Understanding California's "Look-Back" Period

In California, repeat DUI offenses can lead to more severe criminal penalties. This a reality for countless accused who find themselves being charged with their second, third, or even fourth DUI. These mandatory enhancement laws are meant to act as a deterrent to repeat offenders... but only apply to prior DUI convictions up to a certain point.

That's because California, like many other states, has a "look-back" period. Look-back periods are certain windows of time when a prior DUI charge can count against the accused. In California, the look-back period is 10 years. This means that any DUI conviction older than ten years old is not calculated into the accused's prior convictions.

The Look-Back Period in Action

To better demonstrate how the California look-back period can affect a repeat DUI charge, let's look at an example. "Paul" has been charged with his fourth DUI this week. His prior DUI convictions occurred in:

  • 1998 - first offense
  • 2005 - second offense
  • 2011 - third offense

Because of the timeline of Paul's offenses, the court will not consider him a fourth-time DUI offender. His first and second DUI offenses occurred more than ten years ago, so he will only be considered a second-time DUI offender and, if convicted, will be sentenced accordingly.

Fight Your DUI Charges

Even if you have older DUI convictions that "age-out" from being considered with your latest DUI offense, capable, insightful defense counsel is still needed. DUI convictions in California can yield penalties that greatly disrupt the lives of the accused and leave them with an unearned criminal record. If there is any chance of securing a dismissal of your charge, it should aggressively pursued by a dedicated and proven Los Angeles DUI attorney.

If you have been charged with your second, third, or fourth DUI offense, then we invite you to contact us at Hutton & Wilson today. Our firm is committed solely to this dynamic and science-focused branch of the law. We know how to protect the rights of our clients and ensure that they are given every consideration they deserve before the law.

Start exploring your DUI defense options today. Use our online form to request a free case evaluation now.