Understanding the Look-Back Period for DUI in Virginia

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

– Yogi Berra

A DUI conviction is no game, and the truth is that it doesn’t end when your driving privileges are reinstated and the ignition interlock device comes off your car. Like all 50 states, Virginia has a “look- back” period (sometimes called a “washout period). A look-back period is the length of time a drunk driving offense remains on a driver’s record. In the Commonwealth, that period is 10 years. If you don’t have any other DUIs within that 10-year period, then it’s over; and hopefully, you’ve learned your lesson and never get drunk and drive again.

But what happens if you get a subsequent DUI charge within 10 years of a prior conviction? The news isn’t good, because if you commit another drunk-driving offense within that period, the penalties become increasingly severe. You are then considered a repeat DUI offender, or as it sometimes referred to, a “habitual drunkard.”

Here are the penalties you could expect with a new DUI charge within the look-back period:

A second offense within the 10-year look-back period

“Any person convicted of a second offense committed within a period of five to 10 years of a prior offense…shall upon conviction of the second offense be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for not less than one month. Ten days of such confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence.”

A second offense within a five-year period

Any person convicted of a second offense committed within less than five years after a prior offense… shall upon conviction of the second offense be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for not less than one month nor more than one year. Twenty days of such confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence.

Three offenses within a 10-year look-back period

“Any person convicted of three offenses…committed within a 10-year period shall upon conviction of the third offense be guilty of a Class 6 felony.” Penalties include a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 90 days.

Three offenses within a five-year period

“(If) the three offenses were committed within a five-year period…the sentence shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of confinement for six months. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.”

Four or more offenses within a 10-year look-back period

“The punishment of any person convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense…committed within a 10-year period shall, upon conviction, include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.”

If you are facing a subsequent DUI charge in Virginia, call our law office immediately

Call the NoVa Law Firm at (703) 352-9347 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We will put our best DUI defense attorney on your case and help you defend against repeat offender DUI charges in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.

Eric Clingan
About the Author: Eric Clingan
Eric Clingan is an experienced Criminal Defense attorney and the founder of the NoVA Law firm. He focuses his practice on defending residents of Northern Virginia charged with DUIs, reckless driving, drug charges, and other criminal accusations.