How Prior Convictions Impact Your Current DUI Defense Strategy

Posted: May 1, 2024 at 12:00 am

With more than 10 crashes per day in which alcohol is involved, it’s no surprise that the state of Kansas takes drunk driving very seriously. If you have a prior DUI conviction, a repeat offense means you can face harsher penalties such as increased fines, driving bans, and even jail time. That’s where a specialist DUI defense attorney comes in; at Billam & Henderson, LLC, in Overland Park, KS, we are here to help get the best possible outcome for our clients.

How Prior Convictions Impact Your Current DUI Defense Strategy: From a DUI Defense Attorney in Overland Park, KS

For repeat DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offenders in Kansas, a strong defense strategy is the best way to mitigate potential penalties. Depending on the case, there are a number of different defense strategies that we may try for clients who are facing a DUI charge when they have been convicted of DUI offenses in the past.

Challenging the Stop

The Fourth Amendment gives protection against unreasonable search and seizure. If law enforcement officers did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop the defendant’s vehicle, the entire DUI arrest may be deemed unlawful. One of our experienced attorneys can challenge the legality of the traffic stop in some cases, and this could lead to the suppression of evidence obtained after the stop.

Questioning Field Sobriety Tests

If you were cited for DUI after a Field Sobriety test, this can be a good opportunity to challenge a conviction. Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are often subjective and can be influenced by various factors unrelated to intoxication. They must also be performed according to strict guidelines in order to be considered valid. Your attorney can question the reliability and accuracy of FSTs administered to the defendant, highlighting factors such as weather conditions, physical disabilities, or medical conditions that may have affected performance.

Challenging Breathalyzer Results

Breathalyzer tests used to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) are not infallible and can produce inaccurate results under certain circumstances. We can challenge the reliability of breathalyzer results by questioning the calibration of the device, the qualifications of the operator, or other factors that may have impacted the accuracy of the test.

Seeking Alternative Sentencing Options

Incarceration may not always be the most effective or appropriate punishment. Your attorney can advocate for alternative sentencing options, such as participation in alcohol or drug treatment programs, ignition interlock device (IID) installation, probation, or community service, which may address the underlying issues contributing to the repeat offenses.

Negotiating Plea Bargains

In some cases, negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution may result in reduced charges or penalties for repeat DUI offenders. Your attorney can work with the prosecutor to reach a favorable plea agreement that minimizes the consequences of the DUI conviction while addressing your individual circumstances. This may be used to attempt to plead for lesser penalties or to argue down a repeat offense from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Emphasizing Rehabilitation Efforts

For repeat DUI offenders who have taken proactive steps to address their substance abuse issues, rehabilitation efforts and evidence of rehabilitation may be presented to the court as mitigating factors. These may include efforts such as commitment to sobriety as demonstrated by a period of rehabilitation, seeking counseling, or regular attendance of a support group. If you have evidence that you are actively trying to address a substance abuse problem and keep from drinking, then you should share that with your attorney.

Challenging Prior Convictions

In some cases, prior DUI convictions may be subject to challenge if they were obtained unlawfully or if there are errors in the previous court proceedings. We can review the circumstances of prior convictions and explore potential avenues for challenging their validity.

What Are the Penalties for DUI in Kansas?

It is against the law to drive while having a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, or .02 if you are under 21. Kansas DUI offenses carry many different penalties that can depend on factors such as the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), prior DUI convictions, and other aggravating circumstances.

Criminal Penalties

First Offense

A first-time DUI offense in Kansas is typically classified as a misdemeanor. You will have to pay fines from $500 to $1,000, plus your court costs, and will be imprisoned for a mandatory 48 hours or do 100 hours of community service. You will have to complete a mandatory alcohol education program. Additionally, you will not be allowed to drive for 30 days, and your driving privileges will be restricted for a further 330 days.

Second Offense

A second DUI offense within a certain period (usually within 10 years) is also considered a misdemeanor but carries harsher penalties. For a second offense penalties range from $1,000 to $1,500 plus court costs, probation, and evaluation fees. You will also face imprisonment for a minimum of 90 days and up to one year, mandatory completion of an alcohol or drug education program at your own expense, and a license suspension ranging from one year to one year and six months.

Third or Subsequent Offenses

Third or subsequent DUI offenses within a certain period (usually within 10 years) are considered felonies in Kansas. Penalties may include fines ranging from $1,500 to $2,500, imprisonment for a minimum of 90 days up to one year, mandatory completion of an alcohol or drug education program, and a license suspension ranging from one year to indefinite revocation.

Aggravated DUI 

DUI offenses involving aggravating factors such as excessive blood alcohol levels, causing injury or death, or driving with a suspended or revoked license, may result in enhanced penalties. These enhanced penalties can include longer periods of imprisonment and higher fines.

Administrative Penalties

License Suspension

In addition to criminal penalties, individuals convicted of DUI in Kansas may face administrative penalties, including driver’s license suspension or revocation. The length of the suspension or revocation period may vary depending on factors such as the driver’s BAC level and prior DUI convictions.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

Kansas law requires individuals convicted of DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. The IID requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before the vehicle can be started, serving as a deterrent against drunk driving. You will not only have to pay for the device to be installed but also to lease it for the duration of your mandated IID period.

Probation and Community Service

Courts may impose additional penalties, such as probation, community service, and participation in alcohol or drug treatment programs, as part of the DUI sentence.

Vehicle Impoundment or Forfeiture

In some cases, law enforcement may confiscate impound or destroy the vehicle driven by a person convicted of DUI, particularly if the offense involved aggravating factors or repeat offenses. These are serious consequences, usually reserved for those who have demonstrated that they have no intention of following the law and who consistently pose a danger to themselves and others.

Whatever the circumstances of your current case and your previous arrest or arrests, we will get the best possible outcome for you. To learn more, contact us at Billiam & Henderson, LLC, in Overland Park, KS.