If you have been charged with a crime, whether a felony or a misdemeanor, choosing the right attorney can have a lasting effect on the rest of your life. If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor call our firm for your initial consultation. We handle criminal defense cases in federal, state and municipal courts.
All crimes in the state of Kansas are defined as felonies or misdemeanors. A felony is a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison. This is distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county (local) jail, and/or a fine.
The imposition of a sentence for a felony conviction is controlled by the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines. Under the guidelines, two separate factors determine the length of any prison sentence: the severity level of the crime committed, and the criminal history score of the person who committed the crime.
Felonies are ranked in severity from level 1 being the most serious to level 10 being the least serious. Likewise, drug felonies are ranked from level 1 to level 5. There are also “off-grid” (murder), and “non-grid” (felony DUI), felonies.
The second factor in determining a felony prison sentence is a person’s criminal history score. Criminal history scores are ranked “A” (three or more person felonies) through “I” (one misdemeanor or no criminal history).
On the Kansas Sentencing Grid, at the intersection of each severity level and each criminal history score there is a box containing three numbers. The middle number is the “standard” number of months a person with the corresponding criminal history score should be sentenced to prison for committing the corresponding crime. The other two numbers are the maximum and minimum number of months a person can be sent to prison under most circumstances.
Kansas felons are incarcerated in state prisons, and are under the control of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC). When a person is released from prison, or paroled, they remain under the supervision of the KDOC for a period of time ranging from twelve to thirty-six months.
In Kansas, misdemeanors are ranked “A”, “B”, or “C”. An “A” misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in the county jail, and a maximum $2,500.00 fine. A “B” misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in the county jail, and a maximum $1,000.00 fine. And a “C” misdemeanor is punishable by up to thirty days in the county jail, and a $500.00 fine. There are also unclassified misdemeanors which come with their own maximum jail sentence and fine amount.
Because even the lowest level of crime is punishable by a jail sentence, it is always important to consult with a criminal defense attorney before deciding to proceed alone in your case.
When you are arrested for DUI, there are two separate proceedings which you will go through. The first deals specifically with your driver’s license, and is under the direction of the Kansas Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles. The second proceeding is the criminal portion of the DUI, and is under the direction of either a municipal, or district court.
The driver’s license portion of your DUI is started when the officer hands you the pink form known as the DC-27. You only have 14 days from the date the officer gives you this form to request a driver’s license hearing from the Division. If you fail to request a hearing, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended without a hearing. The length of any suspension is dependent upon the number of prior occurrences you have, whether you took a chemical test or not, and if you did take a chemical test, what the result was.
A prior occurrence is defined as any prior chemical test failure or refusal, or any conviction in criminal court of driving under the influence. The more occurrences you have, usually the longer your license will be suspended, or the longer you will have to have an ignition interlock device on your car. There are separate suspension lengths dependent upon whether you took a chemical test, or you refused to take such a test. Also, if you did take a chemical test, there are more severe suspensions for having a breath or blood alcohol content over .15.
The criminal portion of your DUI is started when you bond out of jail, and the jail-staff, or bonds-person, gives you a court date, known as a first-appearance date. Like the driver’s license portion, the punishment in criminal court is more severe depending upon the number of prior convictions you have for DUI. The term conviction includes diversions, and out-of-state convictions. If you are convicted of DUI in criminal court, there are fines, mandatory jail sentences, and counseling that you will be sentenced to.
There are multiple ways that you can be charged with DUI. Because of political and public intolerance of those who drive drunk, penalties have become much more severe, and defending those accused of DUI has become more complicated. Like all criminal cases, the burden is on the government to prove its case, but you need experience on your side. Our attorneys are well versed in DUI law, and have handled thousands of DUI cases. Mr. Rapp completed the National College for DUI Defense course at Harvard Law School and has attended numerous seminars in such places as Hawaii, Las Vegas, NV, Kansas City, KS, Mexico, Denver, CO, as well as ones here locally in Wichita, KS where he is often a speaker.
Whether you are in need of a criminal defense attorney or more specifically, representation for a DUI/DWI, John Rapp has the experience to help you.