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New DUI law creates harsher punishment for offenders

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 11:03 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky’s DUI laws are different as of last week. Starting July 1, license suspensions became longer depending on an individual’s record.

The new laws also incentivize installing something called an ignition lock device.

DUI cases are down in Kentucky. But for now, for a first time drunk driving offense, suspension rates are up.

“Under the old law, it was 30 days to 120 days, now the minimum suspension period for a DUI first is 4 months,” said Abe Mashni, a lawyer in Lexington.

Unless the individual gets an ignition lock device.

“There’s no cheating it, big brother is actually watching,” said Andrew Buck, who installs ignition lock devices in cars.

His Lexington auto body shop installs a brand of the device called ‘Intoxalock.'

Before you put the key into the ignition, you press a button, breathe into the tube and then pass or fail, which determines if you stop or go.

A fail won’t let car start.

“Sad to say it’s a big business, but it allows people to get back on the road and get on with their lives while being monitored, and It’s good accountability,” said Buck.

Buck says the device is foolproof.

“They can see when your car is running, when your car is off, what you blow when you blow into the device, whether it’s a good sample or a bad sample, and you have the camera monitoring who’s blowing into the device,” he said.

But Mashni is concerned it will be cost prohibitive.

There’s a fee for installing, removing, and maintaining it, even one for giving a bad sample.

“If you have a violation within your interlock time period, then you’re subject to the enhanced penalties and it’s going to make your suspension longer,” said Mashni.

Buck says Intoxalock keeps his business busy, but he also thinks it can keep people going down the right path.

He says a former customer returned to his store to voluntarily get the device re-installed.

“He said it just keeps me in check, it keeps me from doing anything stupid and the fact that he had the guts to admit that and do it, that’s impressive.”

Mashni says he thinks if people invest in this device and rideshare companies, the Commonwealth can be an even better place on the roads.

Also included in the new laws-- once someone is charged with a DUI, they can immediately start taking the alcohol driver education classes, rather than waiting to be convicted.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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