April 18th, 2016 by Attorney Dan Carman
Did you hear that? That swishing sound? It was the noise of Governor Bevin’s pen as he signed into law a bill that toughens the punishment for drunk driving. Known as the Brianna Taylor Act, in honor of an Elizabethtown teenager who lost her life to a drunk driver, it was supported on both sides of the aisle. It was sponsored by two Democrats and one Republican, passed the Senate 35-1 and the House 98-0. The measure expands how far back the courts can consider a person’s history of prior DUI offenses. Legally referred to as the “look-back” window, the period in Kentucky has now been doubled from five years to ten years.
Used to justify harsher penalties for repeat offenders, under the new law, prior convictions for driving under the influence can impact every aspect of your current Kentucky DUI charge. If you are arrested for DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction, you can receive more severe consequences than you would for a first-time DUI conviction. If more than 10 years has passed since your earlier DUI arrest, your current case will be treated as a first-time DUI charge.
First-time DUI offenders typically face penalties of less than 30 days in jail (sometimes no days, or 4 days), 20 hours of alcohol-driver / alcohol-drug education, license revocation of 30 to 120 days, a $200 to $500 fine, and possible community service (although community service is rarely a part of DUI prosecutions in Kentucky). A second-time offender (or two offenses in ten years) faces up to six months in jail, a 12- to 18-month driver’s license suspension, a $350 to $500 fine, and one year of alcohol-driver / alcohol-drug education attendance – often one class per week for 52 weeks, and a possible interlock ignition license. A third-time offender (or three offenses in ten years) is assessed a maximum $1,000 fine, up to 12 months in jail, a two- or three-year license suspension, and one year of alcohol-driver / alcohol-drug education attendance, and possible interlock ignition licence.
Fourth or subsequent penalties are considered Class D felonies and include one to five years’ imprisonment, fines between $1,000 and $10,000, loss of license for five years, and an ignition interlock system. More jail time is often awarded, regardless of offender status, if there are aggravating circumstances such as having a high blood alcohol content (more than 0.15), children under 12 in the vehicle, excessive speeding (more than 26 mph over the limit), or causing an accident that results in serious injuries or fatalities.
Kentucky DUI laws are steeper than ever before, especially for defendants with prior convictions for driving under the influence within the past 10 years. Although there are certain penalties handed down for various DUI offenses upon conviction, having a skilled defense attorney in your corner can make a difference. There are many ways to fight or reduce a DUI charge. Whether you are under investigation for this crime or are already facing charges, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at the Lexington, KY-based Carman Law Firm. As DUI look-back criminal defense lawyers with years of experience, we offer thorough, experienced representation. Call us today at (859) 685-1055 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.