DUI in Kentucky

The law in Kentucky used to define Driving Under the Influence (DUI) by the degree of physical impairment exhibited by a driver. Kentucky now also recognizes "per se" dui laws. Under per se laws, latin for "by itself", a person can be convicted based solely on their blood alcohol content (BAC) levels determined through chemical testing. The limit that has been set for Kentucky is .08 per cent blood alcohol by volume. For drivers under the age of 21, the limit is lowered to .02 per cent blood alcohol by volume. It is hoped that this will discourage underage drivers from drinking.

An officer in Kentucky can make an arrest for the following drunk driving offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, other substance that impairs driving ability, or combination
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater
  • Operating a non-motor vehicle under the influence of an impairing substance
  • If under the age of 21, driving with a BAC of .02 or greater

Kentucky DUI Penalties

Court Fines Potential Jail Time* License Suspension
1st Conviction $200-500 2 days -30 days
30 days - 120 days
2nd Conviction $350-500 7 days -6 months
2 years - 3 years
3rd Conviction $500-1,000 7 days -6 months 2 years - 3 years
4th Conviction Court determined
120 days 2 years - 3 years

*If it is an aggravated DUI conviction, jail time may increase

If you may have been convicted with a DUI charge, consult with a DUI Attorney in your area to receive a free case review.

What are the consequences of getting a first time DUI in Kentucky?

This depends on your status as a possible repeat offender. It is entirely possible that the sentence could be two nights in jail, community service, a thirty day suspension on your license, and a five hundred dollar fine if it is your first offense. This of course depends on a host of different factors, not limited to, but including: what your actual blood alcohol level was, whether or not you were speeding or driving recklessly, and how old you are at the time of the arrest. If you are under twenty-one and are arrested then your license will automatically be suspended for up to six months. There will be an opportunity to receive a hardship license if it is revoked for more than thirty days and most drivers' licenses are reinstated at the completion of a drug program. If the offender in question is under 21 and your blood alcohol is over .08 per cent, then you can be eligible for the same penalties as an adult, including jail time.

What happens to repeat DUI offenders in Kentucky?

Kentucky has a five year look back policy to determine your eligibility of becoming a repeat offender. This five year period must have been completed from arrest date to arrest date. So, if you were arrested in October of 1995 for a DUI, but you weren't prosecuted until March of 1996, your start date for the five year period still begins in October of the previous year. If you do receive a second DUI during this time then you will face an increasing grade of punishments. If someone received four consecutive offenses then they would be charged with a Class D Felony, lose their license for five years, and serve a mandatory of up to five years (three months of which must be served consecutively).

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under Kentucky state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved test (blood, breath, or urine) for the purposes of showing intoxication. In the event a driver is pulled over for a possible DUI and prior to any chemical test, he or she will be given a 10-15 minute opportunity to contact a lawyer. The driver will not have the right, however, to have the lawyer present during testing. Test refusal will result in license suspension from 6 months to 5 years and can contribute to a longer sentence if convicted.

All chemical tests must be performed according to standards set by the Secretary of Justice Cabinet. Blood tests must be carried out by a licensed nurse, doctor, phlebotomist, or other medical personnel. A driver accused of a DUI offense has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.

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