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.