Kansas Law Has Recently Changed the Look-Back Period for DUI Offenses from Lifetime to Ten Years
Interviewer: How long is the look-back period in Kansas for DUI offenses?
Paul: Kansas, for a long time, had what jurisdictions referred to as lifetime look-back. When I first began practicing law, the legislature enacted a statute that basically said, ‘if we can find any prior alcohol related driving conviction or diversion, no matter what jurisdiction, no matter how many years ago, if we can find record of it, we’re going to score it, and we’re going to call you a number two or a number three, or subsequent accordingly.’
That seemed a little draconian, and within the last couple of years, Kansas will still consider DUI convictions that are more than 10 years old – but it considers them differently than prior DUI Convictions within the 10 years immediately prior to the current DUI charge.
Kansas’ Strict Stance on Multiple DUIs Is One of the Reasons Why It Is Crucial to Retain an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Interviewer: You said even after five, six years, if someone’s young and they’re whole lifestyle will change, they’ve matured and circumstances are now different in their lives.
Paul: Correct, and they still face the enhanced prosecution for something that happened long enough ago that it would be difficult for them to even remember the details of it. Ten years is certainly more reasonable than lifetime, but ten years still seems to round up a lot of folks who don’t fit the mold of a career alcoholic, or menace to society, or threat to the roadway. They still get pulled into that with ten years to check the records.
Will the Judges Consider the Length of Time between DUI Offenses?
Interviewer: Even though there’s a ten year look-back, does the court look at someone differently if they’ve had a previous DUI seven years ago as opposed to one year ago?
Paul: They do, and that’s actually codified in the statute. In our current statute, that went into effect last year and was only very mildly revised last year. For example, if a driver has 2 prior DUI convictions – but both occurred more than 10 years ago, the driver will still face a Class ‘A’ Misdemeanor Offense for a current DUI Charge. However, if that driver has 2 prior DUI convictions and at least one of them occurred within the last 10 years, then that driver is facing a Severity Level 6 Felony Offense.
The Time Period between DUIs Is a Factor per the Current Statute
There is a distinction between, as far as the penalty provision, if someone has both prior DUIs, more than ten years in the past as opposed to two prior DUIs with one DUI occurring within the last ten years.
There Are a Range of Mandatory Minimum Penalties the Judges May Impose, Depending on the Time That Has Elapsed between DUI Offenses
Paul: The penalty provision does require certain statutory mandatory minimums, such that if found guilty or if you plead guilty, the court must impose a specific minimum monetary fine and a specific minimum amount of custody. Then it ranges quite a ways up to a maximum fine and custody.
We would hope that the judge would take into consideration if nine years ago someone participated in a diversion program, we would hope that at the time of sentencing for this current DUI, our judge would see that differently than someone had plead guilty to a DUI 12 or 18 months ago.
I think that the penalty they ultimately impose would just have to fall within the statutory mandatory minimums and maximums.
Watch this video to learn how Paul Cramm defends DUI and DWI defense and to see why you need his representation in your Kansas City Drunk Driving case.
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