What are the penalties for a first offense DUI in Kentucky?
The United States has worked to implement standardized laws governing driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs across the country, and has to some extent succeeded. While states still control DUI laws, every state in the country now recognizes .08 as the legal blood alcohol content limit to operate a motor vehicle for most motorists (commercial drivers have a lower BAC level), and "per se" laws control punishments in the case of chemical test refusals. In Kentucky, penalties for a first offense DUI are much like they are in many states, involving fines, license restrictions and possible, but restricted jail time.
For motorists over the age of 21, a BAC level of .08 is grounds for an automatic DUI arrest. However, if your BAC is under .08 but you exhibit symptoms of intoxication, officers can still arrest you. Under the per se law, if you refuse a breath test, you will automatically face more severe penalties, and it may be harder to defend your innocence if your arrest is deemed proper and valid.
If arrested for a DUI in Kentucky, you will face anywhere from $100 to $500 in fines, plus a $375 service fee and any associated court costs. DUI charges are always expensive, and it may be a good idea to consult a DUI attorney to get a handle on costs. If you're under the age of 21 and are arrested for your first DUI offense, any associated fees ($100-$500) may be waived in favor of community service
Jail and suspensions
A first offense DUI charge in Kentucky carries a mandatory sentence of between 48 hours and 30 days, though your jail sentence may be transferred to probation or community service. You will also be required to complete a state-approved 90 day alcohol and drug treatment program.
A first offense DUI will require the Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend your license for one to four months. To apply for a hardship or work license, you will have to request a hearing with the Kentucky DMV and prove that you have no other form of transportation with which to continue your livelihood. If family members can provide transportation or public transit is an option, your transitional license application may be rejected.
Also keep in mind that refusing a BAC test at the time of your arrest will negate your ability to apply for a hardship license. Consult with a local, experienced DUI attorney in the event you are arrested in Kentucky for a first offense DUI. He or she will be able to help you navigate your charges.