When you get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Kentucky, especially if you did not injure another person or cause property damage, you might consider the charge a minor issue.
However, depending on the circumstances, the state of Kentucky could view it as a felony offense.
Determining whether or not to defend yourself against pending criminal charges and the best way to do so often requires an understanding of the impact the charges will have on your life. This may impact your rights and permanent record or include criminal consequences.
One of the most significant determining factors in how much impact a DUI charge will have on your life is whether you face misdemeanor or felony DUI charges.
Many Kentucky DUI charges involve misdemeanor offenses
Most of the people who wind up charged with an impaired driving offense in Kentucky will face a misdemeanor charge. First, second and even third DUI charges within a 10-year period can be misdemeanor offenses, provided that no one gets hurt and the driver does not cause any property damage.
When does impaired driving result in felony charges?
There are certain circumstances in which an impaired driving offense is a felony offense. Anyone facing a fourth or subsequent DUI charge within 10 years will likely wind up facing felony charges.
A DUI stemming from multiple previous charges is a Class D felony that carries at least 120 days in jail and up to five years of incarceration, a year of mandatory substance abuse treatment and the loss of your license for five years.
You could face aggravated DUI charges and extra penalties for DUI offenses that also involve going the wrong way on a road, stem from an accident that hurts or kills someone else, involve a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher or occur while there are children under the age of 12 in the vehicle. Speeding can also result in aggravated DUI charges.
The more serious the charge, the more significant the penalty. However, given how the consequences increase with each subsequent offense, it often makes sense for an individual accused of a first-time DUI charge to fight it in order to keep their record clean.