Kansas DUI Laws & Penalties

It is best to never drive after having some drinks or drugs because that impairs your driving abilities. Moreover, the state of Kansas imposes harsh penalties to those who violate the DUI laws. In case this advice comes too late and you have been charged already, it is good to learn a thing or too about the Kansas DUI laws and penalties and get prepared for what follows next.

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What is a Kansas DUI/DWI Offense?

You commit a DUI offense in Kansas if you are driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. There are two ways in which a Kansas police officer may determine that you have been driving while intoxicated and charge you with DUI:

  • By using their own observations, such as smell of alcohol, field sobriety tests, way of driving, and others
  • By doing a BAC (blood alcohol consentration) test using a breathalyzier, a blod or urine test

If the police officer optfor the second method, which happens in most cases, you cannot avoid DUI charges if your BAC is as follows:

  • 0.02% for drivers under 21 years of age
  • 0.04% for commercial drivers
  • 0.08% for all other drivers
  • 0.15% BAC brings enhanced penalties

As long as your BAC level meets these threshold, you are guilty of DUI. This is called a “per se” law and according to it, it doesn’t matter if you are really intoxicated or not. You’ll be charged with DUI anyway.

The other two important Kansas DUI laws are:

The implied consent law. This law obliges you to submit to a chemical test upon request by a police officer. Not doing so won’t save you from penalties, but may impose harsher ones, becasue as soon as you sit behind the wheel the law considers that you have given your consent to be tested. Therefore, refusing the test means viuolating your already accepted obligation.

Open container law. An open container with alcohol beverage in your car while driving will get you charged with DUI. Even if you hadn’t had a zip and you are not intoxicated, you have committed a DUI. Therefore, you have to keep all alcohol-filled containers closed while driving.

What Are the Penalties for Kansas DUI?

Penalties imposed upon conviction for DUI in Kansas depend on how many DUI offense you have committed before in your life. Unlike most of the other US states, Kansas counts all the DUI offenses during driver’s lifetime. There is no washout period in which the offenses are being erased from the criminal record, although it is possible under certain circumstances.

Another important thing to know as a Kansas DUI offender is that there is no option for plea bargaining in this state. If you thought that you can plea guilty for a smaller offense in order to avoid DUI penalties, that won’t be possible in Kansas. Plea bargaining for DUI cases is prohibiten there by the law.

There is no way to avoid the penalties. Depending on your previous DUIs, you should expect the following punishments:

First DUI Offense in Kansas

The first DUI offense in Kansas is a Class B misdemeanor. It brings the following penalties:

  • 90 days to 6 months in jail, or if the court chooses so, 100 hours of community service instead of jail
  • A fine between $750 and $1000 plus court costs
  • Suspension of driving license as follows: if the BAC was below 0.15% – 30 days of suspension and 6 months driving with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle or only a 12-month period of driving with an ignition interlock device, if the BAC is 0.15% or more – 1 year of driving license suspension with an additional 1 year of driving with an ignition interlock device
  • Completing a Kansas Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and paying the $150 fee for the program

There is a possibility of getting a restricted driving license for driving to work, home, school, hospital, and similar places after serving at least 45 days of the driving license suspension. In case of refusal to take the test, this minimum waiting period is 90 days.

Second DUI Offense in Kansas

Your second Kansas DUI is s Class A misdemeanor and leads to these penalties:

  • 90 days to 1 year in jail
  • A fine between $1250 and $1750 plus court costs
  • Suspension of driving license as follows: if the BAC was below 0.15% – 1 year of suspension and 1 year driving with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle, if the BAC is 0.15% or more – 1 year of driving license suspension with an additional 2 years of driving with an ignition interlock device
  • A possibility for probation and impounding of the car after serving at least 5 days in jail, 2 of which must be spent in jail, while the other rest may be served in a work-release program or house arrest with a GPS device
  • Completing an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and paying the $150 fee for the program

Again, you can get a restricted driving license to be able to satisfy your most basic needs such a going to work, school or doctor, but only after serving at least 45 days of the suspension. In the case of test refusal, the offender may apply for a restricted driving license after 90 days.

Third DUI Offense in Kansas

Your third Kansas DUI offense may lead to a large variety of penalties, depending on whether it was your third offense in the last 10 years or in a lifetime. The third DUI offense in Kansas within a lifetime is a Class A misdemeanor, while if committed within a 10-year period it is a felony. The penalties are the same for both the misdemeanor and the felony. The only difference is whether you’ll have yet another misdemeanor or a felony in your record.

In any case, the third offense is punishable as follows:

  • 90 days to 1 year in jail
  • A fine between $1750 and $2500 plus court costs
  • Suspension of driving license as follows: if the BAC was below 0.15% – 1 year of suspension and 1 year driving with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle, if the BAC is 0.15% or more – 1 year of driving license suspension with an additional 3 years of driving with an ignition interlock device
  • A possibility for probation and impounding of the car after serving at least 90 days in jail, 2 days of which must be spent in jail, while the rest may be spent in a work release program or house arrest with a GPS device
  • Completing an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and paying the $150 fee for the program

Third-time DUI offenders in Kansas can apply for a restricted driving license after 45 days, or in the case of a test refusal, in 90 days upon suspension.

Fourth DUI Offense in Kansas

The fourth subsequent DUI offense in Kansas is a felony and leads to the following penalties:

  • 90 days to 1 year in jail
  • A fine of $2500 plus court costs
  • Suspension of driving license as follows: if the BAC was below 0.15% – 1 year of suspension and 1 year driving with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle, if the BAC is 0.15% or more – 1 year of driving license suspension with an additional 4 years of driving with an ignition interlock device
  • A possibility for probation and impounding of the car after serving at least 90 days in custody, 72 hours of which must be in jail, while the rest may be served in a work-release program or in a home arrest with a GPS device
  • Completing an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and paying the $150 fee for the program

Getting a restricted driving license is possible only after serving at least 90 days of the 1-year suspension.

 Fifth DUI Offense in Kansas

The fifth Kansas DUI offense in a lifetime is a felony. It is punishable by the following penalties:

  • 90 days to 1 year in jail
  •  A fine of $2500 plus court costs
  • Suspension of driving license as follows: if the BAC was below 0.15% – 1 year of suspension and 1 year driving with an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle, if the BAC is 0.15% or more – 1 year of driving license suspension with an additional 10 years of driving with an ignition interlock device
  • A possibility for probation and impounding of the car after serving at least 90 days in custody, 72 hours of which must be in jail, while the rest may be served in a work-release program or in a home arrest with a GPS device
  • Completing an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program for Kansas and paying the $150 fee for the program

Getting a restricted driving license in possible, but not before the expiry of 90 days of your driving license suspension.

Kansas DUI Penalties for Chemical Test Refusal

Refusing to submit to a chemical test for checking out your BAC and your ability to drive will not save you from DUI penalties in Kansas, nor in any other US state. Instead, you’ll face longer suspension of your driving license and a higher reinstatement fees, as follows:

For the first DUI offense – 1 year of driving license suspension with 1 year of driving with an ignition interlock device afterwards

For the second DUI offense – 1 year of driving license suspension with 2 years of driving with an ignition interlock device afterwards

For the third DUI offense – 1 year of driving license suspension with 3 years of driving with an ignition interlock device afterwards

The reinstatement fee start from $600 for the first offense and increases for every next offense.

Kansas DUI Penalties for Drivers Under the Ages of 21

The state of Kansas does not tolerate drivers under the age of 21 driving under influence. The penalties for their first DUI offense are as follows:

  • For BAC between 0.02% and 0.08% – driving license suspension of 30 days and a restricted driving license for the next 330 days
  •  For BAC between 0.08% and 0.15% – driving license suspension of 30 days and a restricted driving license for the next 6 months, but with an ignition interlock device in the vehicle
  • For BAC of 0.15% or more – driving license suspension of 30 days and a restricted driving license for the next 1 year.

The second DUI offense will mean a driving license suspension of 1 year. Also, minors between 14 and 18 years of age will be tried as adults

Kansas DUI Penalties for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers have increased responsibility due to the nature of their work, therefore the BAC threshold for them is set at only 0.04% and face suspension and revocation of the driving license.

Their first DUI offense leads to a suspension of their commercial driving license for 1 year. While the second one to a permanent suspension. Having said that, commercial drivers are allowed to make only one mistake before losing the license they cannot work without.

What is a Diversion in Kansas?

Kansas DUI offenders have an option for diversion, which is not very common around the US. It gives the offender an opportunity ro accept responsibility for the crime without being convicted. A diversion is, in fact, an agreement between the offender and the prosecutor. The prosecutor does not have to make such an agreement, but if he does, the offender will get away without the usual penalties. Instead, they will have to attend alcohol abuse programs, not drink alcohol for a year, give random samples of urine for checking him out, not go to place where alcohol is served, except for restaurants and sporting events, attend DUI victims panel, and other measures.

How to Reinstate Your Kansas Driving License

Upon serving your penalties, you may reinstate your driving license. To do so, you need to visit your local DMV office and take the following actions:

  •  Submit the required documents
  • Submit a proof that you have obtained a SR22 insurance policy
  • Retake the driving skills and knowledge tests, if necessary
  • Pay the reinstatement fees

After that, you’ll have your driving license back.

Additional Kansas resources you may need:

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