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Kansas DUI Laws

An arrest and conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can be devastating in many ways. Kansas takes drugged and drunk driving very seriously, even employing a Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor to oversee DUI and other traffic offenses.

A first offense carries mandatory jail time, large fines, community service hours, and a significant driver's license suspension. The state may impound your motor vehicle for up to a year.

Driving under the influence is dangerous, accounting for 30% of traffic-related fatalities in 2020. The national statistics have shown an increase in DUI offenses since 2019. States are strengthening their DUI laws to curb these numbers and protect the public.

If you are facing a DUI charge in Kansas, learn more about the potential penalties you may receive.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Implied Consent

"Per Se" BAC Limit 0.08%
Zero Tolerance (Underage) BAC Limit 0.02%
Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit 0.15%
Implied Consent to Submit to BAC Test? Yes

Select Penalties

Minimum License Suspension or Revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense) 30 days / 1 year / 3 years
Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment Both
Vehicle Confiscation Possible? Yes, for first offense
Ignition Interlock Device Possible? Yes

Note: State laws are always changing through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney to ensure you have the most recent information.

Kansas DUI Law

Kansas' intoxicated driving laws are broadly written, providing multiple ways you may receive a DUI criminal charge. Kansas prohibits driving or attempting to drive any motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.

Kansas set a per se limit of 0.08% for drivers over 21. This limit is 0.04% if you drive a commercial vehicle. Under a per se law, law enforcement only needs to prove that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above the legal limit while you were either driving or attempting to drive to charge you with a DUI.

You will face a DUI charge if intoxicated by drugs, alcohol, or both to a degree that makes operating a vehicle unsafe. You don't have to be at the 0.08% BAC. You also do not have to be in motion. If you can start the vehicle or the officer reasonably believes you have been driving, you can still face arrest.

DUI Stop and Implied Consent Law

When a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are driving while intoxicated, they will ask you to perform standardized field sobriety tests and to submit to chemical tests. Field sobriety tests look for and gauge impairment. Chemical tests provide proof of your intoxication and to what degree.

Kansas' law changed in 2019. It is no longer a separate offense to refuse field sobriety tests. You may now decline them without facing a new charge.

Chemical tests usually consist of a Breathalyzer or breath test, followed by more accurate blood tests or urine and saliva analyses. These test results are evidence against you.

Kansas expects you to cooperate with chemical testing under its implied consent law. Implied consent means that, by holding a driver's license, you have permitted an officer to administer chemical testing when suspected of a DUI. While you may refuse the tests, your driving privileges are immediately suspended for one year, followed by two years with an ignition interlock device.

Chemical test refusal will not prevent your arrest. Also, law enforcement may present evidence of your refusal against you in court.

DUI Penalties

Kansas increased the penalties for a DUI conviction starting with offenses occurring after July 1, 2022. Sentencing now includes mandatory minimums for jail and specific requirements before allowing work release or house arrest.

A first-conviction DUI is a Class B misdemeanor. Sentencing includes:

  • Mandatory minimum of 48 consecutive hours in jail with up to six months possible
  • Work release and house arrest are not permitted
  • Fines from $750 to $1,000, plus court costs
  • Minimum 30-day driver's license suspension
  • 180 days with an ignition interlock device
  • Up to 100 hours of community service
  • Undergo a substance abuse assessment
  • Complete substance abuse treatment program if recommended
  • Attend a DUI victim impact panel

A second offense increases your DUI to a Class A misdemeanor. Sentencing requirements include:

  • 90 days to one-year imprisonment possible
  • Minimum of 120 hours served that may include 48 hours in jail with work release or house arrest combined for remaining hours
  • Fines from $1,250 to $1,750, plus court costs
  • Driver's license suspension of one year
  • One year required ignition interlock device
  • Substance abuse assessment
  • Completion of a treatment program, as recommended
  • Attend a DUI victim impact panel

A third conviction is also a Class A misdemeanor unless one of your prior convictions happened within the last 10 years. If so, you will receive a felony offense. A fourth or subsequent conviction is a felony. Kansas doesn't have a time limit on DUI convictions. Each conviction remains on your record for life.

Driver's License Suspension and Ignition Interlock Device

Suspension of your driving privileges is an administrative penalty handled by the Kansas Department of Revenue. If you refuse chemical tests or if you fail a chemical test, you will lose your license even if you are not convicted of a DUI.

If you have an alcohol-related suspension, you may be eligible for a hardship license if you agree to install an ignition interlock device (IID) at your own expense. An IID is installed into your vehicle's ignition system. You must provide a breath sample before the device will allow your vehicle to start. If the IID detects any alcohol, your vehicle will not drive.

The IID will prompt you to provide random breath samples during your drive to ensure you remain sober. Kansas requires IIDs equipped with cameras that capture an image when you breathe into the device. If you trigger a violation by having alcohol in your breath sample or if you tamper with the device, your IID requirement increases.

Enhanced Penalties

Specific instances of driving under the influence are more severe under Kansas law. Penalties are stiffer than a standard DUI. For example, if convicted of a DUI while you had a passenger under the age of 18, you will receive a mandatory one-month prison term added to your sentence. Other circumstances that will enhance your penalties include:

  • Having a BAC of 0.15% or higher
  • Carrying a passenger 18 or younger while DUI
  • Prior convictions within 10 years
  • DUI resulting in serious bodily injury to another
  • A DUI causing death or involuntary manslaughter

Sentence enhancements can include additional jail time, increased license suspension, and extended IID requirements.

Zero Tolerance for Underage DUI

Kansas recognizes a zero-tolerance law for DUI's when you are under 21. Zero tolerance means that you will face a DUI charge if your BAC is 0.02% or greater. If your BAC is under 0.08%, your driver's license will be suspended for 30 days with an additional 180 days with an IID. A judge can order penalties such as fines, community service, and substance abuse education courses. If your BAC is 0.08% or greater, you receive an adult-level DUI charge.

A subsequent offense will see your license suspended for one year, with an extra two years with an IID.

You may also receive more charges if you have passengers under 18 or if alcohol and drugs are in your possession.

Kansas DUI Resources

Charged With a DUI in Kansas? Get in Touch With a DUI Lawyer

Even if you have no plans to challenge the DUI charges against you, there are quite a few variables at play when you're accused of a DUI. You'll have to deal with the charge against your driver's license and the underlying criminal offense. A Kansas DUI defense attorney can evaluate your case and provide valuable legal advice.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex DUI situations usually require a lawyer
  • DUI defense attorneys can challenge Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer or blood test results
  • A lawyer can seek to reduce or eliminate DUI penalties
  • A lawyer can help get your license back

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