When a driver is stopped by a member of the Kentucky law enforcement community on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is common practice for the officer to administer one or more field sobriety tests to gather evidence. A breath test is often given to gauge the driver's blood alcohol content by measuring the ethanol content of the individual's breath. If the driver blows over the limit, this is generally used as part of the grounds for an arrest. However, there is some medical evidence to question the accuracy of the breath test under certain circumstances.
When a person is taken into custody for DUI in Kentucky or most other states, that individual has the right to plead not guilty to the charge. If this happens, the next step in the legal process is a preliminary hearing. At this point, a judge will determine if there is enough evidence for a defendant to stand trial. The length of the hearing will depend on the amount of evidence that needs to be reviewed.
In the state of Kentucky, individuals who have multiple DUI convictions are required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The same is true for first-time offenders who have been convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content of .15 percent or higher. A new law will now require all DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device or face the prospect of an extended license suspension.
Those who drive on Kentucky roads while impaired by alcohol could be taken into custody for doing so. Drunk drivers are taken into custody to ensure that they don't hurt themselves or anyone else who is on the road. Individuals may be deemed to be driving while intoxicated even if they don't necessarily feel like they are impaired. An officer may suspect an individual is drunk before or during a traffic stop.
According to the American Addiction Centers, veterans in Kentucky and throughout the U.S. have been drinking at higher rates in recent years. The data found that the rate of binge alcohol consumption among veterans has increased from 14 percent in 2013 to about 16 percent in 2017. Furthermore, it was determined that the increase was about 3 percent for women, which was significantly higher than the increase for men. An increase in the amount of alcohol consumed by veterans has led to a higher rate of drunk driving.
In Kentucky and elsewhere across the United States, legal restrictions regarding marijuana usage and vehicle operation are unclear. There are no standardized testing procedures across jurisdictions for marijuana-induced impairment other than traditional field sobriety tests. This makes it difficult for authorities to know when and how to charge a driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs. When alcohol is clearly not a factor, this problem can lead to drivers being charged improperly.
A SCRAM bracelet may be issued to someone who has been convicted of drunk driving in Kentucky or other states. The bracelet looks for any signs of alcohol in the offender's sweat, and it can be used in place of in-person testing for those who have been released on parole. It may also be used on repeat offenders or others who have been ordered to not drink alcohol by a judge.
In Kentucky, as in all states, the legal age for purchasing or possessing alcohol is 21. Driving while intoxicated is against the law for adult drinkers, but the legal definition of intoxicated is different for those over 21 than it is for drivers who are not legally old enough to drink. Most states have zero tolerance laws, or, laws that do not allow a younger person to have even a trace amount of alcohol in his or her system while behind the wheel.
The state of Kentucky levies a variety of different penalties against drivers who are convicted of DUI. Those who are convicted of a first offense within 10 years will be sentenced to a treatment program that lasts for 90 days. They will also have their license suspended for up to 120 days. If a second offense occurs less than 10 years after the first, the penalty increases to a license suspension of up to 18 months.
Kentucky and other U.S. states could reduce alcohol-related car accidents by strengthening their alcohol control laws. A new study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on May 29, was conducted by researchers at the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center.