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8-235. Drivers' licenses required; exercise of privileges granted licensees; city license, when; appeal from denial of license; penalty; motorized bicycle driver's license. (a) No person, except those expressly exempted, shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this state unless such person has a valid driver's license. No person shall receive a driver's license unless and until such person surrenders or with the approval of the division, lists to the division all valid licenses in such person's possession issued to such person by any other jurisdiction. All surrendered licenses or the information listed on foreign licenses shall be returned by the division to the issuing department, together with information that the licensee is now licensed in a new jurisdiction. No person shall be permitted to have more than one valid license at any time.

(b) Any person licensed under the motor vehicle drivers' license act may exercise the privilege granted upon all streets and highways in this state and shall not be required to obtain any other license to exercise such privilege by any local authority. Nothing herein shall prevent cities from requiring licenses of persons who drive taxicabs or municipally franchised transit systems for hire upon city streets, to protect the public from drivers whose character or habits make them unfit to transport the public. If a license is denied, the applicant may appeal such decision to the district court of the county in which such city is located by filing within 14 days after such denial, a notice of appeal with the clerk of the district court and by filing a copy of such notice with the city clerk of the involved city. The city clerk shall certify a copy of such decision of the city governing body to the clerk of the district court and the matter shall be docketed as any other cause and the applicant shall be granted a trial of such person's character and habits. The matter shall be heard by the court de novo in accordance with the code of civil procedure. The cost of such appeal shall be assessed in such manner as the court may direct.

(c) Any person operating in this state a motor vehicle shall be the holder of a driver's license that is classified for the operation of such motor vehicle, and any person operating in this state a motorcycle that is registered in this state shall be the holder of a class M driver's license.

(d) No person shall drive any motorized bicycle upon a highway of this state unless such person:

(1) Has a valid driver's license that entitles the licensee to drive a motor vehicle in any class or classes;

(2) is at least 15 years of age and has passed the written and visual examinations required for obtaining a class C driver's license, in which case the division shall issue to such person a class C license, which shall clearly indicate that such license is valid only for the operation of motorized bicycles; or

(3) has had their driving privileges revoked under K.S.A. 8-286, and amendments thereto, has not had a test refusal or test failure or alcohol or drug-related conviction, as those terms are defined in K.S.A. 8-1013, and amendments thereto, in the last five years, has not been convicted of a violation of K.S.A. 8-1568(b), and amendments thereto, in the last five years and has made application to the division for issuance of a class C license for the operation of motorized bicycles, in accordance with paragraph (2), in which case the division shall issue such person a class C license, which shall clearly indicate that such license is valid only for the operation of motorized bicycles. As used in this subsection, "motorized bicycle" shall have the meaning ascribed to it in K.S.A. 8-126, and amendments thereto.

(e) Violation of this section is a class B nonperson misdemeanor.

History: L. 1937, ch. 73, § 2; L. 1949, ch. 104, § 2; L. 1959, ch. 49, § 2; L. 1961, ch. 52, § 1; L. 1969, ch. 51, § 1; L. 1975, ch. 36, § 5; L. 1976, ch. 42, § 2; L. 1977, ch. 28, § 3; L. 1987, ch. 45, § 1; L. 1989, ch. 38, § 20; L. 1991, ch. 36, § 5; L. 1993, ch. 154, § 2; L. 2000, ch. 179, § 7; L. 2007, ch. 181, § 1; L. 2010, ch. 135, § 3; L. 2011, ch. 105, § 4; L. 2012, ch. 172, § 3; L. 2016, ch. 73, § 4; L. 2018, ch. 106, § 1; L. 2019, ch. 4, § 1; L. 2022, ch. 80, § 6; July 1.

Cross References to Related Sections:

Autonomous motor vehicles, see 8-2902.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"Administrative Law: The Kansas Commission on Civil Rights—True De Novo Review Arrives," Samuel D. Ogelby, 16 W.L.J. 161, 163 (1976).

"Judicial Review of Administrative Action—Kansas Perspectives," David L. Ryan, 19 W.L.J. 423, 433 (1980).

"Delacruz: Following the Nichols Court Through the Looking Glass," Eric Lawrence, 44 K.L.R. 1045 (1996).

Attorney General's Opinions:

Traffic violation arrests; citations, procedures and penalties; appearance bond. 83-137.

License required to operate a motorized bicycle. 86-159.

Application of motor vehicle laws to all-terrain vehicles (ATV's); definitions; registration. 94-102.

License for operation of motorized bicycle; issuance to person whose license is suspended or revoked, prohibited. 95-109.

"Motor scooters" required to be registered, operators to have driver's license. 2001-39.


1. Evidence insufficient to sustain conviction for operating motor vehicle without valid license. State v. Walker, 199 K. 508, 511, 430 P.2d 268.

2. Violation hereof and open discovery of contraband sufficient causes to premise limited search made at scene of arrest. United States v. Croft, 429 F.2d 884, 885, 886.

3. Mentioned; alcohol breath test sample lawfully obtained is admissible although driver incapable of exercising statutory right to refuse test. State v. Garner, 3 K.A.2d 697, 600 P.2d 1166.

4. Suspension of license to drive remains in effect for full period regardless whether license had expired. Schowengerdt v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue, 14 K.A.2d 147, 784 P.2d 387 (1990).

5. Whether police had authority to arrest plaintiff when he admitted he carried no driver's license examined. Fillmore v. Ordonez, 829 F.Supp. 1544, 1557 (1993).

6. Applicant may not receive an instruction permit to operate a motor vehicle without first satisfying all examination requirements for license except for actual driving test; state may require medical certification as to ability to operate motor vehicle safely. Briggs v. Walker, 88 F.Supp.2d 1196, 1200, 1202 (2000).

7. Person who never had a driver's license cannot be charged with driving while suspended pursuant to K.S.A. 8-262, but can be charged with driving without a license in violation of K.S.A. 8-235(a). State v. Bowie, 268 K. 794, 999 P.2d 947 (2000).

8. Statute requiring valid driver's license to operate motor vehicle within state does not conflict with right to interstate travel. State v. Hershberger, 27 K.A.2d 485, 5 P.3d 1004 (2000).

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