New Court of Appeals Decision Regarding Out-of-State DUI Priors

Do you have a prior DUI conviction from a state other than Kansas? Are you worried about that conviction making you a repeat DUI offender due to a recent Kansas DUI arrest? Well, the scales for measuring such prior offenses could now potentially be tipped in your favor due to a recent Kansas Court of Appeals decision. In the case of Kansas v. Butler, the state's Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's decision and ruled that an individual's previous Texas DUI convictions could not be considered as prior offenses in the state of Kansas due to the fact that one state's DUI laws are more limiting than the other's.

Butler, the defendant in the original case, had challenged the district court's decision to consider his past Texas DUI convictions—which were for driving under the influence of alcohol—as priors in Kansas. The argument was that Kansas' DUI laws were not parallel to those of Texas since Kansas law has more limiting provisions—it specifically prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol "to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle." Ultimately, the Kansas Court of Appeals held that because Texas' DUI laws prohibits conduct beyond that which is prohibited by Kansas, the Texas convictions could not be counted as prior offenses.

This decision is unpublished, which means that is not a binding precedent (or it is not binding on Kansas trial courts). It may, however, be persuasive. This means that the ruling can serve as a persuasive argument in the defense of similar cases in the future. The ability to get previous out-of-state convictions counted as ineligible as priors in a current DUI case is a major victory for the defendant, as it can help that individual avoid being sentenced as a repeat offender. Previous convictions can lead to harsher DUI penalties, such as longer jail terms and longer driver's license suspensions.

Kansas City DUI Attorney Steve Schanker is an accomplished legal professional who can help you take advantage of the best methods for challenging your DUI charges. He is highly knowledgeable about Kansas' DUI laws and keeps himself informed about the latest legal developments so that he can make use of rulings such as these. Attorney Schanker has received an AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating available within the prestigious peer-review lawyer rating system that evaluates attorneys based on legal ability and ethical standards. If you are facing possible DUI charges—whether for the first time or for a subsequent time—this experienced lawyer can assist you. He handles DUI cases in both Kansas and Missouri. Need an attorney for drunk driving in Kansas City? Contact Attorney Schanker so you can obtain the aggressive legal representation you need!