In Kentucky, the penalties you'll face for a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction depend mainly on how many prior convictions you have. This article covers the basics of Kentucky's DUI laws and the consequences of a first, second, and third DUI conviction
Kentucky prohibits a person from driving or being in physical control of a vehicle::
A violation with a BAC of .08% or more is considered a "per se DUI," which can result in a conviction regardless of the person's level of impairment so long as the BAC measurement is taken within two hours of when the motorist was driving. The amount of alcohol needed to reach these BAC levels can differ depending on the person's gender and body size and the type of alcohol. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189A.010.)
Generally, DUI convictions stay on your record and count as prior convictions for 10 years. A first DUI is a misdemeanor and typically carries:
But a first DUI conviction that involves certain aggravating factors carries a minimum of four days in jail. These aggravating factors include excessive speeding, causing an injury accident, refusing blood alcohol content (BAC) testing, having a passenger under 12 years old, or having a BAC of .15% or greater.
A second DUI within 10 years is a misdemeanor and typically carries:
The minimum jail time increases to 14 days if the second offense involves any aggravating factors such as excessive speeding, refusing alcohol testing, causing an injury accident, having a passenger under 12 years old, and having a BAC of .15% or greater
A third DUI within 10 years is a misdemeanor and typically carries:
If the DUI included one of the previously listed aggravating factors (see first and second offenses discussed above), the driver must serve a minimum of 60 days in jail.
A fourth DUI in Kentucky will be a class D felony. A fourth offense carries
Additionally, the minimum jail time will be doubled to 240 days if there are any aggravating factors such as excessive speeding, a child passenger, or high BAC.
Drivers who are suspended due to a test refusal, DUI conviction, or pretrial suspension can apply to the Kentucky Ignition Interlock Program for limited driving privileges. Participants must install and maintain an IID and are allowed to operate a vehicle as long as it has an installed IID.
The KIIP can also reduce the driver's suspension period. Drivers who comply with the program requirements and avoid violations can have a first-offense suspension reduced to four months, a second-offense suspension reduced to 12 months, and a third-offense suspension reduced to 18 months.
While everyone can be convicted of a DUI for driving with a BAC of .08% or more, drivers under 21 years of age can be convicted of an underage DUI for driving with a BAC of .02% or greater.
A conviction does not carry jail time but does result in a 30-day to six-month driver's license revocation, a substance abuse program requirement, and either a fine of up to $500 or 20 hours of community service.
If you're arrested for driving under the influence in Kentucky, it's a good idea to consult with an experienced DUI attorney. A qualified DUI lawyer can help you decide on the best course of action in your case.