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Even though Kentucky is famous for its bourbon whiskey, the state has very serious penalties for driving under the influence, including fines, jail time, and license suspension. Keep in mind that "under the influence" includes not only alcohol but also illegal or prescription drugs; inhalants like gas, glue or spray paint; or even over-the-counter drugs, as long as they cause impairment. If you've been arrested for drunk driving or a related offense, you should learn about Kentucky drunk driving laws and the consequences you may face if you're convicted.
To determine if a driver is drunk, a police officer will normally conduct a field sobriety test and check your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). Kentucky has an "illegal per se" provision which means that it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 percent or higher (Sec. 189A.010(1)(a)). In these cases, the prosecution does not need to prove you were inebriated; they only need to show that your BAC was .08 percent or higher and that the test was given within two hours of you driving a car (Sec. 189A.010(1)(a) and 189A.010(2)).
Kentucky drunk driving laws also state the following regarding blood-alcohol testing:
If you're under 21, it's illegal to drive with a BAC of .02 percent or more (Sec. 189A.010(1)(f)). A first offense results in an automatic driver's license suspension for 30 days to six months and a fine of $100 to $500 or community service (Sec. 189A.010(6)).
A conviction for drunk driving in Kentucky carries very serious consequences which vary depending on your age, BAC level, whether you have previous convictions, and other circumstances. Kentucky statutes include the following penalties for driving under the influence:
Read the full text of the Kentucky Statutes for more details.
Even if you feel ok to drive, you will be arrested for DUI if you're stopped and you either show signs of impairment or your BAC is over the legal limit. However, even if you've been arrested, you can challenge the BAC testing equipment, the procedures used by law enforcement, and the reason for the traffic stop, among other things. An experienced DUI defense attorney can explain the process, guide you through your legal options, and help protect your rights.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.