DUI & DWI in Kansas
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Drinking and driving is responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Drunk driving is not only dangerous; it's costly. Drunk driving costs are an estimated $132 billion every year.
If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), the first thing you may want to do is consult with an experienced DUI attorney. Kansas is very tough on DUI, and the issue is serious enough that having legal representation is necessary in order to protect your rights.
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC), is the system of measure used to determine the level of alcohol in your bloodstream. It is illegal to drive in Kansas with a BAC of 0.08% or higher if you are 21 years old and over. A BAC of over 0.02% passes the legal limit if you are under 21 years old. For CDL drivers the legal limit must be under 0.04%
In Kansas, the DMV regulations state that having a driver's license, means you have given advance permission, or "implied consent" to testing for the presence of alcohol should you be stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of DUI.
Refusing to test is a separate offense from DUI. Even if you are later acquitted of the DUI charges, you will still undergo a license suspension for refusing to take the test. The Administrative penalty for refusing a chemical test are the same for all drivers:
- Driver's license suspension: 1 years.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): 2 years.
- Reinstatement fee: $600.
Subsequent refusals increase the reinstatement fees and the time that an IID is required. If you are convicted by the court of a DUI and refused the test at the time of your arrest, you may be required to pay a higher fine and may have your license suspended for a longer period.
The Kansas DUI Laws carry stiff penalties. Note that your lifetime driving record is taken into account in a DUI case.
- License suspension: 30 days.
- Required Ignition Interlock Device: 6 months or 1 year.
- Driver's license reinstatement fee: $200.
Under 21 years old
If you are found to be driving with a BAC of 0.02% or over, for a 1st offense you will face:
- License suspension:30 days.
- Required Ignition Interlock Device: Minimum of 330 days.
Additional offenses only make the penalties go up for drivers of any age. Reinstatement fees can go as high as $800 and the Department of Revenue can require you to keep an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle for up to 10 years.
DUI is considered a criminal offense. A 1st offense DUI conviction carries such penalties as:
- Fines: $750 to $1,000
- Imprisonment: Minimum 48 hours.
- Community service: 100 hours.
- License revocation.
- Mandatory alcohol and drug treatment programs (at your own expense).
- Court costs.
You will also face increased insurance rates.
If you are arrested for DUI while driving a commercial vehicle, not only will you face the same penalties as a person in a passenger car, but you will automatically lose your CDL (and the main part of your livelihood) for 1 year.
Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) can only be installed and maintained by an approved vendor. Fees can vary by vendor though all will probably have a fee for set up and then a monthly monitoring fee. It may pay to shop around before you settle on a vendor. Before you can have an IID installed you must have a ignition interlock restriction notice. If you did not receive a notice you can contact the Division of Vehicles at (785) 296-3671.
You will face even harsher penalties if you are found to have:
- A child younger than 14 years old as a passenger
- A BAC of 0.15% or over.
- A crash attributed to DUI.
- Death or injury due to DUI.
- Multiple DUI offenses on your record.
The Kansas Highway Patrol has some ideas to help keep impaired drivers off the streets and highways:
- Always have a "designated driver" if you are with friends and you know there will be drinking.
- Leave your vehicle and use a taxi or a safe ride program.
- If possible, make arrangements to spend the night where you are, rather than risk driving after you've been drinking.
Driving under the influence can have life-altering consequences for you and mean tragedy to others. It certainly pays to heed the advice above. Doing so can not only save you embarrassment, lots of money, jail time, and emotional turmoil, but it may even help save lives; yours or others'.