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DWI Lookback Period

Westchester County Lawyers for Drug- and Alcohol-Related Driving Offenses

Under New York lookback laws, a mistake made years ago can affect the outcome of a current charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. With increasingly severe penalties for subsequent offenses, the assistance of an experienced DWI attorney may be crucial for defendants with prior convictions. At Tilem & Associates, our Westchester County DWI attorneys represent drivers accused of motor vehicle offenses. We have the experience to help you reduce or avoid the consequences of the DWI lookback period.

New York DWI Lookback Laws

A DWI lookback period refers to the length of time that a prior conviction may be considered in a current criminal proceeding. Multiple alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions within the lookback period will generally result in a more serious charge and increased penalties for DWI, aggravated DWI, and driving while ability impaired by drugs or combined alcohol and drugs (DWAI). In New York, the lookback period is determined primarily by the current criminal charge, the type of proceeding (i.e., administrative or criminal), and the defendant’s criminal record. Depending on the situation, the lookback period could be five, 10, or 25 years. Since this analysis is fact-specific, it is best to consult with a defense attorney for an explanation of the lookback laws that may apply in your case.

The lookback period for a repeat DWI offense may significantly affect the penalties upon a conviction. While a first-time DWI is typically a misdemeanor, subsequent drunk or drugged driving offenses within the lookback period may result in a felony charge. For the purposes of establishing whether a current offense is a second DWI, third DWI, or greater, the lookback period is usually 10 years. However, two DWI convictions within five years may result in more severe consequences.

Accordingly, a defendant may be charged with a Class E felony in a current DWI case with one prior conviction within the last 10 years for an alcohol- or drug-related driving offense, such as DWI, aggravated DWI, DWAI-drugs, or DWAI-combination. The penalties for a second DWI may include a maximum four-year jail sentence, probation, a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, and license revocation. A third DWI offense within 10 years is a Class D felony, which carries a maximum seven-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as other penalties, upon a conviction. To avoid these penalties, it is crucial to avoid a conviction on a current DWI charge, as well as ensuring that the court does not consider any conviction that occurred outside the lookback period.

DWI Lookback Period for DMV Actions

In addition to criminal penalties, a drunk or drugged driving conviction may lead to a suspended or revoked license. After the revocation period ends, drivers must reapply for a license with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to have their driving privileges reinstated. When deciding whether to restore driving privileges, the DMV will review the applicant’s driving record. In 2012, the DMV implemented new regulations that provide for a 25-year lookback period. This allows the DMV to consider alcohol- and drug-related driving incidents that occurred within the last 25 years when evaluating an application for license reinstatement.

Convictions for DWI, DWAI, or other serious driving offenses, as well as violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, such as breath test refusals and zero tolerance violations, within the preceding 25 years may result in delayed re-licensing or even a permanent denial. Fortunately, you have the right to obtain attorney representation at every stage of the process.

Discuss the DWI Lookback Period With a Westchester County Attorney

At Tilem & Associates, we strive to provide a hard-hitting defense in every DWI case that we handle. Our DWI lawyers can assist people who are facing criminal charges in Westchester County as well as in Bronx, Queens, Kings, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Richmond, and Putnam Counties. To learn more, schedule a free consultation by calling 877-377-8666 or contacting us online.