Changes to Kentucky DUI law extends look back period

Published: Apr. 19, 2016 at 4:18 PM CDT
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A new law is cracking down on DUI drivers across Kentucky.

"This new law with the ten year look back period, if someone makes a foolish mistake when they're: 18,19,20,21 years old in college, they're going to be 31 before they can get this DUI off their record," said defense attorney Alan Simpson. "That's a real problem because most people are law abiding, but the repeat offenders have caused everyone else to suffer the consequences of their actions. Overall, that's not fair to the average person."

Senate Bill 56 was signed by Governor Bevin April 9. It means a DUI now stays on your record for ten years instead of five. According to Warren County Commonwealth Attorney Chris Cohron, the law is now closer to other states around the country.

"Most states went back years ago and extended to a ten year look back period. Some states have even greater look back periods including lifetime look back periods."

In 2015, more than 24,000 people were arrested for DUI in the state of Kentucky according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Under the old law, two DUI's six years apart would both count as first time offenses. Under new regulations any DUI within ten years of your first will count as a second, meaning harsher penalties for drivers.

"Expanding this look back period, we believe will more effectively address repeat DUI offenders in allowing that the more harsh penalties as repeat offenders go up will be able to be dealt with," added Cohron.

The law is already in place going forward, and those who defend accused DUI drivers in court say it shouldn't affect any cases retroactively.

"It's going to be very interesting to see what the court system does to try to potentially enforce this new law retroactively on people. It's my opinion that it's unconstitutional," said Simpson.

Besides the time period, everything else with the DUI law in the state will remain the same.

The state of Tennessee also has a DUI look back period of ten years.

We've included a link to the new law in the related links section of this story.