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Quinton Lucas hopes for DUI dismissal; ‘would love to have it resolved yesterday’

Kansas City councilman Quinton Lucas arrested on suspicion of DUI in October

Kansas City Councilman and mayoral candidate Quinton Lucas was arrested on suspicion of DUI last October arrest in Lawrence, Kansas.
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Kansas City Councilman and mayoral candidate Quinton Lucas was arrested on suspicion of DUI last October arrest in Lawrence, Kansas.

It’s been nearly three months since Kansas City Councilman Quinton Lucas was arrested in Lawrence and charged with driving under the influence, and his case is still pending.

Lucas, who is running to succeed Sly James as Kansas City mayor, did not appear in court Tuesday, but an attorney appearing on his behalf requested and was granted a continuance. Lucas is now due to appear in February.

And while the mayoral candidate said he “would love to have it resolved yesterday,” he’s still hoping to get it dismissed.

“I think case law favors, frankly, a dismissal in this case and will continue to try to speak toward that,” Lucas said. “If I was interested in trying to pleading guilty or agreeing to some sort of diversion, I would have done this back in mid October or something.”

Lucas’ attorney, Tim Riling, said he requested the continuance to spend more time reviewing the case because he was recently added as a local counsel. Court records show Riling, who is based in Lawrence, notified the court last month that he had been retained.

Riling said he just recently received additional evidence, including video from officers’ dashboard cameras and the jail, that he needs to review. It’s not the first continuance in Lucas’ case, which Riling said was normal.

Lucas said the continuances weren’t requested in an effort to stall the case until after the mayoral primary in April.

“I don’t think that slow-walking anything is necessarily the best approach,” he said.

He added it wasn’t lost on him that if he had wanted to plead guilty he “could have done that probably a week or two after the incident and we all could have moved on with our lives.”

But he still believes the case warrants dismissal and said he had concerns with the criminal justice system’s reliance on defendants taking plea deals to keep proceedings moving along.

“Clearly, I don’t think any of this has just been shrewd political calculation to try to keep the hearings going every month or two so we can answer more questions about it,” he said.

Lucas said Kansas Citians he talks to on the campaign trail understand the choice he made, although his arrest doesn’t often come up.

“I’m still glad to this day that I didn’t choose to drive 45 miles back to Kansas City at 10 o’clock at night after even a few drinks,” Lucas said.

Lucas was arrested on suspicion of a DUI late on Oct. 18. He says he recognized he was not prepared to drive and decided to wait in his car until he could drive safely, but that he had dozed off. He says he never attempted to drive the car.