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How Kentucky law handles drug-induced DUIs

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in Kentucky, punishable by fines, jail time and the suspension of the person’s driving privileges. Although mostly associated with drunk driving, drivers impaired by the intoxicating effects of drugs may also face DUI charges.

The law on drug DUIs

According to state law, it’s illegal for any person to operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while either under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that can impair one’s driving ability. While this would typically refer to illegal controlled substances, the rules also prohibit legal medication that may have impairing effects.

The types of drugs that can impair driving

Several types of drugs can impair your ability to drive. They include:

  • Prescription medications such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants
  • Over-the-counter medications such as cold and allergy medications
  • Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications mixed with alcohol

As long as a drug causes the following effects, it can trigger a DUI:

  • Slowed reaction times
  • Impaired decision-making skills
  • Poor coordination and balance
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Impaired concentration

Officers will look for these symptoms or administer a blood test to confirm if a driver is under the intoxicating effect of a drug.

The penalties for drug DUI

The penalties for drug-impaired driving are similar to those for alcohol-impaired driving. A first offense for drug-impaired driving leads to up to $500 in fines, 30 days in county jail and a 12-month license suspension on conviction.

Kentucky treats charges for drug DUI the same as those for alcohol, and a conviction can have long-lasting consequences for your future. If you face charges, remember that you don’t have to face them alone. A legal professional experienced in criminal defense may be able to advise you on your case and protect your rights in court.