Felony DUI vs Misdemeanor
When charged with a DUI, the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor carries less significant offense/penalties than a felony. What separates a felony offense from a misdemeanor offense depends entirely on state laws and the circumstances of the case. While state laws on felony DUI differ there are several aggravating circumstances that can turn a misdemeanor DUI into a felony.
Blood Alcohol Level
In most states (including Kansas and Missouri) the minimum level that a person is usually charged with a DUI is .08. However, if the BAC (blood alcohol content) is much higher than .08, that is a factor in determining whether you can be charged with a felony DUI.
A DUI will most likely be charged if the intoxicated driver is involved in an accident and has a BAC higher than .08. If there is an accident and the driver, a passenger, another driver, or pedestrian is injured, the driver can be charged with a felony DUI.
Repeat offenders often face felony DUI charges if they have had previous DUI convictions within a certain time limit.
In Missouri, someone charged with a 3rd DUI can receive a Class D felony for a 3rd offense. Persistent offenders can also receive up to a year in jail, with a minimum of 5 days served unless a minimum of 30 days community service is served.
In Kansas, a third DUI is a felony if there is a prior DUI within the past ten years. Other charges after 3 DUI include 90 days to 1 year in jail. On top of court costs, fees, and probation, fines can also range from $1,750 to $2,500.
Child in the Vehicle
If you are arrested for DUI or DWI with a child in the vehicle (someone under the age of 16), you can be charged with a felony DUI instead of a misdemeanor.
Driving With a Suspended License
Because a license suspension says that you are not legally allowed to drive, if you driving with a suspended license and arrested for a DUI or DWI, you may be charged with a felony DUI instead of a misdemeanor.
There are many legal factors to consider if you have received a DUI. Contact KCticketlaw for a consultation and to discuss ways that you can fight your charges.