January 10, 2024 | DUI
DUI charges in Louisville, Kentucky, are serious offenses; having a clear understanding of the difference between felony and misdemeanor DUI charges is crucial. Consequences can substantially vary based on certain factors such as your past record, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and whether children were in the vehicle during your arrest, for example.
Understanding what penalties you’re facing and when a DUI is a misdemeanor or a felony is essential for preparing a legal defense and protecting your future.
Misdemeanor DUI in Louisville, KY
Most DUIs in Kentucky are classified as misdemeanor DUIs. Though they carry lesser penalties than felonies, the consequences are still significant and increase progressively with each successive offense within 10 years:
First DUI (Within 10 years)
Your first DUI is charged as a Class B misdemeanor. You face a license suspension for 30 to 120 days, a fine of between $200 and $500, and incarceration for at least 48 hours and up to 30 days.
Second DUI (Within 10 years)
Your second DUI is also charged as a Class B misdemeanor, but as a defendant, you face more substantial penalties. These include a 12 to 18 months license suspension, a fine of between $350 and $500, and jail time between 7 days and 6 months.
Third DUI (Within 10 years)
A third DUI is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a 24 to 36 months license suspension, a fine of between $500 and $1,000, and jail time for at least 30 days and up to one year.
Felony DUI in Louisville, KY
In Louisville, Kentucky, the law is strict against repeat violators of DUI statutes. If there are three previous convictions for DUI within a ten-year period on your record, any subsequent violation will amount to felony charges, no matter what the circumstances are.
For the state to successfully convict you of this crime, they must provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt for each element of the crime:
- You, the accused;
- Were in physical control of or operated a motor vehicle;
- Your BAC was above .08, OR you had a controlled substance present in your blood, OR you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and it impaired your ability to drive; AND
- You have 3 prior convictions in the last 10 years.
Once every element is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, you can be convicted of a felony DUI.
Felony DUI Penalties
Fourth and subsequent DUI offenses in Louisville are charged as a Class D Felony. Potential penalties include the following:
- At least 120 days in jail, and potentially significantly longer
- Between $1,000 and $10,000 in fines
- A mandatory alcohol or drug treatment program for at least one year
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 5 years
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
The default penalties are the same no matter how many subsequent DUIs you face from there. However, in practice, the penalties could increase with each violation.
What Exactly Does Being Under The Influence Mean?
As stated above, being “under the influence” extends beyond having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08. It refers to any condition where alcohol or drugs impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Law enforcement officials may rely on observational evidence to establish your impairment due to alcohol or drugs without specific lab confirmation. This method leans heavily on police testimony, including assessment of your demeanor (such as slurred speech, smell of alcohol, and being unsteady on your feet) and performance during field sobriety tests.
When certain aggravating factors are present during a DUI, the penalties increase substantially for both felonies and misdemeanors. For example, if you were driving more than 30 mph over the speed limit, were driving the wrong way, or had a child in the car under the age of 12, your incarceration time will be doubled.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer for Help
If you have been charged with a DUI – regardless of whether it’s your first offense or it’s being charged as a felony – it’s crucial to contact competent legal representation immediately. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with one of our DUI defense lawyers.
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Louisville
214 Clay Street, Suite A
Louisville, KY 40202