A bill that would strengthen penalties against drunken drivers was passed unanimously in the Kansas House and Senate last month.
The bill, advocated by Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson, would allow prosecutors to charge drunken drivers with aggravated battery in injury accidents.
A previous Supreme Court rule required additional evidence of reckless behavior in order to file battery charges in drunken driving cases.
"We are hopeful that this will close yet one more loophole in our DUI laws so that we may prosecute those drivers that ignore the dangers of driving under the influence and injure someone," Branson said.
The Supreme Court rule prevented Branson's office from filing other charges against Kansas University student Julian Kuszmaul, 22, following an Aug. 26 accident in which Kuszmaul's vehicle hit KU student Colby Liston, who lost both legs. Kuszmaul had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit at the time of the incident.
"If this law had been in place a year sooner, it would have definitely been utilized in the Liston matter," Branson said.
The bill passed in the House 124-0, and 40-0 in the Senate, and will now head to the Gov. Sam Brownback's office.