Most DUI’s in Washington State are misdemeanors and have a 7 year look back to determine offense level. Offense levels dictate the mandatory minimum penalties if you’re actually convicted of a DUI or the related charge of Physical Control. A new DUI arrest will most likely be considered a first offense if you’ve never been arrested for DUI or Physical Control before or if any old arrests were more than 7 years ago. Felony DUI’s, which are rare, have a very different look back period.
For misdemeanor DUI’s, an old arrest for DUI or Physical Control within 7 years from the date of the new arrest will usually count as a prior offense. If that old arrest eventually led to a conviction for DUI, Physical Control or a negotiated plea reduction down to Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment or Negligent Driving in the First Degree, then it will definitely count as a prior.
Let’s say, for example, you were arrested for DUI for the first time in your life on November 1, 2016. That case began as a first offense DUI, but was eventually resolved in court with a negotiated guilty plea to Reckless Driving. Then on February 15, 2023 – a little more than 6 years later – you were arrested for DUI again. The February 2023 arrest would be considered a “second offense DUI” since your old DUI arrest is both within 7 years of the new arrest date and resolved a conviction for Reckless Driving.
As the DUI offense level increases so does the jail, fine, license suspension and ignition interlock penalties. Even before you get to convictions, having a prior offense could lead to elevated conditions of release, including mandatory ignition interlock device, at your first court hearing.
If you or someone you care about are facing a DUI, then you should contact the attorneys at Cooney Law Offices today. We can analyze whether it’s a first offense DUI and map out a plan to craft the best possible resolution. Cooney Law Offices. We can help!