July 15, 2021
We all know you should never drive while under the influence. But some people make this mistake. This mistake can hurt someone or bring you into trouble with the law. If you are charged with a DUI in Kansas, you probably want to know what your sentence could be and what a lawyer can do for you.
In Kansas, the severity of sentencing for a DUI conviction depends on how many prior DUIs you have. For the purpose of sentencing, prior DUI diversions count as prior DUI convictions. Your first and second DUI convictions are sentenced as misdemeanors. Your third DUI conviction is sentenced as a felony if your most recent DUI conviction happened within the last ten years. Your fourth or subsequent DUI convictions are all sentenced as felonies. Felonies are serious crimes that come with harsher sentences and permanent loss of certain privileges such as federal housing assistance, voting, gun ownership, and more. Additionally, a felony conviction on your record can make it much harder to find future employment. If you are charged with a crime, you should try to avoid a felony conviction and an experienced felony lawyer increases your chances of doing that.
Fortunately, if your prior DUI convictions are not under Kansas law, they may not count as prior convictions in determining your sentence. If you were convicted of a DUI or DWI in another state or under municipal law, the definition of a DUI or DWI under these laws have to be “comparable” to the definition of a DUI under Kansas law. If they are not comparable, then these prior convictions cannot be counted in determining your sentence.
In late 2020, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled in State v. Myers that prior Missouri DWI convictions cannot be counted in Kansas to determine a person’s sentence for a current DUI conviction. Missouri law defined DWI as driving under the influence of alcohol while Kansas law defined DUI as driving under the influence of alcohol ‘to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle’ or ‘driving with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.’ Because the same act could get you convicted in one state but not the other, the court determined that Missouri priors cannot be counted. This means that even though Myers had two DWIs in Missouri, her DUI in Kansas must be sentenced as a misdemeanor because it was technically her first. This could also apply to DUI or DWI convictions in other states or municipalities if their definitions of a DUI or DWI differ from that of Kansas. Felony lawyers who have represented DUI clients are trained and experienced in analyzing the laws of other states or municipalities to determine whether their DUI convictions can be counted in Kansas to determine sentencing.
If you are charged with a DUI in Overland Park or Kansas City, it is important to talk to a felony lawyer in your area. The law is complicated, and your sentence can be unpredictable without assistance from an experienced felony lawyer. You should contact a felony lawyer early because it will be easier for you to remember the details of your arrest and give you and your lawyer more time to decide what steps to take in your case. Your felony lawyer can evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process. He or she can then negotiate with the prosecutor or represent you in court to get the case dismissed or help you try to obtain the lightest possible sentence.
Mark Grover is the owner of Grover Law Firm in downtown Overland Park. He is an award-winning felony lawyer in Overland Park and Kansas City who has represented countless DUI clients. He also specializes in personal injury, criminal law, and business law, and represents clients in both Kansas and Missouri. If you need help on your DUI case, your friends at Grover Law Firm are eager to look into your case, advise you, and advocate on your behalf. Our consultations and case evaluations are always free, so you have nothing to lose by talking to us. Feel free to call us at 913-432-1000, or visit our website.
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