When you were arrested, the officer should have given you a pink form, called the DC-27. As described on the back of that form, you must send a letter requesting an administrative hearing to the Kansas Department of Revenue within 10 days of the day you received the DC-27 or your driving privileges will automatically be suspended, period. That’s why it’s important in Kansas to contact a DUI attorney right away to protect your rights.
Kansas DUI law requires the skills of a qualified Kansas drunk driving defense lawyer. The charge of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI) means that you operated or attempted to operate a vehicle when, because of the ingestion of drugs or alcohol, you were incapable of safely doing so.
Kansas DUI prosecutors will attempt to prove this incapability by showing either that your blood alcohol level (BAC) was .08 or above, and/or from other evidence, such as poor performance on field sobriety tests, poor driving skills, your physical appearance, and statements that you made to the officer.
In order to defend against a Kansas DUI case, you must be ready and able to attack the Government’s drunk driving evidence. This can be done through independent witnesses who can attest to your lack of intoxication, or through a critical examination of the results of the breath or blood tests. The Kansas DUI can also be attacked by challenging the precision and proficiency with which the officer conducted the field sobriety tests.
Kansas DUI arrests can also be fought by challenging the training and experience of the persons who conducted any chemical tests; by contesting the constitutionality of any stops, searches, and seizures; and by testing the credibility and reliability of the statements of any witnesses.
Kansas DUI cases are no different than any criminal charge: the Government bears the burden of proving the charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt, to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. Because of an increased political and public intolerance toward those who drink and drive, however, defending against a Kansas DUI charge has become more complicated, while the penalties upon conviction have become more onerous.
Your Driver’s License
Kansas DUI arrests give rise to two distinct and separate aspects of your case: the criminal charges, which can result in fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges; and the administrative (or civil) case, which can result in the suspension of your driving privileges. It is extremely important to pay attention to both the criminal court case and the driver’s license case, as there are different rules that apply to each.
Kansas DUI law is such that the length of suspension that you face depends upon whether you refused the chemical test or whether you failed the test; whether this is your first test failure; and whether you are over or under 21 years of age. The time of suspension of driving privileges, depending on these factors ranges from 30 days to one year.
Kansas DUI law provides you with the right, however, to an administrative hearing in which you can challenge the grounds upon which your license is being suspended. If you are successful at the hearing, your license may not be administratively suspended at all. This is but one reason why it is critical that you obtain the services of a well-qualified Kansas DUI defense lawyer.
When you were arrested, the officer should have given you a pink form, called the DC-27. As described on the back of that form, you must send a letter requesting an administrative hearing to the Kansas Department of Revenue within 10 days of the day you received the DC-27 or your driving privileges will automatically be suspended, period.
If you request an administrative hearing in a timely manner, your driving privileges cannot be suspended until a decision has been made by the hearing officer. Prior to the hearing, you can subpoena certain documents and witnesses who may have information about your case.
At the hearing, a number of issues can be raised in your, defense – depending on the facts of your case – including whether or not the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you were operating or attempting to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether you were given the legally required notices, whether your actions constituted a legal refusal to take the test, whether the testing equipment and the officer operating the machine were certified by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), whether the testing procedures were in substantial compliance with KDHE rules and regulations, whether the test result was .08 or greater, whether you were operating or attempting to operate a vehicle, and due process or other constitutional issues.
Again, it is extremely important to request the administrative hearing within 10 days. Failure to do this will result in the suspension of your driving privileges without a hearing.
Potential Criminal Penalties
Kansas DUI cases in criminal court may result in fines, potential jail time, suspension of your driving privileges, and the potential impoundment of your vehicle. The amount of fine and the length of the jail sentence are determined, in large part, by whether you have previously been convicted, or placed on diversion for a Kansas DUI. It no longer matters whether a prior conviction was within five years. Now, all prior DUI convictions and DUI diversions count, regardless of how long ago they occurred.
First Conviction: A first conviction for DUI is a Class B misdemeanor. The potential sentence is 48 hours to six months in jail. The person must serve at least 48 hours, unless the court orders order that the person complete 100 hours of community service instead of the term of imprisonment. The fine for a first conviction ranges between $500 and $1,000. Upon a first conviction, driving privileges are suspended for 30 days, followed by 330 days of restrictions. You will also be required to undergo a drug and/or alcohol evaluation and will have to complete whatever treatment is recommended by the evaluator.
Second Conviction: A second conviction for DUI is a Class A misdemeanor. The potential sentence is 90 days to one year in jail. The person must serve at least five days, but after 48 hours the judge can order that remainder of the sentence be served on house arrest or in a work-release program. Completion of a substance abuse treatment program is required. The fine for a second conviction ranges from $1,000 to $1,500. Upon a second conviction, driving privileges are suspended for one year followed by one year of interlock restrictions.
Third Conviction: A third conviction for DUI is a felony. The sentence includes 90 days to one year in jail. Ninety days imprisonment is mandatory, but after 48 hours in jail, the judge can order that the remainder of the sentence be served in work release or on house arrest. The fine for a third conviction ranges from $1,500 to $2,500. Upon a third conviction, driving privileges are suspended for one year followed by one year of interlock restrictions.
Fourth Conviction: A fourth conviction for DUI is also a felony. Like a third conviction, there is a minimum sentence of 90 days. A person convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI, however, must serve 72 hours in jail and then may be placed in a work-release program. The fine for a fourth conviction is $2,500. Upon a fourth conviction, driving privileges are suspended for one year followed by one year of interlock restrictions. If there is a fifth conviction, driving privileges are permanently revoked.
Juvenile Drivers and DUI’s
Juveniles who are at least 14 but not yet 18 years of age, who are charged with DUI are tried in adult court, rather than juvenile court. A juvenile’s sentence, however, cannot be longer than ten days and can only be served in a juvenile detention facility. The court has the authority to revoke or suspend a juvenile’s driving privileges, upon conviction for DUI, for a period of up to one year. Instead of suspension, the court may impose restrictions on a juvenile’s driving privileges.
Drivers Under 21 and DUIs
It is unlawful for any person under 21 to operate or attempt to operate a vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol content of .02 or greater. If a driver under 21 has a BAC of .02-.079 there are no criminal penalties, but driving privileges can be suspended. If the BAT is between .02 and .08, driving privileges may be suspended for 30 days on the first occurrence, and one year on any subsequent occurrence. If a driver has a BAT of .08 or above, driving privileges can be suspended for one year.
In order to avoid an automatic suspension of driving privileges, you must request an administrative hearing within 10 days of the day you were stopped. If you request a hearing, the basis for the suspension may be challenged.
Kansas DUI law is unique since it allows for a DUI diversion program (which most states do not). If you have never been convicted of DUI, have never entered into a diversion contract for DUI before, and were not involved in an accident or collision resulting in personal injury or death, you may be eligible to participate in a DUI diversion program.
Kansas DUI Diversion is essentially a contract between the county or city and the person charged with DUI in which the person charged gives up his or her right to a speedy trial and his or her right to a jury trial, in exchange for an opportunity to avoid a conviction for DUI. Under the diversion agreement, you will be required to pay a fine; attend an alcohol and drug safety action program or treatment program, or both; use no alcohol or drugs, and fulfill whatever other terms and conditions the city or state requires.
Kansas DUI Diversion has one chief benefit: If at the completion of the diversion period-usually one year – you have completed all the requirements of the contract, the criminal charge of DUI is dismissed.
However, If you do not successfully do all that is required of you under the contract, your case will be placed back on the trial docket and the criminal case against you will be reinstated and your trial will be conducted on stipulated facts.