What Is a Misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky?

January 17th, 2020 by Attorney Dan Carman

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If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you’re probably anxious and worried, and you may be wondering what is a misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky?

Here is a definition:

In Kentucky, if you are convicted under a first misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) offense, you could face misdemeanor penalties ranging from 48 hours to 30 days in jail and/or a monetary fine ranging from $200-$500.

Being convicted of a DUI can impact your driving record, the cost of car insurance, and your future driving privileges.  It can also result in hefty fines and jail time.  If you have been charged with a misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky, it’s probably time to contact an experienced Lexington DUI defense lawyer like Dan Carman in Lexington.  He can explain the law and build a strong defense on your behalf.  Contact Dan at 859-685-1055 for a free initial consultation.

A Skilled Attorney Can Explain What Is a Misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Kentucky.  Under state law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in any of the following circumstances:

  • With an alcohol concentration (BAC) or 0.08% or more
  • While under the influence of drugs — including opioids, prescription drugs or any other substance (or combination of substances) that impair one’s ability to drive safely
  • While a controlled substance (those listed in Kentucky’s Revised Statutes section 189A.010(12)) remains in the driver’s blood stream
  • While under the combined influence of alcohol and any other mind-altering substance that hinders or compromises the ability to drive, or
  • If the vehicle driver is under the age of 21 and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or more.

All DUI and DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrests or convictions are serious business in Kentucky and nationwide because judges and juries have little sympathy for those who drink and get behind the wheel of a car, thereby putting other drivers and passengers at risk.  Generally, first-time offenders receive lighter sentences than repeat DUI offenders if no extenuating circumstances exist.  If you have questions about your specific case, call us at 859-685-1055.

Misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky Penalties

Following are the misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky penalties that drivers face if they are convicted of driving under the influence.  As you can see, fines and penalties get more severe for second, third and fourth offenses.

For a DUI conviction, the court will order the driver’s license be revoked, followed by a period of time with an ignition interlock device (IID).  For second and subsequent offenses, the court can also order an offender to surrender their license plate.

These penalties are for drivers who are 21 years old and older.

  • First offense: This is punishable by a fine of between $200 and $500, and/or between 48 hours and 30 days in jail. The person may be able to participate in a community labor program rather than pay the fine and/or spend time in jail. If aggravating circumstances exist, then the driver must serve at least 4 days in jail.  License is revoked from 30-120 days, followed by an IID of 6 months.
  • Second offense (within 10 years): This is punishable by a fine of between $350 and $500, jail time between 7 days and 6 months, and potential sentencing to community labor for between 10 days and 6 months. The person must serve at least 14 days in jail if aggravating circumstances are present.  License is revoked from 12-18 months, followed by an IID of 12 months.
  • Third offense (within 10 years): This is punishable by a fine of between $500 and $1,000, jail time between 30 days and 12 months, and community service for between 10 days and 12 months. If aggravating circumstances are involved, then the person has to serve at least 60 days in jail.  License is revoked for 24-36 months, followed by an IID for 30 months.

People who are under 21 years of age will have their driver’s license suspended for between 30 days and 6 months.  They will be fined between $100 and $500 (or 20 hours of community service instead of a fine). However, if the person has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, then that person will face the same penalties as persons older than 21 years of age.

There is also something called aggravating circumstances in Kentucky, which articulates additional elements that can lead to more significant penalties.  Some of these circumstances include: driving in the wrong direction, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher, driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit, refusing to submit to alcohol tests requested by law enforcement officials, causing an accident that results in serious injury or death, or driving with a passenger who is younger than 12 years of age.  An aggravated DUI is a felony, rather than a misdemeanor, but it can happen on a first offense if these circumstances are present.

Kentucky has an “implied consent law,” which means that a person can have their driver’s license revoked if they refuse to take an alcohol test requested by a law enforcement officer.

All people convicted of a DUI in Kentucky must complete a substance abuse treatment program.  A first-time DUI offender is required to complete at least 90 days of treatment, and a second DUI requires one year of treatment.  All additional offenses require one year or more of inpatient or residential alcohol treatment.

People with multiple DUI offenses can face felony charges with severe penalties. Other DUI offenders can also face felony charges if they kill someone while drunk driving or if they carry passengers who are children when driving drunk.

Contact a Misdemeanor DUI Lawyer Today

Being arrested for a misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky can be scary and cause you great worry.  You likely have a lot of questions like, “What is a misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky?” and “What are the penalties?”  While a DUI charge is a serious criminal offense, it doesn’t mean that you have ruined your future.  A skilled and experienced misdemeanor DUI lawyer like Dan Carman can help.  Dan has decades of experience defending people just like you, and he can build a defense that provides you with the best possible outcome.  He will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and scour case law to create a powerful defense on your behalf.  For a free initial consultation, contact us at 859-685-1055.  You are not alone.  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 ]