According to Kentucky DUI laws, individuals with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher can be arrested for driving under the influence if they are in control of a motor vehicle, regardless of how much their ability to drive is impaired. This is known as an “illegal per se” provision. If the driver is under the age of 21, the BAC limit is lowered to .02 percent as per the Zero Alcohol Tolerance rule. For those who operate commercial vehicles, the BAC limit is .04 percent.
Kentucky’s implied consent law means that licensed drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol must consent to a chemical test to determine their BAC. Refusing to take a test will result in a 30-day driver’s license suspension. A second or third refusal will result in at least a one-year license suspension. Jail time is doubled for those who refuse a BAC test and are convicted of a DUI.
DUI Penalties in Kentucky
A first DUI conviction in Kentucky will result in a license being suspended for 30 to 120 days, two to 30 days in jail, a fine of $200 to $500 and 48 hours to 30 days of community service. A second conviction within five years of the first will result in the driver’s license being suspended for 12 to 18 months, a fine of $350 to $500 and anywhere from seven days to six months in jail. In addition to these penalties, a driver convicted of a second DUI in Kentucky will have to undergo a one-year alcohol or substance abuse program and 10 days to six months of community labor. For a third DUI conviction, a driver can be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail and pay a fine of between $500 and $1,000. The driver’s license can also be suspended for up to 36 months, and he or she may be sentenced to up to 12 months of community labor and spend one year in a substance abuse program. A fourth DUI is a Class D felony that can result in a prison sentence of 120 days, a 60-month license suspension and a fine of up to $1,000.
The penalties associated with a DUI can be made worse if aggravating circumstances are present. These aggravating circumstances include driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit, driving with passengers younger than the age of 12, driving in the wrong direction on the road, having a BAC of .15 percent or higher, refusing to submit to a BAC test and causing an accident that results in serious injury or death. These circumstances can cause a prison sentence to increase to 240 days for drivers who are charged with a Class D felony for their reckless behavior.
Changes to Kentucky DUI Laws
Starting in 2010, the BAC limit for aggravated DUI was lowered from .18 percent to .15 percent if the test is taken within two hours of driving. Another new law stated that if a jointly owned vehicle is impounded due to a DUI law violation, the joint owner who was not impaired may have the vehicle transferred to his or her possession.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Kentucky?
The legal alcohol limit in Kentucky is .08 percent, just as it is throughout the United States. Law enforcement officials typically use a breath or blood test to determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are usually brought if a person has a BAC above the legal limit.
This BAC limit applies to passenger motorists age 21 and over. A stricter BAC level of .04 percent applies to commercial drivers, and people who are under the legal drinking age cannot have any trace of alcohol in the bloodstream.
DUI penalties in Kentucky are severe. Punishments for standard offenses may include:
- Incarceration. Jail sentences can range from 30 days to one year.
- Fines. A DUI offense may yield a fine of between $500 and $1,000.
- Loss of driving privileges. A license suspension may last between 120 days and 60 months.
Clearly, there is a wide range in of possible punishments under Kentucky DUI law. The precise consequences that a person faces will likely depend upon the number of offenses as well as the perceived severity of a DUI arrest.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Kentucky
Ignition interlock laws in Kentucky require people convicted of driving under the influence to install DUI-prevention equipment. An ignition interlock device (IID) requires a person to submit to a breath test in order to start a vehicle.
Ignition interlock devices:
- May only be put in by a state-approved vendor
- Require a vehicle owner to pay for installation and maintenance
- Record failed breath tests, data from which can be used to justify more penalties
Some states require IIDs for a first offense and others after a second conviction. Kentucky is among the few states, however, in which IID installation is wholly at the discretion of the judge presiding.
Kentucky DUI Penalties
In Kentucky, you may be charged with a DUI if you have a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds .08 percent. Since Kentucky is a per se state, a conviction does not require proof that you were impaired while driving. If your driving was impaired by prescription or illegal drugs, you can also be charged with a DUI, even if your BAC is lower than .08. The legal limit for commercial drivers is .04 percent and .02 percent for those under 21 years of age.
Along with standard Kentucky DUI penalties, certain circumstances may cause a DUI to be an aggravated offense and add to the jail time that an individual must serve. These factors include driving 30 mph or more over the speed limit, driving the wrong way, causing injury or death to another individual, refusing a chemical test, having a BAC at or greater than .18 percent and having a child under the age of 12 in a vehicle.
1st DUI Conviction Penalties
Those convicted of a DUI for the first time will face between two and 30 days in jail, and aggravating factors can add four days to their total sentence. Fines between $200 and $500 will be imposed along with all associated court costs. License suspensions can last between 30 and 120 days; although, after 30 days, people may be eligible for a hardship license. Community service may also be ordered, and in some cases, the court will allow people to serve community service in lieu of jail time. Participation in a 90-day drug or alcohol treatment is also required.
2nd DUI Conviction Penalties
If someone is convicted of a second DUI within five years, they will be labeled a repeat offender. They will be required to spend between seven days and six months in jail, with an addition 14 days if it is an aggravated offense. An individual’s license will be suspended for between 12 and 18 months, and after 12 months, a hardship license may be granted. In addition to court costs, people are required to pay between $350 and $500 in fines along with completing a full year of a treatment program.
3rd DUI Conviction Penalties
Kentucky DUI Penalties for a third conviction include jail time between 30 days and 12 months with an additional 60 days if there were aggravating factors. The maximum fine for a conviction is $1,000 but not less than $500. An individual’s license will be suspended between 24 and 36 months with a possible option of a hardship license after 24 months. One year’s participation in a substance abuse program is also required.
4th DUI Conviction Penalties
After three DUI convictions, the charges for a DUI become felony charges. A minimum of 120 days must be served in jail without probation, with an additional 240 days for an aggravated offense, and the maximum sentence is five years. License suspensions will last for 60 months, and there is no option for a hardship license. Fines between $1,000 and $10,000 are imposed, and people must complete one year in a treatment program.