Understanding the Differences between a Felony and Misdemeanor DUI in Kansas

Before a motorist steps behind the wheel of his or her vehicle, he or she needs to make a decision as to whether he or she is physically able to operate that vehicle. If a motorist is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, he or she is not only putting him or herself in danger, he or she also runs the risk of being pulled over on suspicion of DUI. In Kansas, the offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime. Lawmakers are under serious pressure to crackdown on drinking and driving, and the laws reflect this pressure. If you think that you can drive under the influence once and walk away with just a slap on the wrist, you need to stop and think again.

A first time DUI is considered a Class B misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense include 48 hours to 6 months in jail or 100 hours of community service, in addition to fines of up to a $1,000 and court costs. A second DUI is also misdemeanor, but it is considered a Class A offense. As such the penalties increase with fines up to $1,750 and up to one year in jail. Both first and second DUI offenses will also result in the loss of driving privileges for up to a one-year followed by a period after of restricted driving.

In contrast, any DUI following a second DUI is considered a felony charge. A person convicted of his or her third DUI can expect to receive fines of up to $2,500, jail time of one year, a license suspension of one year, and the restriction of driving with an ignition interlock device for a two-year period following the suspension. A third or subsequent DUI is also much serious of a charge in that if the person is found guilty of the charges, he or she will have a felony conviction on his or her criminal record.

Unlike a misdemeanor conviction, a felony conviction means the loss of several civil rights. Convicted felons are prohibited from owning a firearm. While this may not mean too much to some people, for others it will mean not being able to hunt, visit a shooting range, or own a gun for protection. A person with a felony conviction is also banned from voting in public elections and running for a public office.

While there are differences in the penalties between a misdemeanor and felony DUI, it is important to keep in mind that there is no difference between the two when it comes to the criminal proceeding itself. For both misdemeanor and felony DUI offenses, the government or State of Kansas (often just referred to as the “State”) bears the burden of proving that the person charged with DUI is guilty of all charges, beyond any and all reasonable doubt. If the government does not meet its burden, then the jury (or in some instances the judge) must find the person not guilty. Therefore, it is critical to hire a seasoned DUI defense attorney who will thoroughly review the facts and law related to your case, so to uncover any and all defenses you may have to the charges.

 Whether you are charged with misdemeanor or felony DUI, one thing remains the same, you need to contact an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Lawyer to protect your rights as soon as possible. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys, call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. Veteran DUI Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time to answer your questions and make sure you understand your rights. You can trust the Whitman Law Offices to provide you with aggressive representation, no matter if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI.


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