Law enforcement authorities in the state of Kentucky take drinking and driving seriously, and state legislators have backed up that approach by instituting significant penalties even for a first conviction of driving under the influence. Furthermore, if you have convictions for this offense in your criminal history, the repercussions you face upon being convicted again may be even more severe. It could potentially rise to the level of prison time commensurate with the commission of a felony.
Fortunately, help is available from a Florence DUI lawyer who knows how to handle cases of this nature based on decades of past experience. By seeking out a qualified criminal defense attorney’s assistance, you could give yourself a much better chance of resolving your case, and mitigating your risk of steep financial and personal consequences from this kind of charge.
Being Pulled Over for a DUI
Police will often test your adherence to Kentucky DUI laws with sobriety testing. Although there are limited exceptions, do not agree to any mental or physical field sobriety testing. In addition, do not agree to any alcohol testing, whether it is breath, blood or urine, without first consulting with a Florence DUI lawyer. Do not talk to the police officer about anything other than your statistical data such as name, age, address, and birth date. Always be polite but do not furnish incriminating information, even if you believe it helps you.
A substantial quantity of information is available in a DUI charge that is frequently helpful to a DUI defense. This includes the officer’s field sobriety test notes, videos from all officers involved, and testing conducted on the Intoxilizer for accuracy. This information can frequently be used in motions filed by lawyers to suppress damaging evidence. This can lead to an amended charge or lesser penalties.
Penalties for First-Time DUI Offenders
Under Kentucky Revised Statutes § 189A.010, it is unlawful for an adult to operate a motor vehicle with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or higher; or while impaired by any alcohol, medication, controlled substance, or combination of substances. Additionally, state DUI laws declare that drivers under 21 are considered under the influence of alcohol if they have a measured BAC equal to or exceeding 0.02 percent.
A first conviction for the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) is punishable by a fine between $200 and $500, between 48 hours and 30 days of jail time, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and 90 days of mandatory participation in an alcohol and/or substance abuse program. Additionally, anyone who commits a DUI under one or more of the following “aggravating circumstances” must serve at least four days in jail:
- Driving in the wrong traffic direction
- Driving with a BAC exceeding 0.15 percent
- Driving 30 miles per hour or more over the limit
- Driving while carrying a passenger under 12 years of age
- Refusing to submit to blood alcohol/sobriety tests as requested by law enforcement
- Causing serious or fatal injury through a traffic accident
A Florence drunk driving attorney could explain these sanctions in more detail and work on a defendant’s behalf to minimize the severity of penalties they may end up facing in their case.
Increased Sanctions for Repeat Convictions
DUI convictions for individuals who have already been convicted of DUI in the past may result in increasingly severe penalties. This includes steeper fines, longer jail sentences, longer mandatory minimum terms for offenses involving aggravating circumstances, and significantly longer license suspensions. In addition, all repeat DUI offenders must complete at least one year of treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, even if they lessen the severity of other penalties by participating voluntarily in the Kentucky Ignition Interlock Program.
If someone is convicted of four such offenses within a continuous 10-year period, that offense and any subsequent DUI charges will be considered class D felonies. This could result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 120 days in prison for aggravated offenses, a maximum five-year prison term, between $1,000 and $10,000 in fines, and a five-year license suspension. In light of this, representation from a skilled lawyer is especially important for anyone in Florence facing a repeat DUI charge.
Seek Representation from a Florence DUI Attorney
Even if you do not have a prior criminal history, a single DUI allegation could throw off all your future plans and lead to life-altering criminal sanctions upon conviction. While it is possible to contest Kentucky DUI law accusations in court, doing so without seasoned legal guidance is unwise.
Working with a Florence DUI lawyer could make a difference in how the case against you ultimately plays out. Call today to schedule a consultation.