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As summer draws near and warmer weather begins to make its appearance, spring fever is beginning to set in. It will not be long before people are going to ballgames, enjoying our parks, boating on the river or hitting 18 holes of golf.
Summer is a lot of fun, but for some it can also be dangerous. We all like to have a good time, and some like to drink a beer or a cocktail to enhance their summertime experiences. If you choose to enjoy your summertime this way, please do so responsibly.
Kentucky reported that there were 146 fatal accidents on Kentucky roadways in 2012 where alcohol was involved. In 2011, in Carroll County there were 90 people charged with driving under the influence. The saddest statistic of them all is that 100 percent of these criminal citations, 100 percent of these accidents and 100 percent of these fatalities could have been avoided if someone had acted responsibly.
In Kentucky, driving under the influence first, second and third offenses are all misdemeanors, with a fourth offense in a five-year period being a Class D felony.
If a person is convicted of driving under the influence, they face possible fines, jail-time or both. Below are the fines and jail sentence possibilities for a DUI:
First offense:$200-$500 fine; 2-30 days in county jail; or, both a fine and imprisonment
Second offense:$350-$500 fine; seven days to six months in county jail; or, both a fine and imprisonment
Third offense:$500-$1,000 fine; 30 days to 12 months in county jail; or, both a fine and imprisonment
Fourth offense:Class D Felony
The sentences detailed above may be enhanced if any aggravating circumstances exist, such as operating a vehicle in excess of 30 miles per hour above the speed limit; operating a motor vehicle the wrong direction on an interstate; operating a motor vehicle that causes an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury; operating a motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol level in excess of .15; refusing to submit to tests of blood, breath or urine; or operating a motor vehicle with a passenger under the age of 12 years old.
In addition, a person found guilty of DUI can incur suspensions of their right to drive in the state, and they have to take alcohol driving education classes.
The suspension penalties are even greater for those who have a commercial driver’s license. This does not even include the possible attorneys’ fees and court costs a person may incur if they are charged with DUI.
To sum it all up, even if there is not an accident, aDUI can have serious consequences and implications that can all be avoided.
Please think about the choices you make this spring and summer and think about your friends if you see them about to get in a car after having a few drinks, you may just save someone’s life.
Nick Marsh is Carroll County Attorney and practices law in Carrollton, Ky.