How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Kentucky?

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A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Kentucky will remain on an individual’s criminal record forever unless it is expunged. Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 189A.010 provides that a prior DUI conviction will have an effect on an individual’s subsequent DUI charges for 10 years.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

A DUI charge will remain on a person's Kentucky driving record for 10 years.

In 2017, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that a law passed by the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly to expand the look-back period on a DUI charge was legal. Before 2016, the look-back period was five years. A DUI charge will remain on a person's Kentucky driving record for 10 years.

Types of Driving Records

Kentucky offers three types of driving history records (DHR) for noncommercial drivers, a three-year DHR, a five-year DHR and a full DHR. A three-year DHR contains administrative entries regarding a person’s driving privileges from the past three years and traffic conviction information. A five-year DHR contains administrative entries regarding a person’s driving privileges from the past five years and traffic conviction information. A full DHR contains administrative entries regarding a person’s driving privileges for the entire length of time or set of periods for which they had a driver's license in Kentucky and traffic conviction information.

Expungement Clears Driving Record

An expungement of an offense from a person’s criminal history usually clears their driving record. Yet there is a particular barrier to expungement with regards to a DUI. A DUI is an enhanceable offense, meaning a person will receive a higher punishment if they get a subsequent DUI within 10 years, so a driver will not be eligible to expunge a DUI from their criminal or driving record until 10 years have passed.

A person can move to expunge a DUI if the DUI offense was charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A defendant can do research to learn about the penalties for first-offense DUIs in Kentucky. They can learn about the harsher penalties for second or subsequent DUIs by researching Kentucky DUI Laws or speaking to a defense attorney.

When a person’s DUI has been expunged, the court and other agencies delete the record of the DUI from their computer systems. The matter will not appear on official state-performed background checks. The court and other agencies will respond to inquiries about the expunged DUI with the reply that there is no record on the matter. The person whose criminal record has been expunged will not have to disclose the fact of the DUI or any matter relating to it on a job or credit application.

Rules Regarding Expungement

A Kentucky court can only expunge a Kentucky DUI, not an out-of-state, alcohol-related offense such as an Ohio conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). A person must file or move to expunge an out-of-state DUI in the state where they committed the offense and petition for expungement in the court in which the person was convicted or in which the DUI charge was filed. An applicant for an elected office position, a state license for a profession, a law enforcement job or a school-related job may be required to disclose an expunged DUI. Talk to a defense lawyer about situations that may require a convicted person to disclose a history of drunk driving or an expunged DUI or DWI (driving while intoxicated) offense.

DUIs and Eligibility for Diversion Programs

A county or city attorney’s office may offer a first-time DUI offender a chance to complete a DUI diversion program. Qualifications for a diversion program typically include not having a prior diversion on any misdemeanor or felony offense; being charged with a first DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.15 percent with no aggravating factors; and not committing an accident with any injury to a person or damage to property exceeding $1,000.

When a person successfully completes a diversion program, their guilty plea is set aside. The DUI case is dismissed with a stipulation of probable cause. The record of the dismissal of the case will not be expunged for two years from the date that the state dismissed the person’s criminal charge.