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What happens when you get a DUI in Kansas?

Here's what you need to know...
  • Kansas’ driving under the influence laws come with strict penalties
  • Drivers should become familiar with all DUI and open container rules in the state
  • Precautionary measures might keep a driver out of legal trouble
  • Drivers convicted of a DUI may be able to find quality high-risk auto insurance through online comparison shopping

Driving while intoxicated in Kansas could mean facing serious consequences including potential jail time. The state’s legislature maintains strong motivation for deterring people from getting behind the wheel in an impaired state.

Statistics from 2014 reveal 121 alcohol-related fatalities occurred on the road that year alone.

The number does not include non-fatal accidents involving “only” bodily injury and property damage. Law enforcement doesn’t want to see these figures increase.

Eliminating DUI accidents isn’t possible, but the number can be reduced. Publicly revealing the strict nature of Kansas DUI laws may have a deterrent effect.

If you have suffered from a DUI in Kansas and need better and more affordable auto insurance, enter your ZIP code above and compare at least three to four policies today!

Kansas DUI Law Basics

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Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels factor into whether someone is legally drunk or otherwise impaired behind the wheel. State law contains no ambiguity regarding what BAC levels indicate guilt. Currently, a person is legally drunk when:

  • BAC reaches 0.08 percent for those under 21 years of age
  • BAC reaches 0.02 percent for those over 21 years of age
  • BAC reaches 0.04 percent for commercial drivers

Drivers whose breathalyzer results indicate driving under the influence find themselves in a difficult situation. Defenses to DUI arrests become difficult when a breathalyzer test presents such clear evidence.

Recently, the laws in Kansas regarding roadside breathalyzer tests and implied consent have changed.

Kansas reversed course regarding the state’s status and an “implied consent” locality. Implied consent means anyone who operates a vehicle in a particular state gives consent to law enforcement to submit to a breathalyzer. Failure to give consent leads to penalties.

On February 26, 2016, Kansas rescinded its status as an implied consent jurisdiction.

Actually, it was the state’s Supreme Court that ruled the implied consent law was unconstitutional. Therefore, Kansas no longer can impose implied consent rules on drivers pulled over due to suspicion of a DUI.

The open container laws in Kansas remain in place. Outside of limousines and mass transportation vessels, it is illegal to have an open container in a car, truck or other vehicles. A person does not need to be intoxicated or drinking to face an open container violation.

Anyone who transports an open container of alcohol in a vehicle commits a misdemeanor and faces a $200 fine and up to six months in jail.

Beyond the monetary penalty and possible jail time, a misdemeanor conviction leads to a criminal record. The presence of a misdemeanor conviction on someone’s background can create troubles throughout life.

What are the penalties for a DUI in Kansas?

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No state goes easy on drunk drivers. Drunk driving laws in the United States remain quite strict due to the dangers an intoxicated driver presents.

Kansas may be among the strictest in the United States. Those facing DUI charges must contend with the following penalties upon conviction:

– First Offense

Driving under the influence in Kansas is a criminal matter. A first offense, specifically, lists a DUI as a class B misdemeanor.

Conviction comes with a possible maximum of up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in monetary fines. In addition, driving privileges in Kansas won’t be left untouched.

Persons convicted of a DUI face a 30-day suspension of their driver’s license. Even with reinstatement, the new document might be a restricted driver’s license limiting vehicle use for up to 330 days. A personal vehicle could also be impounded for a maximum of one year.

– Second Offense

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With a second offense, a DUI charge rises to the level of a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum punishment can be up to $1,750 in fines and upwards of one full year in prison. The duration of a driver’s license suspension may rise to one year.

Once the suspension ends, an ignition interlock device must be installed in the vehicle and remain in place for one year. The court also takes steps to address the underlying causes of the DUI’s by mandating the completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program.

– Third Offense

With a third offense, the punishment for a DUI conviction becomes highly punitive depending on the circumstances of the case. The offense would remain a class A misdemeanor unless the previous conviction occurred within the past ten years.

If so, then a third offense becomes a felony. As a misdemeanor, the maximum one-year prison term, but the maximum fine increases to $2,500.

Outside of the fine and jail time sanctions, the state may choose to suspend a driver’s license for a maximum of one year.

The installation of an interlock ignition device for one year following the suspension is required. The law imposes the mandatory attendance and completion of an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program.

– Fourth Offense

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With a fourth offense, the charges reach felony level. Convictions lead to up to one year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine. Other penalties follow.

Driving privileges face sanctions as well. Both the driver’s license and license plate/registration are subject to a one-year suspension. Attending a drug/alcohol treatment program is necessary and so is the installation of an ignition interlock device for a year after imposed suspensions.

– Fifth Offense

A fifth offense leads to felony charges and a maximum one-year imprisonment and maximum $2,500 fine.

License plate, registration, and license suspensions could be mandated for a single year with the installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months after the suspension.

Completing a drug/alcohol treatment program is required. The potential exists for a driver’s license to be permanently revoked.

Kansas also adds further laws on the books to address special DUI circumstances.

For example, all the penalties may be increased if the drunk driving incident results in any bodily injury, death, or property damage. One month can be added to prison time if a child under the age of 14 is in the vehicle.

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What is unique about Kansas’ points system?

Kansas does not employ a traditional point system in which infractions lead to numerical points added to a driving record. In one hypothetical state, 10 points in a year could lead to a six-month suspension.

Kansas streamlined its rules and simply levies suspensions against those who amass moving violations or habitual violator convictions within a set time frame.

Convictions of three or more moving violations and other minor driving offenses within a three-year period mean a one-year driver’s license suspension.

A habitual violator, someone who commits a serious traffic offense, can face a three-year license suspension if convicted three times within a five-year period. A DUI and driving without insurance are examples of serious offenses.

What is the difference between a license revocation and a suspension?

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The differences between a suspension and revocation are stark. A suspended driver’s license is one in which driving privileges are temporarily placed on hold.

With a 30-day suspension, driving privileges can be restored merely by following any necessary reinstatement requirements. Reinstating a suspended driver’s license may require:

  • Paying all fines and fees
  • Completing all court-mandated treatment programs and courses
  • Submitting a form SR-22, proof of insurance document, to the DMV
  • Meeting any other unique requirements put forth by the courts

A license revocation, however, means all driving privileges have been eliminated and cannot be reinstated without going through the licensing process all over again. Approval for a new license won’t be guaranteed.

A person with multiple DUIs and other major traffic offenses may very well face revocation.

Are there any DUI precautionary steps to take?

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Even those drivers who don’t want to drive impaired may find it difficult not to do so. Taking precautionary measures may cut down on the chances of driving under the influence.

Attendance to an alcohol safety action program may prove helpful. The classes could address specific reasons behind DUIs. Increased awareness may lead to improved behavior.

Installing an ignition interlock device definitely can cut down on the chances of a DUI incident.

An IID unit, essentially, connects a breathalyzer to a car’s ignition system. The driver won’t be able to turn on the ignition or keep it operating without passing the breathalyzer test.

Insuring a DUI Offender

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To say someone convicted of a DUI would run into difficulty finding auto insurance isn’t inaccurate. That said, getting auto insurance shouldn’t necessarily be impossible either. High-risk auto insurance policies may be accessible to the right applicant.

Requesting a number of quotes helps the process of finding the best policy.

Since the costs associated with high-risk insurance policies can be high, reviewing several different quotes can be beneficial from a cost-saving perspective.

Cost, alone, is not what a customer should look for. Carefully examine the actual coverage benefits associated with each policy.

Discounts may be able to bring down the price of an insurance policy. Installing preventive tools such as the aforementioned ignition interlock device could lead to a discount. So would maintaining a good driving record for a set period of time.

Discounts could save a surprising amount of money on even a high-risk DUI driver policy.

Whether dealing with a DUI conviction or just feeling in the mood for new insurance, shopping around online could be the best strategy. Searching online takes only a few minutes and may reveal some excellent quotes.

Review the quotes carefully in order to choose the best one. The coverage on the policy should cover all manner of different instances and perils. This way, if any accident or other incident occurs, reliable coverage may pay for losses.

Are you on the hunt for a car insurance bargain? Enter your ZIP code below and start comparison shopping today!

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