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DUI charges in Kentucky can cost you money and your freedom

Getting charged with driving while under the influence of intoxicants (DUI) in Kentucky can completely change your life. One moment you're happily on your way home and the next, you're getting shoved into the back seat of a police cruiser. It's easy to panic in this kind of situation, but staying calm is in your best interest. So is knowing and standing up for your own rights.

If you believe you were profiled or otherwise treated unfairly, invoke your right to silence and don't speak with law enforcement. Police may try to pressure you into saying something that could get used in court.

Despite popular opinion that only people who were clearly violating the law get charged with DUIs, many innocent people may end up facing DUI charges. Medical conditions, exhaustion and other factors can contribute to inaccurate field sobriety and breath tests.

Anxiety, bad joints and even diabetes could play a factor in getting wrongly charged with a DUI. Regardless of the details of why you got charged, you should take proactive steps to protect yourself. Failing to do so could cause a host of issues, including loss of your job or even incarceration.

Kentucky has harsh penalties for DUI offenses

Even if you've never been in legal trouble before and have never gotten accused of a drug or alcohol offense in the past, DUI charges need to get taken seriously. Your first DUI carries between two and 30 days in jail, loss of your license for between 90 and 120 days, a fine of between $200 and $500 and mandatory attendance of substance abuse programs. A second offense in a ten year period results in between seven days and six months in jail, a year of substance abuse treatment, loss of your license for between 12 and 18 months and between $350 and $500 in fines.

A third offense in ten years will bring a fine of between $500 and $1,000, between 30 days and 12 months in jail, loss of your license for between two and three years, community service and a year of alcohol abuse treatment. If you incur a fourth DUI charge in a decade, it becomes a Class D felony. You will face a minimum of 120 days in jail without probation, loss of your license for five years and a year of alcohol abuse treatment.

Additionally, you could easily lose your job after getting convicted of or pleading guilty to a crime. Finding a new job will be hard, because you won't have reliable transportation for some time. Your best option is typically to build a rigorous defense against the charges instead of pleading guilty or hoping for lenient sentencing from the courts.

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