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DUI laws in Kentucky

In Kentucky, impairment does not need to be proven in a charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants. According to information from the state government, what must be proven is the driver’s blood alcohol concentration, and if it is 0.08 percent or higher, he or she can be charged with DUI. This is known as an “illegal per se” provision, or “on the face of itself.”

There are other situations in which a driver can receive a DUI, however, including these:

  • Other evidence may signify that the driver is impaired, even if his or her BAC is lower than 0.08.
  • A driver who is younger than 21 is considered under the influence with as little as 0.02 BAC.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are judged under the influence at a 0.04 percent BAC.

There are several factors that can affect your BAC, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs such as cough and cold medicines. Other factors are your health, weight, stomach content (if you have eaten recently) and the amount of alcohol you consume and how fast you consume it.

Penalties for a DUI charge increase with each conviction in a 10-year period. Penalties for a first offense include two-30 days in jail, a fine of $200-$300 and a license suspension of 30-120 days. For a fourth offense, you are looking at a felony offense that will follow you around the rest of your life. You will also spend a minimum of 120 days in prison without the possibility of probation and your license will be suspended for five years. 

FindLaw adds that, if aggravating conditions apply in any of these incidents, your jail time will be extended. Aggravating circumstances include:

  • Driving in the wrong direction
  • Refusing to submit to breath tests
  • Having a passenger younger than 12 in the vehicle
  • Causing death or serious injury in an accident
  • Breaking the speed limit by 30 mph or more
  • Having a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher

This article contains important information about DUI laws and penalties in Kentucky. The information is general in nature and should not take the place of advice from counsel.

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Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold

225 West Irvine Street
Richmond, KY 40475

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