Kansas’s Reckless Driving Laws and Penalties

Read about Kansas’s reckless driving laws and the consequences of a conviction.

Reckless driving is a crime in Kansas. The offense is defined as driving “in wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The term “willful” refers to conduct that is intentional or purposeful. And “wanton” generally means the person understood but disregarded the consequences of the conduct. 

(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 8-1566(a) (2017).)

Reckless Driving Penalties

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in Kansas. The penalties for a conviction are: 

  • First offense. Motorists convicted of a first reckless driving offense face five to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $500 in fines.
  • Repeat offense. A second or subsequent reckless driving conviction carries ten days to six months in jail and/or $50 to $500 in fines.

Anyone convicted of reckless driving is generally looking at a license suspension of up to a year. (Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 8-254, 8-256, 8-1566(b) (2017).)

Reckless Driving and DUI Charges (“Wet Reckless”)

In some states, it’s possible for a driver who’s charged with driving under the influence (DUI) to “plea bargain” for a lesser charge. When a DUI is plea bargained down to a reckless driving charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”

In Kansas, prosecutors are prohibited from reducing a DUI charge where the purpose of the reduction is to permit the defendant to avoid the mandatory DUI penalties. However, plea bargaining for other purposes is allowed. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 8-1567 (2017).)

(Read more about plea bargaining in Kansas DUI cases and the limitations.)

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Generally speaking, sentencing law is complex and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including the severity of the damage at issue, credits for good in-custody behavior, and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

Talk to an Attorney

The facts of every case are different. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with reckless driving, get in contact with an experienced defense attorney. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.

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