Attorney Nick Alcock discusses how DUI priors affect sentencing

If you already have prior DUI conviction(s) on your record, you may be interested to know what kinds of penalties await you if you get caught drinking and driving again. Generally, states view repeat DUI offenders in a very unfavorable light, which is reflected in the elevated penalties.

Most states have a look-back time period that establishes whether repeat offenses count as subsequent offenses or are treated like a first-time offense. For example, let’s assume a state has a look-back period of 7 years. (Arizona for example) If you are convicted of a second DUI within 7 years of the first one (your first counts as a prior), then your second DUI will come with higher penalties than those the first time around. However, if your second DUI conviction comes 7 years after your first one, then it falls outside of the 7 year look-back period, and would be treated as a first-time conviction again.

Look-back periods are different state to state. On average, they range from 5-10 years. It is important to note that even if you had your first conviction expunged, it still can counts as a prior and can be used as evidence against you in subsequent convictions. The penalties for having multiple prior DUI convictions can quickly become steep with each subsequent DUI conviction. Additionally, whereas initial DUIs are usually counted as misdemeanors if no one was hurt and there was no damage, many states starting charging DUIs as felonies after the third conviction. Arizona treats the third DUI conviction within 84 months as a felony aggravated DUI.

Here are some examples how the penalties increase for subsequent offenses. In Arizona, a second regular DUI carries with it 29 more days in jail than a first offense. A second extreme carries with it 4 months in jail. A second time extreme DUI carries with it a full six months.

If you are facing DUI charges in Arizona and are looking for an experienced, aggressive attorney, please contact the law offices of Alcock & Associates at 602-989-5000. We offer a free, confidential initial consultation and explain exactly how we will go to work to defend your rights.

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