Prior DUI conviction from the City of Wichita cannot be used to enhance a later DUI in the State of Kansas

The City of Wichita’s DUI ordinance prohibiting operation of a vehicle under certain circumstances, when the element of “vehicle” is defined more broadly than the “vehicle” element in the state DUI statute, it cannot be used to elevate a person’s later violation of the State of Kansas DUI statute.

So what does that mean for you? Essentially, a prior DUI conviction from the City of Wichita cannot be used to enhance a later violation of Kansas law. This is because the City of Wichita DUI ordinance more broadly prohibits conduct involving the operation of a vehicle. For example, as you’ll recall from one of my earlier blog posts in 2016, the City of Wichita ordinance prohibits riding a bicycle while under the influence. See City of Wichita v. Hackett.

On August 10, 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed the Kansas Court of Appeals in State vs. Gensler. Gensler was charged with felony (third offense) DUI in Sedgwick County District Court. He had two prior convictions from the City of Wichita Municipal Court. In Gensler, the Kansas Supreme Court held that the prior City of Wichita convictions could not be used to enhance Gensler’s DUI to a felony (it would only be a felony if there were two or more prior DUIs). The prior municipal offenses were from a DUI law that prohibited broader conduct than the State of Kansas DUI statute.

You can read the case opinion from the Kansas Supreme Court here http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2018/20180810/112523.pdf 

If you find you need help related to a DUI or criminal matter, call me at 316-267-2000. With over fourteen years of experience I can help you determine the best path for your situation.

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