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Kansas DUI law doesn’t change that often but every few years there are a few minor changes. This is the law that was passed by the legislature and is a few hundred words long. Obviously the legislature can’t think of every single scenario that could possibly happen and provide how to deal with it legally in those few hundred words. There is where case law kicks in.

When a prosecutor and a defense attorney disagree on how a law should be applied or what it means, case law will be created. This disagreement causes a case to be litigated. Each lawyer will argue their side of the law and a judge will rule on the issues. If either side disagrees with the judge’s ruling, they can appeal it to a higher level of court. Ultimately, when all the appeals are exhausted, the judge’s interpretation/ruling of what the law is or how it should be applied then becomes law. After this happens, other attorneys can review the judge’s decision and rely on it when they are evaluating future DUI cases.

Obviously, there have been tons of DUI cases litigated. Below are a few examples of cases that have been appealed and helped mold Kansas’ current DUI law.

Case Law for DUI in Kansas

*This is not an exhaustive list, just a few common issues

Schmerber vs. California

384 U.S. 757 (1966)

This case established that blood tests on an individual accused of a DUI are a search subject to the 4th amendment.

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State vs. Fish

228 Kan 204 (1980)

This case helped define “operating” in the context of the DUI statute. This case spurred including the “attempt to operate” terminology in the most recent version of the DUI statute.

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State vs. Compton, et. al

233 Kan. 690 (1983)

These cases held that an individual’s refusal to submit to an alcohol test is admissible at any trial for DUI. These cases also upheld the statute that outlaws plea bargaining a DUI charge down to avoid the mandatory penalties.

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Skinner vs. Railway Labor Executives’ Association

489 U.S. 602 (1989)

This case established that breath tests on an individual accused of a DUI are a search subject to the 4th amendment.

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Michigan Department of State Police vs. Sitz

110 S. Ct. 2481 (1990)

This case upheld the constitutionality of some DUI checkpoints. It essentially says that when a DUI checkpoint occurs a “seizure” occurs in the 4th Amendment context, however it is possible to have a checkpoint that does not violate the 4th Amendment.

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State vs. Branscum

19 Kan.App.2d 836 (1994)

This case interpreted K.S.A. 8-1001(k). It requires that a law enforcement officer make an individual aware of their rights before they submit to a breath test. It also requires that the officer not mislead individuals as to their rights.

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State vs. Tapedo

77 P.3d 1288 (2004)

A prior DUI diversion, even if without an attorney, can be used as a prior conviction for sentencing purposes for subsequent DUI offenses.

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State vs. Jones

279 Kan. 71 (2005)

This case held that Preliminary Breath Tests are subject to scrutiny under the 4th Amendment and the statutory implied consent rule does not serve to give consent to a law enforcement officer who desires to administer a PBT to a person suspected of DUI.

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State vs. Wahweotten

36 Kan.App2d 568 (2006)

This case held that evidence of a refusal of a PBT is inadmissible to prove the offense of DUI. It also held that a defendant’s refusal to take a breath test does not implicate the privilege against self-incrimination under the 5th amendment.

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State vs. Rickerson

47 Kan. App.2d 648 (2012)

This case held that the institutional noncompliance with and systematic disregard of the State Supreme Court’s prior decision, warranted dismissal of a DUI charge. This case established that police cannot hold an individual charged with DUI whom wants to bond out of jail unless an individualized determination is made as to whether the driver is intoxicated and a danger to themselves or others.

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State vs. Edgar

296 Kan. 513, 294 P3d. 251 (2013)

This case held that a misstatement of the law addressing the effect of taking or refusing a breath test, in that case a PBT, rendered the implied consent advisories out of compliance with the statute and interfered with the driver’s ability and right to withdraw their implied consent to the test.

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Missouri vs. McNeeley

133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013)

This case confirmed that police must have a warrant to draw body fluids from an individual suspected of DUI.

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State vs. DeClerck

49 Kan.App.2d 908 (2014)

This case confirmed that the “implied consent” statute alone was not sufficient to give consent to search on behalf of a driver, to police for warrantless searches in context of a DUI.

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City of Wichita vs. Molitor

301 Kan. 251 (2015)

This case essentially killed the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test in Kansas. The Supreme Court equated the HGN to the “Magic 8 Ball” and the “Ouija Board.”

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State vs. Meitler

51 Kan.App.2d 308, 347 P.3d 670 (2015)

This case held that the “good-faith exception” to the exclusionary rule applied to permit admission of blood test results obtained by law enforcement’s reliance on an implied consent statute that was later determined to be unconstitutional.

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State vs. Ryce

303 Kan 899 (2016)

This case confirmed that the “implied consent” statute does not work around the 4th Amendment, drivers are able to withdraw their consent. The statute that criminalizes the refusal of a blood/breath test is unconstitutional on its face.

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State vs. Nece

303 Kan 888 (2016)

This case held that the DC-70 “Implied Consent Advisory” that was required to be read to all individuals that police intended to have submit to a breath alcohol test was inaccurate and the information in the advisory unduly coerced Nece (and thousands of other individuals suspected of DUI) into submitting to a breath test.

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State vs. Stanley

367 P. 3d 1284 (2016)

This case held that prior DWI convictions from Missouri can’t be used as a prior for sentencing purposes, under Kansas Law Missouri DWI convictions are not a similarly related offense.

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