It's a basic fact of criminal law: if you are caught committing a repeat offense, the court will likely provide harsher penalties for your conviction. You might think that the same is true for drunk driving in Florida-- if you are caught drunk driving more than once, your penalties will accumulate. Generally speaking, this is true but not always. In some cases, our state's look-back period prevents older DUI convictions from counting against a defendant.
What Is A "Look-Back" Period?
Some states, Florida included, have instated a look-back period for evaluating defendant drivers convicted of drunk driving. This period is a limited window into the past in which prior DUI convictions can "count" against the defendant.
The DUI look-back period in Florida for multiple DUIs is as follows:
- A second offense must occur within five years.
- A third offense must occur within 10 years.
- A fourth offense can result in a lifetime license suspension.
As you can see, for second and third offenses, there is a limited period of time in which a conviction can be included in the defendant's DUI history. When there are four convictions, however, the court can consider them all at once, no matter how old they might be.
How It Works
To better describe how this Florida law works, let's look at an example of "Jerry," a Miami driver who's just been arrested and convicted of this third DUI in 2016. Previously, he's been convicted in 2013 and 2002. Despite this, given the timeline of Jerry's previous convictions, it is possible that he will only be convicted of his second DUI.
That's because his 2002 conviction occurred more than 10 years ago and it is possible that the court will ignore it. The 2013 conviction, however, is fairly recent and will likely have an effect on Jerry's sentencing.
If you are facing a repeat DUI charge, it is essential that you face the allegations against you with proven counsel on your side. At Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law, our legal team has more than 50 years of combined experience and have time and time again ensured that the best possible outcome is secured for our clients.