Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Free in Kentucky: Under a .08 Does NOT Always Mean You Are Legal.: You’ve probably heard that in Kentucky, we have a “legal limit” for driving under the influence in Kentucky. But what you may not know is...
You’ve probably heard that in Kentucky, we have a “legal limit” for driving under the influence in Kentucky. But what you may not know is there are different kinds of DUIs. Or, at least, there are several different ways DUIs are prosecuted.
If you operate a vehicle in Kentucky (and this means ANYWHERE in Kentucky, not just on the open public roadways), and your BAC is over a .08, you are guilty of DUI. Specifically, you would be prosecuted under KRS 189A.010(1)(a). That subsection reads:
“(1) A person shall not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere in this state: (a) Having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more as measured by a scientifically reliable test or tests of a sample of the person's breath or blood taken within two (2) hours of cessation of operation or physical control of a motor vehicle[.]”
This is what is known as the “Per Se rule.” If the Commonwealth (specifically, it would be a County or Assistant County Attorney if a DUI 1st, 2nd or 3rd) would only have to prove that you were operating a vehicle in Kentucky with that number BAC. That’s a Per Se prosecution. But that’s not the only way to get a DUI in Kentucky.
Any Louisville DUI lawyer worth their salt will tell you that the Per Se prosecution is only one of several different types of DUI prosecutions in Kentucky. The next DUI we’re going to talk about is an “Under the Influence” DUI.
If you have a BAC of UNDER .08, and you are operating a vehicle in Kentucky, it IS still possible for you to get a DUI. Let’s say, for example, you have a low tolerance for alcohol. You only have 2 beers. Your BAC is only a .04, but you are “under the influence of alcohol,” and you operate a vehicle in Kentucky, you are guilty of DUI.
KRS 189A.010(1)(b) provides:
“(1) A person shall not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere in this state: (b) While under the influence of alcohol[.]”
As you can see, a prosecution under subsection (1)(b) doesn’t require the prosecution to prove a number at all. If they can prove you are under the influence (using evidence of failed Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, and/or bloodshot, watery eyes, and/or the fact that you may be unsteady on your feet, and/or cognitive impairment evidenced by disorientation, and/or slurred speech, etc), you can be found Guilty of DUI.
Keep in mind that when I say “alcohol” and the KRS that we are reading today uses the word “alcohol” you should substitute the words “alcohol, drugs, medications or a combination thereof.” Because the other sections of the KRS make sure that those things are covered.
The last DUI we’re going to talk about today is the “Strict Liability” DUI. “Strict Liability” is a term that we use in the legal world for crimes that don’t require a mental state. We’ve talked about this before, but let me refresh your memory. Because some of you out there look like you haven’t been paying attention.
A lot of crimes require that you do some act (setting fire to, striking, raping, etc) with a mental state. You would have to “Intentionally,” “Knowingly,” “Wantonly,” or “Recklessly” do said act. For example, drug possession culpability is typically reserved for someone who “knowingly” possesses said drug. If you borrow your degenerate brother’s car, and there’s a kilo of bathroom molly sewn into the passenger seat, but you don’t know about it, you are NOT Guilty of drug possession.
However, as a society we have determined that it would be against public policy to require the prosecution to prove a mental state for certain acts. Speeding, for example, is a strict liability offense. If you did it, we don’t care why you did it. We don’t even care if you know that you were speeding. We, as a society have decided that we are going to punish you regardless.
The truth is that NONE of the DUIs we are talking about require a mental state. So I’m not sure why some lawyers call the list of substances at the end of 189A “Strict Liability” DUIs. But just for your knowledge, here they are:
(1) A person shall not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere in this state: (d) While the presence of a controlled substance listed in subsection (12) of this section is detected in the blood, as measured by a scientifically reliable test, or tests, taken within two (2) hours of cessation of operation or physical control of a motor vehicle; (12) The substances applicable to a prosecution under subsection (1)(d) of this section are:
(a) Any Schedule I controlled substance except marijuana (don’t get excited, you can still get a marijuana DUI in Kentucky);
(o) Propoxyphene; and
It is a defense to one of these DUIs if you actually have a prescription for the medication listed AND you have been taking the medication as directed (it helps if the directions didn’t include the statement “do not drive while taking this medication”).
I hope this blog post left you a little more informed about the different types of DUIs. Most importantly, what I would like for you to take away from this is one simple statement: “If a person is under a .08, that does NOT mean they are legal to drive in Kentucky.”
So be safe out there. Take a cab. City Scoot it. Or, if you have friends who are willing to refrain, get a designated driver.
600 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Free in Kentucky: What is the Difference Between Dismissal and Expun...: Today’s blog post is not going to be extremely interesting or chock full of jokes. Sorry. It will, however, be informative. And usefu...
Today’s blog post is not going to be extremely interesting or chock full of jokes. Sorry. It will, however, be informative. And useful for people who need an expungement in Kentucky.
You can expunge some convictions and most dismissals in Kentucky. A conviction means that a defendant either pled guilty to an offense, or the defendant was found guilty of the offense by a judge or jury. There are different rules for expunging convictions and dismissals, and we’ll get to that later.
First, let’s define the terms Dismissal and Expungement.
“Dismissal” or to have a case “dismissed” means that the criminal case against a defendant is resolved in their favor, with no conviction. The case against them is dismissed (usually with a stipulation of probable cause for the arrest if we are talking about an arrestable offense), and the defendant faces no more court dates. There is no more possibility of punishment or conviction. They walk away – free to go.
That does NOT mean that the charge “goes away.” The term “dismissed” is not synonymous with “erased.” If someone (an employer, police officer, etc.) looks up the defendant’s criminal record, they will still find the charge. The record will show that the defendant was charged with a crime, but that the charge was dismissed.
If the defendant wants the record to be “clean,” “erased,” or to “go away” then the remedy is “Expungement.” If the defendant qualifies for an expungement (and to be accurate, if he qualifies, he isn’t technically a “defendant” anymore), there is another step in the legal process that needs to be performed. THIS IS IMPORTANT. If the defendant had a lawyer, the lawyer got the case dismissed, and the defendant expects the lawyer to get the case expunged without this desire expressed to the lawyer, it will NOT be expunged. It is a new step. A new case. That means a new legal fee, new paperwork, and most likely, a new court date or two.
If the defendant qualifies for an expungement in Kentucky – the process is quick and easy (in the grand scheme of legal process). Expungements are typically cheap and usually cost less than $500.00 to get done (per charge). In addition, they can be done quickly; it only takes about a month to get an expungement done in most cases.
Let’s go over some brief rules (these are general rules and this is not an exhaustive list) on who/what qualifies for expungement in Kentucky. First – Felonies cannot be expunged. Exceptions are that Felony dismissals (including those resulting from diversion programs) may qualify subject to the other rules; first time drug possession cases may qualify; and if the felony has been pardoned, it may qualify. But generally, if you are a convicted felon – I’m sorry. The general rule is: “Once a convicted felon, always a convicted felon.”
There is a waiting period for expungement. During that waiting period, the defendant must have NO new offenses.* The general rule on the waiting period is that defendants with dismissals have to wait 60 days before an expungement can be filed, but defendants with misdemeanor convictions have to wait 5 years. Again, during this waiting period, the defendant must have NO new offenses.
The time frames can be modified by agreement. For example, in Jefferson County, we have a DUI diversion program. If a defendant is lucky enough to qualify for the DUI diversion program, the DUI charge will be dismissed after completion of that program. However, defendants have to agree (as a part of the program requirements) that the charge cannot be expunged until 2 years after the dismissal.
If you have a conviction on your record, and you would like to get it expunged, call expungement lawyer Greg Simms at 502.473.6464. The process is easy, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. But don’t put it off. It’s important because it’s YOUR record. Call today.
Expungement Attorney Greg Simms
455 South 4th Street, Suite 1250, Louisville KY 40202
502.473.6464.Questions answered in this blog post: How can I get an expungement in Kentucky; good expungement lawyers in Louisville; how to do a Louisville expungement; expungment attorney Louisville; expungment lawyer Elizabethtown; what is the difference between a dismissal and an expungement; expungement lawyers in Kentucky; how to get my record erased?
- *There is a great debate now on what constitutes a "new offense" under the law for expungement purposes. I will keep you posted on how this turns out.