A Louisville DUI Defense Attorney with a Record of Success
If you have been charged with a DUI in Kentucky, you may be hoping on some level it just goes away without too much trouble. Perhaps you are thinking that you will show up in court, tell the judge that it was all a misunderstanding and you meant no harm, and that you will be released without a criminal record, jail time or fines. For the thousands of people in Kentucky charged with DUIs, it can be tempting to think this way as most individuals have never had a problem with the law before and therefore have little to no familiarity with the criminal justice system.
The truth of the matter is that, if you have been charged with drunk driving, you are facing serious consequences that could negatively impact your freedom, finances, career and personal reputation. Hoping it will all go away without employing the services of an experienced DUI defense attorney is a recipe for disaster.
Louisville criminal defense attorney Ron Aslam has over a decade of experience in the Kentucky criminal justice system, working as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, and he has achieved a successful track record fighting for his clients to beat DUI charges on a regular basis. Ron knows how the system works from both sides, and he knows what it takes to ensure that the negative consequences are minimized as much as possible. He will fight for your rights in your DUI case to protect your freedom, reputation, and finances and get your life back to normal.
Penalties for a DUI in Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky imposes serious penalties for first-time DUI offenders (drivers who register a .08 BAC or higher), including:
- License suspension of between 30 and 120 days
- Jail time of between 2 and 30 days
- Fines of between $200 and $500 (not including court costs)
- Up to 30 days of community labor
- Mandatory 90-day attendance of substance abuse treatment program
More serious penalties can be imposed if the prosecution proves any of the following aggravating circumstances:
- Driving 30 MPH over the speed limit
- Driving the wrong way on a road
- Refusal to submit to a mandatory Breathalyzer test at the station
- Transporting a passenger under 12 years of age
- Having a BAC of .15 or higher
Multiple offenses within the same five-year period can result in vastly increased jail times, license suspensions, fines, and other penalties.
Kentucky’s Implied Consent Law
If you are arrested for DUI in Kentucky, you are required to take the chemical test administered at the police station. This could either be a breath, blood, or urine test, and it must be given within two hours of when you were last driving. Most often, you will be tested with a breathalyzer machine. When you apply for a driver’s license in Kentucky, you give your consent to take the chemical test if an officer has probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. This is known as “implied consent”.
Refusal to take the required chemical test after a DUI arrest can result in harsh penalties:
- First Offense: Driver’s license revocation for a period of 30 to 120 days
- Second Offense: Driver’s license revocation for 12 to 18 months
- Third Offense: Driver’s license revocation for 24 to 26 months
- Fourth and Subsequent Offense: Driver’s license revocation for 60 months
Additional consequences for refusing the mandatory chemical test include:
- You are not able to obtain a hardship license after you complete the mandatory minimum license suspension period;
- You cannot get your driving privileges reinstated until your case is resolved;
- Your refusal could be used by prosecutors as evidence against you at trial;
- If you are convicted for DUI after refusing to take the chemical test, your jail time is doubled.
It is important to note that the mandatory breathalyzer, blood, or urine test that is administered at the police station after a drunk driving arrest is not the same as the preliminary breath test (PBT) you may be asked to take before you are arrested. The PBT is NOT mandatory and there are no enhanced penalties for refusing to take it. The officer may imply that the PBT is mandatory, or that taking it will help you, but this is simply not the case.
In general, the only person who is helped by the results of a preliminary breath test is the presiding officer. The officer can use the results to establish probable cause to place you under arrest for drunk driving. Without these results, the case against you will likely be much weaker. For example, if it is found that the officer lacked probable cause for the arrest, any subsequent evidence (such as the mandatory chemical test) would be inadmissible. For this reason, there is usually no good reason to submit to a PBT, unless you know for sure that you will register a BAC of below .08.
Overcoming Your DUI Charge in Kentucky
Even if you may have failed the mandatory chemical (breathalyzer, blood, or urine) test, there are numerous legal strategies that your criminal defense attorney can pursue in arguing for a not guilty verdict or in negotiating reduced penalties. It is important to remember that prosecutors must prove all elements of a DUI charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and all evidence against you must have been legally obtained by the police.
Among other things, the police must have a legally valid reason (probable cause) to arrest you and administer the test. Furthermore, the accuracy of the test and other evidence can be questioned. Other potential DUI defense strategies may include:
- The defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was under .08 at the time the defendant was driving, even though it was above .08 when the test was given at the police station. This argument can often be made if the last drink was consumed shortly before driving;
- There were no signs of impairment and the defendant was driving with the care and caution of a sober person, therefore, the results of the chemical test cannot be trusted;
- The defendant was not operating the vehicle and was not in physical control of it;
- The defendant drove the vehicle to avoid harm and/or out of legal necessity.
DUI defense attorney Ron Aslam has years of experience making aggressive and winning arguments on behalf of his clients, and he has achieved numerous acquittals, dropped charges, and reduced sentences for individuals in Kentucky who have been charged with drunk driving. As a former prosecutor, Ron has built up a great reputation with Louisville judges, prosecutors, and police, and he puts his extensive experience and skills to work to fight for the best possible outcome in your DUI matter.
How Can I Avoid Jail Time for a Felony DUI Charge?
A Majority of DUI Suspects Spend Time in Jail Following Their Arrest
Upon being arrested for DUI, the authorities will escort you to a medical facility for urine and blood samples, or they may take you to the police station to administer a breath test.
In case these tests indicate that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above 0.08, or if it is apparent that you are highly intoxicated, law enforcement will formally charge you with DUI and put you behind bars. You may spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days in custody, depending on the time it takes you to make bail.
You may receive additional jail time if you plead guilty to the charges or lose your DUI case trial. For first time offenders with no aggravating factors (such as a high blood alcohol concentration or a DUI accident with serious or fatal injuries), the DUI may be charged as a Class C misdemeanor, which involves a maximum jail time of 60 days.
If you spent time behind bars after your arrest, the judge would likely give you a sentence of “time served,” along with or in place of community service and fines.
The chances of receiving additional jail time increase if there are multiple aggravating factors in your case. It is also important to keep in mind that the results of your sentence hearing may depend on your appearance and demeanor in front of the judge.
What You Should Do
- Turn off the ignition, lower the window all the way down, and stay in your vehicle until the officer approaches you. If the officer asks you for license and registration, which they will, hand over the documents calmly.
- Try to be as relaxed as possible. Remember, at this point, the officer merely suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They do not have any proof whatsoever. So, they will be looking for signs that can confirm their suspicion. If you look nervous and flushed, they might think that you are indeed drunk.
- Be polite while interacting with the officer. It is never a good idea to raise your voice or argue with a police officer, even if you have not done anything wrong. It does not, at the same time, mean that you should let them walk all over you. You can, for instance, refuse to tell the officer where you are coming from, where you are going, or how many drinks you have had, as long as you do so in a respectful manner.
- Tell the officer that you would like to talk to your lawyer. Under Kentucky law, you are allowed to talk to your attorney – for a minimum of 10 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes. So, contact an experienced Kentucky DUI lawyer and explain your situation to them.
What You Should Not Do
- Do not keep your engine running after pulling over. It can cause the officer to believe that you might attempt to flee.
- Do not rummage through the glove compartment, your bag, or your pocket for your license and registration. The officer might suspect that you are looking for a weapon. Hand over the documents only if the officer asks you to do so.
- Do not talk to the officer or respond to their questions. Remember – every question posed by an officer in this situation is a trap. If you stutter, talk too fast, mispronounce your words, talk too loud, or struggle to come up with an answer to their questions – either due to a physical disability or simply because you are nervous – the officer might think that it is a sign of intoxication. Moreover, you are not required by law to answer a police officer’s questions. So, simply tell them that you can answer their questions only in the presence of your lawyer.
- Do not take any sobriety test. This includes walking in a straight line, standing on one leg, reciting the alphabets, counting backwards, following the officer’s pen with your eyes, and touching your nose using your index finger with your eyes closed. You are not required by law to complete any of these tests, even if the officer tells you otherwise.
- Do not consent to a preliminary breath test (PBT) if asked to do so after being pulled over. Again, it is not mandatory for you to take this test. If you take the test and if it shows that you are over the legal limit, your chances of getting convicted will increase. So, refuse to take the test and tell the officer that you want to talk to your lawyer.
- Do not enter a guilty plea, no matter what the officer or the prosecutor tells you. Let your attorney review your case, find out what you have been charged with, and determine the right course of action. Remember – in these situations, your attorney is the only person who is looking out for your rights and interests.
Contact Louisville Attorney Ron Aslam Today
Being arrested for drunk driving can be a frightening and unsettling experience. You may be uncertain about the future and not sure where to turn for help. With so much at stake, you need a lawyer who understands the complexities of the Kentucky DUI laws and the most effective defense strategies to mitigate the situation as much as possible.
If you are facing a DUI charge in the central Kentucky area, help is available to fight the charge. Call the Law Office of Ron Aslam today at 502.581.1676 to set up a free initial consultation.