Anyone facing DUI charges in Kansas would benefit from knowing more about how their case will be handled once they arrive at their court date. While every county or municipality may have different ways of handling the procedure, what follows is a general outline of what to expect.
After being charged with a DUI, you will likely be taken to the police station and have your “mug shot” photo and fingerprints taken. You may be released from there to sober person with a ticket and court date or transported to the county jail where you will stay in jail until you post bond or see a judge. You can post bail yourself with your own money or credit card or by using a bail bond service. For obvious reasons, most people facing DUI charges opt to post bail and spend as little time in jail as possible. If you post the bail yourself and make it to all of your court dates, you will get the money back or it can be applied to any fines you have. If you post bond through a bail bond service they will typically charge you a 10-percent fee for the trouble of posting bond for you and you don’t ever get any of that money back.
After your arrest, you will be notified of your initial court hearing, usually called an “arraignment”. At the arraignment, the judge will tell you what you are charged with, ask if you intend to hire an attorney or are requesting a court appointed attorney and you will be expected to enter in a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”. A guilty plea may prompt an immediate sentence from the judge and is certainly not advisable in a DUI case without first consulting with an attorney. A not-guilty plea will allow the court to schedule a later trial date.
In most jurisdictions, DUI charges are processed in municipal court, along with minor traffic violations or petty crimes. You will wait for your hearing with dozens or hundreds of other people until your name is called. When called, you approach the judge’s bench and enter your plea.
Kansas DUI Diversion Program
“Diversion” is a program somewhat unique to Kansas that allows those facing first-time DUI charges a chance to avoid a trial and possible conviction. Those chosen for a diversion will be required to participate in education programs, probationary monitoring, drug and alcohol tests as well as other requirements at the discretion of the judge and prosecutor.
Selection for diversion is at the prosecutor’s discretion and is generally based on elements such as a clean criminal history, the breath/blood alcohol level or refusal of the test, and a person’s level of cooperation with the arresting officer. Learn more about the Kansas DUI diversion program.
Administrative License Hearing
License suspensions are handled in a separate hearing process independent of the outcome of your criminal case. You can potentially win your criminal case but still have your license suspended, or vice-versa.
Your actual criminal trial date will be arranged with a judge, prosecutor and potentially a jury. The arresting police officer will be sworn in as a witness and describe the event in which he or she arrested you. Your attorney may cross-examine the officer at this time. The state may also present additional evidence of your guilt, such as statements you made while under arrest and, of course, any breath, blood or urine test.
Your attorney may then present evidence either lessening your appearance of guilt or refuting evidence presented by the prosecution. She or he will attempt to have evidence removed from the record, reduce your charges, have charges switched in favor of less impactful ones or have charges dropped outright. The judge or any presiding jury will then determine the outcome. If found guilty, sentencing usually takes place at a subsequent hearing. In Kansas, there are maximum and minimum sentences for DUI convictions and the judge will have to sentence you to at least the minimum sentence.
Having charges dropped or participating in a diversion program may still mean that charges or your initial arrest appear on public records.
You can learn more about the Kansas DUI trial procedure by reading our comprehensive guide to facing Kansas DUI charges. You can also contact the law offices of Norton Hare for dedicated Kansas DUI attorneys that can provide guidance as well as representation during your trial.