Avoid a DUI in Kentucky: 5 Things You Need to Know about DUI

To avoid a DUI in Kentucky, you should know at least these five things.


I.   DUI in Kentucky
II.  Penalties
III.The Costs
IV. Sobriety Tests
V.  Avoid Arrest

I. DUI in Kentucky

It’s illegal to drive under the influence of intoxicants. This is called DUI in Kentucky.

For drivers 21 and older, DUI is driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. And for those under 21, it’s a BAC of 0.02% or more.

dui in kentuckyKentucky has a zero tolerance policy against drinking by those under 21. But it permits BACs under 0.02%. This is to reduce the chances of convicting innocent young drivers.

Here’s the logic. Alcohol breath testers are unreliable. They don’t really measure BAC. (That requires analysis of a sample of actual blood.) Breath testers only indirectly estimate it. That’s why not all states permit them.

Another problem is that everyone produces alcohol naturally within their bodies. And they do this 24/7. That includes all young drivers. Also, many meds and foods contain alcohol. And this even includes baked goods such as bread.

So permitting BACs under 0.02% is wise. It helps protect the innocent.

But Kentucky can convict drivers below those maximum levels if other evidence shows impairment.

Because of their high alcohol tolerance, many alcoholics are not under the influence far above those levels. Yet they may not present evidence that they were, in fact, not under the influence.

II. Penalties

The exact penalties imposed for DUI in Kentucky vary. Many factors cause these differences. They include such things as these.

dui in kentucky
Please, no! Not HER!

Driver’s Age.

Type of license.

Estimated BAC.

The impairing substance(s)

Any prior DUIs.

Results of the DUI, if any. (Property damage, injuries, etc.)

Any minors in the vehicle.

Skill of driver’s attorney.

Characteristics of driver. (Demeanor in court, race, social and economic status, etc.)

Beliefs and personality of judge hearing the case. That’s just the luck of the draw.

Some penalties are mandated, others are within ranges, and others are purely up to the judge.

First DUI

    • dui in kentucky Jail for two to 30 days.
    • Fine of $200 to $500.
    • Driving license suspended for 30 to 120 days.
    • Thirty days in an alcohol or substance abuse program.
    • Possible community service for 48 hours to 30 days.

Second DUI within Ten Years

    • Jai for seven days to six months.
    • Fine of $350 to $500.
    • Driving license suspension for 12 to 18 months.
    • Alcohol or substance abuse treatment for one year.
    • Mandated community service from ten days to six months.

Third DUI within Ten Years

    • DUI in KentuckyJail for 30 days to six months.
    • Fine of $500 to $1,000.
    • Driving license suspension for 24 to 36 months.
    • Alcohol or substance treatment for one year.
    • Mandated community service for ten days to 12 months.

Fourth DUI within Ten Years

    • Jail for at least 120 days.
    • Driving license suspension for 24 to 36 months.

III. The Costs

Legal Defense

Getting charged with an DUI in Kentucky is expensive. And this is true even if you’re innocent. Of course, it’s even more expensive if a judge or jury convicts you.

The cost of a legal DUI defense is very hard to estimate. That’s because the complexity of cases varies widely. And more complex cases take more of a lawyer’s time. That means more money.

dui in kentuckyIt’s wise to select a lawyer who only does DUI defense. The knowledge and experience of such a lawyer is important. In fact, such a lawyer may take less time.

Its obvious that simply asking lawyers how much they charge per hour isn’t helpful. It’s like asking a car dealer how much it costs to buy a car.

 Other Costs

There are a number of other costs. They may include fines, court costs, property damage, and medical expenses.  There’s also increased insurance rates, possible job loss, and or expenses. The total can be high. It can easily be more than lawyer fees and expenses. Therefore, the total cost of an DUI can easily be tens of thousands of dollars.

Also there are non-money costs as well. They may include pain and suffering, feelings of guilt, embarrassment, driving license suspension, loss of friendships, and many others.

Knowing the high costs of a DUI is very useful. It’s a great motivation. And that can help us try to avoid getting one.

IV. Sobriety Tests

Chemical Tests

dui in kentuckyAll states require drivers to submit to alcohol breath tests (estimators). That, in spite of their proven unreliability.

It’s legal to refuse a field breath test. But not one at a police station. Those machines are less inaccurate.

All drivers have a Constitutional right to decline taking a chemical BAC test. In spite of that, the state punishes those who use their right. A first use of the right is punished with a driving license suspension of sex months. If the right is used on a second occasion, it’s punished with a license suspension of 18 months.

Field Sobriety Tests

But no state requires drivers to take a field sobriety test. And that’s good. Simply put, field sobriety tests lack validity. That’s why about one-third of completely sober volunteers with a 0.00% BAC fail them. And they do so under ideal in-door conditions.

dui in kentuckyField sobriety test on an uneven highway is far from ideal.  There are cars rushing by closely and flashing police lights. The driver is very nervous and fears being arrested and going to jail. So the “real world” failure rate for completely sober people must be much higher.

Therefore, lawyers strongly urge drivers never to submit to any field sobriety test. On the other hand, police want suspects to take them. They often falsely insist the law requires it. It doesn’t. Or they say that passing it proves you’re innocent. It doesn’t.

An officer who pulls over a driver for suspected impaired driving is conducting a criminal investigation. The officer may legally lie to you. Remember that if you are a suspect in a crime, the officer is your adversary.

Learn much more about field sobriety tests. Learn What to Do If You Are Pulled Over. Also watch Never Talk to the Police – Here’s Why. Knowledge really is power to protect yourself.

V. Avoid Arrest

Clearly, one way to avoid a DUI is by not drinking. Another choice is to use a Designated Driver, use Uber, or take a bus.

Most drivers enjoy drinking alcohol. They may lack a Designated Driver or access to a bus. And they may be unable to afford Uber or Lynks.

So how can drivers drink before driving, yet avoid arrest? The answer is simple and legal. Maintain a low BAC.

These guidelines can help keep a low BAC.

Standard Drinks
    • Stick to standard drinks. Each has 0.6 oz of pure alcohol. This makes it easier to keep track of alcohol intake.
    • Eat and snack while drinking. This is very important!
    • Have a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones.
    • Accept an alcoholic drink only when it fits your consumption schedule.
    • Never engage in any drinking game.
    • Don’t try to “keep up” with the drinking of others.
    • Alcohol is Sexist. Unfair and Unjust, But Important to Know. Women of the height and weight as men are more effected by alcohol.
Arrested for DUI in Kentucky?

If you’re charged with a DUI in Kentucky, contact a lawyer right away. The lawyer should specialize in DUI cases. Better yet is one whose practice is limited to DUI.

The Kentucky Bar (lawyer) Association does not offer a lawyer referral service. But it does provide a resource page listing such services. But the Martingale guide offers a free on-line database with lawyers by specialty and location. Also, it provides free client and peer evaluations.

This site strongly opposes impaired driving. It also supports the U.S. Constitution and the rights it grants both the innocent and the guilty.

Resources: DUI in Kentucky

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    • This site gives no advice. Please see a lawyer for legal matters.