Despite a decrease in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities during the recent decade, drinking and driving remains a problem in Kentucky. Between 2008 and 2012, more than 168,000 people were arrested for Kentucky DUI and almost 107,000 were convicted of this crime. These high numbers are the result of DUI laws revised in 2000 to eliminate the need for a prosecutor to prove that a defendant was impaired if breath or blood-alcohol content (BAC) measured at least 0.08 percent (or lower if other evidence reveals impairment).
First DUI Conviction Penalties in Kentucky
When charged with an initial Kentucky DUI or a subsequent DUI within longer than five years, an individual is subject to an array of penalties. Fines range from $200 to $500 and the driver license will be suspended for between 30 and 120 days. First-time offenders must also participate in a 90-day alcohol abuse program and may be required to perform between 48 hours and 30 days of community service.
The most severe penalty for initial DUI conviction in Kentucky is two to 30 days in jail. If aggravating circumstances, such as refusing to submit to BAC testing or BAC of 0.15 percent or higher within two hours of driving, a minimum of four days in prison is imposed without the option of suspension, probation, conditional discharge, or other early release.
Drivers pulled over for suspected DUI in Kentucky should be aware that the state has an implied consent law. This stipulates that individuals in physical control of or operating motor vehicles automatically consent to breath, urine, and blood testing to determine the concentration of alcohol. Refusing to take these tests results in a 30 to 120-day license suspension regardless of conviction status.
Underage DUI in Kentucky
A Kentucky driver younger than 21 is under the influence if BAC measures 0.02 percent or higher. If convicted, the driver must pay fines of $100 to $500 or perform 20 hours of community service. In addition, the driver license will be suspended for between 30 days and six months. If BAC measures 0.08 percent or higher, the individual will be subject to all penalties that apply to adult drivers.
There is no excuse for drinking and driving, regardless of age. Drivers facing DUI charges are entitled to defend themselves and may obtain legal representation. However, even the best DUI lawyer may be unable to prevent a guilty defendant from facing consequences so think twice before drinking and driving.
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Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.