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Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Getting behind the wheel of an automobile after having any amount of alcohol is never safe, nor wise. It can lead to serious accidents and even death. Not to mention legal problems from getting a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). In Kentucky, penalties for DUI range from a 30-day license suspension to prison time (depending upon the circumstances for each person's unique situation). A person over the legal drinking age, 21-years-old, who operates a vehicle impaired and/or with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, can be charged with DUI. A person under 21, who has 0.02 level or higher, can be charged with DUI. DUI is not only limited to alcohol but controlled substances also (such as narcotic prescription pain medicine, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, etc.). One of our experienced attorneys will help you understand the options available to you based on your unique situation.

DUI - KRS 189A.010

 A person shall not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere in this state:

 (a) Having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more as measured by a scientifically reliable test or tests of a sample of the person's breath or blood taken within two (2) hours of cessation of operation or physical control of a motor vehicle;

 (b) While under the influence of alcohol;

 (c) While under the influence of any other substance or combination of substances which impairs one's driving ability;

 (d) While the presence of a controlled substance listed below is detected in the blood, as measured by a scientifically reliable test, or tests, taken within two (2) hours of cessation of operation or physical control of a motor vehicle;

 (e) While under the combined influence of alcohol and any other substance which impairs one's driving ability; or

 (f) Having an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or more as measured by a scientifically reliable test or tests of a sample of the person's breath or blood taken within two (2) hours of cessation of operation or physical control of a motor vehicle, if the person is under the age of twenty-one (21).

A list of the controlled substances the Commonwealth defines as applicable to a prosecution are:

(a) Any Schedule I controlled substance except marijuana;

(b) Alprazolam;

(c) Amphetamine;

(d) Buprenorphine;

(e) Butalbital;

(f) Carisoprodol;

(g) Cocaine;

(h) Diazepam;

(i) Hydrocodone;

(j) Meprobamate;

(k) Methadone;

(l) Methamphetamine;

(m) Oxycodone;

(n) Promethazine;

(o) Propoxyphene; and

(p) Zolpidem.

The punishment(s) for DUI are as follows:

  • For the first offense within a ten (10) year period, be fined not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than forty-eight (48) hours nor more than thirty (30) days, or both. Following sentencing, the defendant may apply to the judge for permission to enter a community labor program for not less than forty-eight (48) hours nor more than thirty (30) days in lieu of fine or imprisonment, or both. If any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present while the person was operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment shall be four (4) days, which term shall not be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to any other form of early release;
  • For the second offense within a ten (10) year period, be fined not less than three hundred fifty dollars ($350) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) and shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than seven (7) days nor more than six (6) months and, in addition to fine and imprisonment, may be sentenced to community labor for not less than ten (10) days nor more than six (6) months. If any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment shall be fourteen (14) days, which term shall not be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to any other form of early release;
  • For a third offense within a ten (10) year period, be fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than twelve (12) months and may, in addition to fine and imprisonment, be sentenced to community labor for not less than ten (10) days nor more than twelve (12) months. If any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment shall be sixty (60) days, which term shall not be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to any other form of early release;
  • For a fourth or subsequent offense within a ten (10) year period, be guilty of a Class D felony. If any of the aggravating circumstances are present, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment shall be two hundred forty (240) days, which term shall not be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to any other form of release; and
  • For a second or third offense within a ten (10) year period, the minimum sentence of imprisonment or community labor shall not be suspended, probated, or subject to conditional discharge or other form of early release. For a fourth or subsequent offense, the minimum term of imprisonment shall be one hundred twenty (120) days, and this term shall not be suspended, probated, or subject to conditional discharge or other form of early release. For a second or subsequent offense, at least forty-eight (48) hours of the mandatory sentence shall be served consecutively.
  • For those facing DUI who are employed and/or in school, KRS 189A.030 explains that terms of imprisonment for first and second offenders under KRS 189A.010 (DUI) shall, at the order of the court, be served on weekends or such other times as may preserve the employment or education of the offender, provided that no individual period of incarceration shall be less than twenty-four (24) hours.

 In determining the ten (10) year period, the period shall be measured from the dates on which the offenses occurred for which the judgments of conviction were entered.

Aggravating Circumstances (enhances penalties):

The aggravating circumstances that will enhance the penalties for DUI, are:

(a) Operating a motor vehicle in excess of thirty (30) miles per hour above the speed limit;

(b) Operating a motor vehicle in the wrong direction on a limited access highway;

(c) Operating a motor vehicle that causes an accident resulting in death or serious  physical injury as defined in KRS 500.080;

(d) Operating a motor vehicle while the alcohol concentration in the operator's blood or breath is 0.15 or more as measured by a test or tests of a sample of the operator's blood or breath taken within two (2) hours of cessation of operation of the motor vehicle;

(e) Refusing to submit to any test or tests of one's blood, breath, or urine requested by an officer having reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of subsection (1) of this section; and

(f) Operating a motor vehicle that is transporting a passenger under the age of twelve (12) years old.

Suspension of License Time Frame (KRS 189A.070)

 Unless the person is under eighteen (18) years of age, in addition to the penalties specified in KRS 189A.010, a person convicted of DUI shall have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle revoked by the court as follows:

(a) For the first offense within a ten (10) year period, for a period of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than one hundred twenty (120) days;

 (b) For the second offense within a ten (10) year period, for a period of not less than twelve (12) months nor more than eighteen (18) months;

 (c) For a third offense within a ten (10) year period, for a period of not less than twenty-four (24) months nor more than thirty-six (36) months; and

 (d) For a fourth or subsequent offense within a ten (10) year period, sixty (60) months.

In addition to the period of license revocation, no person shall be eligible for reinstatement of his or her full privilege to operate a motor vehicle until he has completed the alcohol or substance abuse education or treatment program ordered pursuant to KRS 189A.040.

 Ignition Interlock

 “Ignition interlock device” means a device, certified by the Transportation Cabinet for use in this Commonwealth under KRS 189A.500(1), that connects a motor vehicle ignition system or motorcycle ignition system to a breath alcohol analyzer and prevents a motor vehicle ignition or motorcycle ignition from starting, and from continuing to operate, if a driver's breath alcohol concentration exceeds 0.02, as measured by the device. This makes it possible for you to still attend work and/or school, after the court has suspended your license for DUI. It just ensures you won't get behind the wheel of your car after drinking again, which also means no added legal issues related to this

If the court determines you are eligible for this, it will issue an “Ignition interlock license,” which means a motor vehicle/motorcycle operator's license issued by the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky that, with limited exceptions, permits a person to drive only motor vehicles/motorcycles equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device.

Driving on a DUI Suspended License Penalties

 If you do not follow the direction of the court not to drive after your DUI and license suspension, the penalties for driving on a DUI suspended license are as follows;

(a) For a first offense within a ten (10) year period, be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor and have license revoked by the court for six (6) months, unless at the time of the offense the person was also operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of KRS 189A.010, in which event he shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and have his license revoked by the court for a period of one (1) year;

(b) For a second offense within a ten (10) year period, be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and have his license revoked by the court for one (1) year, unless at the time of the offense the person was also operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of KRS 190A.010, in which event he shall be guilty of a Class D felony and have his license revoked by the court for a period of two (2) years;

(c) For a third or subsequent offense within a ten (10) year period, be guilty of a Class D felony and have his license revoked by the court for two (2) years, unless at the time of the offense the person was also operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of KRS 189A.010, in which event he shall be guilty of a Class D felony and have his license revoked by the court for a period of five (5) years; and

At the sole discretion of the court, the court may order that, following any period of   incarceration required for the conviction of an offense under paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of this subsection, the eligible person is authorized to apply for and the cabinet shall issue to the person   an ignition interlock license for the remainder of the original period of suspension or revocation and for the entire period of the new revocation if the person is and remains otherwise eligible for such license.

If you or a loved one has experienced a DUI, assert your right to the best defense, and call our experienced attorneys at (859) 259-0727, or leave a message on the form.

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Established in 1988, Baldani, Rowland & Richardson has successfully represented thousands of individuals across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. With over 100 years of combined experience, let our team of attorneys fight for your rights.

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