Kentucky DUI Penalties

Kentucky DUI laws and penalties

Each State within the United States is given the authority to write their own laws on Driving Under the Influence, or better known as DUI. Within this article we will explore the different DUI laws for the State of Kentucky, and their penalties. To begin with, there is what is known as a five year "Lookback Period". This means that any prior DUI's you have within that five year period of time is relevant for the sentencing you are now facing for your current DUI. This is also known as a "washout" period.

What constitutes a high BAC for a DUI in Kentucky?

  • Under 21: .02%
  • 21 or Older: .08%
  • Commercial: .04%

There is never an acceptable time to drink and drive as your vision, reasoning, along with your mental capacity to make important decisions and judgments is severely hindered and are not capable of bouncing back to what you were capable to perform without alcohol in your system. Each person is different and their tolerance for alcohol is severely unpredictable, making it impossible to say how many drinks are "normal" or not. This is what requires law enforcement to perform chemical tests on suspecting DUI offenders. If you are pulled over and are requested to take a chemical test to determine your BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content, the State of Kentucky has an implied consent law. This means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. For refusal to take the chemical test, the penalties are as follows:

  • First Offense: Minimum 30 day license suspension. If convicted of a DUI after refusing to take test, jail penalty is doubled.
  • Second Offense: Minimum 1 year license suspension. If convicted of DUI after refusing to take test, jail penalty is doubled. 
  • Third Offense: Minimum 2 years license suspension. If convicted of DUI after refusing to take test, jail penalty is doubled. 

What are the penalties within the Kentucky DUI laws?

There are several penalties within the Kentucky DUI laws, and we will discover them in this section. Should you be pulled over and found guilty of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol within the boarders of the State of Kentucky, the following are the penalties you will be facing:

Penalty of Jail

  • First Offense: None
  • Second Offense: 5 days
  • Third Offense: 60 days

Penalties and Fines

  • First Offense: $600 to $2,100
  • Second Offense: $1,100 to $5,100
  • Third Offense: $2,100 to $10,000

Penalty of License Suspension

  • First Offense: 90 days
  • Second Offense: 1 year
  • Third Offense: 3 years

Aggravated DUI Penalties

  • Speed Limit - driving 30 MPH over the limit
  • Driving the wrong way on limited access highway
  • Causing an accident that results in injury or death
  • Alcohol level is .18% or above
  • DUI test refusal
  • Passengers under the age of 12


It is important to note that laws change, as well as their interpretation and application of them. Due to the fact that there are multiple jurisdictions within a State and each may choose to enforce the laws in different ways, it is important to prepare for the unexpected. For this reason it would be in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced and professional DUI lawyer who is well versed in Kentucky DUI law and is capable of giving you the direciton you need for your specific case, as well as being fully aware of the current laws pertaining to DUI. 

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