DWI/DUI is an abbreviation of driving while under the influence of intoxicants (alcohol) or of any substance or substances which impair driving ability. Other substances can include illegal drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants such as glue, gasoline, spray paint etc., and/or over the counter medications. Kentucky’s DUI law has an “Illegal Per Se” provision. “Illegal Per Se” (On the face of or by itself) means it is illegal to drive with a blood or breath alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.

Prosecutors no longer have to prove defendants were impaired if they are being tried for the per se clause of K.R.S. 189A.010. Requires that test be given within 2 hours of operation of motor vehicle for results to be admitted into evidence in per se DUI prosecutions.

*Operators can be convicted at levels lower than .08 based on other evidence which indicates impairment.

*Drivers under the age of 21 are deemed to be under the influence at .02 breath or blood alcohol level.

*Commercial vehicle drivers operating commercial vehicles are deemed to be under the influence at a breath or blood alcohol level of .04. Commercial vehicle operators may also be placed out of service for 24 hours for any detectable amount of alcohol or controlled substance in their system. KRS 281A.210

The changes in the new DUI law (Effective 10/01/00) establishes minimum jail times (which cannot be probated, suspended, conditionally discharged or otherwise subject to early release) if convicted of DUI and aggravating circumstance(s) exist:

Aggravated DUI
Aggravating Circumstances (KRS 189A.010 [11]) Result in higher minimum jail time:

  1. Over 30 mph over speed limit
  2. Wrong way on limited access highway
  3. Causes accident resulting in death or serious physical injury
  4. Alcohol level of .18 or more within 2 hours after operating
  5. Refusal to submit to testing
  6. Transporting passengers under 12 years of age

DUI Penalties

First Offense Within a Five Year Period

  • $200 – 500 Fine
  • 2 to 30 Days in Jail
  • 90 Day Alcohol or Substance Abuse Program
  • 30 to 120 Day License Suspension
  • Possible 48 Hours – 30 Days Community Labor

*If aggravating circumstances present-4 days imprisonment

Second Offense Within a Five Year Period

  • $350-500 Fine
  • 10 Days-6 Months Community Labor
  • 7 Days – 6 Months in Jail
  • 1 Yr Alcohol or Substance Abuse Treatment
  • 12 to 18 Month License Suspension

*If aggravating circumstances present-14 days imprisonment

Third Offense Within a Five Year Period

  • $500 – 1,000 Fine/30 Days-12 Months Jail
  • 10 Day-12 Months Community Labor
  • 1 Year of Alcohol or Substance Abuse Treatment
  • 24 to 36 Month License Suspension

*If aggravating circumstances present-60 days imprisonment

Fourth Offense Within a Five Year Period
Class D Felony

  • Minimum Term 120 Days Imprisonment Without Probation
  • 60 Month License Suspension
  • 1 Year Alcohol or Substance Abuse Treatment

*If aggravating circumstances present-240 days imprisonment