
This means you would be required to submit to a field sobriety and/or chemical tests to determine whether you are impaired, and to what extent.
In all 50 states, licensed drivers have implied consent. Kansas implied consent law states that:
- Any person who operates or attempts to operate a vehicle within this state is deemed to have given consent to submit to one or more tests of the person’s blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs. § 8-1001(a).
- If the person refuses to submit to and complete any test of breath, blood or urine none shall be given, but the person’s driving privileges will be suspended for one year for the first occurrence, two years for the second occurrence, three years for the third occurrence, 10 years for the fourth occurrence and permanently revoked for a fifth or subsequent occurrence. § 8-1001(k)(4).
Kansas courts have also upheld the use of sobriety checkpoints, in which law enforcement can stop vehicles randomly at a fixed, predetermined location in order to detect drivers who may be impaired by drugs or alcohol. Implied consent applies at sobriety checkpoints, as well as if a driver is pulled over for suspicion of drunk or drugged driving.
How is drug impairment measured?
In Kansas, you are considered to be driving drunk if your blood alcohol (BAC) is at or above .08. One of the most common ways a BAC is determined is though the use of a Breathalyzer: a relatively simple test that is generally considered to be accurate—and can be conducted on the spot.
Since alcohol also leaves the body fairly quickly, it’s the test most likely to be used.
Drug impairment is more difficult to ascertain. Different factors may determine how long drugs remain in your system, such as type of drug, frequency of use, the amount used, tolerance—and even your weight, gender, and metabolic rate.
Marijuana can show up in your blood and urine for a month or more, and in hair up to 90 days. Other drugs, such as cocaine and LSD, leave the system faster (cocaine can leave the system in as little as 15 minutes).
The harder thing to prove is impairment. Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are law enforcement officers who have been specially trained to recognize impairment in drivers. Some of the tests given and cues looked for by a DRE may include:
- Eye examination: This includes a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) and/or a vertical gaze nystagmus (VGN).
- Divided attention psychophysical tests: Typically, the Romberg Balance, the Walk and Turn, the One Leg Stand, and the Finger to Nose test are all used.
- Arm exams: Checking for recent injection sites.
- Vitals: Checking blood pressure, pulse, and muscle tone.
What are the impairing effects of illegal drugs?
Driving under the influence of drugs is against the law for the simple reason that drugs impair your ability to drive safely:
- Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, and effects include: Extreme relaxation, a feeling of euphoria, disorientation, a loss of perception of time and space, fatigue/drowsiness, paranoia, and increased heart rate.
- Methamphetamines (meth) causes initial euphoria, excitation, hallucinations and delusions, inability to sleep, poor impulse control, increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure
- Cocaine use leads to euphoria, initial increase in alertness (often followed by confusion/disorientation), irritability, aggressive behavior, paranoia, and rapid heart rate.
- Opioids (heroin, oxycodone, morphine, Percodan, hydrocodone) can cause intense euphoria, agitation, extreme relaxation and sedation, disconnectedness, loss of mental judgment, nausea/vomiting, and loss of reflexes.
- LSD and hallucinogenic drugs have effects such as hallucinations and delusions, impaired perception of time, space and depth, hypertension, and tremors.
How DUI laws apply to marijuana
Kansas has two ways to prove a drugged DUI. They are:
- Per se marijuana DUI: The Latin “per se” means “by itself.” Legally speaking, and as it applies to both drunk driving and drugged driving, it means that the prosecution need only prove that you (the defendant) were driving while impaired because you were affected by the use of marijuana, as shown by your body chemistry. In other words, how much THC (the psychoactive compound that produces the high) was in your system at the time of your arrest.
- Impairment DUI: An impairment DUI charge is based primarily on the officer’s observations and the outcome of any tests at the time of your arrest. For instance, were you showing unusual behavior, were you disoriented, were you particularly aggressive or paranoid, or did you fail a field sobriety test?
What are the penalties for drugged driving in Kansas?
Drugged driving penalties are similar to those for drunk driving, and are based on a number of factors including previous violations and how much drugs were detected in your system.
Penalties may include:
- First offense: Not less than 48 consecutive hours nor more than six months’ imprisonment, or 100 hours of community service; fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000; at least 48 consecutive hours of imprisonment or 100 hours of public service will be required as a condition probation or suspension of sentence.
- Second offense: Not less than 90 days nor more than one year’s imprisonment (at least five-day mandatory minimum); fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $1,500. Id. § 8-1567(e).
- Third offense: Mandatory minimum of 90 days, but not more than one year’s imprisonment; fine of 2,500; the person convicted shall not be eligible for release on probation, suspension or reduction of sentence or parole until the person has served at least 90 days imprisonment.
- Fourth and subsequent offense felony: Not less than 90 days nor more than one year’s imprisonment; fine of $2,500; offender shall not be eligible for release on probation, suspension or reduction of sentence or parole until the person has served at least 90 days imprisonment; 72 consecutive hours imprisonment is required before offender can be released into the work release program.
Aside from legal penalties, a drugged DUI conviction can affect your ability to obtain a professional license, limit your employment opportunities, bar you from getting a scholarship, increase your insurance premiums, and affect relationships with family and friends.
In addition, you may face drug charges and need help from a knowledgeable attorney at ITR Law.
Get the help you need in a drugged DUI charge from our skilled Topeka attorneys
A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs has far-reaching consequences. We stand ready to defend you against drugged driving charges. To discuss your situation, please contact us online or call us at 785.267.6115.
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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.