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.

       Overview

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. “Breathalyzers” or alcohol breath testers are unreliable. They don’t really measure BAC. (That requires analysis of a sample of actual blood.) Breathalyzers only 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. Obviously, that includes all young drivers. Also, many medications and foods contain alcohol. Surprisingly, this includes baked goods such as bread.

So permitting BACs under 0.02% is good government policy. It helps protect the innocent.

However, 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. However, 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.

Consequences 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, socio-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 kentuckyImprisonment 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

  • Imprisonment 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 kentuckyImprisonment 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

  • Imprisonment 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 an experienced lawyer who specializes in DUI defense. The knowledge and experience of such a lawyer is invaluable. 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, medical expenses, possible loss of employment, increased insurance rates, and other 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.

In addition, 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. 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 scientifically proven unreliability.

However, 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 mo0nths.

Field Sobriety Tests

However, 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 people with a 0.00% BAC fail them. And they do so under ideal conditions.

dui in kentuckyNaturally, taking a field sobriety test on an uneven highway shoulder after being pulled over by police and being very nervous is far from ideal. So the “real world” failure rate for completely sober people must be much higher.

Understandably, 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 drinking and driving is conducting a criminal investigation. The officer may legally lie to you. Remember that if you are a suspect in a crime, the police officer is your adversary.

Discover 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

Obviously, one way to avoid a DUI is by abstaining from alcohol. Another choice is to use a Designated Driver or use public transportation.

Most drivers enjoy drinking alcohol, at least on occasion. They may lack a Designated Driver or access to public transportation. 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.

  • dui in kentucky

    Standard Drinks

    Remember that standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits have equivalent amounts of pure alcohol.

  • Have no more than one standard drink each hour. Preferably less.
  • Avoid non-standard drinks. 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.
Arrested for DUI in Kentucky?

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

If you’re charged with an DUI in Kentucky, contact a lawyer immediately. The attorney should specialize in drinking and driving cases. Better yet is one whose practice is limited to such cases.

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

Don’t rely on this or any other site for legal information.

Resources

Brezina, C. I’ve Gotten a DWI/DUI, Now What? NY: Rosen, 2016.

CDC. Teen Drinking and Driving. Atlanta: 2012. (website)

___. Impaired Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Gillespie, L. Police Encounters. Know Your Rights. Gillespie, 2014.

Hudson, T. The Drinker’s Guide to Driving: The Secrets of DUI, From One of America’s Top DUI Lawyers. Cork: BookBaby, 2013.

Keech, C. & Fairchild, C. Dude, What are My Rights? Kansas City, MO: Keechild, 2014.

Lauterjung, L. DUI law for Drivers. How to Avoid DUI Arrests and How to Handle a DUI Stop. Lauterjung, 2012.

Nevels, T. Avoid DWI and Marijuana Charges. Cork: BookBaby, 2015.

NHTSA. Drunk Driving. Washington: 2018. (website)

Sagsletter, R. Rights During a Police Stop / DUI in the United States. What Officers Can and Cannot Do. Denver, CO: Outskirts, 2012.