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Kentucky Drunk Driving Laws

Kentucky Drunk Driving Laws
Given the risks associated with drinking and driving, it may be shocking to learn that thousands of Kentucky drivers are arrested and charged with the offense each year. What you may not realize, however, is that many of these arrests are based solely upon federal and state blood alcohol content (BAC) guidelines regulating the amount of alcohol a driver is allowed to have in his or her bloodstream. As a result, a driver does not actually have to be impaired in order for his or her actions to constitute driving under the influence (DUI). Here’s what you need to know about Kentucky drunk driving laws and how they affect you:

Because alcohol affects every person differently, BAC is considered to be the most reliable way of determining a person’s level of impairment—and the only way it can be determined is through chemical testing. A common tool used to help officers identify drunk drivers, chemical tests calculate BAC based on the amount of alcohol found in a person’s breath, blood, or urine. As specified by the state’s “Implied Consent Law,” Kentucky drivers are legally required to perform a chemical test if an officer deems it necessary. If you refuse the test, you will not only be arrested, but also risk losing your driver’s license for 30 days or longer.

State law prohibits anyone from operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Any person caught driving with a BAC above this limit could face criminal charges for their actions. If you are under 21, you have even less leeway, as underage drivers can be arrested for DUI with a BAC of just 0.02%. Commercial vehicle operators are also subjected to a lower BAC limit of only 0.04%.

If you are convicted of driving under the influence or violating the state’s Implied Consent Law, the penalties you receive will depend largely upon your prior history of DUI and whether any mitigating factors were involved in your case. If you have no previous convictions on your record, for example, you will most likely receive a much lighter sentence than someone who has been convicted in the past.

In some cases, a driver may face additional penalties for “aggravated DUI.” For instance, if you were involved in a serious auto accident or driving 30 miles or more above the speed limit, additional penalties may be included in your sentence. Likewise, if your BAC was above 0.17% or you were carrying a passenger under the age of 12 at the time of your arrest, you can expect a more severe punishment.

Habitual drunk drivers—anyone who has been convicted of three or more DUI charges—will face the harshest penalties of all. As a felony offense, a fourth conviction carries a minimum 120-day jail sentence, 60-month license suspension, and up to a $1,000 fine. A felony conviction will also result in the permanent loss of your right to vote, travel abroad, and purchase a firearm.

If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence in the state of Kentucky, it is important to have a strong defense when your case is brought before a court. With the right strategy, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the charges against you and avoid the life-altering consequences of a DUI conviction. To determine the best approach for your case, submit your information online today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled DUI defense attorney in your area.