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Paul D. Cramm

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 went from lifetime look-back to ten year look-back. Now they’ll look back into someone’s driving ten years instead of lifetime, and I think that’s a little bit more reasonable.

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 this year, effective July one, they do make a distinction for someone with, let’s say a third DUI.

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.

The courts do try to make a statutory distinction there if you have one within the last ten and the others are outside that window.

Interviewer: Let’s say you’re still within the ten years for offenses. For example, you had one DUI prior and you’re within the ten years, is there any difference in how you’re treated if it was a year ago or seven years ago?

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.

Paul D. Cramm

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