Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in KY

Usually, when someone mentioned driving under the influence or a “DUI,” most of us think of alcohol and the act of drunk driving. However, DUI cases not only apply to alcohol, but also extend to any substance that can impair an individual’s ability to drive safely; this includes marijuana. During a recent Kentucky Prosecutors Conference, a Denver traffic resource prosecutor shared that though the effects are different from alcohol, it can still cause impaired driving.

KY’s Zero Tolerance Policy for Marijuana

Though alcohol has a minimum blood alcohol content (BAC) level, in Kentucky, under the Kentucky Revised Statutes 189A.010 (1)(c)(d), there is no minimum level of marijuana metabolites in the suspect’s bloodstream. In fact, Kentucky law actually has a zero tolerance policy for marijuana. Since both possession as well as use of marijuana is illegal in the state of Kentucky, it is also illegal to drive with any measureable amount of marijuana in your system when in the state.

Implied Consent of Testing

In Kentucky, under KRS 189.103, there is assumed permission for anyone who has been found to be operating a motor vehicle for the following tests:

  • One of or a combination of blood, breath, and urine tests in order to ascertain marijuana or other substances, which cause impairment.
  • Supplementary blood and/or urine tests should the initial breath test give the officer reason to believe that another substance is causing driving impairment that cannot be discovered through a breath test.

Consequences of Test Refusals

Those who refuse to take a test may suffer the following consequences:

  • Driver’s license revocation
  • As evidence in a court case
  • Imprisonment that is double the jail term of someone who obliged to the tests should an individual be subsequent convicted of DUI after refusing to submit to a test

According to KRS 189.010(5), other penalties may include:

  • Fine of at least $200 up to $500 or imprisonment in county jail for a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 30 days, or both for a first offense.
  • Fine of a minimum of $350 up to a maximum of $50 and imprisonment in county jail for a minimum of one week up to twenty-four weeks. They may also be subjected to community labor for a minimum of 10 days up to twenty-four weeks for a second offense.
  • Fine of at least $500 up to $1,000 plus imprisonment in county jail for a minimum of 30 days up to 12 months. The guilty individual may also be subjected to community labor for a minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 12 months if found guilty of a third-time offense.
  • Those who have been found guilty of a fourth or further offense may be deemed guilty of a Class D felony punishable by 1-5 years in state prison, and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.

Posted in: DUI