Most people in the U.S. feel okay to drive after having just one drink, according to surveys conducted by the American Addiction Centers. Many vacationers and sportsmen believe it is okay to operate boats under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you have been cited for a DUI/OWI in Kentucky, you may be wondering if a DUI is a felony. Under certain circumstances, yes.  

Why Does it Matter if a DUI is a Felony in Kentucky?

Criminal charges are classified as “misdemeanor” or “felony” based on their severity. The punishment for felony charges is more severe than for misdemeanors. 

Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by less than one year in jail.

Penalties for misdemeanor DUI in Kentucky include:

  • Fines from $200 – $1000
  • Community labor from 48 hours to 12 months
  • Jail time from 2 days to 12 months
  • Alcohol or substance abuse treatment from 90 days to one year

Misdemeanor DUIs also carry the risk of driver’s license suspension and mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in your car. 

Felonies, on the other hand, are punishable by more than one year in jail. “More than one year year” in jail can be a very long time or even life. Exactly how long a driver convicted of a felony DUI can be sent to prison depends on the circumstances of their case. 

What Are the Penalties for a Felony DUI Offense in Kentucky?

The penalties for a felony DUI offense in Kentucky depend on a variety of elements, including the driver’s history of DUI offenses and whether certain aggravating factors were present. A knowledgeable Kentucky DUI defense attorney can help you understand the potential penalties in your case. 

What Are Aggravating Circumstances for a DUI in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, all minimum penalty and sentencing guidelines can be increased if certain “aggravating circumstances” were present at the time of the DUI. 

These aggravating circumstances include:

  • Operating a motor vehicle more than thirty (30) miles per hour over 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
  • Operating a motor vehicle when the operator’s blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.15 or more
  • Operating a motor vehicle transporting a passenger under the age of twelve (12)

In addition, refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test can also be an aggravating circumstance.

When is a DUI a Felony in Kentucky?

There are some circumstances under which a DUI will constitute a felony in Kentucky. If you are facing a felony DUI charge, you should engage the assistance of an experienced DUI defense attorney. An attorney may be able to have the results thrown out if the DUI blood tests or DUI breath tests were invalid.  

A fourth offense within a five-year period is a felony DUI in Kentucky. 

For this “Class D” felony, penalties include:

  • Minimum of 120 days imprisonment without probation
  • 60-month license suspension
  • One year alcohol or substance abuse treatment

For many professionals, like doctors, pharmacists, and nurses, there is also the risk of having their professional licenses suspended.

Did You Know? DUI Under 21 in Kentucky

In Kentucky, a driver under the age of 21 can be cited for DUI with a blood alcohol concentration as low as .02. This is because no one under the age of 21 can legally consume alcohol. 

However, cough syrup, mouth wash, and other products legally consumed by drivers under the age of 21 may register on a blood alcohol concentration test. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you if you are under 21 with a DUI charge

Contact the Cincinnati DUI Lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today

For more information, contact the DUI lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (513) 333-0014 or visit us at our Cincinnati Law Office.

Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202
United States