How Exactly Is A DUI Defined Under Kentucky State Law?
The statutes that define DUI law in Kentucky are lengthy. However, a DUI is basically defined as: operating or being in control of a motor vehicle anywhere in the state of Kentucky while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher if you’re an adult (if you’re a juvenile, you can get a DUI if you have a BAC of 0.02% or higher); If you’re under the influence of any substance or combination of substances that impairs your ability to drive, such as alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and controlled substances, you can get a DUI. At the end of the statute, there are several specifically enumerated controlled substances listed. If any of those substances are in your blood, that’s enough for a DUI.
Walk Me Through The Timeline Of What Happens Once Someone Gets Pulled Over, The Law Enforcement Officer Suspects The Driver Of Driving Under The Influence, And When An Officer Decides To Make The Actual DUI Arrest.
I believe that some officers will pull over an individual with the intention of arresting them from the very beginning. They’re looking for justifications to pull you over. Once they pull you over, they have to have a reason to get you out of the car and probable cause to arrest you. Typically, they hit their lights to pull you over due to some observed traffic offence. The officer usually initiates contact by stepping up to your window and asking for your paperwork. They ask to see your driver’s license, registration, and possibly proof of insurance. At that point, the officers look for clues that indicate the presence of alcohol, drug use or possession, or some sort of impairment. In the vast majority of cases, it’s the smell of alcohol or marijuana that tips off the officer, but there are other determinants. Slurred speech, odd behavior, nervousness, and the type of underlying traffic offense will all be considered in determining whether the officer believes that you are impaired at that time.
Once the officer has the suspicion that you may be under the influence, the officer may request various tests. There’s the PBT or portable breath test. It’s not typically admissible in court, but it can be used to determine if the individual has consumed alcohol. Usually, once that’s done, and if there’s the presence of alcohol, they will then try to conduct the FSTs or field sobriety tests. The most popular of these tests is the HGN, which is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. To administer the HGN test, the officer will use his or her finger, pen, or another object and move it left to right while watching your eyes for twitching. Officers can also administer the one leg stand and the walk and turn test. The one leg stand test requires that you keep your arms to your side while standing on one leg. The walk and turn test requires that you walk heel to toe in a straight line, turn, and walk back. Again, they’re looking for what they call clues.
I did the math in a trial about how many potential clues there are when suspecting someone of driving under the influence. There are hundreds. If you don’t listen to the directions, don’t follow the directions, or don’t do the tests correctly, they’ll determine that you are impaired. I’ve had plenty of clients who believed that they passed those tests, and when I read the citation to them, they realized that they definitely did not pass. They may have thought that they did well, but it’s very subjective. Basically, if an officer thinks that you’re impaired when they start the test, they’re probably going to think you’re impaired at the end of the test. The tests gives them a little bit more evidence or support for that belief. In theory, the tests should be what the officer uses to determine whether an arrest should be made. But as discussed, sometimes they’ve already made up their mind, so they’re looking for some sort of justification.
What Happens To My Driver’s License When I’ve Been Charged With DUI In Kentucky If I Took The Breathalyzer Or Blood Test? What Happens If I Refused?
If it is your first DUI and you take the breathalyzer or submit to a blood test, normally nothing happens to your license at that moment. A driver’s license suspension on a first DUI typically occurs upon a finding of guilt. However, if you refuse, your license will be suspended at arraignment. If you have at least one previous DUI conviction or had your license suspended for refusal to test within the last ten years, then your license will be suspended pre-trial. It can also be suspended pre-trial if you were involved in a car accident that resulted in a death or serious injury to anyone other than you. Recently, a new law went into effect in Kentucky governing license suspension periods. Now, a DUI first carries a 6-month license suspension. A DUI second carries am 18-month license suspension, and so forth.
For more information on DUI Cases In The State Of Kentucky, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (270) 936-7770 today.
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