Kentucky Law Blog

Field sobriety tests don't always have a leg to stand on

Maybe you had a glass or two of wine or a couple of beers before heading home. The next thing you know, a patrol car appears behind you with lights and sirens. You pull over, and after a few minutes, the officer asks you to exit the vehicle because he or she suspects you of driving under the influence.

To obtain the probable cause needed to place you under arrest for DUI, the officer asks you to submit to field sobriety tests, which the officer claims you failed. As you ride in the back of the patrol car, you may wonder whether you really failed those tests because you don't feel intoxicated.

Understanding the Children’s Bill of Rights

During a divorce in Kentucky, children often end up forgotten or overlooked because parents are too focused on their own needs and situations. While many parents try to keep their kids’ well-being in mind, it is very easy to slip into bad habits that can have detrimental effects on a child. In an effort to help children whose parents are divorcing, there has been a move to create and implement a Children’s Bill of Rights.

According to First Focus, this list of rights is not intended merely for divorce situations. It is applicable to children at all points in their lives. However, it can be especially helpful when there is a situation where children may suffer harm or where they are at risk for instability in their environment, such as during a divorce.

What are the rights lost upon a felony conviction?

If you have been accused of a felony in Kentucky, you will lose some of your civil rights and abilities if you are convicted. It is important to understand what rights you will lose because in some cases, you could end up in more trouble if you do not recognize a lost right.

The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy notes that sometimes the felony crime for which you are convicted will determine which rights you lose. For example, drug convictions can lead to being ineligible for the food stamp program or student financial aid. A conviction of a crime that makes you a sex offender eliminates some of your rights to live and work with or around children. You may even lose parental rights for convictions for child abuse or other child-related crimes.

How to avoid mistakes in a high asset divorce

Kentucky couples with high assets have plenty to gain, and plenty to lose. Because of the high stakes feeling of getting divorced with a lot of finances, property, or assets on the line, there are certain mistakes that should always be in the peripheral of a divorcing couple's eye so that they may be avoided.

The Wealth Enhancement Group suggests that a financial advisory team be brought in if the assets at stake are particularly high. Note that these people are not a substitute for lawyers or legal advisors. Rather, they will advise a person strictly in regard to their finances and nothing more. They can be a huge help because finances are their specialty, so they know the ins and outs of local, state, and federal tax codes. This way, there is less chance of losing lots of money to the tax impact of a split.

What are the qualifications to adopt in Kentucky?

Adopting a child is a worthy pursuit. Providing a home to a child who does not have one is something to be proud of and well worth pursuing. However, in Kentucky, there are specific requirements that must be met to ensure you are a suitable parent and eligible to adopt. These rules are put in place to guarantee children go to homes where they will be protected and cared for. Many of them have already been through a lot in their short lives so the state wants to guarantee when they are adopted, it will be a good situation.

According to, one of the main requirements to adopt a child in the state is that you must be at least 21 years old. You also need to be able to show you can provide for the child. This means you must have a steady income and a secure and safe home. You do not need to own a home or earn a specific amount of money, though. You just must be able to provide for the needs of the child and have a home that is clean and safe. You also need to be in good physical health, but you do not have to be married. If you are single, it will not stop you from adopting.

Do grandparents have custody or visitation rights in Kentucky?

If you are a grandparent, you likely want to be able to be an active part of your grandchildren’s lives. This is natural and normal. It is what comes along with being a family. However, unlike the rights you had to your own children when they were still minors, you do not share those same automatic rights to your grandchildren. This can produce sticky situations, especially if you are not getting along with your child or in the event of your child’s death.

The American Grandparents Association explains that each state has a different stance on what rights grandparents should have. In Kentucky, you do have some rights or can obtain rights in certain situations, but the final decision is always left up to the court.

Can I get out on bail if I am charged with a crime?

Bail is usually a monetary sum paid so you can get out of jail before you go to trial in a criminal case. It is a guarantee that you will show up in court when you are ordered to answer to the charges. In some Kentucky cases, you may be able to be released on your own word that you will return for your trial and obey all rules set by the court. According to the Kentucky Court Rules, almost all charges are eligible for bail.

This means that if you are arrested and jailed for a crime, you should be offered the chance to bail out once you go in front of a judge. The judge sets the amount of bail you are required to pay, which is usually based upon the crime you are being charged with and may be based in part on whether you are considered a risk if released. You do not have to file anything to request bail for most crimes.

Ignition interlock devices: What you should know

DUI charges come with serious consequences, including heavy fines and driver’s license revocation. In some cases, you may be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. Although this device may be costly, it may allow you use your vehicle for transportation to school, work, doctors’ appointments and other necessary destinations. If you are asked to install an ignition interlock device on your motorcycle or vehicle, it helps to know how these machines work.

Interlock devices are small breath test machines that are wired directly to the vehicle’s ignition system. Before your vehicle will start, you must exhale into a tube that is connected to the device. The machine will then evaluate your blood alcohol content level, and if it below the preset limit, the vehicle will start. IIDs also require the driver to submit additional samples occasionally throughout the drive. If at any time, the device reads a sample that is above the BAC level limit, it will lockup. You must then wait for a certain period of time before the device will let you attempt a restart.

A warrantless search may leave you looking for answers

A traffic stop can be intimidating. It is normal to feel nervous when a law enforcement officer steps up to your vehicle and asks for your identification. You may be trying hard not to look suspicious even if you know you haven't done anything wrong.

Police officers may take advantage of your nervous state to trick you into surrendering your rights. For example, if the officer who pulled you over convinced you to allow a search of your vehicle, the results may have been criminal charges that extended beyond a traffic citation.

What is considered marital property?

Kentucky is one of many states in the nation that follows an equitable distribution of property model when couples choose to file for divorce. Rather than split all marital property equally in half, the judge presiding over the case will determine who is entitled to what after careful consideration of several factors.  In order to do this, however, the judge must have a comprehensive list of each party’s separate property, as well as all of the property that has been accumulated during the course of the marriage. At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we know that some people may not receive all of the marital property they are entitled to. When going through divorce, you should understand what property you are able to receive in the divorce settlement.

Marital property and assets are those which have been amassed while the couple was married. Many people instantly think of homes, vehicles, furniture and other possessions the couple may share. Yet, there are a number of other things that may be considered marital and are eligible for division in a divorce case. These include the following:

  •          Expensive collections, such as cars, art, horses, coins, antiques or wine.
  •          Gifts that spouses gave to one another during the marriage.
  •          Golf course or country club memberships.
  •          Lottery ticket winnings and income tax refunds.
  •          Intellectual property, such as patents, royalties, copyrights and trademarks.
  •          Travel reward points.
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