Prosecutors in Kentucky have the upper hand in proving a DUI charge thanks to the addition of an illegal per se clause in the state’s drunk driving laws. If a motorist is stopped by police and charged with driving while intoxicated, evidence that the driver’s blood alcohol content level was 0.08 percent or higher is sufficient for prosecutors to obtain a conviction without any additional proof that the individual’s driving abilities were affected.
As long as police administer a blood or breath test within two hours of a driver being observed operating a motor vehicle, the results can be used in court as proof of the commission of a DUI. The illegal per se BAC levels are lower for young drivers and drivers with a commercial license. The per se level for drivers under 21 years of age is 0.02 percent, and the level for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent.
Although prosecutors may establish that an individual was operating under the influence through other evidence, such as the observations made by the police officer of the motorist and the manner in which he or she was driving, a driver’s BAC level is an important piece of evidence. It is so important, that state law requires that anyone operating a motor vehicle in Bowling Green or elsewhere in Kentucky is considered to have consented to taking a blood or breath test when asked to do so by a police officer in order to measure the individual’s blood alcohol concentration.
As we wrote about in an earlier posting concerning the consequences of refusing to take a breath test, the state has the power to take away a person’s driving privileges, regardless of what happens with the DUI charge, just for a breath test refusal. If you are facing a DUI involving a blood or breath test, or if you refused to take a test when asked to do so by a police officer, you should seek the advice of a criminal law attorney with knowledge of the state’s drunk driving laws.