About the Kansas DUI Diversion Program
These numbers present a disturbing picture: of all fatal accidents that occurred on the highways of the US in the year 2008, 37% involved drunken drivers. In the same year in Kansas, 41% of all road fatalities were due to alcohol-related causes. Strict DUI (or “driving under the influence” of alcohol and/or drugs) laws are the only ways to curb this menace and make roads safe.
Kansas DUI Laws and Penalties
Kansas follows the same general body of DUI laws that have been adopted by the US states on August 2005.
Kansas DUI BAC Laws
As per the Kansas DUI laws (see http://www.ksdot.org/burTrafficSaf/alcdriv/DUILaws.asp), it is illegal to drive if you are intoxicated or impaired by alcohol, have consumed illegal drugs, and/or have taken certain prescription or non-prescription medications.
It is also illegal if you are driving when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is .08% or more. This .08% level is the standard measurement that is followed all over the United States. For commercial drivers in Kansas, the legal BAC limit is .04% or more.
Kansas DUI laws adhere to the “Zero Tolerance” rule for people less than 21 years of age. It is illegal for someone aged less than 21 years to drive when their BAC level is .02% or more.
Kansas also follows the implied consent rule, wherein it is understood that a driver suspected of a DUI offense will agree to take a blood, breath, or urine test if requested by a peace officer during the course of investigation. Refusal to take the test will result in the suspension of driving privileges.
Violation of the above Kansas DUI laws will result in the following possible penalties and punishments:
1. Serving mandatory jail sentences,
2. Paying heavy fines,
3. Suspension of driver’s license,
4. Confiscation or immobilization of vehicles,
5. Installing an ignition interlock device in the vehicle, and
6. Attending an alcohol and substance assessment and treatment program.
The severity of these penalties varies depending on whether the DUI charge is a repeat offense or not.
However, Kansas DUI laws are also unique in the sense that they allow the offender to participate in a DUI diversion program.
What is a Diversion?
A diversion is an alternative option to a conviction order for DUI offender. It is an option where the defendant waives his/her right to a speedy trial and a jury trial. The offender admits to committing the crime, but they are not formally convicted.
The defendant has to agree to adhere to certain strict rules and regulations for a year. These rules may include keeping away from alcohol and not violating any local, state, or federal laws for a certain period of time.
If the offender succeeds in fulfilling these requirements for the specified amount of time, they will be considered to have successfully completed the diversion program. Thus no DUI conviction will show on the offender's driving record.
Diversion is a contract between a DUI defendant and the county where the offense has been committed. Whether you are eligible for a diversion or not, depends solely on the discretion of the prosecuting authority and rests upon certain factors. These factors are things like not having been convicted of a DUI offense before and not having participated in a diversion program before.
If you do not fulfill all the requirements of the diversion program, the DUI criminal case against you will be reopened and a criminal trial conducted.
Kansas DUI Diversion
In Kansas, you are eligible for a DUI diversion program only if this is your first DUI offense; your blood alcohol concentration levels at the time of the offense were not found to be high; the offense has not resulted in collision, accident; personal injury or the death of another; and you have never entered into a DUI diversion contract before. A DUI suspect who has behaved badly with and lied to the police is not considered eligible for a Kansas DUI Diversion program. Drivers holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) are also not considered for diversion in Kansas.
When you enter into the diversion contract, you will have to plead guilty to the DUI crime. You will then not be convicted of the crime. In lieu, you have to agree to keep away from alcohol for one year, not visit places that serve alcohol (except restaurants and sporting events), and periodically submit urine test results as evidence of your compliance. Additionally, you must also attend a minimum of eight hours of an alcohol education program, a two hour DUI Victims Impact Panel, pay a diversion fee amounting to anything between $650 and $1,100, and meet with an alcohol counselor or a diversion monitor at least once very month to evaluate your compliance. You may also be asked to go through an outpatient or inpatient alcohol abuse counseling program if the attorney feels its necessary.
A diversion is not considered a conviction. So, when you are bound by a diversion contract, you can retain your driving privileges. However, they may be suspended as a result of administrative or civil license proceedings.
If you comply with the DUI diversion terms and conditions for a specified length of time (usually a year), you will be considered to have successfully completed the DUI diversion program. Thus, no DUI conviction will show on your driving record. However, your driving record will bear testimony to the fact that you had been charged with a DUI offense and that you have successfully completed a diversion program. If you are again charged with a DUI offense, the diversion will then be considered a prior conviction, and the new DUI charge will be treated as your second offense.
If you fail to fulfill the conditions of the diversion program, the DUI case against you will be returned to the trial docket, and you will have to undergo criminal trial proceedings on the stipulated information.
A Kansas DUI diversion program is the best option for you if you are a first time offender and, more so, if the case against you stands strong. Your attorney will be the best judge of the circumstances and advise you of your best options.
In some Kansas jurisdictions, the arresting officer may himself provide you with documented instructions on how to apply for a diversion without the aid of a lawyer. So consider the Kansas DUI diversion option to ensure that your driving record is not sullied.