An arrest for a driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Kentucky is incredibly inconvenient. Most people spend at least one night in state custody after a DUI arrest, and they may face incarceration, fines and other penalties if they plead guilty or get convicted in court. For many people, minimizing the criminal consequences of a DUI are their first priority. They don’t want to spend time in jail, which may motivate some people to plead guilty in the hopes of receiving a more lenient sentence.
What these individuals don’t realize is that a judge could still sentence them to a period of incarceration despite their guilty plea and that they put themselves at risk of other consequences, including a lengthy license suspension by not fighting against the charges they’re facing. Additionally, the loss of one’s license is a standard penalty after a DUI conviction in Kentucky.
Someone’s recent history determines their penalty
A motorist accused of a DUI will face a suspension base on how many prior drunk driving infractions they have on their record. Those who have thus far avoided a DUI arrest or who’s prior offenses occurred more than 10 years ago will have the lowest penalties.
Someone’s first DUI offense can costs someone their license for six months, and they may have to attend a substance abuse program for 90 days. A second DUI within 10 years of the first will lead to an 18-month license suspension and a year of alcohol or substance abuse treatment. Third offenses within 10 years of the first will mean a 36-month or three-year license suspension, while a fourth offense can carry up to 60 months or five years of suspended driving privileges. Losing one’s license can increase the cost of daily living and may also put someone’s job at risk.
DUI defense is about more than avoiding jail
Yes, staying out of state custody is an excellent reason to fight a Kentucky DUI charge. However, for many drivers, it is the licensing penalties that they face that will inspire them to fight their charges in criminal court. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about how the state handles DUI charges might help more people to see the value in mounting a rigorous criminal defense.