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Kentucky Senate Adopts ‘Look-Back’ DUI Bill

Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.
Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.

The Kentucky Senate has overwhelmingly approved legislation to double the period of time allowable to determine penalties for habitual drunk drivers. Current law allows for reviewing a five year history of drunk driving violations. The senate-approved measure expands the look-back provision to ten years and provides for greater penalties. Elizabethtown Senator Dennis Parrett, the bill’s sponsor, doesn’twant to lessen the severity of a DUI, but says, “For a lot of people, the first DUI is a mistake and they never have another one and statistics show that.” “The second one is not a mistake, the third, fourth, and the fifth are big problems, and we need to correct that,” continued Parrett. 

The legislation also extends the DUI reporting time for county attorneys from three to six months. Northern Kentucky Senator John Schickel cast the lone “No” vote, saying that provision goes against a speedy trial philosophy, “And if there is a problem in the lab. They need to fix the problem in the lab.” “The constitution guarantees a right to a speedy trial. 90 days is a long time when you’ve been charged with a crime. It’s very disruptive to your life,” said Schickel. 

The legislation would allow for greater penalties for habitual DUI offenders. If given final approval, it would be known as the Brianna Taylor Act, in honor of an Elizabethtown teenager who lost her life to a drunk driver.

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