Facing DUI Charges in Lexington, Kentucky?

Though it’s not unusual for drinking and driving to occur, that doesn’t mean an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) should be taken lightly.

It’s not uncommon for a driver to be intoxicated. When this happens, the driver risks getting into an accident and/or being pulled over by law enforcement. A driver is legally presumed to be impaired if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, though there are exceptions. Those driving commercial vehicles can be charged if their BAC is 0.04% or higher; and if a driver under the legal drinking of age of 21 has a BAC limit of 0.02% or higher, he or she can be charged with DUI. If you live in Fayette County, Kentucky, or the surrounding area and are facing DUI charges, we may be able to help.

Kentucky’s DUI law covers more than alcohol. If a driver operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance or combination of substances which impairs one’s driving ability, he or she faces criminal charges. That substance can be an over-the-counter, prescription or illegal drug. Unlike alcohol, there is no equivalent to a BAC when it comes to impairment due to drugs, so an arrest based on impairment due to drugs is in the discretion of the officer.

If a police officer believes you are driving while impaired and pulls you over, you may be asked to take sobriety, Breathalyzer, blood or urine tests. Under the law, since you are driving on a public road you are deemed to have given your permission to be subjected to these tests. Failure to do so will result in a revoked license; that failure can be used as evidence at trial and if convicted you could be subject to double the mandatory jail sentence on a 2nd or greater offense, and wouldn’t be eligible for a hardship license (Though these are uncommon in many counties anyway).

If you are convicted of DUI, the legal penalties can be steep, though this is just the start of how a DUI conviction will impact your life.
  • First offense – A fine of $200 to $500 or imprisonment for 48 hours to 30 days, or both; you could ask the judge to enter a community labor program for at least 48 hours but not more than thirty 30 days in lieu of fine or imprisonment, or both; and a license suspension of 30 to 120 days through an administrative law process.
  • Second offense (within ten years) – A fine of $350 to $500; imprisonment in the county jail for seven days to six months, if an aggravating circumstance is present, the mandatory minimum term for imprisonment would be 14 days; a possible sentence to community labor for ten days to six months; license suspended for 12 to 18 months.
  • Third offense (within five years) – A fine of $500 to $1,000; imprisonment in the county jail for 30 days to 12 months; possible sentence to community labor for 10 days to 12 months; if an aggravating circumstance is present, the mandatory minimum term for imprisonment would be 60 days, which can’t be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged or subject to early release; license suspension for 24 to 36 months.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense (within five years) Class D felony – If any aggravating circumstance is present, the mandatory minimum imprisonment would be 240 days and this term can’t be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to a form of early release. Your driver’s license could be suspended for 60 months.

These are some of the things considered to be aggravating circumstances:  

  • A BAC of .15 or above on any admissible breath (i.e. Intoxilyzer) or blood test
  • Driving more than 30 miles per hour above the speed limit
  • Driving the wrong way on a limited access highway
  • Causing an accident resulting in a death or serious physical injury
  • Refusing to submit to any test or tests requested by an officer
  • Having a passenger under the age of 12 years old in the vehicle.

A DUI conviction can impact you in many ways, long after your sentence has been served:

  • Because of a revoked or suspended license, you may be unable to get to work and earn an income.
  • After a DUI conviction, a commercial driver’s license can be suspended, putting a stop to your employment.
  • A job application may ask if you’ve been convicted of a crime. If you don’t tell the truth and the potential employer does a background check, you may not get hired.
  • Colleges perform background checks and may bar you from admission.
  • It may prevent you from enlisting in the military. If you are currently in the military, you may be subject to administrative or punitive actions.
  • You may be dropped by your auto insurance carrier or face much higher premiums.
  • If you’re involved in a child custody dispute, a DUI conviction may be held against you.

There are many factual and legal issues in a DUI case. Just because you’ve been arrested doesn’t mean you will be convicted. The prosecution has the burden of proof. The issue is whether the prosecution can prove you drove under the influence.

If you’ve been charged with DUI, contact our office as soon as possible so we can talk about the situation, your rights and the best ways to protect those rights, your liberty and your ability to support your family. If you live in Fayette County, Kentucky, or the surrounding area, call Carman & Fullerton at 859-971-0060 or fill out this contact form. Your future and the future of your family is at stake, so contact us today.