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Drivers can refuse to take field sobriety tests

Before July 1, drivers in Kansas could be ticketed for not taking field sobriety tests. However, a change to state law means that drivers will now only face a license suspension for a test refusal. The license suspension is good for a full year, which is the same penalty for failing a blood or breathalyzer test. Furthermore, it is still possible for a driver to be charged and convicted of a DUI based on other evidence collected.

Field sobriety tests may require a driver to walk in a straight line or stand on one leg for a certain amount of time. A lobbyist for law enforcement groups in the state says that the prospect of being charged with a crime provided motorists with an incentive to take field sobriety tests. If a driver doesn't consent to them, it may be more difficult for an officer to show reasonable cause to charge that individual with drunk driving.

Kansas decided to make changes to its implied consent laws based on decisions made by state courts as well as the Supreme Court. According to the Kansas DUI Judicial Council, this change will likely be part of a complete overhaul of the state's DUI laws. One lawmaker said that he wasn't concerned that changes to field sobriety laws would make the roads less safe overall.

A DUI charge could come with significant consequences regardless of whether the alleged offender isn't convicted of a crime or not. This is because a refusal to comply with sobriety or other tests could result in a license suspension even if a person is acquitted of DUI. An attorney may be able to help a driver get a DUI charge dropped or obtain an acquittal at trial. Doing so may help the defendant avoid jail time or a fine.

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