Drivers convicted of a first-offense DUI (driving under the influence) (also sometimes called "DWI") in Kentucky face a fine, driver's license suspension, and possible jail time. While the judge can consider many factors in deciding how to sentence a DUI offense, this article addresses the minimum and maximum penalties and consequences for a first DUI in Kentucky.
In Kentucky, a DUI is considered a first offense if the driver has no prior DUI convictions within the last ten years. A first DUI conviction carries the following potential penalties.
Jail time. The judge can order 48 hours to 30 days in jail for a first offense. However, the judge can permit the offender to complete 48 hours to 30 days of community service in lieu of jail.
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.
Fines. A person who's convicted of a first DUI may be required to pay a fine of $200 to $500. (Read about the additional costs associated with a first DUI.)
Treatment. All first offenders must complete a 90-day substance abuse program.
In addition to the penalties listed above, the judge will revoke the driver's license for 30 to 120 days for a first DUI conviction. The driver must show satisfaction of the substance abuse treatment program before license reinstatement. After reinstatement, the driver will also have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for six months.
Hardship license. An offender who can show hardship, treatment enrollment, and an installed IID may be eligible for a hardship license. This temporary restricted license allows the driver to operate a vehicle for work, school, or treatment purposes during the license revocation period.
Unless the driver refused a breath or blood test, prosecutors are permitted to amend DUI charges. So, it may be possible to reduce or eliminate some penalties through plea bargaining.