Just in time for the July 4th holiday, it's a good time to review Kentucky's driving under the influence laws so that drivers can be informed.
In this state, one does not have to be drunk to be arrested on DUI charges. The charge applies to intoxication by alcohol or other substances that cause impairment behind the wheel. It doesn't matter if the person is legally prescribed the medication or not; if they are too impaired to drive, they can be arrested.
Of course, that is just one of the points that a criminal defense attorney might address as part of his or her client's defense, i.e., that the driver was not actually impaired at the time of their arrest.
This is an important distinction, because pursuant to K.R.S. 189A.010, the state's "Illegal Per Se" provision, Kentucky prosecutors no longer bear the burden of proving impairment as long as a defendant's breath or blood alcohol level measures at .08 or more within two hours of their being stopped by police.
Should drivers test at lower levels than .08, yet they exhibit other evidence of impairment, they can also face DUI charges. For those 20 years old and younger, the threshold is much lower -- drivers with BACs of .02 or higher can be charged with DUI.
If you have a commercial drivers license and are stopped while driving a commercial vehicle on suspicion of DUI, you are considered under the influence with a BAC of only .04. You also can be taken out of service for 24 hours if any controlled substances or alcohol are detected in your system.
As you can see, a DUI is serious business and should be taken as such by defendants. Be safe and have an arrest-free holiday weekend!
Source: Kentucky Department of Transportation, "DUI Laws in Kentucky," accessed July 01, 2016