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DUI Arrests in Kansas

A law enforcement officer may stop a vehicle if they reasonably suspect that the person is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Once stopped, law enforcement officers can arrest a person for DUI under several circumstances. First, they can arrest the person if they have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony.  Secondly, they can arrest a person for a misdemeanor if it is probable that the person may cause injury to themselves or others if not immediately detained, or if evidence will be lost if the person is not immediately detained.  Finally, for any crime that has been or is being committed by the person in the officer’s view. The exception to the last rule is for traffic infractions.  Refusal to test is considered a traffic infraction.   Therefore, if a person suspected of DUI refuses a test an officer would need to satisfy one of the first two tests in order to legally arrest the person.

The officer will ask a person to submit to tests if they reasonably believe the person was operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, if the person was operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence of drugs, or the person is under the age of 21 and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.  Consent to testing is implied in the state of Kansas.

To satisfy probable cause, the officer will need to be able to prove that a reasonable person would have believed that the person was under the influence of alcohol.   For example, it would be reasonable to assume that a person is under the influence of alcohol if they are driving poorly (swerving, no headlights on). This would establish probable cause to stop the driver and then the officer could determine the cause of the poor driving.  However, it may not be reasonable to believe that a person is under the influence of alcohol if the driver is driving normally.  The law enforcement officer needs more than mere suspicion to satisfy probable cause to arrest, but “reasonable” cause is all that is required. In the event that the driver was involved in a traffic accident resulting in a serious injury or death, the traffic offense will constitute probable cause.

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