Recently, the Kentucky legislature has changed the Kentucky DUI statute to expand the time period where a prior DUI conviction enhances the penalty for a subsequent DUI.
In the past, the ‘look-back period’ as it is known, has been 5-years. In April 2016 Governor Bevin signed SB 56 changing the 5-year look-back to 10-years. This is a significant change and greatly enhances the penalties if there are any prior DUI convictions in the past 10-years.
This is especially problematic for people that have prior convictions more than 5 but less than 10 years old. For example, if a person was convicted of a DUI in 2009 and 2008 and is charged with a DUI in 2016, what used to be a 1st offense is now a 3rd offense. The consequence for a 3rd offense is up to 1-year in jail.
But the problem isn’t just the increased penalty – its what was ‘promised’ to the defendants when they pled guilty to DUI in the older cases. You see, the plea forms used across the entire state of Kentucky all told the defendants that their DUI conviction could be used against them for the next 5 years. Now, the legislature is changing the rules of the game. They’re now saying that we’re making it 10 years.
There are multiple cases being litigated across Kentucky right now as it relates to this one-sided change of the look back period. We look forward to being part of that litigation and making sure that all people – both the innocent and the guilty are treated fairly.