Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I recently heard that Kentucky has updated their DUI look back period to 10 years. I was recently arrested for DUI with a previous DUI conviction five years ago. I am wondering how this law will affect my second DUI arrest? Can you explain the new Kentucky look back law?”
Overview of Look back Laws
Look back periods are the number of years in which the state can look back for previous DUI convictions and enhance penalties for current DUI convictions.
On April 9, 2016, the State of Kentucky extended the look back period from five years to ten years. The change was made in response to an DUI incident which killed mark Hinkel by a DUI offender with a long history of drinking and driving.
So, what does this mean for you? If you are convicted for a DUI and you have had a previous DUI conviction within the last 10 years, which you have, the second DUI committed within 10 years can be treated not as a first offense, but rather a second offense, leading to much more severe penalties and higher fines. This new law is especially serious for you because if your previous DUI conviction had been reviewed under the old look back law then your most current DUI arrest would have been viewed as a first offense.
What penalties can you expect from a second DUI conviction?
As mentioned above, because you will be charged with a second DUI rather than a first, you can expect to pay higher fines and receive more severe penalties. Specifically, you can expect the following:
- Fines of $350 to $500
- Jail time of one week up to six months
- Mandatory treatment for alcohol or substance abuse for one year
- A twelve to eighteen month license suspension
- Mandatory ignition interlock device installation
- Automatic license suspension at your first court appearance (arraignment) whether or not you are convicted of DUI
Why was the look back law extended?
Proponents of the new law believe that extending the DUI look back period in the State of Kentucky enables prosecutors, judges, and licensing authorities to more effectively address repeat DUI offenders and assess harsher DUI penalties for those drivers who are considered a higher risk for future DUI arrests and potential involvement in fatal crashes.
Opponents of the system claim there remains a wide disparity between states with regards to look back periods. For example, some states have a five year look back period with others having a lifetime look back period.
Regardless of what states believe, however, everyone agrees that repeat DUI offenders are a national issue. In 2014, the NHTSA conducted a study of 40 states and determined that approximately one quarter of all drivers arrested for DUI each year are repeat DUI offenders.
Under the new Kentucky look back law, assuming there is sufficient evidence, you can expect to be charged with a second DUI. While states continue to balance the rights of convicted drivers with the safety of other drivers, you’ll need to find a good DUI lawyer to help you fight your DUI charge.
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