According to a study done by the website ArrestRecords, Kansas has a DUI (driving under the influence) severity score of 6.54, making it the 23rd worst state for DUIs. In contrast, Wyoming’s score (12.11) is the worst, and Massachusetts’s (3.34) the best.
The DUI severity score is based on the latest FBI crime statistics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) DUI fatality statistics, and U.S. Census Bureau data. Kansas’s score actually rose three places from the previous year.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI, you may be wondering what your options are and whether you should just go it alone because the penalties will be the same no matter what you do, but you don’t need to throw up your hands in despair. You do have legal rights you can exercise.
If you’ve been arrested in or around the Kansas City area in Kansas or Missouri, contact me at The Richman Law Office LLC. I am an attorney with two decades of experience in defending clients against DUI and DWI charges and the suspension of their licenses. I’ll explain your options to you and work side by side with you during each step of the legal process to seek the most favorable result available.
A DUI charge in the state of Kansas can be based on either or both of two main factors:
A Per Se DUI: if you’re pulled over and are given a breath test and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, that’s per se proof of driving under the influence. The level is reduced to 0.04% for drivers of commercial vehicles, and to 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21. A blood test result can also be used as per se proof.
Impaired Driving: If you are observed to be incapable of safely operating a vehicle because of impairment due to drugs or alcohol, you can be charged with a DUI/DWI (driving while intoxicated or impaired).
Kansas DUI and impaired driving statutes also state that a driver may be charged while either “operating or attempting to operate” a vehicle. This can be interpreted in various ways, but if you’re caught sleeping off a night of one too many in your car and you have your keys within reach, you could be guilty of a DUI charge.
First and second DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors. After that, the offense rises to the level of a felony, which means a conviction can lead to restrictions on your voting and gun ownership rights. Penalties for each offense include:
First Offense: 48 hours of mandatory imprisonment or 100 hours of community service, attending a drug and alcohol safety education program, a fine of $500 to $1,000, driver’s license suspension for 30 days, and then restrictions for another 330 days.
Second Offense: 90 days to one-year imprisonment, alcohol and drug abuse treatment program at your expense, a fine of $1,000 to $1,500, one-year suspension of driving privileges followed by the installation and use of an ignition interlock device (IID) for the following year.
Third Offense: A felony with 90 days to one year of imprisonment, a drug and alcohol treatment program at your expense, a fine of $1,500 to $2,500 plus court costs, a one-year driving privilege suspension followed by an additional year of an IID on your vehicle.
Subsequent offenses will carry penalties similar to a third offense, but at the end of your imprisonment, you will also be placed in the custody of the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections for one year of supervision.
In addition, penalties are increased for any offense if your BAC comes in at or above 0.15% of if you have a child as a passenger who is 14 years of age or younger. If your DUI results in involuntary manslaughter, your prison time will range from 38 to 172 months.
Under the “implied consent” provision of Kansas driving laws, you are required to submit to a blood or breath test if suspected of driving under the influence. If you refuse, you can have your driving privileges suspended for one year, followed by the installation and mandatory use of an IID on your vehicle for two years the first time you refuse (three years if you make a subsequent refusal and four years if you refuse on a third-occasion).
As with any arrest, the officers must have probable cause. This means the police must have witnessed something that warranted them pulling you over in the first place. This may be able to be challenged in court.
In Rodriguez v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that any traffic stop “must be temporary and last no longer than necessary to effect the purpose of the stop.” If the officers who pull you over make you wait too long while they call in for support or take other delaying actions, that may potentially be challenged as well.
Officers must also follow specified procedures in administering a breathalyzer test, and the breathalyzer itself must be calibrated accurately, providing still more avenues to be challenged. If you submitted to a blood test, it can be challenged whether it was contaminated somewhere during the handling and processing of the sample.
When you visit The Richman Law Office, I’ll explain strategies for getting your case expunged, dismissed, or suppressed. I’ll also coach you through the bench trial process, which involves:
Attending your initial hearing, where you’ll plead guilty or not guilty.
Enrolling in a DUI diversion program, which can help you avoid prosecution if this is your first offense.
Attending your administrative license hearing, where you can fight to keep your license.
Appearing for your trial date, where I’ll defend you in criminal court.
You don’t have to face your DUI/DWI charges alone. I am ready to work together with you to pursue the best available outcome in your case. Contact me at The Richman Law Office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your charge with a skilled DUI/DWI defense attorney in Kansas City, Kansas, and the Kansas City, Missouri areas.