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Driving an ATV/UTV While Intoxicated – What is the Law in Kentucky?

driving atv while intoxicated in Kentucky - what's the law?

The Consumer Protection Safety Commission reports that ATV accidents are responsible 500 to 600 fatalities every year in the US. Unfortunately, many of these deaths occur due to driver intoxication. When operating an off-road vehicle under intoxication, you may injure yourself and others as well as most likely get a DUI when you are apprehended.

In the US, Kentucky comes third in terms of the number of fatalities every year due to ATV/UTV accidents, which averages to 25 to 30 deaths annually. The state also gets two out of five stars by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for initiatives to combat driving under the influence of alcohol.

One parameter to determine this rating is how stringent the laws are on drunk driving in a particular state. On this scale, Kentucky falls in the middle of the scale on the stringency of its regulations. 

Kentucky has a law against driving an ATV/UTV on any road, even on a dirt and gravel track, if it is accessible to the public.

Liability in ATV DUI Accidents

Sometimes when a person commits an offense and injures another individual, their insurer will not provide coverage if the automobile was used in the crime. For instance, a person steals a vehicle and crashes, injuring another individual. In this case, the victim will not be able to get compensation as the car was stolen, even if the offender or car owner has insurance.

But if the crime is “unintentional”, such as DUI, the insurer will have to compensate the victim under their insurance policy.

In case the DUI occurred on an ATV, then the at-fault motorist’s automobile insurance will likely not cover the damages. However, the reason for this will not be the offense (DUI), but the fact that an ATV is involved. Under standard car insurance policies, these vehicles are not considered to be covered. An insurance policy specifically for ATV/UTVs can cover the vehicle and any associated liability.

In the absence of a specific insurance policy, the ATV/UTV crash victim will have to hope that the driver has a homeowner’s insurance plan that will cover their losses. Barring this, many victims of ATV/UTV accidents will have to pay out-of-pocket for their damages.

If a person is found to be driving under the influence (DUI) or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI), it is considered a serious criminal offense. It is illegal to drive or be in physical control of an automobile, under Kentucky DUI laws, in the following cases:

  • If the driver has an alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above
  • While under the influence of alcohol
  • While intoxicated on any other substance, or a combination of substances that adversely affect the ability to operate a vehicle
  • While a controlled substance is present in the driver’s bloodstream
  • While under the influence of alcohol in combination with any other substance that adversely impacts the ability to drive
  • For drivers who are below 21 years of age, an alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 percent or above

DUI Penalties

The penalties for DUI for offenders who are 21 years of age or older are as follows:

First offense (within a period of ten years)

Such DUI offenses are punishable by a fine of $200 to $500, and/or 48 hours to 30 days behind bars. In some cases, the offender may be able to enlist for a community labor program instead of the fine and/or jail time. Also, the offender must serve a minimum of four days in jail if there are aggravating circumstances.

Second offense (within a period of ten years)

Second DUI offenses are punishable by a fine of $350 to $500, time behind bars for between seven days and six months. Besides, the offender may be sentenced to community labor for ten days to six months. If aggravating circumstances exist, the offender must serve a minimum of 14 days behind bars.

Third offense (within a period of ten years)

In case of a third DUI offense within ten years, the offender is punishable by a fine of $500 to $1,000, one to 12 months behind bars, and community labor for between ten days and one year. In case aggravating circumstances are present, the offender will be imprisoned for at least 60 days.

Fourth or subsequent offense (within a period of ten years)

In such cases, the offender is guilty of a Class D felony, which is punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and/or jail time of one to five years. If aggravating circumstances exist, the offender will be imprisoned for a minimum of 240 days.

Legal Help by Skilled Personal Injury Lawyers

For victims of an ATV/UTV accident, the insurance company’s word that there is no coverage does not have to be final. Speak to an experienced lawyer who understands personal injury law and knows how to seek fair compensation for your injuries.

The qualified personal injury lawyers at Ron Aslam Law Office have successfully handled countless personal injury cases. If you are the victim of an ATV/UTV crash, call (502) 581-1676 today for a no-charge consultation.