Kentucky BAC. Kentucky, like the rest of the nation, has a "per se" measurement for driving under the influence (DUI): a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08. For drivers under the age of 21, the BAC is set even lower at .02. The basic rule - per section 189A.010 of Kentucky's code - is that a driver must not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more. A BAC is measured within two hours of cessation of the operation or physical control of the vehicle. The law extends to not only alcohol but any controlled substances or other substances that may impair an individual's driving ability.
First-timers: Click for information about a first DUI in Kentucky
Below are penalties for a second offense.
A second DUI offense within 5 years will result in a license suspension of at least 12 months and no more than 18 months.
Upon a second offense with five years of a previous violation, the violator will face a minimum incarceration in the county jail not less than seven days but not more than six months. The violator may also be fined a minimum of $350 but not more than $500. Additionally, the violator may be sentenced to a minimum of 10 days but not more than six months of community labor.
However, if any aggravating factor was present at the time of offense, jail time is increased to a mandatory minimum incarceration of 14 days; this mandatory minimum cannot be suspended or probated. Some aggravating factors include operating a motor vehicle:
- in excess of 30 mph;
- in the wrong direction on a highway with limited access;
- that causes an accident resulting in a serious injury or death; or
- while transporting a minor passenger under 12 years of age.
In determining prior offenses, the court looks at all DUI convictions in the state or outside the state within a five-year period. However, the court does not include convictions in cases where the violators were under 21 years of age at the time of the offense. In determining the five-year period, the court measures from the dates the offenses occurred for which convictions were entered.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor in Kentucky
Most first, second and third offenses within a five-year period carry misdemeanor penalties with the maximum jail time limited to 12 months. Upon a fourth violation within a five-year period, the crime is categorized as a Class D felony. If any aggravating factors are present, the mandatory minimum for a Class D felony is 240 days, which cannot be suspended or probated.
A violator facing a DUI charge in Kentucky has several plea options including pleading guilty. However, if the offense is a second one, the minimum sentence will not be suspended or probated, and is not subject to either early or conditional release.