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Any driver found operating a vehicle in Kansas with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is illegally driving while under the influence, but does the same apply to drivers who are under 21 and therefore too young to drink alcohol?

Our guide below will tell you what you need to know about drivers who get a DUI under 21 in Kansas.

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Zero Tolerance For Underage Drinking And Driving

The Kansas DUI statute prohibits anyone under 21 from operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02 percent or more. This standard is significantly lower than the 0.08 BAC threshold for older drivers because people under the age of 21 technically should not have any alcohol in their systems at all. This applies specifically to a DUI under 21.

DUI Under 21: Kansas Consequences

An underage driver is someone who receives a DUI under 21. Kansas defines that as a driver with a BAC of .02 to .08 percent, and the result is likely a notice of suspension.

  • First-time offenders’ driving privileges will be suspended for 30 days and they must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for 330 days
  • Second-time offenders will have their licenses suspended and be required to use an ignition interlock device for one year
  • Third-time offenders will receive a one-year license suspension and be required to drive with an ignition interlock device for three years

Unlike a standard DUI, which applies to drivers found operating vehicles with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, a driver who is under 21 and has a BAC between .02 percent and .08 percent will not be charged with a criminal offense. The consequences for DUI under 21 Kansas result in license penalties only, provided the BAC does not exceed .08 percent.

Civil And Criminal Charges For Underage Drinking

It’s important to note that, while underage DUI in Kansas is a civil penalty, an underage drinker who gets behind the wheel may still be criminally charged separately for illegally consuming alcohol under the age of 21.

A driver with a BAC of over .08 percent who gets a DUI under 21 in Kansas will be charged with a standard DUI, just like drivers over 21 would be. Noncriminal consequences are reserved for situations where the underage driver’s BAC is below .08 percent (provided the driver is not also criminally charged separately for underage drinking).

What Happens If You Refuse Testing

Technically, drivers may refuse chemical testing when suspected of driving under the influence in Kansas. However, refusing a test will lead to increased license penalties as the refusal violates the implied consent law.

A first-time offender who refuses a test will receive a one-year license suspension and two years of being required to drive with an ignition interlock device.

Kansas DUI Statute Offenses

Kansas DUI laws stipulate that those who are caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of over .08 percent, whether underage or not, face steep consequences in Kansas. This offense is considered a class B nonperson misdemeanor.

First-Time DUI Offense

A first-time offender will serve a minimum jail sentence of 48 consecutive hours (with a maximum sentence of six months). If a passenger under the age of 14 is in the car, the driver faces an additional 30 days of jail time.

First-time offenders can expect to pay a fine of between $750 and $1,000, along with court costs. Offenders will be required to complete an alcohol evaluation and treatment for substance abuse.

Drivers will also have their licenses suspended for a minimum of 30 days, followed by a 6-12 month requirement of driving with an interlock ignition device.

Second-Time DUI Offense Consequences

Drivers convicted of a second DUI have committed a Class A nonperson misdemeanor. Penalties include a jail sentence of 90 days to one year, with fines ranging from $1,250 to $1,750.

Offenders will be required to complete a state-approved substance abuse program and to maintain an ignition interlock device in their car for two years. Licenses will be suspended for one year.

Third-Time DUI Offense Consequences

Third-time DUI offenders in Kansas will be charged with a nonperson felony. Consequences include a jail sentence of 90 days to one year, a fine ranging from $1,750 to $2,500, and a required substance abuse program. Offenders must use an ignition interlock device for two to three years (depending on the BAC level). Licenses will be suspended for one year.

Kansas SR-22 Coverage

Kansas DUI laws require drivers whose licenses have been suspended following a DUI to file an SR-22 form and to carry SR-22 insurance for three years.

SR-22 insurance is a certificate of financial responsibility that affirms a driver’s insurance coverage meets the minimum coverage required by Kansas law. An experienced attorney can help you file for and maintain your SR-22 coverage.

DUI Under 21 In Kansas? Talk To A Lawyer About Your Options.

DUIs can be highly stressful and challenging to navigate. An experienced attorney can assist you through the process, ensuring you have a plan for putting your DUI behind you. Obtain a free legal review today.

Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

Related Resources

Interested in learning more about DUI laws as applied in Kansas and throughout the U.S.? Read more from our Lifehacker Advisor Legal Team:

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