Driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is illegal in all states. However, each state has different laws related to DUI/DWI penalties. While states may vary with regards to punishments for alcohol-related offenses, almost all states have enacted laws which call for stricter penalties when a child is involved.
In fact, some states consider having a child passenger in the car while you are driving under the influence to be a form of child abuse or neglect.
Kansas DUI Law & Your BAC
In Kansas, a driver will be charged with DUI (driving under the influence) if he is found to have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or greater. Typically, penalties will vary depending on whether the driver has been convicted of DUI in the past.
There are also increased penalties if the DUI offense is considered to be severe. This includes DUI with a child passenger. Specifically, Kansas law states that if you are convicted of DUI and you had one or more children under the age of 14 years in the vehicle at the time the violation occurred, the driver's penalty will be increased by sentencing him or her to an additional month of imprisonment.
The law mandates that the prison term must be served consecutive to any other penalty imposed upon the driver for the violation. However, any enhanced penalty may not exceed the maximum sentence allowable under the law. The judge has discretion as to whether house arrest, work release, or other conditional release is possible.
Further, a DUI with a child will also disqualify an individual from consideration for the diversion program.
Missouri DWI Law & Your BAC
Missouri also makes it a crime to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or greater. In this state, the crime is referred to as a DWI (driving while intoxicated). As with Kansas, DWI penalties will vary depending on any prior DWI convictions and/or the severity of the offense.
In Missouri, you can be charged with the crime of endangering a minor in either the first or second degree. The relevant parts of the law are as follows:
- 1st Degree: Here, a person commits the crime of endangering a child in the first degree if he or she knowingly acts in a manner that creates a substantial risk to the life, body, or health of a child less than 17 years of age.
- 2nd Degree: A person commits the crime of endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree if he or she, with criminal negligence, acts in a manner that creates a substantial risk to the life, body, or health of a child who is less than 17 years of age or he or she operates a vehicle in violation of state law (including DWI) with a child passenger.
Further, a DWI with a child will also disqualify the individual from receiving a suspended sentence.
Do You Need an Attorney?
When faced with DUI/DWI charges in either Kansas or Missouri, it is best to work with a skilled defense attorney who understands this area of law. Mr. McLane has successfully represented many clients in both states and can help you, too. If you have questions about your case or are seeking legal representation, contact the McLane Law Firm today!