Determining DUI Offense Level: Step Two

Folks who get a first offense DUI often face another DUI later in life. An old misdemeanor DUI will most likely count as a prior offense sentence enhancer if it’s within seven years of the new Washington State DUI. Sometimes there’s a tricky analysis with the date a DUI case resolved in court, which is why we addressed how dates work in a prior blog post. For this post we’ll focus on what types of resolutions on DUI arrests actually count as prior offenses.

Once you’ve mapped out dates of arrests and resolutions, then you must look at the type of resolution to determine whether a separate DUI arrest counts as a prior offense for a current DUI. If another DUI event is within seven years and resulted in a DUI conviction, entry of a Deferred Prosecution or a reduction and plea of guilty to Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment or Negligent Driving 1st Degree then it will count as a prior offense. These are the most common court resolutions to DUI arrests.

Under Washington DUI law, convictions from another state can count as prior offenses. If you have a DUI charge from another state where the event occurred within seven years from the present case, then you must analyze how that out of state case resolved. If it was an actual DUI conviction or deferred based on alcohol addiction, drug addiction or mental health problems, then it will count as a prior offense. If that out of state DUI pled down to a lower charge, then you’ll need to compare the language of the statute for the reduction with the language of Washington State’s definitions for Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment or Negligent Driving 1st Degree. If that out of state statute contains similar language to the Washington State statutes, then you likely have a prior offense sentence enhancer for the current Washington DUI.

DUI arrests can resolve in ways that don’t count as prior offenses. Some DUI charges are dismissed for lack of evidence the accused was driving. Some folks are arrested for DUI and blow below the legal limit at the police station leading to dismissals or reductions to non-criminal traffic violations. These situations are rare, so if there was a prior DUI arrest within seven years, then there’s a good chance it will count as a prior offense.

If you’re facing a DUI, then contact the attorneys at Cooney Law Offices today. We can analyze whether it’s a first offense DUI or higher and explain your options for fighting the case. Cooney Law Offices. We can help!