Perhaps no area of law in Kentucky affects more people from all walks of life than those involving traffic and vehicle operation laws. Some of the reasons for this are the sheer number of drivers in the Commonwealth, our varied driving conditions, and the large number of traffic laws. It also is influenced by the often subjective judgment of law enforcement officers on how laws are applied and who they are applied to. As a driver, nothing gets the heart pounding quicker than seeing those flashing blue lights in a rearview mirror. In an instant, you can be charged with a traffic crime.
Here is a look at some of the more common traffic and vehicle crimes that can be financially costly and, in some cases, can result in jail time.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – DUI in Kentucky is defined as driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher “as measured by scientifically reliable test or tests, or operating or being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence.” That level drops to .02 for those under the age of 21. There is also a list of some 16 drugs that can lead drivers to be charged with DUI. Penalties for DUI increase with multiple offenses and there are a series of “aggravating circumstances” that can lead to more severe penalties. These can include driving under the influence while exceeding the speed limit by 30 mph and driving while under the influence with a child 12 years or younger in the car.
Driving without Sufficient Insurance – Kentucky’s financial responsibility laws require drivers to carry auto insurance in minimum levels of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person per accident, $50,000 bodily injury coverage for all persons per accident and $10,000 in property damage liability.
Driving without a License or with a Suspended License – A person driving a motor vehicle in Kentucky can be charged with operating a vehicle without a license if he fails to show it to a law officer during a traffic stop. If the driver can show proof to the court that he was licensed at the time of the original stop, charges will likely be dropped. You can avoid this inconvenience by simply carrying your driver’s license with you at all time.
Driving without Registration or with Expired Registration – To give you an idea of why legal representation is often necessary in traffic cases, one only need to read the first sentence of the statute regarding vehicle registration:
“Before the owner of a motor vehicle, other than a motor vehicle engaged in the transportation of passengers for hire operating under a certificate of convenience and necessity, may operate it or permit its operation upon a highway, the owner shall apply for registration in accordance with administrative regulations promulgated by the cabinet, except that a person who purchases a motor vehicle, or brings a motor vehicle into the Commonwealth from another state shall make application for registration within fifteen (15) days.”
This is all to say “get the vehicle registered within 15 days of buying it.”
Hit and Run and/or Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Drivers involved in an accident in Kentucky are required, at the minimum, to stop and ascertain the extent of damage or injuries resulting from the accident. These laws also cover your responsibility to leave your driver information conspicuously on an unattended vehicle you may damage and how you should respond in an accident on a roadway or freeway in Kentucky.
Vehicular Manslaughter – Accidents can happen, but when a crash results in a death, charges of vehicular manslaughter or reckless homicide will often follow. This is an extremely serious charge, and experienced legal representation should be sought immediately.
Reckless Driving – Perhaps no traffic charge is added onto a traffic violation more than that of “reckless operation.” Reckless operation can range from speeding to improper lane changes. It is a broad-ranging charge that often doesn’t require much proof. It is also very subjective.
Other traffic and vehicle operation crimes include making illegal U-turns, speeding, seat belt violations, running a stop sign or red light, mechanical violations, and illegal vehicle modifications. As with “reckless driving,” many of these charges can be added by a law enforcement officer to another violation, many times subjectively.
Contact Experienced Legal Help in Kentucky
If you feel you’ve been unjustly charged with a traffic crime in Kentucky, experienced an overly aggressive officer or want to contest the charges against you, don’t go it alone. Contact the legal team at Dan Carman & Attorneys, PLLC and we will fight for you. We are an Accredited Business of the Better Business Bureau, members of the Kentucky Bar Association, The American Bar Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. We are also proud to have been named as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers.
Reduce your stress by understanding all of your options. Contact Dan Carman & Attorneys, PLLC in Kentucky today.