LRC Public Information

Kentucky’s Senate President says a GOP colleague does NOT have legal immunity from being charged with drunk driving.

The Courier-Journal reports that Robert Stivers made the comments after an attorney for Senator Brandon Smith of Hazard filed a motion seeking to dismiss charges against his client.

The lawyer says Smith, who was arrested for DUI on the first day of the legislative session, has immunity under a provision in the state constitution that prohibits lawmakers from being arrested while the legislature is in session.

But Senate President Stivers publicly disagreed with Smith’s interpretation, issuing a statement that said “no member of the General Assembly is above the law.”

Stivers said that while the state constitution afforded some degree of immunity, it clearly didn’t apply in the Smith’s DUI case.

Prosecutors should dismiss DUI charges against state Sen. Brandon Smith because the state constitution prohibits lawmakers from being arrested during the legislative session, Smith's attorney argued in court papers filed Thursday.

Smith, a Republican from Hazard, was arrested and charged with DUI on Jan. 6, the first day of the 2015 legislative session. According to a citation filed in Franklin County Circuit Court, Smith blew a .088 in a portable breath test. A person is presumed drunk when the alcohol to blood ratio is .08 and above.

Attorney Bill Johnson has filed a motion for the charges to be dismissed because section 43 of the Kentucky Constitution says lawmakers cannot be arrested when the legislature is in session or when they are traveling to and from the Capitol. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12.

Kentucky Police Officers Honored for Efforts to Curb Impaired Driving

Dec 16, 2014

Hundreds of police officers at the local and state level are being honored for their efforts to stop impaired driving in Kentucky. 

The Office of Highway Safety's annual awards ceremony was held in Lexington Tuesday.

Bill Bell, director of Kentucky's Office of Highway Safety, says the number of highway fatalities is on the decline.  He says the state has seen about a three percent drop over the last three years.  Bell says 400 officers are being honored for their enforcement efforts. 

"You know, they don't get paid a whole lot of money and it's a dangerous job, so we want to recognize them for doing the work they do," said Bell.

While police tactics are being scrutinized nationally, keynote speaker Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen says many officers are doing what's right. 

Bill Would Order Breathalyzers into Cars of Repeat DUI Offenders

Feb 20, 2013

Kentucky judges could order breathalyzers installed into the vehicles of drunk driving offenders under a bill approved Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee.

Under current law, some DUI offenders qualify for hardship licenses. Those allow the offender to drive to and from specified locations at limited times—such as work and school—even though their regular drivers license has been suspended. 

The bill would give judges  the option of instead installing an Ignition Interlock Device in the offenders vehicle. Before starting the vehicle, the driver would have to breathe into the device. If the device detects that the driver has a heightened blood alcohol level, the engine won't ignite.

The bill would also require random breath samples from the driver after the engine has been started.

State Rep. Curry Todd's arraignment on drunken driving and weapons charges has been delayed until next week. The Collierville Republican was arrested in October after failing a roadside sobriety test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found stuffed in a holster between the driver's seat and center console.