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What is the Law on Teen DUI in Kentucky?

Kentucky has what is considered to be a a zero tolerance law with respect to underage drivers operating a vehicle.  Northern Kentucky is no different than every other state in that teen drivers are arrested if there is suspected any amount of alcohol during operation. Zero tolerance is a bit of a misnomer.  KRS 189A.010 (f) is often referred to as a "Kiddie DUI."  The statute states:

A person shall not operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere in this state: ... (f) Having an alcohol concentration of 0.02 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, if the person is under the age of twenty-one (21).

The reason that 0.02 is considered a zero tolerance is that .  For example 150 male who consumes only one beer should be under this limit after one hour.  This is based on a blood alcohol calculator, link attached. If the breath alcohol is over .08 or if the driver is deemed to be impaired by the officer, the teen driver can and will likely be prosecuted as a normal/adult DUI. There is no special treatment if the teen is under 18, they still proceed to adult court and not juvenile court. The blood alcohol level must be based on an actual breathalyzer/intoxilyzer or blood test, and not the field test which is often given roadside by the police.  The roadside breath alcohol tests are not calibrated and therefore not admissible in court.  Further, the officer does not have the time to wait the requisite 20 minute period prior to administration of the field test.  There are many things such as mouthwash or breath strips which would register alcohol on these tests. Once back at the station, the 20 minute wait is to ensure that there is no mouth alcohol or ingestion of any other substance which should affect the testing.  Also, an intoxilyzer is supposed to calculate if there is any mouth alcohol and invalidate any test with mouth alcohol. If you have been charged with a DUI, whether you are under 21 or over, you need to retain an attorney.  In Boone, Campbell or Kenton counties, call Michael W. Bouldin for a consultation.  Email at [email protected] or call at 859-581-6453.

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