Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense with far-reaching consequences. In Lexington, KY, law enforcement and courts take DUIs very seriously. Knowing the repercussions tied to such offenses in Kentucky is important, as it impacts many aspects of your life. 

Driving Under the Influence Laws in Kentucky

In Kentucky, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Specifically, the state criminalizes the following:

  • Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) that is 0.08% or higher – this is a “per se” DUI.
  • For those under age 21, there are “zero-tolerance laws,” and any BAC reading of 0.02% or greater can lead to DUI charges.
  • Being under the influence of alcohol at a level that impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely, even if your BAC is under .08%
  • Driving while under the influence of any other substance that impairs your driving – whether the substance is legal or illegal. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications.
  • Having controlled substances detectable in your blood, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. 

It’s important to approach DUI charges seriously in Lexington due to the significant impacts a conviction can have on your life. 

DUI Penalties in Kentucky

If you’re caught driving under the influence in Lexington, KY, and it’s your first offense, you could be faced with the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence ranging from 48 hours to 30 days
  • Fines falling between $200 and $500
  • Mandatory community service
  • Driver’s license suspension for 30 to 120 days 
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle, depending on the circumstances
  • Substance abuse treatment program for at least 90 days

While these penalties are already quite severe, the potential consequences for a DUI escalate with repeat offenses.

DUI Penalties For Subsequent Convictions

Facing a second DUI conviction in Lexington within ten years significantly escalates legal consequences compared to the first offense. Penalties include:

  • At least 7 days in jail, up to 6 months
  • A fine of between $350 and 500
  • Community service 
  • Substance abuse treatment for 1 year or longer 
  • Driver’s license suspension for at least 12 months, up to 18 months 

Penalties for a third DUI conviction are even more serious, and include:

  • A mandatory jail sentence ranging from 30 days to one year
  • A fine of between $500 and $1,000 
  • Driver’s license suspension for at least 2 years, up to 3 years 

If you’re facing a fourth DUI conviction, you’re now facing Class D felony charges instead of a misdemeanor, carrying a prison sentence of between 1 and 5 years. 

Collateral Consequences of a Driving Under the Influence Conviction

A DUI conviction can have serious side effects that impact your life in multiple, often unexpected, ways. Here’s how:

Difficulty With Employment

A DUI conviction may significantly complicate your employment prospects. Background checks, which most employers perform as part of the hiring process, will reveal such convictions. This can create a negative impression that potentially discourages employers from proceeding with an offer.

Additionally, employment in fields requiring driving or operating heavy machinery might be explicitly forbidden to those with a DUI.

Difficulty With Personal Relationships and Trust

The stigma of a criminal record influences relationships personally, socially, and professionally. Trust can be eroded between you, family members, friends, or colleagues, making your day-to-day life a bit more challenging. 

Difficulty With Housing 

Applying for housing can also become more complicated, as landlords might be wary of renting to someone with a DUI conviction. This means you have fewer options for where you live and will undergo additional stress when looking for a place to rent. 

Increased Insurance Rates

A DUI conviction typically results in a sharp increase in car insurance premiums. Insurers regard individuals with a DUI as high-risk drivers, leading to higher costs. 

Contact the Lexington Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

Considering the life-altering penalties and consequences of driving under the influence, it’s clear that you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer if you’re facing these charges.

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers. Give us a call today at (859) 569-4014 to schedule a free consultation with our DUI defense lawyers at our Lexington law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507