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Repeat DUI offenses come with harsh penalties in Kentucky

Penalties for a first offense DUI are tough in Kentucky, but repeat offenses are even harsher. The state has updated its laws in recent years to address the potential dangers drivers under the influence pose to other motorists.

If you are pulled over for a DUI and you've gotten one before, it's important to know what you may be facing, especially as it compares to your DUI history.

Courts can look back 10 years

Previously, Kentucky law said that repeat offenses could only be reviewed within a five-year period. That changed in 2016 when the state legislature expanded the period to 10 years. While this may seem extreme to some, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the law in September after it was challenged by two defendants.

A circuit court judge in Warren County ruled that using prior offenses more than five years old to enhance the penalty for a 2016 offense would violate contractual rights in their plea agreements. The Supreme Court disagreed and said Kentucky can retroactively impose the 10-year agreements.

Harsh penalties for repeat offenses

The second offenses for a DUI include the following possible penalties:

  • A fine between $350 and $500
  • Seven days to six months in jail
  • 14 days imprisonment if aggravating circumstances are present
  • One year of alcohol or substance abuse treatment
  • 12- to 18-month license suspension
  • 10 days to six months of community labor

Third offenses come with a $500 to $1,000 fine, 30 days to 12 months in jail, 60 days in jail if aggravating circumstances are present, 24- to 36-month license suspension and 10 days to 12 months of community labor.

Fourth offenses skip the fines and community labor. They require a minimum term of 120 days imprisonment with no probation, 240 days if aggravating circumstances are present and a 60-month license suspension. It is also considered a Class D felony.

It is important to make wise choices on the road, not only to protect the safety of yourself and others on the road but knowing that your DUI history is reviewed more stringently under Kentucky law. If you find yourself facing a second DUI charge, it is worth talking to a criminal defense attorney well versed in DUI cases, who can help you potentially soften the harsh penalties.

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