Driving after consuming alcohol is illegal in Kentucky. All drivers should be aware of this already, but it is sometimes tempting to think that you aren't impaired enough for it to impact your ability to drive. What you might not think about is that being caught driving drunk can lead to some very serious legal penalties, even if you think you are able to drive safely.
There are different rules for drivers who can legally drink and those who can't. For example, the legal limit is .08 percent for those who are 21 or older, but it is only .02 percent for underage drivers. The penalties are also different.
A first offense of a driver who can legally drink can lead to a jail sentence of 48 hours to 30 days and fine of $200 to $500. For an underage person, the penalty is a license suspension of 30 days to six months and a fine of $100 to $500.
When an underage driver has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, they will have the same penalties as a person who can legally drink alcohol. This includes having enhanced penalties if the circumstances qualify as an aggravated DUI. These include:
- Having a passenger under 12 years old
- Refusing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test
- Driving in the wrong direction
- Driving 30 miles per hour or more over the speed limit
- Causing an accident that involves a serious injury or fatality
- Having a BAC of .15 percent or more
These conditions add considerable penalties to the base DUI penalties. For example, there is a mandatory four-day minimum jail sentence if any of these are present for a first offense case. With these serious penalties in mind, it is easy to see why defendants must review their options quickly.