Should There Be Tougher DUI Laws in Kentucky? | The Schafer Law Office

Should There Be Tougher DUI Laws in Kentucky?

Scale Kentucky Representative, Dennis Keene, filed a legislation to make Kentucky’s DUI laws tougher than they have ever been before. House Bill 286 will require people convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock system in their vehicles. Before the engine starts, the device tests the driver’s breath to make sure they do not have alcohol in their system.

Related: Kentucky Passes Ignition Interlock Bill

Tougher DUI law is tough to pass
This was the fourth consecutive year Keene fought for this legislation to be enacted. It was passed by the Kentucky House each year, but then it gets denied in the state Senate. However, Keene thinks this year, 2013, will be different. He is almost positive he will be able to get it passed because of a new federal law that took place on October 1, 2012. This federal law requires states to mandate the ignition interlock system or risk losing federal highway funds. It also established a grant program that allows the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide additional money to states that implement the law. The cost of an alcohol interlock system is $3 – $4 a day. However, taxpayers would not have to worry about paying this. It would be paid by the convicted offender.


  • One person is killed every half hour due to drunk driving.
  • Each year approximately 16,000 are killed in alcohol-related crashes.
  • Alcohol is a factor in almost half of all traffic fatalities.
  • Every other minute a person is seriously injured in an alcohol-related crash.
  • About 1/3 of DUI offenders are repeated.

Related: California Vs. Kentucky: Are Kentucky DUI Laws More Effective?

Current DUI laws
Kentucky prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by a driver who has a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or above. The .08 percentage limit is the standard measurement for states across the country. Kentucky has harsher laws for a DUI with aggravated circumstances. The first time you receive a drunk driving conviction in Kentucky, you will have to pay a fine from $200 – $500. You will also spend a minimum of two – 30 days in jail or receive from two – 30 days of community service. Your driver’s license will be suspended from 30 – 120 days. If you are charged with an aggravated DUI, you will spend four days in jail.

What is an aggravated DUI?
An aggravated DUI means you commit one of the following acts while you are driving drunk:

  • Speeding 30 MPH over the limit
  • Driving the wrong direction
  • Being involved in an accident
  • Driving with a child under the age of 12-years-old
  • Driving with a BAC of .08 or above
  •  Refusing to submit to a chemical test.

What happens if you commit a second offense?
The penalties increase for each offense. For a 2nd DUI, there is a minimum of seven days in jail, a fine from $350 – $500 and a 12 – 18 month license suspension. If you are convicted for a 3rd DUI in Kentucky, you will be fined from $500 – $1,000. You will also be ordered to one year of alcohol or substance abuse treatment. You will spend anywhere from 30 days – 12 months in jail and from 10 days – six months of community service. Your driver’s license will be suspended from 24 – 36 months.

The fourth time you are convicted of drunk driving in Kentucky, you will be charged with a Class “D” Felony. You will be ordered to a one year alcohol or substance abuse treatment program and spend a minimum of 120 days in jail without probation. You may also be sentenced to 10 days – one year of community service. Your driver’s license will be suspended from 24 months – 36 months. You will also spend 60 days in jail if aggravated circumstances were involved.

Related: Drunk Driving In Kentucky Takes Lives

However, all this can be prevented. Please do not drink and drive. If you’re going out with friends, make sure to have a designated driver.  You could also call your family or someone you know to pick you up. That way everyone will make it home safely.