KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Prosecutors in Lawrence, Kansas, dropped a driving under the influence charge against Kansas City, Missouri, City Councilman Quinton Lucas on Thursday morning.
Lucas, who is running for mayor against KC Councilwoman Jolie Justus after the pair received the most votes earlier this month in a mayoral primary, was arrested in Lawrence on October 18, 2018, on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence.
Lucas said he had attended an event where he drank alcohol and decided to wait in his car until he felt it was safe for him to drive.
He was still charged with DUI since a person is considered to be in control of a vehicle if they have access to the keys (whether in their pocket or the ignition), they are in the car, and the car is operational.
"A lot of people don’t have access to the system in the way I was lucky to have, and that’s something I’m always going to remember because for a lot of people you don’t get this positive result," Lucas told 41 Action News on Thursday. "That’s not necessarily because they all did something wrong, it’s because they don’t have the chance to fight for their rights, and I want to make sure as many people can do that as possible."
Lucas made a donation of $1,000 to Legal Aid after his arrest, saying “this process has continued to make clear that access to justice is often out of reach for many in our society” and “wealth should not determine outcomes in our criminal justice system.”
Lawrence Supervising City Prosecutor Elizabeth Hafoka issued the following statement to 41 Action News:
After a review of the facts and relevant case law, the City does not have evidence to present that Mr. Lucas moved or attempted to move the vehicle, which is required for conviction of DUI based on the holding in State v. Darrow, 304 Kan. 710 (2016). The Kansas Supreme Court in Darrow held that “taking actual physical control of the vehicle is insufficient to attempt to operate that vehicle without an attempt to make it move within meaning of driving under the influence (DUI) statute prohibiting a person from operating or attempting to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.” In Mr. Lucas’s case, there is no evidence that he moved or attempted to move the car. Therefore, the City will not proceed with prosecution at this time.