Kentucky DUI Basics
The legal limit for prosecuting driving under the influence is a blood
alcohol content percentage of 0.08. Those under the age of twenty-one
are considered minors and have a legal limit less than the adult limit.
The Kentucky minor limit is a blood alcohol content percentage of 0.02.
Under both of these laws if an individual's blood alcohol content
exceeds the legal limit then the individual is subject to arrest.
Normally an arrest will accompany a chemical test. Chemical tests
include blood testing, breath testing, and urine testing. By having a
driver's license an individual gives implied consent to submit to
chemical testing, however if an individual refuses to submit to
testing, he or she will have his or her driver's license suspended.
Prosecuting DUI Offenses
Kentucky has two different ways of prosecuting driving under the
influence offenses. The first of these is based on physical impairment.
Under this law the prosecuting attorney will attempt to prove that an
individual was impaired while driving. Evidence will be presented to
support the charge and can include physical appearance upon arrest,
driving patterns, blood alcohol content percentages, and field sobriety
If an individual has refused a chemical test, the court will infer that
he or she is guilt, often leading to conviction. Simply because an
individual's blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit does not
mean he or she was impaired. This makes prosecuting physical impairment
difficult, unless another individual was injured in the process.
The second way of prosecuting is called per se law. Under Kentucky per
se law the prosecuting attorney will not attempt to prove an individual
was impaired, instead the prosecutor will attempt to prove that the
individual had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit. Evidence
-- including blood tests, breath tests, and urine test -- will be
provided to defend the under the influence claim. An individual may not
have been impaired upon an arrest, but if he or she's blood alcohol
content was above the limit, he or she will be convicted under per se
Kentucky DUI Punishments
Kentucky has a five-year lookback time period that will calculate the
prior offenses of repeated offenders. The higher number of prior
offenses an individual has, the more severe his or her punishment will
be upon conviction. First-time offenders are subject to a fine between
two hundred and five hundred dollars, imprisonment between forty-eight
hours and thirty days, community service, driver's license suspension
between thirty days and one hundred days, and ninety days of alcohol
and drug assessment. Minors convicted of a DUI offense can receive up
to six months of license suspension, several days of imprisonment, and
several hundred dollars in fines.
A second DUI offense can earn a fine between three hundred fifty and
five hundred dollars, imprisonment between seven days and six months,
community service, alcohol and drug assessment for one year, and
driver's license suspension between twelve months and eighteen months.
A third offense can earn a fine between five hundred and one thousand
dollars, imprisonment between thirty days and twelve months, community
service, driver's license suspension between twenty-four months and
thirty-six months, and one year of alcohol and drug assessment. A
fourth offense can earn a fine between one thousand and ten thousand
dollars, imprisonment of a Class D Felony between one year and five
years, and driver's license suspension for sixty months.