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What are Kansas Traffic Court Records?
Kansas traffic court records are documents detailing the proceedings of traffic courts within the jurisdiction of the state. These records are primarily generated to provide an official account of the judicial processes of the courts. As such, they feature details of prosecuted road traffic offenses as well as information regarding the offender, citations issued following the offense and details of the trial/hearing including court actions, motions, and judgments.
While all Kansas courts are unified under the administrative authority of the state Supreme Court, Municipal courts have primary jurisdiction over traffic offenses. However, verdicts issued by the Municipal Court may be reviewed by the District Court within the same jurisdiction. As part of their administrative functions, Municipal and District courts maintain records of traffic court cases that they hear. Kansas public record laws allow interested and eligible persons to access these records provided that they are neither confidential nor sealed by court order.
Traffic Violations in Kansas
Traffic offenders in Kansas are usually apprehended by the Kansas Highway Patrol and tried in the states Municipal and District Traffic Courts. Traffic courts are dedicated to hearing traffic-related cases including violations committed by both vehicle operators and pedestrians. These violations include a vast range of offenses which are typically categorized based on the nature of the offense and the severity of damage/injury caused. As per U.S designation, traffic offenses may be either moving or non-moving violations. However, there are three traffic violations of special interest to the KSP. They include speeding, following too closely and alcohol violations & DUI.
All Kansas state traffic violations can be categorized as moving or non-moving offenses.
Moving violations include all offenses committed by vehicle operators while in transit. They include all alcohol, DUI and DWI related violations as well as speeding, disregarding traffic signs, reckless driving, distracted driving, and related offenses. These offenses usually pose an imminent threat to road users and are considered especially heinous in comparison to other traffic-related offenses.
Kansas Alcohol Violations & DUI
As described in Kansas state statutes, DUI and DWI are criminal offenses with both administrative and criminal penalties. In addition to this, the transportation of open ( and easily accessible) containers of alcoholic beverages are also considered an alcohol violation and a misdemeanor violation of Kansas state laws. As such, all containers of alcoholic beverages are required to bear the Kansas state tax stamp and a registration tag indicating its purchaser. Additionally, the unauthorized inter-state transfer of these items off federal reservations can be deemed a violation of state law.
Following Too Closely
All vehicle operators within Kansas jurisdiction are required to follow other vehicles at a safe traveling distance to avoid rear-end collisions. Following too closely is considered an infraction or warning violation with no serious penalty. However, where a motive is established or there are similar violations by the same offender, a ticket may be issued.
Non-moving violations in Kansas usually involve immobile vehicles or offenses unrelated to the movement of a vehicle. They include all forms of traffic violations, offenses pertaining to seat belts and child safety seats, all paperwork related violations including lack of proper licensing and/or insurance, non-functional or non-existent car components such as spare tires, fire extinguishers, broken lamps or turn signals, etc. These are usually considered less severe than moving violations especially if there is no resulting damage or injury from the offense.
Kansas Criminal and Non-criminal Violations
Kansas traffic violations and infractions are distinguished based on the severity of the offense and penalties into criminal and non-criminal violations. More severe traffic violations resulting in extensive damage to property, injuries or death are usually prosecuted as criminal offenses. Typically, offenses relating to DUI, DWI, speeding and ignoring traffic signs often lead to these occurrences, as such, most moving violations are considered criminal offenses. On the other hand, non-criminal violations rarely pose a threat to life or property making their penalties less severe. They include most non-moving violations and infractions relating to seat belt use, registration, and insurance, car-related equipment and aesthetics such as snow tires and tinted windows.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in Kansas
Kansas traffic tickets or citations are legal notices which indicate the traffic offense of the recipient as well as the penalty of the offense depending on its severity. Tickets issued by law enforcement officials subsequent to a traffic violation may be hand-written or computer-generated. They detail the personal information of the offender as well as registration information and the descriptive properties of the offender’s vehicle and general information regarding the offense committed. Traffic tickets not only serve as notice of a penalty ascribed to a driver but a court summons in specific cases. Usually, tickets indicate penalties ascribed to a driver including a monetary fine, points added to a driving record but where the traffic ticket serves as a summons, the recipient will be required to appear at the traffic court. Upon responding to the summon, the offender may choose to contest a penalty or request a contested hearing in the traffic court of the jurisdiction.
Responding to a Traffic Ticket/Citation in Kansas
Offenders who are issued a Kansas traffic ticket/citation are typically required to respond within a specified period depending on the jurisdiction in which the citation was issued. While some tickets require that the recipient make a court appearance, selected tickets include a specified fine amount, allowing the offender to pay the fines/fees prior to the indicated court date. Depending on the preference of the offender, they may choose to pay any indicated fines, plead guilty/not guilty to the charges or contest the ticket in court.
How do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in Kansas?
In the state of Kansas, the option to pay a fine or fees indicated on traffic ticket/citation may be considered an inadvertent admission of guilt. However, this is considered a less complicated and cheaper alternative to contesting a ticket, even though it might attract additional penalties in the form of penalty points on the offender’s driver’s license in addition to possible spikes in auto insurance estimates given the driving history of the alleged offender. Kansas traffic tickets may be paid in person, via mail or online. When approved by a traffic court, the offender may also pay in installments. However, this requires a court-ruling by a Kansas-licensed judge.
To pay a traffic ticket, the offender must acknowledge their guilt or unwillingness to contest the charges, thus waiving their right to a trial and an attorney. Online payments can be made using the approved vendor of the Kansas Highway Patrol. This will require providing information regarding the court as well as the citation or case number and the birth date of the offender. Online payments can be made using a debit or credit card.
To make payments via mail, the offender may proceed to indicate their plea on the back of the traffic ticket, sign and date the ticket and enclose a personal cheque or money order payment of the indicated fines which should be sent to the traffic court in the jurisdiction where the ticket was issued.
Tickets can also be paid in person at the courthouse during working hours. Most courts accept cash, money order, personal cheques, and credit cards. However, depending on the method of payment employed, the payer may be required to present their photo ID.
How do I Request a Contested or Mitigated Hearing in Kansas?
In the event that the offender believes that their ticket has been issued unfairly or without sufficient cause, requests for a contested or mitigation hearing can be made to the traffic court of the jurisdiction. This can be requested by pleading not guilty to the citation and delivering the ticket in person or via mail to traffic court (indicated on the citation). This should be done immediately after the citation’s issuance.
Typically the process for challenging a ticket is unique to each court. However, offenders are often required to post collateral after indicating their not-guilty plea or requesting mitigation. If acquitted, the amount paid in collateral will be refunded to the alleged offender and all charges will be dropped. On the other hand, where the court reaches a guilty verdict, the judge may include, along with the indicated fines, license suspension, driving record points, additional fines or jail time. Summarily, tickets should be contested only if there is sufficient legal proof to exonerate the alleged offender.
What is Included in a Kansas Traffic Court Record
Kansas traffic court records feature information regarding the judicial processes of traffic courts within the jurisdiction of the state. Unlike driving records, these are generated by the state judiciary and contain details of court proceedings including the traffic violation being prosecuted, the personal information of the offender, court citations, actions and motions, affidavit statements as well as the court’s final verdict. On the other hand, driving records and motor vehicle records are maintained by the Kansas Department of Revenue and typically feature information regarding the citation history and driving information/history of individuals. These records may not be alternated for each other.
Where to Find Kansas Traffic Court Records
Given that the Kansas municipal court is tasked with hearing traffic cases and related offenses committed within city limits, traffic court records are managed and disseminated by the office of the municipal court clerks. These records can be obtained by querying the court clerk’s office in person or via mail, and information regarding Kansas cities and their corresponding municipal courts can be obtained using the League of Kansas Municipalities Website.
Requesters may be required to provide the information required to facilitate record searches. This includes the full name of the person(s) involved in the case as well as the citation number of the traffic summon, the date and place of the ticket and hearing and the case file number of the record (if known). In some cases, the requesting party may also be charged a nominal fee to cover search/copy costs.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
How Do I Look Up My Kansas Driving Record?
Kansas state driving records usually feature a lifetime summary of the subjects driving activity including citations, points accrued and related information. These records also contain driver license information, status, and issue dates as well as personal and identifying information regarding the subject of the record.
As per Kansas state law, driving records can be accessed by a variety of persons including law enforcement, insurance companies, prospective employers and government entities unless otherwise ruled by a court.
To obtain a Kansas driving record, interested and eligible persons may query the state Department of Revenue’s Driver Control Bureau online, in person or via mail. All requests require that the requesting party provide the subject’s driver license number and address.
Online requests can be made on the Kansas Motor Vehicle Record website. However, in-person or mail requests require that the requestor download and complete the driving record request form, which can be submitted at a local Kansas DMV or the Driver Control Bureau at:
Kansas Department of Revenue
Driver Control Bureau
P. O. Box 12021
Topeka, KS 66612–2021
How to Recover Lost Traffic Tickets in Kansas
In the event that a Kansas-issued traffic ticket or citation is lost or destroyed, the ticket owner may retrieve the ticket by contacting the court which is charged with overseeing the case. In the state of Kansas, this may either be a Municipal or District Court depending on whether the ticket was city or state-issued. To narrow down the search, the owner is required to locate the traffic court presiding over the jurisdiction in which the ticket was issued. Given that the state of Kansas does not provide online repositories with which to search for state-wide tickets, all queries must be made directly to the municipal or district court charged with handling the traffic ticket. However, upon verifying the jurisdiction in which the ticket was issued, the offender may search the individual website of the municipal or district court for information regarding the ticket.