April 19, 2022 | DUI
In Kentucky, as in every other state, you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) due to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The penalties for this offense can be severe, and there are numerous factors at play that can complicate how the situation plays out. This blog post will discuss many of these factors, including the specific penalties you might face if arrested, how blood alcohol content testing factors in, the role of aggravating circumstances, and more.
Blood Alcohol Content Considerations
A blood alcohol content (or BAC) level of .08% or above creates a presumption that the person is impaired. However, even if the BAC is less than .08%, a person could still be arrested and prosecuted. In those cases, the prosecution may proceed under a theory that it was not just alcohol causing the impairment but a mixture of alcohol and controlled substances. Alternatively, the prosecution may even argue that certain physical characteristics of the accused make it so that even with a BAC of less than .08%, the person is still impaired to the point that they should still be convicted of DUI.
If the officer finds probable cause for an arrest, it does not matter if a blood alcohol test later reveals you were actually under the legal limit. The limit prescribed by law only forms a presumption of impairment if the level is over the limit; the prosecution could still argue a person is impaired when the blood alcohol content is less.
What Are the Penalties for a First Offense DUI in Kentucky?
The penalties for a first offense DUI can be severe. A person arrested for a first DUI could be looking at jail time. The maximum jail time a person for a first offense DUI can be sentenced to is 30 days. The judge will also impose a fine between $200 and $500, along with court costs and other fees.
In addition to the possible jail time and fines, anyone convicted of a first-time DUI will be subject to a suspension of their driving privileges. The length of the suspension will be up to the judge or will be agreed upon by your side and the prosecution. However, it must be at least 30 days and no more than 120 days on a first offense.
Even though this may have been your first offense, the Court will also order the accused to complete an alcohol/drug education program. Once ordered, the first-time offender’s driver’s license cannot be reinstated until that program is completed.
What If There Are Aggravating Circumstances?
The penalties outlined above are those that are required for a first offense DUI. However, Kentucky law provides for certain enhanced penalties if there are what it calls “aggravating factors.” If your case involves certain aggravating factors, you will be subject to a stricter and more severe punishment than you would otherwise.
The Kentucky legislature lays out multiple aggravating factors. If a person was pulled over for speeding more than 30 miles over the speed limit and DUI, that is an aggravating factor. Having a BAC of .15 or higher is another aggravating factor. Other aggravating factors include if the person was caught driving the wrong way on the road or if the accused caused an accident resulting in serious injury or death. Finally, it will be considered an aggravating factor if you drive under the influence with one or more minors in the car who are under the age of 12.
What Should I Do If I Am Arrested for DUI?
The first thing you should do is contact an attorney to help. It is important to know what to do as well as what not to do when interacting with law enforcement, as your actions and statements immediately following your arrest could be used against you in court. As you can see, the penalties for a first offense DUI can have far-reaching implications, particularly if you drive for a living or rely on your driving privilege to support you or your family. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is important to speak to an attorney with a great deal of DUI experience so they can answer your questions and advise you on how to proceed.
Contact the Lexington DUI Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC for Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 W. Vine St. #300
Lexington, KY 40507