A Lexington driver who finds him- or herself charged with a third DUI is in a serious situation. Because the driver has had previous opportunities to reform his or her behavior but has failed to do so, the Kentucky Legislature has enacted laws imposing serious penalties on the offender. The court will likely carefully evaluate the circumstances of the offender’s present DUI charge as well as the time and circumstances of the previous offenses in determining what sentence is appropriate.
How Far Does Kentucky “Look Back”?
A DUI becomes a third offense if the driver has two previous DUI convictions and at least one of those convictions occurred within five years of the present DUI charge. A third DUI offense is a misdemeanor. However, just because the driver had been previously charged with a DUI offense does not mean it is a valid “prior conviction” that can be convicted. If a prior conviction occurred without the driver having legal counsel, for example, the conviction may not be valid.
What Penalties Can I Face as a Third DUI Offender?
The penalties facing a third-time DUI offender can include:
Jail: The court can sentence the driver to a minimum jail term of 30 days and a maximum jail term of 12 months. In most circumstances, the court can permit a driver to complete the jail term in small “blocks” so that the driver can maintain work or school schedules. However, if there are any “aggravating circumstances,” the court must sentence the driver to a minimum of 60 consecutive days in jail. “Aggravating circumstances” include any of the following circumstances that are present in the DUI case:
- Driving more than 30 miles an hour over the speed limit;
- Driving the wrong way on a limited access highway;
- Being involved in a crash causing death or serious physical injury;
- An alcohol level of .15 or greater more than 2 hours after operating a vehicle;
- Refusal to submit to testing;
- Transporting a passenger under 12 years of age;
Fines: The driver can be fined between $500 and up to $1,000. This fine does not include other costs that can be imposed such as court costs, probation fees, or alcohol treatment costs.
License suspension: The driver’s license can be suspended between 24 months and 36 months.
Other penalties: In addition to all of the above, the court can order the driver to attend and complete up to a year of alcohol or substance abuse treatment and perform up to 12 months of community service.
Defending Drivers Charged with Third DUI Offenses
A solid defense for those charged with third DUI offenses must look at and address all relevant issues. The evidence underlying the DUI charge should be examined and attacked as well as the prior conviction evidence. Not only this, but in the event of a conviction, the good aspects of the offender should be persuasively presented so that a court is persuaded to sentence the driver favorably. If you are charged with a third DUI offense, contact Suhre & Associates, LLC today at (859) 569-4014.