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Kentucky DUI Law

Kentucky has two standards – a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater and the subjective standard of Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol. The DUI standard is determined by the police officer’s assessment of the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. However, if the driver’s BAC is below .05, he is presumed to not be operating under the influence. The two standards are punished the same.

Under 21:

If the driver is under the age of 21 and has a BAC of greater than .02 but less than .08, the resulting penalty is a license suspension for a period of 30 days – 6 months. Also, the court will either impose a $100-$500 fine or 20 hours of community service. In addition, the defendant will be sentenced to alcohol programming that lasts a minimum of 90 days.

If the driver is over the age of 21 and has a BAC of greater than .08, he will be charged under the regular statute.

Penalties

In determining the number of offenses, DUI charges from all other states will count as well.

First Offense:

The first offense is punished by a fine of $200 - $500, or imprisonment for 48 hours – 30 days, or both. Defendants may petition the court and ask for 48 hours – 30 days of community service in lieu of any other penalty. An additional $325 service fee will be attached that is disbursed to various public agencies.

In addition, the defendant will be sentenced to alcohol programming that lasts a minimum of 90 days.

License Suspension:

On the first offense, the driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 30 – 120 days. He may petition for a hardship license, which will allow him to still drive to work, school, alcohol and drug treatment, necessary medical care, and court ordered programming. The service fee for this hardship license is $200.

If any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present, the court must impose a minimum jail term of 4 days, which may not be suspended.

With the court’s permission, any jail time may be served on the weekends to preserve employment. However, in all cases, the periods during which this sentence is served must be at least 24 hours each.

Second Offense in Five Years:

The second offense is punished by a fine of $350 - $500 and between 7 days and 6 months of jail time. In addition to this, the court may attach 10 days – 6 months of community service. Note that unlike the first offense, the judge must issue both a fine and jail time. An additional $325 service fee will be attached that is disbursed to various public agencies.

In addition, the defendant will be sentenced to alcohol programming that lasts a minimum of one year.

License Suspension:

On the second offense, the driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 12 – 18 months. He may petition for a hardship license, which will allow him to still drive to work, school, alcohol and drug treatment, necessary medical care, and court ordered programming. The service fee for this hardship license is $200. If a hardship license is not granted, the court will either impound the vehicle’s plates or order the attachment of an ignition interlock system that requires the driver to submit a breath sample before the key will turn.

If any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present, the court must impose a minimum jail term of 14 days, which may not be suspended.

With the court’s permission, any jail time may be served on the weekends to preserve employment. However, in all cases, the periods during which this sentence is served must be at least 24 hours each.

Third Offense in Five Years:

The third offense is punished by a fine of $500 - $1,000 and a jail term of 30 days – 12 months. In addition, the court may attach a community service sentence of 10 days – 12 months. An additional $325 service fee will be attached that is disbursed to various public agencies.

In addition, the defendant will be sentenced to alcohol programming that lasts a minimum of one year.

License Suspension:

On the third offense, the driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 24 – 36 months. He may petition for a hardship license, which will allow him to still drive to work, school, alcohol and drug treatment, necessary medical care, and court ordered programming. The service fee for this hardship license is $200. If a hardship license is not granted, the court will either impound the vehicle’s plates or order the attachment of an ignition interlock system that requires the driver to submit a breath sample before the key will turn.

If any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present, the court must impose a mandatory jail term of 60 days, none of which may be suspended.

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses in Five Years:

The fourth and subsequent offenses are punished as Class D Felonies. This means that the court will impose a prison term of between 1 and 5 years. A mandatory minimum of 120 days must be served before the sentence may be suspended. An additional $325 service fee will be attached that is disbursed to various public agencies.

License Suspension:

On the fourth offense, the driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 60 months. He may not petition for a hardship license.

If any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present, the court must impose a minimum jail term of 240 days, which may not be suspended.

Aggravating Circumstances

The presence of one or more of the following circumstances will result in a mandatory increase in the minimum sentence: - Driving 30 or more M.P.H. over the speed limit - Driving the vehicle in the wrong direction on a limited access highway - Causing the death or serious physical injury of another person. Serious physical injury is that which carries a substantial risk of death, serious prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or impairment of a bodily organ. - A BAC of greater than .18 - Refusal to submit to a chemical test (except for a field breathalyzer) - Driving with a child 12 years or younger in the car

Chemical Test Refusal

Refusal to submit to a chemical test is one of the aggravating circumstances that causes the minimum jail sentence to be elevated. In addition, refusal to take a test may be used against you in court and creates a presumption that your BAC would have been .18 or greater. Your license will also be suspended until the DUI hearing and you will be unable to apply for a hardship license after the hearing.