Kentucky lawmakers are serious about deterring individuals from drinking and driving. The penalties for a DUI conviction are severe. You could face prison time, high fines, loss of your driving privileges, and be required to install an ignition interlock system.

In addition to the above penalties, every person guilty of DUI in Kentucky must attend an alcohol or substance abuse education or treatment program.

What Are the Rules for Kentucky’s DUI Classes?

According to KRS §189A.040, treatment programs must provide an assessment of the person’s alcohol or substance abuse problems. The assessment is performed at the beginning of the program. The education and treatment plan must be for a minimum of 90 days.

The individual may be released from the program before the end of the 90 days. The administrator must submit a written report that the person completed the program.

Individuals are responsible for paying the cost of the education and treatment program up to their ability to pay. Failing to complete the program or pay the fee assigned by the court is considered contempt of court. The court will reinstate all DUI penalties and issue other penalties for contempt.

If the person is convicted of a second DUI, the period for the program increases to one year. For a third offense and subsequent DUI offense, the period of the treatment program is also one year. However, the program may be a residential-type program or inpatient program.

Individuals must choose a facility that provides treatment services that are approved and certified by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Also, the treatment programs must be taken in person. Online courses are not approved and will not satisfy the requirement unless the court has given permission for an online program.

A person’s driving privileges cannot be reinstated until the person successfully completes the alcohol treatment and education program.

What Happens When You Enroll in an Alcohol Treatment Program?

The first step is to perform an assessment that lasts about one hour. Based on the assessment, the facility determines how long you should be in treatment. In many cases, facilities recommend a minimum of 20 hours for alcohol substance abuse and treatment. 

You will attend weekly meetings that may last about three hours. If you attend all weekly meetings, it should take at least seven weeks to complete your 20 hours of alcohol education and treatment. Most facilities only permit individuals to take one class per week unless the court has ordered an accelerated program. 

What Should You Do if You Are Arrested for DUI in Kentucky?

Generally, it’s in your best interest to contact a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can assess your case to determine the best defense strategies.

In some situations, it may be best to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. A plea deal may allow you to receive a reduced sentence or plead guilty to a lesser charge. 

However, you want to allow a criminal defense lawyer to handle the negotiations. A prosecutor is more likely to offer a better deal if you have an attorney. In some cases, your attorney might advise that you should proceed to trial because you have a valid defense to the DUI charges

DUI defenses include, but are not limited to:

  • The police officers lacked probable cause to make the traffic stop
  • The chain of custody was broken for the samples used to test your BAC
  • The field sobriety tests were conducted incorrectly
  • Officers failed to perform the chemical tests for BAC within the required time frame after arrest
  • The breathalyzer machine malfunctioned or was not calibrated correctly
  • You were forced or coerced into making statements or taking a chemical test
  • The samples taken to conduct a BAC test were contaminated
  • You have a health condition that caused your BAC test to appear higher than the actual BAC level

In some cases, the state may not have enough evidence to prove a DUI conviction. A DUI defense lawyer will hold their feet to the fire. Make sure that you understand your legal options before you decide to accept a plea deal or go to trial.