Why a DUI is Worth Fighting

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a person who habitually drives under the influence will be arrested on average by the 80th incident — but don’t be misled by this.

This is more an indictment of how prevalent driving under the influence is than it is to say you have carte blanche to drive under the influence 79 other times and sober up after that. It’s simply a nationwide statistic and reminder that the law will eventually catch up with you. 

If officers have reason to suspect you of driving impaired, they have every right to pull you over and administer a breathalyzer test, even if it’s the first time you’ve consumed too much before going behind the wheel.

In 2020, Kentucky changed the suspended license penalties for DUI violations to make them mandatory and lengthier, with the installation of an ignition interlock device the only avenue to reducing the suspension.

A DUI conviction can result in several unfavorable consequences, including jail time, license suspension, alcohol abuse training, and auto insurance rates that suddenly skyrocket. Don’t just resign yourself to accepting whatever the system dishes out. Let experienced and knowledgeable legal representation work to lessen the consequences.

If you’re facing a DUI charge in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, or nearby in Louisville, Elizabethville, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, or Radcliff, contact us at the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates. We will work with you to exercise your full rights under the law and fight vigorously for the most favorable outcome in your case.

DUI Laws in Kentucky

If you’re driving erratically, pulled over, and given a breathalyzer test showing your blood alcohol content to be 0.08% or higher, this is considered a per se DUI violation. Even if your BAC is lower or you’re impaired by other drugs — even legal prescriptions — the police can still take you in for a DUI based on their observations of your driving and your behavior, such as slurred speech, wobbly movements, and red eyes.

Another salient fact to consider is that a DUI stays on your record for 10 years. If you’re arrested again for a DUI during those 10 years, you will face increasingly harsher penalties. If you stay clean for a decade, the count will start over — but why tempt fate?

DUI Penalties Under Kentucky Law

Penalties for DUI convictions were revised and the revisions took effect on July 1, 2020, primarily concerning the license suspension period for first and subsequent DUI convictions. Previously, judges had discretion in determining suspension times, but now they are mandatory.

Here are the possible penalties for each DUI offense from the first to the fourth and subsequent, with license suspensions being mandatory:

First Offense

  • A $200 to $500 fine, plus a mandatory $375 service fee
  • 48 hours to 30 days in jail
  • 90 days of an alcohol or substance abuse program
  • Six-month license suspension (up from 30 to 120 days), reduced to 4 months with the installation and use of an IID

Second Offense

  • $350 to $500 fine, plus a mandatory $375 service fee
  • Seven days to six months in county jail
  • One year of an alcohol or substance abuse program
  • 18-month license suspension, reduced to 12 months with IID compliance

Third Offense

  • $500 to $1,000 fine, plus a mandatory $375 service fee
  • One year of an alcohol or substance abuse program
  • 30 days to 12 months in county jail
  • 36-month license suspension, reduced to 18 months with IID compliance

Fourth & Subsequent Offenses

  • Fine to be determined by the court, coupled with a mandatory $375 service fee
  • One year of an alcohol or substance abuse program
  • 120 days minimum imprisonment, ranging up to four years in prison
  • 60-month license suspension, reduced to 30 months with IID compliance

Under the new law, courts must impose the mandatory suspension times, and monitor the IID-reduced suspension period to make sure no violations occur. 

Note also that, while the first three offenses are only misdemeanors, the fourth is a felony. All will go on your driving record and will result in your insurance company either dramatically raising your premiums or canceling your policy altogether. On average, if you’re not outright canceled, your insurance will rise by $1,000 or more for a first-time DUI offense.

Since these are misdemeanors or felonies, they will also appear on your criminal record, jeopardizing job possibilities, professional licensing, and even eligibility for public assistance.

Possible Defenses for a DUI Charge

In order to be admissible as proof of a per se DUI, the police must administer a blood or alcohol test within two hours of pulling you over. In addition, they must have a valid reason — known as probable cause — to stop you for suspicion of driving under the influence in the first place. They also cannot detain you for longer than 15 minutes before taking you in or administering a test on-site, or they could be in violation of Supreme Court standards for police stops, according to the high court’s decision in Rodriguez v. United States.

If the police administer a breathalyzer test, they must follow certain procedures and protocols, which they sometimes violate. The device itself must also be calibrated recently and accurately. If you take a blood test, we can potentially argue that the sample was contaminated through mishandling. You also have the right to order an independent blood test to challenge theirs.

In other words, you don’t have to assume that the case is stacked against you and that you should just accept your fate and move on with your life. Remember, there is no moving on with your life exactly as it was before a DUI conviction. Things change dramatically.

With a DUI, you now have a criminal record, and for a certain period of time, you won’t even be able to drive by yourself to shop, visit friends, or go to a restaurant. Even with a lowered suspension time frame with the installation of an IID, you will be monitored constantly to make sure you’re not cheating. You could spend the next 10 years of your life looking over your shoulder.

Let Our Experienced Team Help

A DUI conviction has a far-reaching impact on your daily life long into the future, to say nothing of what it does to your driving privileges and insurance premiums. You may think there’s nothing you can do but accept your fate — after all, you were drinking or enjoying another substance — but the police and prosecutors must follow strict standards and provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you’re facing a DUI in or around Shepherdsville or Louisville, Kentucky, rely on our DUI defense team at the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates. We will fight aggressively to help you protect your rights with the goal of obtaining the most favorable outcome.


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