Citizens charged with DUI face a number of driver’s license suspensions. They include, in some
instances, pre-trial driver’s license suspensions. If there is a DUI conviction there are driver’s license
suspensions. The length of these suspensions is related to the number of prior DUI convictions. Pre-trial
suspensions, are generally hard suspensions with no driving privileges. Kentucky has hardship driving
privileges for people convicted of DUI for certain limited reasons including work, school or treatment.
However, there are hard suspensions with no privileges associated with these suspensions. These hard
suspensions are between 30 days to 2 ½ years, depending on the number of prior DUI convictions
Kentucky’s new Ignition Interlock Bill which takes effect in late June of 2015 makes sweeping
changes to a citizens ability to drive during periods of license suspensions set out above. Under the new
legislation citizens trapped in one of these DUI suspensions can now drive with an Ignition Interlock on
In the past someone charged with DUI who refused to take the intoxilizer or had a prior DUI
conviction within 5 years would have their license suspended with no driving privileges at arraignment.
This suspension would last generally until the case was resolved. It would then generally be replaced by a
different license suspension depending upon the outcome of the particular case. Now, these individuals
may operate their vehicles with court approval after the installation of an Ignition Interlock device. This
even before the case is concluded.
DUI convictions in Kentucky require suspensions of a minimum of 30 days for a first offender
and up to 5 years for a fourth or subsequent offender. Save one exception, people who have their licenses
suspended for convictions of DUI may now immediately drive with an Ignition Interlock device.
An Ignition Interlock device is a device that detects the presence of alcohol at level of 0.02 grams
of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. The legal limit is 0.08. The device will recheck alcohol levels at about
10 minute intervals. This means the driver has to blow into the interlock device to start the engine and
when requested to do so by the instrument at the 10 minute interval. The device is serviced every 60 days
and reports which are stored in the device are sent to the prosecutor, the Court system, and the Defendant
of any violations. The cost of these machines after installation is about $100.00 per month. Kentucky will
have a sliding scale for the fees for indigents to obtain the interlock at reduced prices. The devices have to
be installed and serviced through an approved provider. The approval is given by the Commonwealth of
This new Ignition Interlock bill only pertains to alcohol offenses. Offenses involving drugs
remain unaffected by this Legislation.
The way this bill is written, there are very few reasons why anyone would choose to
participate in blood alcohol testing. DUI cases without blood alcohol levels are much easier to defend
compared to cases with blood alcohol levels above the statutory minimum. Citizens should never consent
to blood alcohol test without talking to a lawyer.