Recent changes in Kentucky's DUI laws make it even tougher on anyone suspected of driving after drinking. In the past, Kentucky DUI laws allowed courts to look back five years into a person's record for previous convictions. Since every subsequent offense elevates the severity of the penalties, you could make the same mistake twice in a lifetime and still face the penalties of a first offense.
The new law, however, has expanded the look back period to 10 years. Now, if you were convicted of a DUI violation at age 21, you move into the "Second Offense" category if the same thing happens before you turn 31. The consequences of a second offense are much more severe.
Comparing a first offense DUI to a second offense
Your first conviction for DUI carries many consequences. The court may sentence you to any combination of these penalties:
- A fine between $200 and $500
- Jail time between 48 hours and 30 days
- Attendance in a substance abuse program lasting 90 days
- Suspension of your license from one to four months
- Community labor from 48 hours to 30 days
Compare these penalties to those for a second offense within a 10-year period
- A fine between $350 and $500
- Jail time between seven days and six months
- Attendance in a substance abuse program lasting one year
- Suspension of your license from one year to 18 months
- Community labor from 10 days to six months
The difference is startling and a major disruption of life for someone who may have stumbled only once before nearly a decade earlier.
The consequences may affect your whole life
If you were convicted of DUI charges in your youth, having that charge on your record for 10 years may jeopardize many opportunities for you. You may not be able to pursue the career you dreamed of and prepared for in college. You may be unable to drive for a year or more, hindering your chances of getting to work, taking your children to school or completing the daily errands many drivers take for granted.
A dedicated criminal law attorney can help you in this situation. Your attorney can defend you from the charges by carefully examining and challenging the evidence and the procedures used to collect it. The aggressive representation of a lawyer may mean the difference between facing harsh penalties and getting your life back on track.