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New measure would cut wait time for Kansas DUI expungement

A bill that would benefit those convicted of DUI offenses has reached the next step in the Kansas legislature. The measure, which was approved by the House in mid-March, would reduce the wait time for the expungement of DUI charges from an arrest and conviction record. Currently, those convicted of driving under the influence must wait for a decade after a sentence is handed down or probation comes to an end. With the new bill, they would only have to wait five years before their DUI conviction could be purged from their records.

Advocates say that although the bill will not change the way that DUIs are prosecuted in the case, it will give Kansas residents the second chance they deserve after being convicted of drunk driving charges. In many cases, young drivers make mistakes during their formative years, but they do not drive drunk again. Those people still have difficulty finding work because of their criminal records. Those young residents deserve the opportunity to be gainfully employed, according to supporters of the bill.

Opponents say that those who have been convicted of drunk driving charges should not receive clemency. One politician said that family members of those who have died in drunk driving crashes should be respected; this bill does not achieve that end. She said that even choices that we make in our youth can have consequences, and those convicted of DUI charges should not receive leniency.

The bill has not yet passed into law. It has passed through the House and is now destined for the Kansas Senate. The bill could have a significant positive impact on drunk driving convicts if it is passed, however. Kansas criminal defense attorneys may be able to explain the impact of a DUI charge on an individual's future career prospects, regardless of whether the bill is approved.

Source: The Wichita Eagle, "Kansas House advances bill reducing years before record of a DUI offense can be expunged" Brian Lowry, Mar. 14, 2014

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