In a prior post, we have seen how a DUI/DWI conviction, test failure, or test refusal can result in collateral penalties to a person’s license to drive.  Can another person be in trouble if they allow a suspended or restricted DUI/DWI driver to drive their vehicle?

In Kansas, the answer is yes.  KSA 8-1022 sets out that, “It shall be unlawful for the owner of a motor vehicle to allow a person to drive such vehicle when such owner knows or reasonably should have known such person was driving in violation of K.S.A. 8-1014, and amendments thereto.”  Not only are there collateral penalties to a person’s license in DUI/DWI incidents, but they also need to be aware they could get close friends or family members in trouble as well if they decide to try to circumvent these suspensions or restrictions by borrowing their car.  This statute goes on to state that violation of this particular offense can include a fine of up to $1000 and possible impoundment of the vehicle.

For prosecutors, proving this offense could be tricky.  It is not a typical strict liability offense that we have seen with other traffic offenses.  There must be some evidence the owner or the vehicle actually knew or reasonably should have known a driver was suspended or restricted.  Without a full admission by the vehicle’s owner, this could be difficult to prove.

For a defense attorney, one would certainly need to argue what is “reasonable” as far as what information a vehicle owner should have?  All too often, people will lend their car to a family member or friend without knowing their full license history or current status.  What is a reasonable amount of information to know about person’s status unless they tell you?  How far do you need to go in order to ensure that you are lending your vehicle to a properly licensed person?

It is clear the legislature wanted to send a message about attempting to circumvent DUI/DWI license restrictions or penalties.  A statute such as this one gives prosecutors another tool to deter drivers from driving when the state says has disqualified them.

Until next time, drive safe!