Many people are surprised to learn that when you get a DUI in Kansas, even a first offense, you face a license suspension of at least 30 days (but commonly one year) and a requirement to drive with an ignition interlock device for one or two years.
It is important to understand that, when you are arrested for DUI, two separate legal processes begin. One is the criminal case in State or Municipal Court (or, rarely, in Federal Court). The other is the Administrative License Hearing. These two processes are completely independent of each other, meaning you can win both, lose both, or win one and lose the other. Neither process is influenced by what happens in the other process. However, it is crucial to have the same lawyer represent you in both processes. The theories of defense usually overlap, and the documents and evidence obtained in the criminal process are very helpful in defending you in the license hearing.
In the criminal case you are charged with the crime of DUI, and probably some other offenses, and ordered to appear in court. That process is explained on the “Kansas DUI Laws” page.
The Administrative License Hearing is a process in which the State of Kansas works to suspend your driver's license. In most cases it begins after you have failed or refused a breath or blood test. The arresting officer seizes your driver's license and gives you a pink sheet of paper, called the DC-27, which serves as your temporary license for 30 days. At that point you have FOURTEEN DAYS to request an Administrative License Hearing. If you fail to request the hearing your license will be suspended. If your request is late or fails to use the proper format or include the required information it will be rejected and you will be suspended. It is crucial to see an experienced Kansas DUI defense lawyer quickly after your arrest to make sure this hearing request is done correctly.
Once the hearing is requested the Kansas Department of Revenue will send you a letter acknowledging your request and extending your driving privilege until your hearing. At some later point they will send you and your lawyer a notice of the date of your hearing.
At your license hearing the burden of proof is on YOU AND YOUR LAWYER to prove your license should not be suspended. You, your lawyer, and the arresting officer will be called before the “hearing officer,” who will decide the fate of your license. The hearing officer will look to YOU AND YOUR LAWYER to demonstrate why your license should not be suspended. Telling the hearing officer you need to drive to get to work or to take your kids to school will fall on deaf ears. The hearing officer will have no sympathy. You need to present a LEGAL defense.
If you lose this hearing your license will be suspended for a period of time, most commonly one year. Following your suspension you will be required to install and ignition interlock device on your car, usually for one or two years. The length of your suspension and ignition interlock requirement are determined by a few factors, such as whether your case involves a test failure or a test refusal, whether your breath or blood test is above or below .15, and whether you have had a prior DUI. There is no “plea bargaining", meaning you cannot ask for a shorter suspension than the one called for by your situation. There is no leniency. You either win or lose, period. And, yes, suspension means no driving. When the stakes are this high you need to do everything you can to increase your chances of winning this hearing. Kansas DUI attorney Brian Leininger has handled at least 1000 of these hearings and knows the process inside and out.