Appealing a DUI Conviction in Kentucky

March 12th, 2024 by Attorney Dan Carman

If you are convicted of a DUI in Kentucky, the consequences can be severe. In addition to suspension of your driver’s license and the cost of fines and increased insurance payments, you may face probation, jail time, the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your vehicle, and mandatory participation in education or treatment programs for substance abuse. Even worse, a conviction means you will have a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life, affecting your prospects for education, job opportunities, government benefits, and social relationships. The situation is even more dire if this is not your first DUI conviction.

Fortunately, you have the right to challenge a conviction through the Kentucky appeals process. If you believe there were legal errors made during your trial, crucial evidence was excluded, or your constitutional rights were violated, you can appeal to a higher court that will review the court record that was made during the trial. The appellate court will then determine whether or not there was sufficient evidence for conviction and whether the trial was conducted properly.

Appealing a DUI conviction is complicated, and with negative effects and consequences so serious, you should not attempt to fight it on your own. An experienced Kentucky DUI defense attorney who is familiar with the appeals process can help you build a strong case necessary for successfully challenging a DUI conviction.

Grounds for Appealing a DUI Conviction in Kentucky

For your appeal to be successful, there must be grounds, or reasons acceptable to the courts, on which to base your appeal. Common grounds for appealing a DUI conviction include:

  1. Legal Errors: If there were errors in the legal proceedings of your case or if the judge made mistakes in interpreting the law, it may provide grounds for an appeal.
  2. Evidence Issues: If crucial evidence was excluded during the trial, if it was mishandled and tainted, or if new evidence has emerged that could impact the case, it may be possible to appeal on these grounds. For example, field sobriety tests may be subjective and may not have been administered properly by the officer, or medical conditions or other factors may have affected your performance and made it seem as if you were impaired. Breathalyzers may have calibration issues or have been administered incorrectly.
  3. Constitutional Violations: If your constitutional rights were violated during the arrest, investigation, or trial, it could be a basis for an appeal. Examples include if law enforcement stopped your vehicle without having reasonable suspicion or lacked probable cause for the arrest, or in situations where there was a failure to read your Miranda rights to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.

How Does Appealing a DUI Conviction Work?

After a DUI conviction, the original circuit trial court will schedule a sentencing hearing. If you wish to appeal, you and your attorney must go through the following process:

  • File a Notice of Appeal with the Office of Criminal Appeals in the Office of the Attorney General within 30 days of sentencing. The Kentucky Court of Appeals (appellate court) is composed of 14 judges, one of whom is elected by the others as the chief judge. A panel of three judges reviews the criminal cases from the circuit courts.
  • Obtain a certified transcript of the original trial proceedings so both attorneys and the appellate court have a record of what transpired during the trial.
  • Prepare a detailed brief presenting a legal argument outlining the grounds for your appeal and why the conviction should be reversed or dismissed. The brief should be supported by relevant case law and statutes and be submitted to the court within 60 days.
  • When the brief is received, the prosecutor has 60 days to respond to defense arguments. Both sides may be granted extensions of time to prepare their briefs.
  • The appellate court reviews these written arguments and may schedule an oral argument as well. Oral arguments are limited to a 15-minute presentation by each party’s attorneys, and no new evidence or testimony may be presented at this hearing.
  • The court issues a decision. If the conviction is upheld you may ask for further review of the case. If the conviction is set aside or reversed, the appellate court may order that a new trial be held, or it may dismiss some or all of the charges and have the sentence modified or reduced.
  • If you lose the appeal, you may ask the court to reconsider its decision or appeal that decision to a higher court. Appeals may be made to the Kentucky Supreme Court or your attorney may pursue federal habeas corpus relief based on any constitutional violations.

Get Help Appealing a Conviction for DUI in Kentucky

Kentucky statute KRS 189A.010 prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or any other substance or combination of substances (DUI) or with a blood alcohol concentration of or above 0.08, or above 0.02 for persons under age 21. To sustain a conviction under KRS 189A.1010, the Commonwealth has the burden of proving that the driver was under the influence of the offending substances.

If the state has failed to do so or has made mistakes in the process, the skilled Lexington DUI defense lawyers at Dan Carman, PLLC are fully prepared to appeal your conviction and fight for your rights and your freedom. We know how to gather and examine evidence such as the police reports, recordings, and testing logs to look for errors. We know your rights and the rules and regulations police officers must follow for a DUI, and how to use mistakes they make to build your case. We look for weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, handle all legal requirements to get you the best deal possible, including having your conviction overturned.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the circumstances of your DUI and determine the best way to handle your appeal, so call Dan Carman today at (859) 685-1055 to get started with your defense.

GET HELP NOW (859) 685-1055

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 ]