DUI & DWI in Kentucky

Kentucky legislators don't play around when it comes to driving while under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicants or substances that impair your driving ability. Why should they?

When someone drives under the influence, he's not only putting his own life at risk, he's also endangering the lives of everyone around him―not to mention the lives of the survivors that will be affected when they lose a loved one to a drunk driver.

If you drive under the influence (DUI) in Kentucky, not only do you risk losing your driving privileges, spending time in jail, and paying fines, but you also risk having your license plate confiscated and having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

KY DUI Facts

According to the "Illegal Per Se" provision, you're driving illegally if your blood alcohol content (BAC), which is the amount of ethyl alcohol in your blood, is 0.08% or higher.

If you're under the 21 years old, the BAC limit is 0.02% per the Zero Alcohol Tolerance rule, and for commercial drivers it's 0.04%.

Not only is your BAC is affected by the amount of alcohol you've consumed and the rate at which it was consumed, but it's also affected considering your weight, health, and how much food is in your stomach.

Aside from alcohol, your driving can be impaired by prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs as well as inhalants such as glues, sprays, and gasoline.

The Implied Consent Law states that anyone operating a motor vehicle, or even a vehicle that is not defined as such, is deemed to have given consent to blood, breath, urine, or combination tests in order to determine the driver's BAC or the presence of any other impairing substance.

If you refuse the tests, your license could be immediately suspended based on the number of refusals:

  • 1st offense: 6 months.
  • 2nd Offense 18 Months.
  • 3rd Offense 3 years.
  • 4th Offense or subsequent 5 years.

Penalties for DUI in KY

Penalties for 1st offense DUI include the following:

  • License suspension: 6 month.
  • Jail time.: 2 to 30 days
  • Fines: $200 to $500.
  • Mandatory alcohol or substance abuse treatment: 90 days.
  • Community labor: 48 hours to 30 days.

For 2nd and subsequent offenses the penalties increase. Other circumstances can raise the charge to aggravated DUI which carry even higher fines and jail time: Aggravated DUI can include any one of the following:

  • A passenger under 12 years old.
  • Driving 30 MPH over the speed limit.
  • Alcohol 0.15% and over.
  • Test refusal.
  • Accident causing serious injury or fatality.
  • Driving the wrong way.

For more information about possible DUI penalties you can visit the KTC website.

If you're convicted of second DUI (or more), you might be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. This device will require you to take a breath test each time you get in the car. Any BAC over 0.02% will prevent the vehicle from being operated.

Tips to Avoid DUI Consequences in KY

The most obvious tip to avoid the consequences of driving under the influence is simple: Don't do it. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid getting a DUI in Kentucky.

  • Have a designated driver accompany you.
  • Keep the number for several taxi services with you at all times.
  • Leave your car keys at home.
  • Know your limits.

Reinstating Your Driver's License

There are a few steps you will need to take in order to reinstate your license in Kentucky. You will need to:

  • Complete your suspension period.
  • Pay the $40 reinstatement fee.
  • Provide proof that you completed an alcohol treatment program.
  • Show proof of an IID installation (2nd and subsequent offenders).

You may pay your reinstatement fee online.

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