Washington State DUI laws set mandatory minimum penalties for convictions, including higher penalties if there are priors within 7 years. To determine whether a misdemeanor DUI is a first, second or third offense you must look at the dates of other DUI arrests, dates of court resolutions and exactly how those other DUI’s ultimately resolved. We divided this analysis into two posts with this post focusing on dates of arrests and dates of convictions. In this separate post we review what types of convictions count as prior offenses.

To determine a DUI offense level, you must first compare the current date of arrest with any other DUI’s. Washington law uses the phrase “prior offense” and, generally, a DUI arrest within seven years before the current event will count as a prior offense sentence enhancer. DUI arrests older than seven years usually won’t count as a sentence enhancer.

Strange as it may sound, there are occasions where a DUI arrest that occurs AFTER, or second in time, can actually count as “prior offense.” This occurs when the later DUI event is both within seven years after the current one and results in a conviction BEFORE the earlier DUI case resolves. These situations are rare, but might happen when someone is accused of multiple DUI’s in within a short time or they don’t timely resolve their first DUI before getting and quickly resolving a second.

Arrest dates and conviction dates are only the first step to determining DUI offense levels. You must also analyze how a DUI arrest ultimately resolved in court to know whether it will count as a prior offense. The attorneys at Cooney Law Offices can let you know whether you’re facing a first offense DUI or higher and explain your options for fighting the case. Cooney Law Offices. We can help!