What the Extended “Look-Back” Period Means for a DUI Charge

April 25th, 2019 by Attorney Dan Carman

DUI lawyer

If you’ve dealt with DUI charges in Kentucky, then you’ve likely heard about the “look-back period.” Simply put, the look-back period is the time in which a driver’s record shows past offenses.

Kentucky’s look-back period for DUI was five years until it was expanded to 10 years in 2016. This change was applauded by many so-called “tough on crime” advocates, but it has implications for people who have tried to get past a troubling episode in their lives.

The Consequences of the Look-Back Period

Under the previous five-year look-back period, a person who faced a criminal charge wouldn’t experience harsher penalties because of a DUI charge that occurred, for example, seven years prior. Now, that same DUI charge has lingering consequences, making any DUI charges someone faces more severe for 10 years after being charged with impaired driving.

If you’re wondering why this change matters, then you should consider how long 10 years is for anyone, particularly for someone who made a mistake that carries a heavy stigma like impaired driving. There is little sympathy for someone charged with a DUI, even though it’s a relatively common charge. Since the look-back period was extended, more people have carried the burden of their past mistakes for longer periods. People have faced harsher penalties even as lawmakers and criminal justice reform advocates have sought ways to lessen mass incarceration in Kentucky.

A Longer Look-Back Period Moves Kentucky in the Wrong Direction

Our criminal justice system should strive to give people second chances and to offer reform over punishment. If someone has driven while intoxicated, they should be punished for the crime, but they should also be given the opportunity to redeem themselves. The look-back period can turn a charge that would previously have been considered a misdemeanor into a felony.

This adds to a growing problem of mass incarceration in Kentucky. We lack the resources to cope with the large number of people in our jails and prisons. Look-back periods aren’t helping us solve problems. Policies like these often create more hurdles for the people we are trying to rehabilitate.

Being charged with drunk driving has many negative consequences. In addition to the harsh penalties and fines, one must deal with judgment from friends and family members. Charges can impact opportunities in education, employment and housing. It can impact one’s ability to get a loan.

Drunk driving shouldn’t be a crime without punishment. It’s only fair that when someone makes the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking, they should pay a price for their decisions. Even the fiercest criminal justice reform advocates believe that personal responsibility is an important value we all share. However, lengthy look-back periods take punishments too far and leave people without the opportunity to reform themselves.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Kentucky, you should consider hiring a skilled, experienced Lexington DUI lawyer. Dan Carman has years of experience making sure his clients are treated fairly by our system. Contact us today to talk to Dan Carman about your case.

What the Extended “Look-Back” Period Means for a DUI Charge

If you’ve dealt with DUI charges in Kentucky, then you’ve likely heard about the “look-back period.” Simply put, the look-back period is the time in which a driver’s record shows past offenses.

Kentucky’s look-back period for DUI was five years until it was expanded to 10 years in 2016. This change was applauded by many so-called “tough on crime” advocates, but it has implications for people who have tried to get past a troubling episode in their lives.

The Consequences of the Look-Back Period

Under the previous five-year look-back period, a person who faced a criminal charge wouldn’t experience harsher penalties because of a DUI charge that occurred, for example, seven years prior. Now, that same DUI charge has lingering consequences, making any DUI charges someone faces more severe for 10 years after being charged with impaired driving.

If you’re wondering why this change matters, then you should consider how long 10 years is for anyone, particularly for someone who made a mistake that carries a heavy stigma like impaired driving. There is little sympathy for someone charged with a DUI, even though it’s a relatively common charge. Since the look-back period was extended, more people have carried the burden of their past mistakes for longer periods. People have faced harsher penalties even as lawmakers and criminal justice reform advocates have sought ways to lessen mass incarceration in Kentucky.

A Longer Look-Back Period Moves Kentucky in the Wrong Direction

Our criminal justice system should strive to give people second chances and to offer reform over punishment. If someone has driven while intoxicated, they should be punished for the crime, but they should also be given the opportunity to redeem themselves. The look-back period can turn a charge that would previously have been considered a misdemeanor into a felony.

This adds to a growing problem of mass incarceration in Kentucky. We lack the resources to cope with the large number of people in our jails and prisons. Look-back periods aren’t helping us solve problems. Policies like these often create more hurdles for the people we are trying to rehabilitate.

Being charged with drunk driving has many negative consequences. In addition to the harsh penalties and fines, one must deal with judgment from friends and family members. Charges can impact opportunities in education, employment and housing. It can impact one’s ability to get a loan.

Drunk driving shouldn’t be a crime without punishment. It’s only fair that when someone makes the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking, they should pay a price for their decisions. Even the fiercest criminal justice reform advocates believe that personal responsibility is an important value we all share. However, lengthy look-back periods take punishments too far and leave people without the opportunity to reform themselves.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Kentucky, you should consider hiring a skilled, experienced DUI lawyer. Dan Carman has years of experience making sure his clients are treated fairly by our system. Contact us today to talk to Dan Carman about your case.