WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TRAFFIC OFFENSES IN KANSAS?
Driving on suspended, reckless driving, driving on no insurance and just speeding tickets are the most common. Kansas is pretty tough on people with those three crimes. Driving on suspended, reckless driving, driving with no insurance. For example, driving on suspended is the same level of crime as a DUI. So on a first time conviction, it is a Class B misdemeanor, which means you can go to jail for up to six months. On a second time, it is a Class A misdemeanor. Any time after that, it is a Class A misdemeanor. Kansas has mandatory sentencing requirements on them, so even a first time driving on suspended; the person is looking at mandatory five days in jail with a sentence.
On a second time, they are looking at five day mandatory jail sentence as well; on a third time, they are looking at ninety-day mandatory jail sentence. So it gets pretty ugly real quick. Not to mention that it has really bad consequences on their driving record. There is a thing called Kansas Habitual Offender Act. If, at any time, any person gets convicted of any three of the offenses that I have listed, driving with no insurance, reckless driving, driving on suspended, and then they also include a DUI. If, at any time, you get convicted of three of any of those four offenses in any five year period, you will automatically get your driver’s license revoked for three years. So you have to really watch with those.
Not to mention the fine can get really high on them too. On a first time driving with no insurance, you are looking at $300, mandatory minimum fine; a second time, its $800; third time, it is $1,500, it just keeps going up and up. Not to mention they also can get your driver’s license suspended individually. You do not have to have a bunch of them. If you have a driving on suspended, the first time conviction, you are going to get your driver’s license suspended for another ninety days. So it just can get really bad really quick if you do not know. And people mistake them, they think, “It’s just a traffic ticket”, but it is not. It is a criminal offense, they will go to jail and they need to try to do something to avoid that.
Where we come in is usually on anyone of those offenses. We will try to put our best foot forward whether that means getting the person’s license reinstated and then going and talking to the prosecutor and showing that they have their driver’s license reinstated and trying to work out some sort of deal where the person does not go to jail. Or it may be as simple as getting the person insurance, making sure they have proof of insurance now so they can show that yes, they might not have had insurance when they got pulled over, but now they have fixed that problem and our trying to get some leniency from the prosecutor and to either get them to amend the charge to something less or at least mitigate the damage on the person’s record.
How Do Traffic Offenses Impact Commercial Drivers’ License Holders?Commercial drivers have really tough time in Kansas. There is a state law that says that a prosecutor cannot amend or divert a traffic ticket for a person who has a criminal driver’s license regardless of whether they are in their big truck or if they are just in their personal vehicle. So, you have to get really creative whenever somebody has a CDL and gets a traffic ticket. Sometimes, you have to take the cases to trial and argue them because that is the only option you have. Also, sometimes you can get a prosecutor to interpret that law differently and allow you to not do a diversion, but maybe do an amendment or something.
Can Someone Unknowingly Have Their Driver’s License Suspended?It happens all the time. Most people on the street that are driving with suspended license do not know they have a suspended license. There are so many different ways that you can get your driver’s license suspended. You can get it suspended on a point’s violation, like in Missouri, where you have gotten too many traffic tickets; you can get it suspended for some states for not paying child support. You can get it suspended; the most common way is, for not paying a traffic ticket or leaving a traffic ticket out there and not addressing it. Potentially, the court will suspend your driver’s license.
You can get license suspensions for not paying or for stealing gas. There are a hundred different ways you can get your driver’s license suspended. So, a lot of people have their driver’s license suspended and do not even know it. It is generally not a defense whenever you get pulled over because you are required by the state to have your address updated. The state will mail you a letter anytime your driver’s license is suspended. All that the court’s got to do, or all the prosecutor’s got to do is get a copy of that letter that was sent to you by ordering it to the certified record and then it is not going to be a defense just because you did not know. It is the same context as if getting pulled over for speeding and saying, “I didn’t know the speed limit”. The responsibility is on you to know the law and to know if you are in compliance with that law.
What Are The Potential Consequences For A Habitual Traffic Offender?There is nothing above and beyond it but it just renews. Basically, if you are driving on suspended, reckless driving, driving with no insurance or DUI, if you get any three of those in any five year period, you are going to be classified as a habitual violator. If you are a habitual violator, then you are going to lose your license for three years and you cannot drive at all. If you get that classification, most people continue to drive illegally. When they do, every time that they get another driving on suspended charge, they are looking at ninety days in jail and they are looking at renewing that habitual violator status.
Class 5 is a habitual violator, but then you get two more driving on suspended past that, well your habitual violator status is going to get updated to the last three you got, so it could be very long suspension. Even after you say you just stopped driving and even after you do get your habitual violator status taken off because you have ran your three years, you are still going to have to serve the suspensions for the driving on suspended that you got while you were on the habitual violator status. So you are going to get another one hundred and eighty days suspension. Other than that, it looks really bad obviously on your driving record, your insurance is going to be sky high if you can get it. That is not good.
Kansas did not have a hardship license for a long time, but they have recently started a provision in which a person can get a restricted driver’s license. Each case is different, you have to look at each one to see if the person is going to qualify for it or not.