The rule of one’s third D.U.I. being a felony has been a bulwark of Missouri and Kansas law for decades. Kansas, however, recently amended its driving under the influence statute, K.S.A. §8-1567, to change this effect in certain limited circumstances.
If one’s prior D.U.I. convictions are over 10 years old, the third D.U.I. is now only a misdemeanor. In this manner, someone who had some youthful indiscretions can obtain a break if they obtain a D.U.I. later in life.
It should be noted, that the over 10 year old provision does not provide any leniency for fourth or subsequent D.U.I.s.
Also, even where the third D.U.I. is a misdemeanor, many of the same minimum punishments are still applicable. And, regardless of whether a felony or misdemeanor, the third D.U.I. usually results in one’s license being suspended for 1 year with the need to have an ignition interlock for another two – three years (depending on the severity of one’s BAC). The main benefit is that one is protected from being a felon – with the loss of civil liberties that come with it.
With this new wrinkle in the D.U.I. law it is as important as ever to have competent representation at one’s criminal and administrative D.U.I. proceedings.