By and large, previous convictions have a direct impact on new crimes, especially when they’re repeat offenses. In order to deter future crimes, a court may impose harsher penalties, such as longer suspensions, higher fees and longer jail sentences if they see a pattern of criminal convictions. Fortunately for some, there is a “look-back period” that prevents prosecutors from applying previous infractions to new offenses...including for DUIs.
How Florida’s Look-Back Period Works
A look-back period is an amount of time a previous conviction can be applied to a new offense. While they vary from state to state, Florida’s look-back period is one of the more generous ones in the country.
Florida’s current DUI look-back period:
- A second DUI offense must occur within 5 years.
- A third DUI offense must occur within 10 years.
- A fourth DUI offense can end up with a lifetime suspension of your license.
Let’s say that you receive a second DUI in Florida 2 years after your first offense. Your first DUI will play a direct role in how you are sentenced for your second DUI, whether it’s with an increased fine, suspension, or jail sentence. Now let’s say that you receive a second DUI 6 years after your first offense. Since the second offense was outside of the look-back period, it would not have any bearing on your latest offense.
Note: If there is a fourth conviction, the courts may consider every single previous conviction, regardless of how long ago they occurred.
If you are convicted of a second, third or fourth DUI within Florida’s look-back period, these are some of the enhanced penalties you may face:
- Second-offense DUI: Mandatory 10 days in jail, license suspended for 5 months, car impounded for 30 days, ignition interlock device (IID) installed in car, and fines ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. There is a 9-month maximum jail sentence if the BAC is between .08% and .15%. One-year maximum jail sentence if BAC is over .15% or if there was a minor in the vehicle.
- Third-offense DUI: Mandatory 30 days in jail, license suspended for 10 years, car impounded for 90 days, ignition interlock device (IID) installed in car, and fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. One-year maximum jail sentence for certain BAC levels or if there was a minor in the vehicle.
- Fourth-offense DUI: Maximum 5 years in jail, minimum fine of $2,000 and your license may be suspended for life.