First Time DUI Defense

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers has a long and successful history of dealing with DUI charges in Kentucky. Their DUI attorneys can help protect you on your first time DUI charge

No matter what most people say, a DUI is serious. It can affect every aspect of your life; the potential criminal penalties alone are significant. Here are the basics of Kentucky law for a first time DUI in Kentucky.

Kentucky DUI law

For DUI, you must be operating or be in physical control of a vehicle. Also, you must either:

  • Have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 as measured by blood or breath test;
  • Be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol (typically shown through officer testimony).
  • Presence of a controlled substance as detected by a blood test.
  • Have a blood alcohol concentration of .02 if under 21 years of age.

Courts have a variety of punishments at their disposal for a first time DUI if you are convicted. The possible penalties can include:

Possible Kentucky first time DUI penalties

  • Imprisonment of 48 hours to 30 days
  • Fine of $250.00 to $500.00
  • 30 to 120 day license suspension
  • 90 Days of Alcohol or Substance Abuse Program

The punishments a court will impose vary based on the facts of each individual case. In some circumstances, the potential penalties increase because your DUI charge is called an aggravated DUI or has an aggravator.

A DUI charge has this aggravator added when one of the following circumstances occur:

  1. Operating a motor vehicle in excess of 30 miles per hour above the speed limit;
  2. Operating a motor vehicle in the wrong direction on a limited access road;
  3. Operating a motor vehicle that causes an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury;
  4. Operating a motor vehicle with the alcohol concentration in the operator’s breath or blood is .15 or more as measured by a test or sample of the operator’s blood;
  5. Refusing to submit to any tests of the operator’s breath or blood; or
  6. Transporting passengers under 12 years of age.

With an aggravator, the minimum periods of incarceration for a first time offense are doubled to a minimum of 4 days jail.

Our DUI attorneys are here for you. They will fight the charges or can arrange a plea agreement that is in your best interest. Some options that our attorneys can acquire for you if jail time is unavoidable include home incarceration or work release from jail.

The judicial process for a DUI

A DUI charge can take several months to resolve and could include several court appearances. The following paragraphs outline the steps in the judicial process for a DUI charge.

Arraignment and bond

Your first appearance is called an Arraignment. If you are still in jail, this is done by video conference from the jail. At the same time, if you pled not guilty, the Judge will also address bond. Bond is determined based on the severity of the crime and past criminal conduct among other factors. If you have already been released, you will appear in the courtroom once your name is called.

At this hearing, the court will also schedule your next hearing should you plead not guilty. In the event that you do plead guilty, the judge will also sentence you at the same time.

Pretrial conference

Before a bench or jury trial is conducted to determine your innocence, there may be one or more pretrial hearings or conferences. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to use these conferences to your advantage and eventual resolution of your case. There are several benefits to these court dates.

First, these conferences are a great opportunity to pursue and work on negotiating a plea agreement. This plea agreement could include an unlimited variety of options including:

  • Fines
  • Court Costs
  • Random Drug Testing
  • Probated Jail Time
  • Drug & Alcohol Evaluation/Treatment
  • Active Jail Time
  • No Contact with person or premises
  • 3rd Party Mediation
  • Classes
  • License Suspension

These types of sentences could either be part of a plea or part of a diverted case where upon showing proof of completion, the charge is dismissed.

Pre-trial Conferences are also the time when your attorney can discuss the evidence that he has or will receive from the prosecutor and coordinate the discovery of additional evidence. Through discussions with the prosecutor, the attorney can determine what evidence that the prosecution intends to use against you and the prosecutions trial strategy for presenting the evidence to a judge or jury.

Lastly, Pre-trial Conferences are also a time when the Court can hear motions from either side on a variety of topics including the inclusion or exclusion of certain evidence, requests for the type of trial to be had, or changes in restrictions placed by the court on the Defendant.

These hearings can sometimes be very quick and administrative, where other times they are very long and intricate, and involve testimony and the introduction of evidence to support each side’s argument.


For a DUI charge, you are allowed to choose between a bench or jury trial. Once the trial has begun, the decision between the two is final. A jury trial is by your peers, similar to the trials you see on TV. A bench trial is when the trial is in front of a judge alone who decides not only the legal issues but the factual issues and determines whether you are innocent or guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are benefits and costs to each type of trial and our attorneys will examine both options based on the facts of your case and recommend type of trial to achieve your goals with our representation.


Even after a trial is completed and the verdict rendered, there are still several issues that may arise. The first is that several motions may need to be filed if you are found guilty and sentenced. Some are to alleviate the burdens of the sentence and other motions if you wish to challenge the decision. The process of challenging the decision is called an appeal and it can be filed by either side.

For DUI convictions, an appeal is done in the Circuit Court of the same county. Our attorneys can assist you should you choose to appeal a decision, advise you on the likelihood of success, and develop legal arguments to bring to the appellate court.

Call Our Experienced Northern Kentucky DUI Lawyers Today

If you are found not-guilty, there are still issues we can assist you with. From re-obtaining your license to the expungement of a criminal charge and related documents, we can assist you in cleaning up the mess left by the wrongful charge. Call our Northern Kentucky DUI lawyers today to discuss your case.