Can You Go to Jail for a DUI in KY?

October 19th, 2021 by Attorney Dan Carman


Not only can you go to jail for a DUI in KY, depending on the circumstances, if you’re convicted, you will go to jail. Your sentence depends on many issues. If the defenses against the charges are strong enough, you may avoid a conviction and jail. Don’t take a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest lightly, because the possible consequences go far beyond jail time.

Dan Carman defends the rights of clients throughout Kentucky who find themselves investigated or arrested for criminal charges. He can work with you to put together an effective defense which may mean the difference between jail time or not. Call a DUI defense lawyer at the Dan Carman Law Office at (859) 685-1055 for a free consultation. We know that this is a tough time for you and your family. We want to help.


Can You Go to Jail for a DUI?

Depending on the number of convictions, you may face mandatory minimum jail time.

For a first offense, a judge can sentence you to 48 hours to 30 days in jail. You may avoid this if the judge orders an equivalent amount of community service instead. You’ll also be fined ($200 to $500), your license will be suspended from 30 to 120 days, and you’ll need to complete an alcohol driver education program before you can get your license back. You may also be ordered to pay restitution for the harm you caused.

The penalties are stricter if there are aggravating factors:

The jail time increases with each subsequent DUI conviction, according to Kentucky law. Mandatory jail time can’t be “suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to any other form of early release.” For convictions within a ten-year period:

  • Second offense: Imprisonment in a county jail for seven days to six months. If there are aggravating circumstances, the mandatory minimum prison term is 14 days.
  • Third offense: Prison time in a county jail not less than 30 or more than 12 months. Aggravating circumstances will cause a mandatory minimum jail time of 60 days.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: This would be a Class D felony which could result in a one- to five-year prison term. The mandatory minimum prison term is 240 days.

Given the increasing punishment, the Kentucky legislature tells drivers they need to stop making the same mistake over and over. The more often you drive while intoxicated, the greater the risk of an accident causing severe injuries or death. If you’re convicted under those circumstances, can you go to jail for a DUI? Avoiding jail time may be difficult or impossible.

What are the Other Consequences of a DUI Conviction?

The penalties imposed by Kentucky law are just the beginning.

Jail time, fines, and community service are part of what can happen after a DUI conviction. You may:

  • Lose your job
  • Be unable to legally drive
  • Be unqualified for a professional license, or lose it if you have one
  • Have job applications rejected by potential employers
  • Have your auto insurance canceled or see a sharp increase in your rates
  • Have a more difficult time getting life insurance or have to pay a higher rate
  • Suffer personally in your relationships with others
  • Have college applications rejected
  • Be rejected by landlords when trying to rent an apartment or house.

These are all reasons you should do all you can to defend yourself against DUI charges. Hiring a defense attorney may be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Jail Time for a DUI in KY May Be Avoided

Just because you’re arrested for DUI doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted and serve time in jail.

Several issues can prevent that from happening.

  1. The prosecution’s evidence isn’t strong enough to carry the burden of proof.The prosecution must prove all the DUI charge elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Can they establish that you were in control of the vehicle? Was your BAC actually at the level they claim or was your driving impaired by alcohol? There may have been enough evidence to justify an arrest, but not enough to convict you.
  2. Plea bargainCan you go to jail for a DUI in KY? One way to prevent that is to reach an agreement with the prosecution to plead guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving (which can result in a fine up to $100 but not jail time) and have the DUI charge dropped. Both sides benefit because they avoid the uncertainty and cost of a trial. But this won’t be an option if you refused chemical testing or had a BAC of 0.08 or more (0.02 or more if you’re under the age of 21).
  3. Mistakes by police or the prosecution.

There could be several problems that could result in charges being dismissed or reduced:

  • If there wasn’t enough evidence to support a reasonable suspicion to pull your car over, evidence obtained afterward shouldn’t be allowed at trial.
  • Without sufficient facts to justify probable cause, you shouldn’t be arrested.
  • Sobriety tests may not have been given properly, or your responses were misinterpreted.
  • Chemical tests of your BAC may not be reliable because the equipment wasn’t properly maintained or due to police misconduct.

After you hire Dan Carman, we’ll start an investigation into your arrest that may find these and other issues that may cause serious problems for the prosecution.

Whether You Spend Jail Time for a DUI in KY or Not May Depend on Your Attorney’s Skills

If you’re charged, jail time for a DUI in KY may be a real possibility. Now’s not the time to try to represent yourself. You need an attorney you can trust. Dan Carman has helped many clients address DUI charges so they could get the best outcome possible. Call the Dan Carman Law Office at (859) 685-1055 for a free consultation so we can talk about what happened and how we can help.

Attorney Dan Carman

Attorney Dan CarmanFocusing on criminal matters, Mr. Carman is admitted to practice law in all Courts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, and the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. He is a member of the American, Kentucky, and Fayette County Bar Associations. Mr. Carman also worked as a prosecutor, as well as a legal assistance attorney. Attorney Dan Carman can help you with any criminal defense matters you may need including; DUI, drug, and weapons charges, trespassing, traffic violations and more. [ Attorney Bio ]