I get it. Your 15 year-old driver has her restricted license and now wants to drive anywhere, anytime. And, you tend to allow it because you see no harm in it. And you trust your young driver. The problem is that under Kansas law, officers will dish out a ticket for driving in violation of the restrictions for such a "joy ride." The penalty? 30-day suspension of their driving permit under K.S.A. 8-291 and a fine around $200. The problem with that? Now insurance companies can see the suspension on their record. The problem? Now there's a reason to increase their auto insurance premiums. Thus, there is every reason for a parent to deny these kids the ability to drive outside the restrictions. I understand the convenience in allowing your young driver some independence behind the wheel. But allowing these kids unbridled driving chances is, in my opinion, asking for trouble. Compounding the issue is their desire to drive at night (yes, I'm talking about my 15 year-old daughter here.) Night driving is usually a clear cut violation of the restriction unless they are driving to and from work. But how many 15 year-olds work after 8 or 9 PM? Not many.
My strategy on these cases is to show that the driver was driving near the shortest route to home or work. In this instance, the prosecutor may agree to amend, dismiss, or divert the ticket. Assuming there is a companion ticket for speeding or no headlights, etc., you can often get that ticket amended to a non-mover and the driving in violation charge dismissed. However, the more egregious the violation, ie driving at 2 AM or driving with a full load of teenagers in the car, then the chances for a favorable plea are reduced.
The smartest solution is to keep them on a short leash and require the routes to be close to home and before 10 P.M. That is my rule with my 15 year-old. Of course, the other issue is when they try to leave the house with another "restricted" driver whose parents don't give a damn about the restrictions on their kids' license. Which is the safer decision? Your kid driving or their friend. That is such a subjective decision that I will leave that alone for now.
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