Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Kentucky

The state of Kentucky does not make it easy to avoid charges when you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol. DUI or DWI actually means that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs of some kind that impairs your driving skills. These substances can be alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, and inhalants like gas, glue or spray paint, or even over the counter drugs taken to excess. The state of Kentucky has what is called an "Illegal Per Se" section of its law; this phrase is translated as "on the face of or by itself," and means that you cannot legally drive if your blood alcohol content or BAC is .08 or higher. You can be administered a Breathalyzer or a blood or urine test to see what level, if any, you have of the substance in your blood stream.

State Doesn't Have to Prove Inebriation

According the state of Kentucky statute K.R.S. 189A.010, prosecutors no longer have to prove inebriation. Because of the per se provision of the law, the requirement is now that with two hours of the operation of a vehicle, if you test at or more than .08, these results can be admitted into evidence for a DUI conviction.

DUI for Under Age 21 

If you are under the age of 21 and you test at .02 or more, the penalty is steep -- exactly the same as if you were over 21 and testing at .08. Commercial drivers who test at .04 are also subject to arrest for driving under the influence. Another anomaly in the state of Kentucky is that if you are driving over 30 mph of the speed limit, going the wrong way down the road, if you cause an accident that results in death, have higher than .15 BAC, refuse a test, or have a passenger who is under 12 years old, these will automatically cause you to serve time in jail.

DUI Penalties in Kentucky

For a first offense, if you haven't had another offense in five years, the penalty is a $200 to $500 fine, from two to 30 days in jail, a 90 day alcohol abuse program. If there is an aggravating circumstance as listed above, there will be an automatic four days in jail. You will also incur a driving privilege suspension of anywhere from 30 to 120 days. The court may also require you to do community service from 48 hours to 120 days. You can easily see that Kentucky doesn't want you driving impaired.

For a second offense, if you haven't incurred a first offense within a five year period, the financial penalty will cost you from $300 to $500. You will serve from seven days to six months in jail. If there is an aggravating circumstance (as listed above) there will be an additional 14 day jail time. You will have to sign up and attend a alcohol or substance abuse treatment for a full year as well. Your license and driving privileges will be suspended for 12 to 18 months and you may have to serve 10 days to six months community service.

The third offense brings a stiffer financial penalty of between $500 to $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail. The one year treatment program must be taken and your license will be suspended for up to 36 months. You may have to serve from 10 days to 12 months community service. Again, if there are aggravating circumstances then you will have to serve an additional 60 days in jail.

The fourth offense is astronomically worse. It becomes a class D felony and you have to serve a minimum of 120 days in jail without the possibility of probation. If aggravating circumstances are present then there is a minimum 240 day jail time required. You must attend a one-year alcohol or substance abuse program and your license will be suspended for 60 months.

Get Legal Help from an Kentucky DUI Attorney

An experienced DUI attorney, who is well versed in the drunk driving laws of the Bluegrass State, may be able to help get charges reduced, mitigated or defeated in court.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

Additional Drunk Driving Articles

Search LawInfo's Drunk Driving Resources

Lead Counsel Rated Law Firm

Click Here to Learn More