I am going to assume everyone is familiar with most state laws that criminalize driving on a suspended license. One particular blog related to this offense, in general, could be quite lengthy. Driving while suspended is likely a common occurence across many states and I plan to devote several blogs to this offense. For today’s blog, however, I want to examine a reader’s opinion whether mandatory jail time should be imposed for a conviction of this offense.
In Kansas, the offense that criminalizes driving while suspended is KSA 8-262. A reading of this statute and other state statutes that read close to this one, shows that mandatory jail is imposed even on a first offense. Once you get a second offense or greater, you will serve some time in jail before the Court can grant any parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. In trying to determine the policy on a decision for mandatory jail, I believe legislators have had so many violations that they look to make the punishments more severe to deter future driving on a suspended license. I also personally believe that there is a push to make sure that state governments are paid their driver’s license renewal fees or reinstatement fees, but you would likely never get any government employee to admit a punishment is based on a state’s economic need.
For the prosecution, mandatory jail might possibly be a deterrent. It is also another way to, hopefully, get the message to problem drivers who continue to drive after multiple convictions. These cases are often relatively easy to prove for prosecutors, but the sentencing can get difficult if you attempt to have a convicted person serve out their jail over weekends to save their job.
For the defense, the question of mandatory jail is a good one. In this day and age where many local governments face jail overcrowding and economic hardship, why are we placing people in jail who have not hurt anyone personally or have done nothing more than acquire a suspended license? Does this seem too harsh? Are drivers who ONLY drive while suspended any less of a safe driver on the road? All good questions, I believe.
I have personally seen the mandatory jail on a driving while suspended often do far more harm than deter. A lot of people have children to care for or face employment sanctions if they have to serve jail. Is this really the result we want for a driving while suspended conviction?
I believe the debate on this is still fairly talked about to this day. Let me know your thoughts and how your state’s driving while suspended law compares to Kansas. Until next time, drive safe!