Many car accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers. While people are always warned to not drink and drive and use other options like rideshare services, police are still issuing DUIs (driving under the influence) and DWIs (driving while intoxicated) in Kentucky. The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is .08. If someone is over that threshold, they could be arrested and charged for it.
If you’ve been issued one of these charges, you may be worried about how this will affect you. A skilled Louisville DUI lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you with your case. We understand how these charges can be stressful because you’re wondering about how it will affect your finances and your ability to drive. Fines can be hefty and this charge can mean a license suspension, which could affect how you get to work and your everyday life. But this doesn’t mean that your life is ruined. We will work to reduce the penalties of the charge. You can recover from this and we’re determined to make that happen.
Kentucky DUI Laws
In Kentucky, a DUI or DWI is when a person drives a vehicle while they are under the influence of a substance that impairs their ability to drive safely. The substances can be alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs, and even over the counter medication. They slow down reaction time, make it difficult to make decisions, and impair motor function, making it much more likely to cause a car accident that could result in injury or fatality.
If you get pulled over by a police officer and they suspect that you’re driving while intoxicated, they can test your sobriety. Common testing methods include using a Breathalyzer and field tests like walking in a straight line or simply being able to have a conversation. While you can refuse these tests, that comes with its own set of consequences that could hurt you later.
What Penalties Could You Face for a DWI in Kentucky?
Driving while intoxicated is an offense that has serious consequences. The offenses are for penalties within a ten-year period, meaning that if you have multiple offenses within the same period, your consequences will be more severe.
- First Offense. You could have to pay a fine between $200 and $500 and spend two to 30 days in jail. You may have to complete an alcohol or substance abuse program, face 30 to 120 days of license suspension, and you could have to do community labor from 48 hours to 30 days.
- Second Offense. The fine amount is between $350-$500. Jail time could last from a week to six months. In addition to a year of treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, you could have your license suspended for 12 to 18 months and have to complete between ten days to six months of community labor.
- Third Offense. The fines can reach $500-1,000 and jail time from 30 days to a year. You could lose your license for 24 to 36 months and be required to do ten days to one year of community labor.
- Fourth Offense. This is a Class D Felony, which means there is a minimum amount of 120 days in prison without probation, one year of treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, and a license suspension for 60 months.
Regardless of your offense, you will want a DUI attorney at your side to help you with your case. They may be able to help you have a reduced amount of fines or days without your license.
What Qualities Should Your DUI Lawyer Have?
If you need an attorney, you want to make sure you’ve hired the best option for you. When looking for your lawyer, make sure to find out the following:
- Past References. See if past clients were happy with their case and how the lawyers treated them. Also, check of the lawyer’s past success rates and how long they’ve dealt with DWI cases.
- Experience. Make sure your lawyer specializes in DWI law. They will know how these cases typically go and what they need to do to help you get a reduced sentence or even drop the charges.
- Fees. Ask questions about payment so you know what will be expected of you financially. An honorable lawyer will be honest and upfront about their fees.
- Demeanor. When speaking with your possible lawyer, look for signs that they’re giving you their full attention. Any lawyer who seems distracted, rude, or doesn’t answer your questions will not represent you as well as a lawyer who is attentive, polite, and knowledgeable.
- Communication. You should be able to get in touch with your lawyer to talk about your case. If they seem to be avoiding you or are difficult to reach from the start, they may not be the best choice. You don’t want to feel like you’re unaware about your case.
- Organization. An organized lawyer will keep important documents sorted and won’t miss critical dates. If you see a complete lack of organization, they probably will take the same approach to your case. You won’t be able to depend on them to make court appearances or get documents in order that would have otherwise helped your case.
If all else fails, go with your gut. Anything that seems off-putting when you speak with a potential lawyer probably means they won’t work their hardest for you. You should feel like you’re able to communicate easily with your lawyer and that they’re going to give your case the attention it deserves.
What Points Do the Prosecution Need to Prove?
In Kentucky, the law states that a person cannot operate a motor vehicle, nor can they be in physical control of it when they’re under the influence of alcohol or substances. The specificity of this law is what makes the details of your case so important.
Your lawyer will ask you about what you were doing and how you were arrested. You may have been in the car, but the keys may have not been in the ignition. There’s also a possibility of you sleeping in a parked car. Your attorney could use these details to show that you may have not been violating the law and the charges could be dropped or the consequences could be reduced.
But you may be wondering what the prosecution will need to prove in order to convict you of a charge. Remember, the burden of proof is on them.
If the Driver Was Awake. They will have to prove if the person in the vehicle was conscious. While this will probably be determined with the officer who found you, they still need to be able to show that the other points happened.
If the Vehicle’s Motor Was Running. The prosecution will also have to prove if the vehicle was on. Remember, the law states that you can’t operate a motor vehicle. If the vehicle was off, you weren’t operating a motor vehicle. This could potentially be a vital point in your case.
What Were the Driver’s Intentions? What the person was intending to do once they were behind the wheel. For instance, if you left a bar, got behind the wheel while under the influence, and intended to drive home, it means you disobeyed the law. You willingly meant to operate a motor vehicle even though you weren’t in a safe condition to do so. However, if you were just sitting in the car, this could be a different story.
Where the Vehicle Was Discovered. Where the vehicle was found and how it arrived at the location is another important point. The person may have driven to the location, turned off the car, and then started drinking. However, the situation is completely different if they were already intoxicated before getting the car to the location.
You Need a Skilled Lawyer at Your Side
When the charges against you are serious, it can be overwhelming and scary. You may be facing fines that will be difficult to afford or losing your license will mean you no longer have your main way of transportation to get to work. You need an experienced attorney to help you because they know what to look for in these cases and will stand up for you if something was done illegally.
- Prescriptions. You may have gotten charged because you had a certain kind of drug in your car; however, it’s entirely possible for you to have those drugs legally—with a doctor’s prescription.
- Search and Seizure. The authorities have to obey the law, too. If they didn’t follow it and subjected you to an illegal search and seizure, this could dismiss the charges.
- Evidence. Like in the section above, the prosecution needs to prove a few things happened to get a conviction. If there is insufficient evidence, your lawyer will do everything to show that and possibly get the charges dropped altogether.
When your attorney fights for you, you know that they’re going to find if there was something wrong with the charging process or if there are ways to reduce what you were charged with. These charges can be extremely stressful but knowing that you have a legal professional at your side may provide some comfort and make you feel like you have some control of the situation.
Get Help from Thomas Law Offices
Thomas Law Offices understands that people can make mistakes. These charges do not mean your life is over—we’re here to help you get through this difficult time and decide how to move forward. We always keep an open line of communication so you’re always aware of updates about your case. Your questions and concerns will be addressed so you’re always on the same page as your lawyer.
Those facing DWI charges who need a reliable Louisville DUI lawyer should contact Thomas Law Offices today for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your case and figure out your best course of action.