Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Discusses Stricter Penalties for DUIs that Result in Physical Harm

As of 2013 in Kansas, a person commits the crime of aggravated battery while driving under the influence if,

  • Great bodily harm to another person or disfigurement of another person results from driving under the influence; or
  • Bodily harm to another person results from driving under the influence with the possibility that the act may cause great bodily harm, disfigurement, or death.

This summer, Governor Brownback signed House Bill 2055 into law which created harsher penalties for those who commit an aggravated battery DUI, or cause great bodily harm to someone while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The new law is also known as “Mija’s Law.”

Tragically, Mija Stockman was a victim of a collision involving a drunk driver. In December 2013, Ms. Stockman sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident with Jeffery Davis, who at the time of the accident had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. Mr. Davis was convicted of aggravated battery while driving under the influence. It was the third time he had been convicted of driving under the influence. The judge ordered Davis to serve thirty four months in prison, but Kansas law also permitted the judge to place him on probation. Thus, while Mr. Davis only has to serve less than three years in prison, Ms. Stockman faces a lifetime of rehabilitation.

Mija’s Law created a special rule for determining a person’s criminal history for a conviction of aggravated battery while driving under the influence. The rule considers past DUI and DUI refusal offenses as felonies for sentencing purposes for DUI accidents that cause great physical harm or disfigurement to another person. The law also increases the severity classification of aggravated battery DUI that results in great bodily harm to a Level 4 person felony. This classification ensures that aggravated battery DUI offenders in Kansas are not eligible for probation.   The sentencing range has also been increased to 38 months to 172 months. The hope for the stricter penalties is that there will be a reduction in DUI accidents that cause severe and permanent bodily harm or disabilities.

Any driving under the influence charge should not be taken lightly. A DUI conviction can mean large fines, jail time, and can affect your ability to obtain and keep a job. Repeat DUI convictions, and DUIs that cause great bodily harm to another person carry even harsher penalties, including longer jail sentences, and ineligibility for probation. If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, or aggravated battery driving under the influence, be sure you consult with a seasoned Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Kansas DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman has more than thirty five years of criminal defense experience and is ready to help you fight your charge of driving under the influence. Call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 or toll free at (877) 933-4543 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

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