In Kansas, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most Kansas DUIs are misdemeanors, but prior offenses and injury collisions can result in felony charges.
Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony DUI charges in Kansas.
A third-offense DUI in Kansas can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on when the prior offenses occurred. If the prior offenses are more than ten years old, a third offense DUI will be only a misdemeanor. But if either DUI was within the last ten years, the new violation will be a non-person felony. Kansas counts both out-of-state DUIs and diversions as prior offenses.
A conviction carries 90 days to one year in jail, $1,750 to $2,500 in fines, a one-year driver's license suspension, and at least two years with an ignition interlock device (IID). The offender must also complete a substance abuse evaluation and the recommended treatment.
If three or more DUI convictions occur within five years, the offender will be designated a "habitual violator." This designation will result in extra jail time and fines, a three-year driver's license revocation, and increased penalties for future violations.
A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within the driver's lifetime will be considered a felony with increasing penalties.
While technically not considered a "felony DUI," an impaired driver who injures or kills someone can be charged with a separate felony offense called aggravated battery (for injuries) or involuntary manslaughter (for deaths) in addition to the DUI charge.
Causing bodily harm to another person while operating a vehicle under the influence is a level 8 felony. A conviction carries seven to 23 months in prison, plus a fine of up to $100,000. If the person suffered great bodily harm, the prison term will be 31 to 136 months, with a maximum $300,000 fine. And if the impaired driver's license was suspended or restricted or the driver was considered a habitual violator, the prison term will be 38 to 172 months with a maximum $300,000 fine.
Causing the death of another while under the influence is considered involuntary manslaughter and carries 38 to 172 months in prison and up to $300,000 in fines. Involuntary manslaughter committed while suspended, revoked, or as a habitual violator will be a level 3 felony and will result in 55 to 247 months in prison and a maximum $300,000 fine.
If you've been charged with a felony DUI, it would be wise to consult with an attorney. An experienced DUI lawyer can review your case, let you know if there are any viable defenses, and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.