The act of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
is strictly outlawed in Kentucky. Drivers who are found guilty of this crime
can face a variety of punishments like paying expensive fines and serving time
To avoid being arrested for and found guilty of DUI in
Kentucky, motorists need to understand the legal blood alcohol content or BAC
limits. They also should learn what the legal consequences are for this offense
DUI in Kentucky
Kentucky uses the standard 0.08 percent blood alcohol
content to define the legal limit for blood alcohol content in the state. Drivers
cannot drive with a BAC higher than 0.08 if they want to avoid being arrested
for and charged with DUI in Kentucky.
This standard only applies to drivers of privately owned
motor vehicles who are 21 years of age and older. There is a different BAC
level used for commercial drivers including those who drive school buses. The
legal BAC limit for commercial drivers in Kentucky is 0.04 percent or lower.
Drivers under the age of 21 also are held to a lower BAC
limit than adult drivers. Under the state’s zero-tolerance DUI laws, underage drivers
must have BACs lower than 0.02 percent to avoid this charge.
Kentucky also allows for aggravated DUI charges if the
offense meets certain criteria. The requirements for being charged with an
aggravated DUI include:
a chemical test for DUI with a prior DUI conviction within 10 years
serious injury or death to another person while driving under the
the wrong way on a limited access highway
a child under the age of 12 in the car while driving under the influence
in excess of 30 miles per hour over the speed limit
a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher
Aggravated DUIs in Kentucky are penalized with higher fines
and longer jail terms.
DUI Penalties in Kentucky
Driving under the influence in Kentucky is addressed with a
variety of civil and criminal penalties. The punishments reflect the offender’s
prior DUI record and the damage inflicted during the infraction.
A first-time DUI offender in Kentucky can be sentenced to 48
hours to 30 days in jail. He or she can also pay a fine of $200 to $500 and
have his or her drivers’ license revoked for 30 to 120 days. The offender also
may have to use an ignition interlock device or IID for up to six months.
A second DUI conviction in Kentucky can result in a jail
term of seven days to six months. The fine can range from $350 to $500. It also
can include a license revocation of 12 to 18 months and use of an IID for 12
A third DUI conviction leads to a fine ranging from $500 to
$1000. The jail term can range from 30 days to 12 months. The license
revocation period can last from 24 to 36 months, and the offender may have to
use an IID for 30 months.
These legal penalties apply to standard DUI convictions.
People convicted of aggravated DUI in Kentucky must serve double the jail terms
for their offenses.
In addition to serving time in jail and paying fines, all
DUI offenders in Kentucky must complete a substance abuse program. The first
conviction requires completion of a 90-day treatment program while a second DUI
conviction requires completion of a one-year program. Subsequent DUI convictions
require offenders to complete a one-year residential or inpatient substance
Judges in Kentucky have the option of substituting jail time
for first-time offenders with community service. Community service can be added
onto offenders’ sentences as well and must be completed after they are released
Underage DUI in Kentucky
Drivers under the age of 21 who are found guilty of driving
under the influence of drugs or alcohol do not face serving time in jail.
Instead, they face having their drivers’ licenses suspended.
Their licenses can be suspended for 30 days to six months
depending on the number of prior DUI convictions that they have on their
records. They also commonly are ordered to complete a substance abuse program
and pay a fine or perform anywhere from 20 to 50 hours of community service.
Kentucky Hardship Licensing and License Plate Revocation
When a DUI offender has his or her license revoked by the
state, this person can ask the judge presiding over his or her case to issue a
hardship drivers’ license. This license permits the offender to drive to and
from specific locations like:
approved substance abuse treatment facility
The offender must be enrolled in a court-approved treatment
program and also have an IID installed on his or her vehicle. If the person
holds a restricted license for 12 months without any traffic or criminal
infractions, the judge has the option of reducing the remainder of the person’s
license revocation period.
However, offenders who have two or more DUIs on their
records face having their license plates on their cars revoked. The judge can
also order the license plate seized if the offender refuses a chemical test
under Kentucky’s implied consent laws. The person can keep his or her license
tag as long as he or she agrees to have an IID installed on his or her vehicle.
Kentucky strictly forbids drivers of all ages from driving
under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To discourage drivers from engaging in
this behavior, the state uses a myriad of legal and civil penalties to punish
People found guilty of this crime can pay monetary fines and
serve time in jail. They also could be ordered to surrender their drivers’
licenses and have their license tags seized on their vehicles.