Under most circumstances, a driving-under-the-influence offense is a misdemeanor. However, there are many scenarios in which someone who is driving while intoxicated can be charged with a felony, resulting in much harsher penalties.
The Kentucky DUI lawyers at Dan Carman and Attorneys provide our clients with an aggressive legal defense, no matter what charge they face. If you have been charged with a felony DUI, or have general questions about how these charges occur, we can help.
There are a number of factors that determine the severity of a DUI charge, including the number of prior DUI offenses or the possibility of aggravating circumstances. Here are a few of the ways in which a DUI charge becomes a felony.
When a DUI Becomes a Felony
If a person receives multiple DUI charges, the punishments for each consecutive offense become more severe. After the fourth DUI in a ten-year period, the offense is then considered a Class D felony in Kentucky. Punishments for fourth DUI offenses include:
- A minimum of 120 days of imprisonment without probation (unless there are aggravating circumstances, in which case imprisonment may be longer)
- A year of treatment for alcohol or substance abuse
- 60 months of license suspension.
Note that for those under the legal drinking age of 21, the presumed legal blood alcohol content is under 0.02 percent (as opposed to .08 percent for other drivers). For operators of commercial motor vehicles, the presumed legal blood alcohol content is under .04 percent.
Aggravating Circumstances of Kentucky DUI Offenses
There are certain factors that make the penalties of any DUI offense much more severe, even if it is a person’s first offense. These are referred to as aggravating circumstances. They include:
- Traveling more than 30 miles per hour over speed limit
- Traveling the wrong way on limited access highway
- An impaired driver causes accident resulting in death or serious physical injury
- If the driver has an alcohol level of .15 or more within 2 hours after operating the vehicle
- If the driver refuses to submit to testing
- If the driver is transporting passengers under 12 years of age.
Felony charges can have a massive effect on people’s lives, ranging from difficulty finding employment to difficulty finding housing or taking out loans. They can also impact applications to universities or colleges. A criminal record of any kind can result in many challenges for Kentuckians, in addition to the punishments given for the offense itself.
We Can Help
If you or a loved one is facing a felony DUI charge in Kentucky, Dan Carman and Attorneys can help. We will investigate the circumstances of your arrest to make sure you are treated fairly, and we will pursue every avenue possible to lessen your charges and look for ways to reduce the punishments levied against you. It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to build a proper defense. Contact our legal team today to learn more about how we can help you.