On February 27, 2016, the Kansas Supreme Court decided that the State of
Kansas can no longer charge someone
being investigated for DUI with the separate crime of refusing a blood test, breath test or test
of other bodily fluids in connection with an investigation for DUI. The
statute is 'Facially Unconstitutional', and must be thrown out,
the court said, because it punishes the defendant for asserting his or
her constitutional right to refuse to take a test when asked to do so
by law enforcement conducting an investigation for Driving While Under
the Influence or 'DUI'. In
State of Kansas vs. David Lee Ryce, No. 111,698, and three other related decisions this week the State's top court
held that a criminal statute that makes refusing a test a misdemeanor or
even a felony violates basic rights guaranteed under the Fourteenth and Fourth Amendments
and is therefore unconstitutional.
From the Court: "The Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution
prohibits a state from depriving a person of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law. Freedom from physical restraint has always
been at the core of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause from
arbitrary governmental action, and K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 8-1025(b) imposes
restraints on freedom because it sets out graduated sentencing severity
levels for refusing to submit to a test and
all levels require some term of imprisonment." (emphasis added)
The Court also reasoned that the State can still get a warrant for a test,
and can still impose civil sanctions, including suspending driving privileges,
for individuals who refuse a test.
Charged with DUI in Kansas City? Confused about the ever-changing landscape
of DUI law in Kansas or Missouri?
Contact our office today at 816.361.0964 or 913.383.3311!