Underage DUI Laws and Penalties in Kansas

The penalties for drivers under the age of 21 who consume alcohol and get behind the wheel.

For all drivers, Kansas prohibits the operation of a vehicle while under the influence or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. But drivers who are under the age of 21 can be arrested for operating with a BAC of .02% to .08%. This article explains the details of an "underage DUI" violation along with the possible penalties.

Underage DUI Laws and Penalties

Kansas prohibits any person under the age of 21 from operating or attempting to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more. But, unlike with a standard DUI, a violation of this rule isn't a criminal offense and will only result in driver's license penalties. Generally, drivers suspected of operating with an illegal BAC are required to submit to alcohol testing if asked to do so by an officer. The results of that test will determine the penalties.

BAC of .02 to .08%. A driver who's under 21 with a BAC of .02% to .08% will be given a notice of suspension at the time of the offense. For a first offense, the offender will be suspended for 30 days and then required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) for 330 days. On a second offense, the driver's license will be suspended for one year, but a restricted license may be available.

BAC of .08% or more. If the underage driver produces a BAC of .08% or more, he or she will be charged with a standard DUI offense. The penalties will generally be the same as a standard DUI offense, but minors (under the age of 18) may face modified penalties.

Testing refusal. A driver who refuses a lawful request for chemical testing may avoid the underage DUI suspension but will instead face increased license penalties related to the refusal, which is a violation of the state's implied consent law. A first-offense test refusal will result in a one-year license suspension, followed by two years with an IID. Subsequent violations will result in longer IID periods.

Criminal Charges

While underage DUI is technically a civil penalty, the incident could lead to criminal charges. For example, Kansas prohibits persons under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol. So, a driver with a BAC of .02% could be charged for consuming alcohol.

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