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KENTUCKY’S NEW IGNITION INTERLOCK BILL

Citizens charged with DUI face a number of driver’s license suspensions. They include, in some

instances, pre-trial driver’s license suspensions. If there is a DUI conviction there are driver’s license

suspensions. The length of these suspensions is related to the number of prior DUI convictions. Pre-trial

suspensions, are generally hard suspensions with no driving privileges. Kentucky has hardship driving

privileges for people convicted of DUI for certain limited reasons including work, school or treatment.

However, there are hard suspensions with no privileges associated with these suspensions. These hard

suspensions are between 30 days to 2 ½ years, depending on the number of prior DUI convictions

Kentucky’s new Ignition Interlock Bill which takes effect in late June of 2015 makes sweeping

changes to a citizens ability to drive during periods of license suspensions set out above. Under the new

legislation citizens trapped in one of these DUI suspensions can now drive with an Ignition Interlock on

their vehicle.

In the past someone charged with DUI who refused to take the intoxilizer or had a prior DUI

conviction within 5 years would have their license suspended with no driving privileges at arraignment.

This suspension would last generally until the case was resolved. It would then generally be replaced by a

different license suspension depending upon the outcome of the particular case. Now, these individuals

may operate their vehicles with court approval after the installation of an Ignition Interlock device. This

even before the case is concluded.

DUI convictions in Kentucky require suspensions of a minimum of 30 days for a first offender

and up to 5 years for a fourth or subsequent offender. Save one exception, people who have their licenses

suspended for convictions of DUI may now immediately drive with an Ignition Interlock device.

An Ignition Interlock device is a device that detects the presence of alcohol at level of 0.02 grams

of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. The legal limit is 0.08. The device will recheck alcohol levels at about

10 minute intervals. This means the driver has to blow into the interlock device to start the engine and

when requested to do so by the instrument at the 10 minute interval. The device is serviced every 60 days

and reports which are stored in the device are sent to the prosecutor, the Court system, and the Defendant

of any violations. The cost of these machines after installation is about $100.00 per month. Kentucky will

have a sliding scale for the fees for indigents to obtain the interlock at reduced prices. The devices have to

be installed and serviced through an approved provider. The approval is given by the Commonwealth of

Kentucky.

This new Ignition Interlock bill only pertains to alcohol offenses. Offenses involving drugs

remain unaffected by this Legislation.

The way this bill is written, there are very few reasons why anyone would choose to

participate in blood alcohol testing. DUI cases without blood alcohol levels are much easier to defend

compared to cases with blood alcohol levels above the statutory minimum. Citizens should never consent

to blood alcohol test without talking to a lawyer.

About Wilbur Zevely

Wilbur Zevely
Wilbur M. Zevely is a partner in the Florence, KY law firm Busald Funk Zevely, PSC. He has practiced law since 1972. He concentrates his practice in criminal law, domestic relations, and DUI cases. He has defended thousands of clients in criminal trials before Judges and juries. He has practiced throughout Kentucky and Southern Ohio. Mr. Zevely received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1968 with a minor in math. His J.D. is from Salmon P. Chase School of Law in 1972. Prior to entering the practice of law, he worked as a chemist for The Monsanto Co., under contract with the United States Atomic Energy Commission. For many years, Mr. Zevely, has lectured on DUI issues for the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, (KACDL), the KY Bar Association, the Northern KY Bar Association, and the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. He taught for more than 10 years at the week long basic training course at Faubush, KY for the KY Department of Public Advocacy. He writes a regular column on DUI tips for the KACDL news letter. In the early 1970’s Mr. Zevely, incorporated “The 15th Judicial District Public Defender, Inc.,” this was the first State funded Public Defender program in the Northern KY area. Mr. Zevely ran the program for years. The program represented indigent clients in Boone, Gallatin, Grant, Carroll, and Owen Counties. Mr. Zevely along with retired Judge Stanley Billingsley authors the Kentucky Driving Under the Influence Law Book which is a West Law Publication. The book is rewritten annually, and has been published for 19 years. Mr. Zevely has served as director of the KACDL since its formation. Mr. Zevely is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, KACDL, NACDL, and is admitted to practice in Federal Court for the Southern District of Ohio and the Eastern District of Kentucky. Mr. Zevely received the 2014 Distinguished Lawyer award from the Northern Kentucky Bar Association. He also received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement award from the Northern Kentucky Bar Association.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.bfzlaw.com


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