January 19, 2024 | DUI
A first-offense DUI in Lexington, KY, is typically charged as a misdemeanor. Even though you are facing a misdemeanor offense rather than a felony, you still need to take the matter seriously. First-offense misdemeanor DUI penalties in Lexington include jail time, fines, and license suspension.
What Are the Penalties for a First-Offense Misdemeanor DUI in Lexington, KY?
The penalties for a first-offense DUI conviction in Lexington include the following:
- A fine of $200 to $500
- Two to 30 days in county jail
- Up to 90 days in an alcohol or substance abuse education or treatment program
- Driver’s license suspension for 30 to 120 days
- Community service of 48 hours to 30 days
A DUI conviction can also have collateral consequences in addition to criminal penalties. For example, your automobile insurance will likely increase substantially if you are convicted of a DUI in Kentucky.
Losing your driver’s license can also make it difficult to get to work and care for your family. If you hold a professional license, a DUI conviction could negatively impact your professional license as well.
Aggravating circumstances can enhance the penalties for a first-offense misdemeanor DUI conviction. Aggravating factors include, but are not limited to:
- A blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15% or higher
- Causing death or injury to another person while driving intoxicated
- Refusing to take field sobriety tests
- Driving 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit
- Having a child in the vehicle that is under the age of 12 years
- Driving the wrong way
Aggravating factors result in a mandatory jail sentence of four days. Depending on the severity of the circumstances, a judge could sentence you to the maximum punishment for a DUI conviction. Additionally, you could face additional criminal charges and civil penalties, depending on the aggravating circumstance.
What Does the State Need To Prove To Obtain a Conviction for DUI in Lexington, KY?
If you do not plead guilty or enter a plea agreement, the prosecutor must prove you are guilty of driving under the influence to obtain a conviction. The primary legal elements the state must prove in a first-offense DUI case are:
- The defendant operated or had physical control of a motor vehicle;
- While under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
The prosecutor can use the results of a breath or blood test to prove that your BAC was above the legal limit of .08 percent.
However, your BAC does not need to be above the legal limit for you to be under the influence. You are under the influence of the alcohol or drugs in your system, which impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle. It may be more challenging to prove a case this way, but an experienced prosecutor can.
Representing yourself in a Lexington DUI case can result in a much harsher sentence. Neither the police nor the prosecutor is interested in you proving your innocence. They will not tell you if there is a defense you could use to reduce or dismiss the charges.
Therefore, it is wise to seek legal advice from a Lexington DUI attorney as soon as possible. An attorney understands DUI laws in Kentucky and the best defenses to charges of driving under the influence.
Potential Defenses to First-Offense Misdemeanor DUI Charges in Lexington, KY
A Lexington DUI lawyer reviews and investigates your case to determine the defenses that could result in an acquittal, dismissal, or favorable plea deal. Defenses to DUI charges in Lexington include, but are not limited to:
- Challenging the results of chemical tests for blood alcohol content, including blood, urine, and breath tests
- Alleging that law enforcement officers violated your constitutional rights, which could result in evidence being inadmissible in court
- Arguing that the police lacked probable cause for a DUI investigation
- Challenging the results of field sobriety tests because officers performed the tests incorrectly
- Alleging that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop
- Lack of evidence proving that you were under the influence
- The police conducted an unlawful sobriety checkpoint
- Contamination or other problems with the collection, storing, or testing of samples for chemical testing
If you are arrested for DUI in Lexington, do not panic. Instead, seek legal advice to help you build a solid defense against the charges. With the help of a Lexington DUI lawyer, you may be able to avoid the harsh penalties of a conviction.
Contact the Lexington DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC for Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 W. Vine St. #300
Lexington, KY 40507