Were you recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Miami, but this was not the first, but the second time you’ve been arrested for DUI in Miami-Dade County? If so, did you know that depending on the chronological age of the DUI, it may count as your first offense?
What am I talking about? I’m referring to Florida’s “look-back period,” otherwise known as the “washout period,” which is how long a previous DUI conviction can count against you for the purpose of enhanced penalties in a second DUI case.
In Florida, DUI is criminalized under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. Under this law, it’s illegal to drive when your normal faculties are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a chemical substance; it’s also illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more.
The state has specific penalties for a first, second, third, and subsequent DUI. If a second DUI can be penalized as a first due to the expiration of the look-back period, it’s a plus for the DUI defendant.
Look-Back Period for Second DUI is 5 Years
Let’s take a closer look at the look-back period: As I mentioned earlier, the fines, sentencing, and license revocation increase with each subsequent DUI conviction, but only a point. Florida’s “look-back” period sets time limits on how long a prior DUI conviction can be counted against you.
At 5 years, the look-back period for a second Florida DUI is rather generous. In California for example, a first DUI can be used against you for 10 years, as opposed to just 5.
To illustrate, let’s say that “John” was convicted of DUI in 2010 and he was found guilty of DUI in 2017. Since it’s been 7 years since John’s first conviction, the second DUI would not subject John to mandatory jail time, but would qualify him for other sentencing enhancements as a second offender. Those enhancements are increased fines, longer DUI classes, counseling, a mandatory ignition interlock device installation as well as the inability to obtain a work permit while serving out the license suspension period.
On the other hand, if John was convicted of DUI in 2014, his first DUI would count against him and the Court must impose certain “second DUI penalties,” which are greater than the penalties for a first DUI, such as a minimum of 10 days in jail.
Look-Back Period for Third DUI is 10 Years
The look-back period for a third DUI is 10 years. So, in order to face third DUI penalties, you would have to have three DUI convictions, two of which are within 10 years of one another. If you had a DUI conviction in 1995, 2004, and 2017, you would face more enhanced penalties, such as a minimum of 30 days on jail.
If however, you have 2 prior DUI convictions and the current DUI case are all within 10 years of one another, you can be charged with Felony DUI in Florida.