When faced with a driving under the influence charge, most people know they face a potential fine, jail, or both if they are convicted. Often enough, however, the worst penalty can come from somewhere you least expect. KSA 8-1014 sets out the potential penalties to a driver’s license that can happen in Kansas based not only on whether a person is convicted of driving under the influence, but also if they refuse alcohol testing or if their alcohol concentration is considerably high. The statute is quite detailed as far as what license penalty will be the outcome of which situation, but even the lowest license suspension is still for a consierable amount of time. Considering our dependence on driving for work, errands, and general day to day activities, it is the license suspension that is often the most feared consequence of a driving under the influence charge.
As we review this statute, there are possible chances at gaining a restricted license, but the legislature does not make it easy. Even if allowed a restricted license, there is often a requirement to obtain and keep an ignition interlock device within your vehicle. The restrictions generally also only allow driving for medical emergencies and employment. As for the interlock device, these often have a significant cost to install and then you are required to pay monthly monitoring fee while they are in use. Some situations can require an interlock to be installed for up to ten years!
Prosecutors often have a rocky relationship with the license penalties. While they can give you leverage to negotiate a better plea, they can also cause trials where no trial would have been requested in the first place. Some people are so dependent on their license for their work, such as commercial drivers, that they almost have to risk a trial rather than having their commercial license taken away.
For the defense, the license penalties provide another pitfall for your client. While the county or district court does not order the license penalty, clients can be understandably upset if you do not advise them that the license penalty was another consequence.
It seems the legislature in Kansas intended to make a clear point with driving under the influence charges. The severity, or lack of severity, regarding driving under the influence crimes will always be subject to debate.
Until next time, drive safe!