Kentucky DUI 101

Kentucky DUI Laws:

Under Kentucky DUI laws, drivers over the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher can be deemed legally drunk. Drivers under the age of 21 should not have a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher. Commercial drivers are legally drunk if their blood alcohol levels meet or exceed .04. While these are the basic guidelines, a driver may face penalties even if his or her blood alcohol level is lower than the legal limit, especially if the driver shows any signs of impairment.

Kentucky DUI Penalties:

A first-time offender of DUI limits will receive a $200 to $500 fine, up to 30 days imprisonment and a license suspension of up to 120 days. The offender may also be responsible for attending a substance abuse program for 90 days and up to 30 days of community service.

A second offense may result in another maximum fine of $500; however, this time, the offender may also face up to six months in jail, a license suspension period of up to 18 months, a year in a substance abuse program and up to six months of community service.

Three convictions within five years leads to a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail. The offender will also lose driving privileges for up to three years, be enrolled in a substance abuse program for another year and serve up to a year of community service.

A fourth offense within a five year period is considered a Class D felony in the state of Kentucky. This felony comes with a minimum of 120 days in jail, a 60 month license suspension and a year in a substance abuse program.

Certain circumstances can lead to extended penalties. For example, if a child under the age of 12 was a passenger in the car, or if the drunk driver was responsible for an accident that lead to the death or injury of another person, additional jail time may be added to the sentence. Refusing to submit to a chemical test can also lead to increased penalties. This also applies to drivers with a blood alcohol level exceeding .18.

Kentucky also enforces an open container law. Even an opened container of alcohol in the car can result in additional penalties for the driver.

Restricted Licenses:

By applying for a hardship license, even Kentucky drivers who are facing license suspension may conditionally regain their driving privileges. After the court approves of the quest for a hardship license a driver can visit the Circuit Clerk’s office for an application form. Submitting the form will come with a $5 fee. For more information concerning hardship licenses in Kentucky, visit the Kentucky Legislature website.

Kentucky DUI Programs:

By judge’s orders, an offender may need to enroll in a DUI program. The time spent in the program will vary according to the sentence, ranging from 90 days to up to a year or more. Thus, the cost of the program also will vary. For more information on Kentucky DUI programs, visit the website of the Kentucky Driving Under the Influence Program, which encompasses over 100 programs in the state.