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Kentucky Expands Look-Back Period for DUIs

Man dinking a beer bottle

As if we needed another reason NOT to just plead guilty when charged with a first offense DUI, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has recently signed into law a bill that will double what’s known as the “look-back” period for convictions of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, increasing this period from five to ten years. This has two MAJOR ramifications for someone convicted of a first offense DUI. This has two MAJOR ramifications for someone convicted of a first offense DUI. Previously, any DUI committed over five years before a second offense would not be considered in a subsequent prosecution, and the second DUI would be treated as an initial offense. Now, a second DUI committed any time before ten years has passed from the first conviction will be considered a second offense, bringing with it much stiffer penalties.  Basically, if you get convicted of a DUI, if you even get charged with another one within 10 years, it will be a second offense DUI and you’ll be facing significantly harsher penalties. Secondly, if you get convicted of a DUI after the new law goes into effect this summer, you will NOT be able to expunge that DUI from your record for ten years! A DUI conviction on your criminal record for ten years is not a good look!

Under Kentucky law, those convicted of a first-time DUI face a fine of between $200-500, up to 30 days in jail, the requirement of the alcohol education program (classes!), a 30-120 day license suspension, and if the DUI is “aggravated,” you’ll be required to install and pay for an interlock device into your car for 180 days (that’s the awkward tube you have to blow into to start your car). However, under the new law, should someone be convicted of a second DUI within ten years of first being convicted of the first DUI, they will instead face a fine of $350 to $500, from a week to six months in jail, a year of treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, 1 to 1 ½ years’ license suspension, and a requirement of the interlock device.  Additionally, with a second offense DUI, your driver’s license is AUTOMATICALLY suspended at your first court appearance (arraignment) whether or not you are convicted. If convicted of three DUIs within ten years, the penalties climb even higher, bringing, among other penalties, a fine of up to $1,000 and a possible three-year license suspension.

This change in DUI law makes it even more critical to find a criminal defense attorney who is highly experienced to take your case when you’re charged with a DUI in Kentucky, even for a first offense. While the state will provide you with a public defender, that person is likely to be overloaded with cases and unable to devote their full attention to your defense, likely urging you to take a plea as early as possible. An aggressive criminal defense attorney will closely examine the evidence and circumstances surrounding your arrest and use all available defenses and legal strategies to ensure that your right to a fair trial is upheld, forcing the prosecutor to prove all elements of the crime with which you’re charged, not just to accept a plea.  If you’re in the market for an aggressive criminal defense attorney, make sure they understand the ramifications of a DUI conviction and can show you a history of successfully litigating DUIs!

This is also a good time to look into the process of expunging your record, if you were convicted of a DUI five or more years ago and have since avoided a second conviction. An expungement will wipe your record clear in the eyes of the law, provided that you have managed to avoid a second conviction since. However, once the law changes in July, you could miss your window of getting your prior DUI expunged!

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI in central Kentucky, seek out a DUI lawyer who gets results for his clients, and contact Louisville criminal defense and DUI attorney Ron Aslam for a consultation, at 502-581-1676.