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Turpentine and dandelion wine…

It’s no secret that Kentucky is home to all things deliciously intoxicating when it comes to your dark liquors. The distilleries that dot its landscape have produced innumerable favorites that line the shelves of bars across this great nation and which, to put it bluntly, can pretty easily knock you on your ass. You know, every name in good bourbon and rye you can think of off the top of your head: Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace, Bulleit Frontier, Marker’s Mark, Wild Turkey…they’re all Kentucky-bred. And if you yourself are Kentucky-bred, you’re well acquainted with all sorts of fantastic food and drink – plus some killer natural wonders and an even mix of small-town charm and big-city lights – that the Bluegrass State has to offer.

As it turns out, certain aspects of the Kentucky legal system share in that laid-back spirit. If you’ve been busted for drinking and driving, you might not think we’re talking to you – but guess what? We kinda are. This sort of an offense definitely is not an issue to be taken lightly, as it puts your life and those of many others at risk anytime you decide that the place you’re driving is “just around the corner.” However, you’ll find that if you’re stopped in a situation where no one got hurt, Kentucky is not the worst place in the world to turn that twist of fate around. For more details on the subject, read on.

An “enhanceable offense”

As is the case in other states, there is a period of time in Kentucky which must pass before your DUI is considered a first-time offense, even if other such offenses have occurred in the past. Those old charges still remain on your record, but are not racked up along with newer charges to qualify you for harsher punishments. In Kentucky, that time period is only five years. The fact that a DUI is considered an “enhanceable offense” in this state’s legal system simply means that if multiple infractions occur within five years of one another, the penalties associated with each subsequent offense are weighted much more significantly, and can do more long-term damage to both your financial standing and your reputation.

So what is against the law when it comes to drinking and driving here? For all intents and purposes, let’s go ahead and define what makes “one more” turn into “one too many.” In the state of KY, you are breaking the law if:

  • Your BAC is 0.08% or higher and you are 21 years of age or older.
  • Your BAC is 0.02% or higher and you are under the age of 21.
  • Your BAC is 0.04% or higher and you are operating a commercial vehicle.

Although the penalties associated with various degrees of DUI offense aren’t as extreme as those in other parts of the U.S., there are still many moving parts included in a guilty verdict. You’d better believe that going into trial without the help of a lawyer will absolutely result in all sorts of long-lasting shit you never knew you’d have to deal with. Ultimately, it’s up to you. Do what you need to do in order to learn your lesson, because seriously – drinking and driving isn’t cool, no matter how high you think your tolerance is.

What to expect

If you’re going into a situation involving probable guilt regarding a drinking and driving case, or know someone who is, it helps to have a general frame of knowledge about all the possible consequences. Given the fact that pretty much everyone knows you’re not supposed to drink and drive, don’t expect any special treatment if it’s your first time. While reading over the following consequences, it’s important to keep in mind that cases in which the defendant’s BAC is at least twice the legal limit, you’re going to start seeing increased severity in certain areas. We’ll be sure to point these out as we move on.

  • First offense: (misdemeanor)
    • Jail time for at least two days and no more than 30 days. In some cases, it is possible to petition the judge for community service time (to equal the amount of jail time prescribed) in place of said jail time. If your BAC is 0.15% or higher (or if you meet any other “aggravating factors” that we’ll discuss later), jail time is automatically increased to a minimum of four days.
    • A fine ranging between $200 and $500 (not including the statutory service fee, usually set at $325.)
    • License suspension for 30 to 120 days. If the time imposed is more than 30 days, you can apply for a “hardship license” after 30 days, which is subject to a judge’s approval and subsequent provisions. A hardship license is essentially what it sounds like – a limited license that is granted for limited use out of perceived “necessities”, like driving to work, school, or substance abuse treatment.
    • A drug and alcohol assessment and treatment program, which usually lasts about three months.
  • Second offense: (misdemeanor)
    • Jail time for at least one week and no more than six months. Yep, you heard that right. At least 48 hours of that sentence must be served consecutively. Also, jail time is bumped up to 14 days, minimum, if it’s an aggravated DUI.
    • A fine ranging from $350 to $500, plus added costs.
    • Possible (added) community service for up to six months.
    • License suspension for 12 to 18 months. Application for a hardship license is possible after one year of the suspension has been served, but only if you agree to have an IID installed in your vehicle, and if you have been on your utmost best behavior since the arrest.
    • A one-year drug/alcohol assessment and treatment program.
  • Third offense: (misdemeanor)
    • Jail time for at least 30 days and for up to one full year. That minimum requirement is bumped up to 60 days if it’s an aggravated DUI. At least 48 hours of your sentence must be served consecutively.
    • A fine ranging from $500 and $1,000, plus added costs.
    • License suspension for 24 to 36 months. An IID-based hardship license is something you can apply for following one full year of your suspension, if it’s still in effect.
    • Possible community service to last up to 12 months.
    • A one-year drug/alcohol treatment program.
  • Fourth offense: (Class D felony)
    • Jail time for one to five years. At least 240 days must be served if it is an aggravated DUI.
    • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
    • License suspension for 60 months. Again, you can still apply for an IID-based hardship after one year of suspension if you feel you’ve really learned your lesson.
    • A one-year drug/alcohol treatment program.

I’m not aggravated…am I?

If you’ve been busted and you’re not sure that your crime will necessarily qualify as what’s called an aggravated DUI, refer to the following criteria that essentially count as qualifiers. Keep in mind that if you’ve met multiple criteria, the increased penalties for the basic aggravated DUI won’t double or anything like that…you’re just a dirtbag.

  1. You were driving on the wrong side of the road.
  2. You were going at least 30 mph over the speed limit.
  3. Your infraction resulted in someone’s death or serious bodily injury.
  4. There was a child in the car you were driving (that is, someone under the age of 12.)
  5. You refused a roadside chemical test. (Kentucky, like many other states, operates under an “implied consent” statute.)
  6. Your BAC was 0.15% or higher, AKA twice the legal limit.

Unsure of what to do? Try BernieSez today

Upon being charged with a DUI or DWI in the state of Kentucky, you’ll find that your life is about to get a hell of a lot more complicated. There is no rule that says that you should go about it alone; in fact, in this sort of scenario it’s more than recommended that you seek legal assistance or at least a little advice. At BernieSez, you can upload your case for free, where experienced attorneys from all 50 states will have access to it and can offer you their services. Or, if you just have a question, feel free to try out the discussion board – it’s even easier! No matter the severity of your crime or the number of times you’ve gotten busted by law enforcement, know that your right to an attorney exists and you’ll thank yourself later for exercising said right. What are you waiting for? Upload your case, and embark on your path to better justice today.

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