Criminal Defense

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. Hinkle attorneys handle 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 an attorney before deciding to proceed alone in your case.

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