Kansas Drunk Driving Laws

Kansas drunk driving laws severely punish drunk driving. Even if you think you feel fine to drive home, if your blood alcohol level is over the limit, you could put others at risk and face serious DUI charges and penalties. Understanding how Kansas handles drunk driving can help you better understand your rights and help you find a knowledgeable Kansas DUI defense attorney to help resolve your case.

Kansas Drunk Driving Laws

In Kansas, a driver may be charged with a DUI by operating or attempting to operate a vehicle while under the influence. This means you may be charged with this offense whether driving or for making an attempt to drive the vehicle if your blood alcohol level as measured within 3 hours of driving was .08% or more.

According to Kansas law, a person may receive this charge for driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a degree that renders the driver incapable of safely driving or with a BAC of .08% or more. The BAC threshold is lowered to .04% for commercial drivers and .02% for drivers under 21 years of age.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .15% or more; a child was a passenger in the car at the time; you caused injury or death; or prior convictions within 10 years.

First Offense: This is a Class B misdemeanor and you can face not less than 48 hours to up to six months of imprisonment or at the court’s discretion, 100 hours of community service, and $750 to $1,000 in fines.

Second Offense: This is a Class A misdemeanor and you can face penalties of not less than 90 days to up to no more than 1-year imprisonment, and not less than 120 hours (5 days) in jail. 48 hours (2 days) of your time has to be served consecutively before you will be eligible to serve the remaining time on work release or house arrest. You will face fines of no more than $1,250 to $1,750.

Third Time offense: A third conviction will be considered a felony, if either of your prior convictions occurred within the previous 10 years. You will have to serve a minimum of up to 90 days and imprisonment of no more than 1 year and will have to serve at least 30 days confinement. After serving 48 hours consecutively, the rest of your sentence can be served on work release or house arrest. Fines faced are $1,750-$2,500.

A third conviction may still be considered a class A misdemeanor only if both of your prior convictions happened over 10 years ago. A fourth, fifth, or subsequent offense will all be charged as felonies. Additionally, you will have to complete an alcohol education program, and you could have to complete a chemical health treatment program.

Driving Under the Influence in Kansas

Typically, an officer will notice that you were swerving while driving, cutting off other cars, or otherwise driving in a way that may show you are operating the car under the influence, and then the officer will pull you over and ask to administer a field sobriety test and either a breathalyzer or a chemical blood test.

If you drive through a sobriety checkpoint, the officer does not need to have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence—the officer just needs to follow the preset rules for a legal sobriety checkpoint. For instance, the officer must check every third car.

Kansas DUI Defense Strategies

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, a skilled Kansas criminal defense attorney has ways to challenge the charge against you. Some possible drunk driving defense strategies your lawyer can litigate include:

  • The police officer illegally stopped your car
  • The police officer didn’t have probable cause to arrest you
  • The police officer improperly administered the field sobriety or breathalyzer test
  • The chemical testing machine is defective or was not calibrated
  • You can show that there is not enough evidence to support you were the one driving the car while under the influence or show that you were not in physical control of the vehicle
  • You have an affirmative defense for post-driving consumption where you can offer evidence that you drank after your drove and before the chemical test was administered and that you did not drink while driving

Driving while under the influence carries extensive fines and harsh penalties and can affect other aspects of your life like your future employment prospects. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area who can help guide you through the court process so you understand your options.

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