When it comes to a driving under the influence arrest, a fun night out with friends can quickly turn into a nightmare. A DUI charge is a serious matter, and it carries serious consequences. Not only will you face the potential loss of your driver's license and heavy fines, but you could also wind up behind bars. The good news is that simply being arrested for DUI doesn't mean that you will be convicted. With the right defense attorney, you have the chance to prevail at your trial and avoid a conviction entirely. It is no surprise, then, that your choice of defense counsel is an important one.
If you are facing a Kansas DUI charge, Stolte Law, LLC may be able to help. Attorney Adam Stolte has an extensive track record of fighting DUI cases in court, even arguing before the Kansas Court of Appeals. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney, contact Stolte Law, LLC today.
Generally speaking, Kansas law outlaws driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. But the Kansas statute is more specific than that. There are five different circumstances that rise to the level of DUI when driving in Kansas:
- When the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more
- When a person has a BAC of .08 or more within three hours of driving
- When the driver is incapable of driving due to alcohol consumption
- When the driver is incapable of driving due to drug consumption
- When the driver is incapable of driving due to a combination of drug and alcohol consumption
If you meet one of the five conditions mentioned above, you can be convicted of a Kansas DUI.
DUI Penalties in Kansas
The potential penalties for a DUI conviction in Kansas can be severe, even for first-time offenders. The sentence you may face for a DUI will vary depending on the number of previous DUI convictions – with enough prior convictions you could spend decades behind bars. The potential jail time and fines can vary significantly, but every DUI conviction has the possibility of additional costs like court costs, probation fees, drug and alcohol evaluation fees, license renewal fees, and classes on drunk driving.
DUI 1st Offense Penalties
For first-time offenders, a DUI will be charged as a “B” misdemeanor. A conviction requires a minimum jail sentence of 48 consecutive hours and a maximum of six months. In addition to the jail time, you may also face a fine between $750 and $1,000.
DUI 2nd Offense Penalties
A second DUI conviction is an “A” misdemeanor under Kansas law. It carries a jail sentence between 90 days and 1 year as well as a maximum fine of $1,750. While some of your jail sentence may be probated, the law requires that you serve at least five days in custody.
DUI 3rd Offense Penalties
A third DUI conviction in Kansas may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. The offense is a felony if you have at least one prior DUI conviction in the previous ten years, otherwise, it is considered an “A” misdemeanor. Either way, a third offense requires at least 90 days and at most one year behind bars. You will be required to serve at least 90 days, but some of that time may be for house arrest. A conviction also carries a maximum fine of $2,500.
DUI 4th or Subsequent Offense Penalties
For a fourth or subsequent offense, you will be charged with a felony. A fourth offense DUI carries at least 90 days and up to 1 year in jail. You will be required to serve a minimum of 90 days, but the court may agree to probate some of that sentence or allow you to serve it on house arrest.
Driver's License Suspension
In addition to the penalties described above, you will also face a suspension of your driving privileges upon conviction for DUI. While the criminal case against you is proceeding, the Kansas Department of Revenue will also file a civil case against you in an attempt to suspend your driving privileges. The potential suspensions vary depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time you were arrested as well as if you have previously been convicted of DUI.
For a first-time DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for 30 days. Once the suspension is up, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device for the six months following your suspension. This suspension is even steeper if your BAC was .15 or above.
With each conviction, the length of the suspension and restricted license period grows. The maximum suspension, which occurs on fifth and subsequent convictions, is for one year with a 10-year interlock device requirement after the suspension is lifted.
If you are pulled over and the officer suspects you of driving while intoxicated, you will likely be asked to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your BAC. Under Kansas law, any person operating a vehicle in the state is deemed to have consented to give a sample upon request. You have the right to refuse the test, but because of the implied consent law, you will likely face additional charges.
Field Sobriety Tests
Before an officer asks you to submit to a chemical test, they will likely request that you complete field sobriety testing first. There are three commonly used tests that make up the standardized field sobriety test:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
- Walk and Turn
- One-Leg Stand
Despite their long history with DUI investigations, the accuracy and usefulness of field sobriety tests are suspect at best. Your attorney may work to cast doubt on any so-called failures of standardized field sobriety tests at trial.
Common DUI Defenses
When it comes to defending a DUI case, most successful defenses can be classified into one of two types:
- Challenges to the Stop - The police can't stop you any time they like. If you were pulled over illegally, any evidence collected during your traffic stop can't be used against you.
- Challenges to the Test – Even if the traffic stop was legal, the chemical tests used against you may be thrown out as evidence if the sample was mishandled or the testing was not done properly.
Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in Kansas
If you have been charged with a DUI in Kansas, it is important that you hire a DUI attorney with a track record of success. Attorney Adam Stolte has extensive experience defending his clients from DUI charges in Kansas courtrooms. To discuss your options, contact Stolte Law, LLC today.