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Can you get a Kentucky DUI even if you weren’t actually driving?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

The general definition of drunk driving means that you’re intoxicated with excessive alcohol while your vehicle’s in motion. But Kentucky laws have more specific terms about what constitutes driving under the influence (DUI).

The state’s DUI statute prohibits any form of “operation” or “physical control of the vehicle”. Although you’re not on the highway and just passed out at the wheel from complete inebriation, you’re still at risk of DUI charges.

Totality of circumstances

In a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on motor vehicle crashes, Kentucky’s alcohol-impaired driving fatalities recorded a 31.8% increase. There are critical surrounding circumstances that may have led to these catastrophic numbers.

But although your situation did not result in a deadly collision, there may still be responsibilities you must face depending on the “totality of circumstances”. Kentucky courts consider the following factors to determine your conviction:

  • The driver’s location: This is your physical accessibility to start your vehicle. If you’re in the driver’s seat, the odds of conviction are more likely than if you’re found in the backseat.
  • The driver’s condition: This is your intent behind the wheel, whether you’re awake or asleep.
  • The vehicle’s location: This is where you parked your vehicle. The court is less sympathetic if you parked on a city sidewalk than if you’re just on your driveway.
  • The vehicle’s engine: Whether or not your vehicle’s engine is running, especially if your keys are within reach or your headlights are on, indicates an intention to drive away. But you may also contend that you needed to keep it on because you’re trying to control the temperature while sleeping in the backseat.

Aside from a violation of the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of not more than .08%, these factors establish your overall circumstances as having the potential to pose dangers to yourself and the public.

Kentucky’s DUI penalties also have different prison times, fines and duration of license suspension, ranging from first to third offenses. Additionally, you must also responsibly attend and complete a substance abuse program. In the worst cases, you may suffer more severe punishments if you refused to take an alcohol test, and were driving with excessive speed, with minor passengers below 12 years old and with a .15% or greater BAC.

Steering your future in a sober direction

Your future depends on how your case’s unique circumstances fall under the state’s remarkably particular legislation. It will help to consult and discuss your legal options with a DUI counsel who can steer your case with well-informed decisions.