This blog is intended for educational purposes and general information, and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney licensed in your state. No attorney-client relationship is created by reading this blog.
Application of the Amended Kentucky DUI Look-back Law
In April 2016, the Kentucky state legislature decided to amend the DUI “look-back” law. (KRS 189A.010) Under the previous look-back law, prior DUI offenses within the last five years increased the mandatory minimum penalties, including escalation to a felony charge for fourth or higher offenses within five years.
The change to the law increased the look-back period to 10 years. The amended statute did not indicate whether the change was intended to apply the 10 year period to defendants who already had previous convictions within 10 years but not within five years. For those defendants, application of the new rule would include DUI’s that otherwise would not have escalated penalties. Multiple defendants challenged the application of the new look-back period, alleging it was an unconstitutional retroactive application of the law and constituted a breach of previous plea bargains in which the written plea agreement included language reciting the mandatory minimum penalties.
In a September 28, 2017 opinion, the Kentucky Supreme Court determined that the 10 year look-back period applied to all defendants. The Court stated that the new rule was not an unconstitutional retroactive ex post facto law because the new DUI offenses occurred after the change in the law. The Court also asserted that the language in the plea agreements regarding penalties was not intended to lock-in future penalties.
If you are charged with a DUI in Kentucky, you need help from an attorney that can interpret this and the many other laws that affect your case. Please contact me to set up a free consultation.
The “When” of Fine Print for Contractors
Anyone who owns a home knows that when he or she needs the expertise of a contractor to remodel a home or replace major systems in the house, the contractor is likely, at some point, to present a page full of fine print that will probably never be read. If you are a contractor and do not use anything other than a handshake and a smile to seal a deal, you may be opening yourself up to problems. Having a standard document that spells out to customers the details of any warranties, the scope of the work, and the need for additional costs in the event of unforeseen problems are all examples of contract provisions that can ensure that the homeowner knows what they’re getting and the contractor gets paid.
However, that fine print will not do the contractor any good if it is not provided to the customer at the right time. The general, basic rule of contract creation is called mutual assent or “a meeting of the minds.” The contract only includes the terms that both parties intend and mutually agree to. Unless the parties mutually agree to change the terms of the contract, a single party cannot change or add terms to the contract. So if a contractor does not provide the fine print before or during a customer’s acceptance of the contractor’s bid, the fine print may not be enforceable.
However, I have seen many contractors make the mistake of providing the fine print after the work is done, for example on the back of an invoice. I have seen attorneys unsuccessfully attempt to introduce evidence of fine print that was added after the work was done. The best practice for contractors is to include all the intended terms on a bid or estimate, given to the customer to review and sign before the contractor begins work. The customer will appreciate knowing what the terms of the contract are, and the contractor will be better protected from problems arising from misunderstanding or disagreement over the contract’s terms.