DUI First Offense in Kentucky: What You Should Know

02nd Mar,2021

Oftentimes, not just in the state of Kentucky, the law is more lenient towards those with a first offense. However, that’s not to say getting charged with a DUI is any less serious anywhere in the world. In Kentucky, if you are charged with a DUI, you will be offered an opportunity to contact a lawyer. Let’s take a look at what exactly happens on a first DUI offense in Kentucky.

What to expect when you’re handed a DUI offense in Kentucky

1. Penalties

The penalties are then split into two subcategories which we will look at in turn.

  • Penalties with No Aggravation

You are subjected to a fine between $200-$500. If you are looking at a court case, other fees can be compounded on top of that to set you back a significant amount.

You are also eligible for jail time up to a month and have your license suspended for 30-120 days. You are then possibly required to attend an alcohol education program that needs to be completed before you have your license reinstated. In other states, there may be other options available in redeeming your license after a DUI charge.

You could apply for a hardship license if your circumstances allow. This is a temporary license that restricts you to go to and from school/work/or for treatment purposes.

  • Aggravated First Offense

The penalties for your first DUI offense could increase if any of the following has also occurred:

  • You were driving at least 30 miles above the speed limit.
  • Driving the wrong way on the highway.
  • You were the cause of a serious injury or death due to your actions.
  • If you were driving with a minor (under 12).
  • If your BAC (blood alcohol content) is above 0.15.

You will not be able to get out of jail time if you are convicted of an aggravated first DUI offense. There are legal ways you can do though to get out or escape a DUI offense.

2. The Effects on Commercial Licensed Drivers

You can be in a lot of trouble. You could get your CDL suspended for a year. This could happen even if you were not driving your commercial vehicle at the time. This means those of you who are commercial licensed drivers need to be extra careful at all times. 

3. Negotiations

Prosecutors can change and revoke DUI charges at any time. Unless you refused them a test sample, plea bargaining could even result in the reduction of penalties in your case.

4. Am I Eligible for a Hardship License?

To be eligible for a hardship license, you must petition the court to reinstate certain driving privileges. You need to prove that the revocation of your license will severely impact your schooling, employment, medical care, and other sorts of self-help programs. So what documentation do you need to obtain your hardship license?

  • Proof of your auto insurance.
  • All documentation needs to be notarized, including a statement from your employer, or school, or doctor or counselor.
  • Other documents may be required.

5. First-Time Offenders Who are Under 21 Years of Age

If you are under 21 and had a BAC between 0.02-0.08, then you will face:

  • A fine between $100-$500 + possible community service of a total of 20 hours.
  • License suspension – Your license could be suspended anywhere from 30 days to half a year depending.

If you have a high BAC level (exceeding 0.08), then you could face the penalties we have outlined above for all other regular drivers.

6. Did You Know?

Did you know that in Kentucky, if you operate a motor vehicle then that means you have given your consent to be subjected to chemical testing? This includes blood and urine tests, breathalyzers and if you refuse, it is considered an offense. The refusal of chemical tests result in the following penalties: 

  • 1st offense – 30 to 120 days license revocation.
  • 2nd offense – 12 – 18-month license revocation.
  • 3rd offense – 2-3 years license revocation and anything in between.
  • 4th offense and onwards – 5-year license revocation.


It’s also useful to note the BAC limit in Kentucky to make sure you are not driving under the influence. For adults, the BAC limit is 0.08, for drivers under 21 years of age the BAC is 0.02, and for commercial drivers, it’s 0.04. It’s a good idea to always watch your drinking to avoid a DUI in Kentucky. You can also learn about the DUI penalties and arrests across US states next.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of RatedRadarDetector.org. He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.