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Refusing DUI Tests in Kansas No Longer a Crime

In 2012, legislation was passed in Kansas State that made refusing to take a blood or breath test after being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) a criminal act, capable of inflicting harsh criminal penalties onto those who refused. The law was hit with immediate backlash from all directions, particularly criminal defenders who believed it was violating both Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Other states in the country do have implied consent laws that state refusal for taking a chemical test will be met with immediate consequences but none of those are criminal penalties, just administrative.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Supreme Court reviewed the law and overturned it in a surprising 6-to-1 decision. This ruling is not expected to be appealed to a higher court. So what does this mean now that refusing a DUI test is no longer a crime?

For starters, when someone is pulled over for suspicion of DUI in Kansas, they can refuse to take field sobriety tests without any sort of immediate consequence. But now, if they are arrested and back to the station, they can refuse breath and blood tests without tacking on an automatic criminal “refusal charge” onto their record. The only way they can be forced to take a chemical test is if the police obtain a search warrant; the idea is that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels are informational evidence that must be seized in order to be used against them, and that no search and seizure can be committed without a warrant. Opponents of the recent ruling believe a valuable deterrent and tool has been taken out of law enforcement’s hands.

However, if you get pulled over, do not act too hasty and refuse chemical testing without a second thought. The criminal penalties were removed but not the administrative ones. If you refuse a breath or blood test back at the station, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is going to suspend your license for a full year, automatically, and then you will have to drive around with an ignition interlock device (IID) for another two years. If you have a DUI already on your record, these time limits extend even more.

The only safe way to contend DUI charges without automatically stripping yourself of your driving privileges may be to hire a Coffey County DUI attorney from Coffman & Campbell, LLC. Our team has more than 50 years of collective legal and trial experience that we can utilize to defend your rights and keep the criminal justice system honest. Contact us today or fill out an online case evaluation form to begin.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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