A third-offense DUI (driving under the influence) (also referred to as "DWI") conviction in Kentucky generally results in driver's license revocation, a fine, and a few weeks in jail. Lots of factors can come into play with sentencing, but the following are the minimum and maximum consequences of a third DUI conviction in Kentucky.
A DUI is considered a third offense in Kentucky if the driver has two prior DUI convictions within the past ten years. Convictions that occurred more than ten years ago aren't counted.
Aggravating factors such as speeding, causing an injury accident, refusing a breath or blood alcohol test in violation of the state's implied consent law, having a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .15% or greater, or having a passenger under 12 years old can enhance the penalties. But ultimately, it's up to the judge to decide the penalties within the following ranges.
Jail time. A third-offense DUI carries a minimum of 30 days in jail, with a possible maximum of 12 months. And if the DUI included one of the previously listed aggravating factors, the driver must serve a minimum of 60 days in jail.
Community service. The judge may also order the offender to complete 30 days to 12 months of community service.
Fines. A person who's convicted of a third DUI must pay fines of $500 to $1,000.
Treatment. The judge will also order the offender to complete one year of substance abuse treatment, which must include residential or inpatient services.
A third-offense DUI will result in driver's license suspension, often before the driver is convicted.
Pretrial suspensions. At the initial arraignment hearing for a third-offense DUI charge, the judge will seize and suspend the driver's license. The license will remain suspended until the DUI charges are resolved. The driver will also be ordered to enroll in the Kentucky Ignition Interlock Program (KIIP).
DUI Convictions. If the driver is convicted of DUI, his or her license will remain suspended until they have served 36 months of license suspension.
Test refusals. If the driver is acquitted, he or she can still be suspended if the breath or blood test request was refused. As long as the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the driver was impaired, a driver that refused testing will be suspended for 36 months.
Hardship licenses. If not already enrolled, suspended drivers can apply to the Kentucky Ignition Interlock Program (KIIP) for a restricted driver's license. Accepted participants are granted limited driving privileges, but only in vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device.
Successful participation in the program, without any IID incidents for at least 120 days, can even reduce the license suspension period to only 18 months.
License plate forfeiture. During the revocation period, the judge will order the surrender of the offender's license plate. This may be avoided by installing an IID or under other limited circumstances.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in Kentucky, make sure you get in contact with a qualified lawyer. An experienced local DUI attorney can help you understand what you're up against and counsel you on how best to handle your situation—and may even help get the charges amended if the case didn't involve a BAC test refusal.