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How long will a Kentucky DUI charge affect future charges?

The first time someone gets arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Kentucky, they will likely feel very nervous. Not knowing what to expect from the criminal justice system can make every step of the process seem terrifying.

While someone with a previous DUI arrest may understand what to expect when taken into state custody, they may also feel fear — but for a very different reason. Kentucky has progressive penalties for DUI charges.

Every subsequent charge after the first carries more significant penalties. That means more time in jail, additional substance abuse treatment requirements, a longer driver’s license suspension and bigger fines to pay. How long does a DUI charge stay on your record for charging and sentencing purposes?

Kentucky will look back a full decade at your driving history

The look-back period for DUI offenses in Kentucky is 10 years. In other words, you have a decade after that initial infraction where you face possibly increased consequences for another DUI charge. Each arrest within that period will result in increased penalties, with fourth and subsequent charges in a decade leading to felony charges.

Of course, the opposite is also true. Going a while between DUI arrests can reduce what penalties you have to worry about facing. If you go more than 10 years between arrests, Kentucky prosecutors will treat your next arrest like a first DUI, meaning you face lower penalties and consequences.

Fighting back when you face a second or third DUI with elevated penalties is a smart choice. The same is generally true of defending against the first DUI. An experienced attorney can help.