You can be arrested in Kentucky for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol under one of two circumstances. You operate a motor vehicle while under the influence or you are in physical control of a vehicle and you have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC that’s over the state’s legal limit. In this article, you’ll find information about Kentucky DUI laws to help you stay road legal. You read information about BAC level and penalties if convicted of DUI in the state.
Kentucky DUI Laws
A DUI in Kentucky depends on many factors including age, BAC level, and occupation. To be in physical control of a vehicle in the state means you were behind the wheel of the vehicle at the time of your encounter with police. For instance, you were parked in your vehicle after having a few drinks and you remained on the driver’s side. State DUI laws consider you in physical control of your vehicle. Officers may charge you with a DUI. Whether you’re charged with the crime depends on your BAC level.
What Is the Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
BAC involves determining the alcohol level in your bloodstream at the time of your arrest. Drugs can’t be measured in a person’s bloodstream like alcohol can. Thus, if any amount of drugs are found in your system, you can be accused of DUI. In Kentucky, determining your BAC is done via a breath, urine or blood test.
In Kentucky, the legal limit for a driver in a passenger vehicle and over the age of 21 years old is 0.08 percent. If the driver is under the age of 21 years, the BAC level is 0.02 percent. Anyone operating a commercial vehicle in the state has a stricter BAC level; it’s 0.04 percent. A school bus driver is a commercial driver under state law.
What Happens If I Get Pulled Over?
Getting pulled over in Kentucky for a DUI starts as a typical traffic stop. The officer asks you for your driver’s license. The officer also may ask you whether you’ve been drinking. He will be observing you for signs of impairment including slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. Based on their observations, you may undergo a field sobriety test.
Field sobriety test is a series of physical tests a person should be able to successfully complete when sober. They include tests like walking in a straight line and touching your nose with your index finger. You may undergo a Breathalyzer test.
Can I Refuse the BAC Test?
No. A BAC test requires a driver to breathe into a Breathalyzer machine. The machine measures the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath and determines whether they are over the legal limit to drive. Every driver gives implied consent to take a BAC test when they get behind the wheel in Kentucky. When asked to give take a BAC test, a person can refuse to do so.
What Happens If I Refuse It?
If a driver refuses to take a BAC test, they’ll incur harsh penalties. The first time a driver refuses, their license is suspended for 30 days. The license suspension increases with each refusal. The second time a person is stopped for DUI and refuses to take the BAC test, their license is suspended for one year. The penalty increases to two years for a third refusal. Remember, these are separate times. A police officer can’t ask you repeatedly to take a BAC test and each time counts as a refusal. The penalties are with each separate DUI stop.
Can I Plead “Wet Reckless”?
Yes. However, Kentucky DUI laws have two circumstances where a driver can’t plead to wet reckless. Wet reckless is a plea agreement where a driver admits they were drinking alcohol, but their BAC was near the legal limit. They plead to driving recklessly while after consuming alcohol.
Kentucky DUI laws prohibit anyone receiving a plea deal if they refused to take a BAC test or their BAC was higher than 0.08 percent. If they’re younger than 21 years old and their BAC was higher than 0.02 percent, they’re not eligible for a wet reckless plea bargain.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
DUI penalties in Kentucky are tough and increase with conviction. A driver should expect to spend a minimum amount of time in jail if convicted of DUI. The exact time depends on the offense. Penalties increase if aggravated circumstances exist. Aggravated circumstances include having a BAC over the legal limit, having a minor in the car at the time of the arrest and refusing a BAC test.
Kentucky DUI laws separate offenses into first, second, third and fourth offenses. As of 2016, a repeat DUI offender is any driver with more than one DUI conviction in a 10-year period. Prior to 2016, a repeat offender any driver who had more than one DUI in a five-year period.
First Offense DUI
The punishment for a first DUI conviction is 48 hours to 30 days in county jail. The driver remains without its driving privileges for about 120 days. They must also pay a fine ranging from $200 to $500.
Second offense DUI
According to Kentucky DUI laws, a second offense is seven days to six months in county jail. The driver must serve at least 48 hours consecutively. Community service, alcohol, and drug assessment treat for one-year and 12-month license suspension are penalties for a second DUI conviction.
Third offense DUI
Jail time for a third DUI conviction includes 30 days to one year in county jail. The driver must serve at least 48 hours of the time consecutively. Community service, one year of alcohol and drug assessment classes, 24-month license revocation and $500 fine are other penalties.
Fourth offense DUI
A fourth conviction penalty includes one to five years in prison, community service, and 60-month license revocation.
Preventing a DUI arrest is easy when you know the Kentucky DUI laws. Remember the BAC is 0.08 percent or less depending on your age and occupation. Do you want to prevent your loved one from enduring the penalties associated with a Kentucky DUI laws? Share what you know about staying road legal in Kentucky.
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