January 18, 2015

Kansas DUI Expungement Time May Get Reduced

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The Kansas House passed a bill today which would reduce the amount of time a person has to wait after they have finished a Kansas DUI diversion or completed the sentence for a DUI conviction before they can have that DUI expunged from their record. An article is here. Expungement is the process in which a DUI arrest, diversion or conviction can be wiped off of a person’s record and treated as though it never happened. Kansas law allows for expungement of most crimes after 3 years as long as a person has not been charged with another crime and expunging their record would be consistent with the public welfare and safety.

When I started handling DUI cases in Johnson County in 1994, a DUI could be expunged after 5 years. Then, the law changed and a DUI could never be expunged and would be on a person’s record for their entire lifetime. In 2011, the law changed again to say that a DUI could be expunged after 10 years. Now, we may go back to expungement after 5 years. 20 years of tinkering with the law and we may get back to where we started. The bill will go to the Kansas Senate. It passed by a pretty wide margin in the House so I am hopeful that it will soon become law.

In order to get a DUI expunged in Kansas, you have to wait the required time period (currently 10 years) from the time that you are released from diversion, probation, jail, etc. In other words, it is not 10 years from the date of conviction, but 10 years from the date of release from the sentence. A petition for expungement must be filed with the court where the case was handled. Usually, the prosecutor will then run a background check and see if the person has been charged with any other crimes or if there is any other reason to oppose the expungement. If the prosecutor agrees to the expungement, then an order can be presented to the judge of the court and the DUI is expunged. If the prosecutor objects to the expungement, then a hearing is held and arguments can be made to the court. In my experience, expungement is generally granted by the court if the person has not been in any trouble and a sufficient amount of time has passed. The judge will sign the order and the clerk of the court will have copies of the order served on the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which maintains criminal records for Kansas. The KBI will then remove the information from its database.



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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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