It is important to note, however, that DUI cases do not apply solely to alcohol use but other substances as well that impair a person’s driving ability like marijuana. During a recent Kentucky Prosecutors Conference, a traffic resource prosecutor in the Denver area shared that while the effects of marijuana are different from alcohol, it can still lead to impaired driving.
Unlike other states that make a distinction between the level of marijuana metabolites in the suspect’s bloodstream, Kentucky’s DUI Law has zero tolerance for marijuana. This means that it is illegal for anybody to drive with any measurable amount of marijuana in their system when they are in Kentucky because possession and use of marijuana are illegal in this state.
Under the Kentucky Revised Statutes 189A.010 (1)(c)(d), someone who is operating a motor vehicle in the state of Kentucky under the influence of any substance that can lead to impairment of his or her ability to drive shall be culpable of violating the DUI law.
According to KRS 189.103, any person who has been found operating a motor vehicle in Kentucky is assumed to give permission for the following:
▪ At least one or a combination of blood, breath, and urine tests to ascertain the presence of marijuana or any other substance that may cause driving impairment.
▪ Supplementary blood and/or urine tests if the result of the initial breath test or any other evidence gives the officer reason to assume that another substance is causing the driving impairment that cannot be ascertained through a breath test
If the person will refuse to submit to tests under KRS 189.103, he or she will suffer the following consequences per KRS 189A.105:
▪ Revocation of the person’s driving privilege.
▪ The fact of the person’s refusal may be used against him or her in court as evidence.
▪ Subsequent DUI conviction after refusing to submit to tests will merit imprisonment that is double the jail term of someone who obliged to the tests. In addition, the offender cannot acquire a hardship license or a temporary license that can be used when one’s license is suspended for DUI.
According to KRS 189.010(5), anyone who has been found guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana or any other substances that causes impairment in the individual’s ability to drive shall merit the following penalties:
▪ Fine of at least two hundred US dollars up to a maximum of five hundred US dollars or imprisonment in the county jail for at least two days up to a maximum of thirty days, or both for the first offense.
▪ Fine of at least three hundred and fifty US dollars up to a maximum of five hundred US dollars and imprisonment in the county jail for at least one week up to twenty-four weeks. Apart from the penalties of fine and imprisonment, the guilty individual may also be subjected to community labor for at least ten days up to twenty-four weeks for the second offense.
▪ Fine of at least five hundred US dollars up to a maximum of one thousand US dollars plus imprisonment in the county jail for at least thirty days up to a maximum of one year or twelve months. In addition to fine and serving jail time, the guilty person may also be subjected to community labor for at least ten days up to a maximum of one year or twelve months if he or she has been found guilty of committing the offense for the third time.
▪ For the fourth or succeeding offenses, the guilty party will be deemed guilty of Class D felony which carries a punishment of one to five years, not in a county jail, but the state prison, on top of paying a fine of at least one thousand US dollars up to a maximum of ten thousand US dollars.
Dale is a writer and researcher in the fields of addiction and mental health. After battling with addiction himself, Dale has decided to write about these topics to help reduce the stigma associated with both. Dale is also an avid sports fan, both watching and playing.