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What is Washington’s “lookback” period?

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2021 | DUI

A DUI charge can result in devastating penalties. Depending on numerous factors, however, the consequences can have far-reaching implications. From the loss of driving privileges and jail time to fines and increased insurance premiums, everyone experiences the criminal penalties differently. Unfortunately, these consequences only increase in severity with subsequent convictions.

In Washington, a first offense generally results in up to one year in jail, a maximum $5,000 fine and a 90-day minimum license suspension. Subsequent convictions, however, include additional consequences and extended durations. For example, a third conviction can result in a 10-year required installation of an ignition interlock device and a 3-year license suspension. Unfortunately, Washington drivers must be aware of the state’s “lookback period.”

How long is the lookback period?

DUIs in Washington come with a 7-year lookback period. This means that if at any time within seven prior years you have received a DUI, this will be factored into the sentencing of the current offense. The DUI can have occurred in any state to be considered in the Washington sentencing.

While every state has a version of the lookback period, they range from five years to lifetime. In essence, the lookback period is the length of time a drunk driving offense will remain on the driver’s record. The criminal sentencing implications of the lookback period can result in severe penalties including increased fines, increased jail time and a lengthy period of license suspension. Some situations will take a thorough look at numerous factors of the prior DUI conviction including the blood alcohol content (BAC) and any other aggravating factors such as the presence of a minor child in the vehicle.