In Kentucky, a person is guilty of a DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance or combination of substances which impairs one’s driving ability. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189A.010(1)(c),(d) (West 2009).
- Any person who operates or is in physical control of a motor vehicle or a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle in this Kentucky has given his or her consent to one (1) or more tests of his or her blood, breath, and urine, or combination thereof, for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration or presence of a substance which may impair one’s driving ability, if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that DUI has occurred. Id. §189A.103(1).
- When the preliminary breath test, breath test, or other evidence gives the peace officer reasonable grounds to believe there is impairment by a substance which is not subject to testing by a breath test, then blood or urine tests, or both, may be required in addition to a breath test, or in lieu of a breath test. Id. § 189A.103(5).
- Refusal will result in revocation of driver’s license. Id.
- If the person refuses to submit to the tests and is subsequently convicted of DUI, then offender will be subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence which is twice as long as the mandatory minimum jail sentence imposed if he submits to the tests, and offender will be unable to obtain a hardship license. Id.
- If the person refuses to submit to such tests the fact of this refusal may be used against him in court as evidence of violating DUI statute. Id. § 189A.105(2)(a)(1).
- First offense – fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or be imprisoned for not less than forty-eight (48) hours nor more than thirty (30) days, or both; defendant may apply to the judge for permission to enter a community labor program for not less than forty-eight (48) hours nor more than thirty (30) days in lieu of fine or imprisonment, or both. Id. § 189A.010(5)(a).
- Second offense (w/i 5 years) – fine of not less than three hundred fifty dollars ($350) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500); offender shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than seven (7) days nor more than six (6) months; offender may be sentenced to community labor for not less than ten (10) days nor more than six (6) months. Id. § 189A.010(5)(b).
- Third offense (w/i 5 years) – fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000); imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than twelve (12) months; offender may be sentenced to community labor for not less than ten (10) days nor more than twelve (12) months. Id. § 189A.010(5)(c). If any of the aggravating circumstances are present, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment shall be sixty (60) days, which term shall not be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to any other form of early release. Id.
- Fourth or subsequent offense (w/i 5 years) Class D felony – If any of the aggravating circumstances are present, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment shall be two hundred forty (240) days, which term shall not be suspended, probated, conditionally discharged, or subject to any other form of release. Id. § 189A.010(5)(d).
Other Penalties and Penalty Enhancers
Aggravating circumstances, which can affect sentencing, are;
- Operating a motor vehicle in excess of thirty (30) miles per hour above the speed limit;
- Operating a motor vehicle in the wrong direction on a limited access highway;
- Operating a motor vehicle that causes an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury;
- Refusing to submit to any test or tests of one’s blood, breath, or urine requested by an officer having reasonable grounds to believe the person was operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of subsection (1) of this section; and
- Operating a motor vehicle that is transporting a passenger under the age of twelve (12) years old. Id. § 189A.010(11).
In Kentucky, law enforcement officials are entitled to carry out sobriety checkpoints under the federal constitution.
- Roadblock at which all vehicles are stopped and officers are not given “unconstrained discretion” do not violate the constitutional rights of motorists. Evidence resulting from non-discriminatory search at DUI checkpoint was properly admitted to support convictions. Kinslow v. Commonwealth, 660 S.W.2d. 677 (1984), cert. den. 465 U.W. 1105 (1984).
- Stop of vehicle which turned onto unpaved road prior to arrival at sobriety checkpoint was considered reasonable due to the suspicion that driver might have been engaged in criminal activity. At approximately 3:15 a.m., defendant turned onto a desolate country road. Officer testified that, historically, drivers turning onto the road before checkpoint had been impaired. Steinbeck v. Commonwealth, 862 S.W.2d 912 (1993).
Blades v. Com., 957 S.W.2d 246 (1997) – The burden of proof required to prosecute DUI cases is no higher than standard of proof for other misdemeanor cases. Accordingly, circumstantial evidence and reasonable inferences may support a conviction.