The following article was authored by Theodore Arthur Sande, a theoretical astrophysicist who has never been convicted of exceeding the speed of light.
The flat, featureless expanses of the Kansas prairie plains traversed by its interminable, unvarying roadways can hypnotically induce the driver to traveling at unlawfully high speeds. This propensity is certainly understandable, given the relatively immense distances between major cities and the sheer, mind-numbing monotony of driving on Kansas’ highways.
Unfortunately, if an authorized agent of the state, either city, state police or county sheriff, detects you driving in excess of any posted maximum speed limit, they can and will detain and issue you a speeding ticket.
Speeding tickets are handled by the Kansas Department of Revenue
Strangely enough, there is no Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Yes, Dorothy, you are still in Kansas! Instead, the Kansas Department of Revenue (DOR) Division of Vehicles assumes jurisdiction over all matters relating to licensed driving. This blatant acknowledgment of the true purpose of statutorily-regulating the privilege of driving in the state of Kansas should serve to give you pause. Your speeding ticket is the State of Kansas’ receipt for the revenue you generously contributed!
Kansas' basic speed rule
The Kansas State Secretary of Transportation has decreed that all statutory speed limits in Kansas shall flow as a natural consequence from its central philosophic maxim, the sacrosanct Basic Speed Rule (KS ST section 8-1557), which states:
A person shall not operate a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual hazards then existing.
Please note that no explicit mention is made of maximum posted speed limits. Speed limits are an important, albeit not exclusive, means of implementing the basic speed rule.
Kansas statutory maximum speed limits
The Kansas State Secretary of Transportation has the final authority to designate the Posted Maximum Speed Limits (KS ST section 8-1558), driving in excess of which is a statutory violation subject to penalty. These maximum limits are customized for the different major classes of roadways:
- separated, multilane highways – 75 MPH
- other state & federal highways – 65 MPH
- county & township highways – 55 MPH
- urban districts – 30 MPH
- business district (when posted) – 20 MPH
- school zones (children present) – 20 MPH
- work zones when (workers are present) – as posted
Kansas uniform fine schedule
Conviction for speeding in excess of posted maximum speed limits can result from waiving your right to trial by entering an explicit plea of guilty at arrangement, being delivered a sentence of guilty at your traffic court trial, pleading nolo contendere (ancient Latin for “I will not contest the charge, nor will I admit guilt.”). Directly paying the fine printed on your ticket constitutes a de facto admission of guilt, no different than if you plead guilty in person in court.
Upon conviction, the following monetary fines are imposed as determined by the Kansas Uniform Fine Schedule. The simple fact that you exceeded the speed limit and violated the sacrosanct Basic Speed Rule, irrespective of the actual MPH excess, will subject you to a Basic Speed Rule base penalty fine of $60. Additional fines are added to the base fine as determined by the precise speed beyond the maximum limit you are convicted for driving at:
- Basic Speed Rule – $60
- 1-10 MPH over posted speed limit + $30 (add 30 bucks on top of the 6 bucks for speeding)
- 11-20 MPH over posted speed limit + $30 + $6 per MPH over 10 MPH excess
- 21-30 MPH over posted speed limit + $90 + $9 per MPH over 20 MPH excess
- 31+ MPH over posted speed limit + $180 + $15 per MPH over 30 MPH excess
These fines are doubled if speeding in a work/school when workers/children are respectively present. Also note, that you can be issued a speeding ticket even if your are driving below the speed limit, if the officer deems that your are driving at an unsafe, unreasonable, or imprudent speed given the road, traffic, or weather conditions.
Sanctions following being convicted of speeding
In addition to the monetary fines imposed, a train of additionally punitive consequences will often follow. Unlike most other states, however, you will not be assigned points.
A Kansas speeding point system does not exist!
Kansas, unlike most other states in the Union, does not have a point system wherein a number of points are assigned for each moving violation conviction. This is a mixed blessing since it simplifies what will be the future consequences of a series of present and future speeding violations. All speeding violations are in a sense considered equal, and are not differentiated by assigning various numbers of points to each offense based upon the details of the offense, e.g., exact number of MPH beyond the maximum limits. In lieu of a point system, speeding drivers should be cognizant of the looming possibility of driver license suspension based on the number of speeding tickets and/or any other moving violation accumulated within a given time frame.
Driver’s License suspension, revocation or restriction (3/12 rule)
The ultimate punishment is the temporary revocation of your driver’s license. This drastic measure will be levied if you received 3 or more convictions within any 12 month period for moving violations of any nature. Being found guilty of speeding is classified as a moving violation. Thus being found guilty of speeding three times in 12 months and dutifully paying the associated fines does not terminate your punishment. You can lose your driver’s license as well. However, this draconian punishment can be avoided if you attend a certified Kansas Driver Improvement Clinic. Keep the 3/12 Rule always in mind. Think of this like baseball, three strikes in 12 months and you’re out!
Commercial motor vehicle licenses
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Operators will have their CMV license revoked for a string of “serious traffic violations” such as excessive speeding, e.g., 15 MPH above the speed limits. CMV license suspension will ensue for accruing a minimum of 2 such violations in any 3 year period.
Kansas Driver Improvement Program
Upon conviction for a speeding offense, the traffic court may extend to you at its mercy the option of enrolling in an approved Kansas Defensive Driving Course which may be taken online. Successful completion can result in your offense not counting toward one of your potential three strikes. Thus you can avoid license suspension even if you struck out.
Kansas Driver Record
Your personal Kansas Driver Record compiles a history of all your driving violations, speeding included. Any documented violation will be expunged after 3 years. This record is what automobile insurance underwriters consult to calculate your premiums.
Car insurance premium increase
A conviction for speeding in Kansas will invariably result in an increase in the monthly premiums you pay to your automotive insurance underwriter. The amount and duration of this increase is determined both by the severity of the speeding violation as well as the number of violations you are found guilty of. Often this cumulative increase over the subsequent year will be greater than the fine itself.
How a expert traffic attorney can help you
Other than never speeding in Kansas and thus avoiding being issued a speeding ticket in the first place, your next best recourse is to retain the services of an expert, licensed traffic attorney. Your attorney’s intimate knowledge of Kansas’ traffic laws coupled with extensive courtroom experience can significantly improve your chances of mitigating the legal and financial consequences of your speeding offense.
For example, your attorney can negotiate with the direct attorney prior to your first court arraignment an acceptable plea bargain to a lesser offense, e,g. a ticket for a lower excess speed violation or even a non-moving violation. This is a common procedure where having a licensed attorney perform it on your behalf vastly increases your chances for success. In the event that a suitable plea bargain is not reached, your attorney can then represent you in traffic court with the goal of obtaining a sentence of not guilty and a full dismissal of charges.
A conviction for speeding in the Land of Oz can be the first link in a short chain of financially and legally adverse consequences that extend far beyond the initial nominal fine printed on your speeding ticket. Representation by an experienced traffic ticket attorney for even your first speeding ticket can significantly preclude and mitigate this chain of consequences. BernieSez is a free service that literally brings traffic attorneys in your area directly to your online doorstep where they will compete for your business. Click or tap on the button below to get started with this 100% free lawyer matching service.