How Can A Previous DWI Arrest Affect My New DWI Charge?
To calculate how any prior DWI arrests and convictions you might have can affect your current DWI arrest, it is imperative to understand how the “look back” period works. The look back period is so named because it refers to the period of time that a prior DWI offense stays on a motorist’s driving record and criminal history. If a motorist commits an additional DWI offense while the look back period is still in effect, then their prior conviction can be utilized by a prosecutor to enhance the criminal penalties meted out if the defendant is convicted. For example, in New Hampshire, a motorist who commits a second DWI offense while their look back period is in effect will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for a minimum of one year in order to have their driver’s license reinstated.
Look back laws vary from one state to the next. The shortest look back periods are only five years. The longest look back periods last a lifetime (such as in MA). The average look back period is 10 years. In the state of New Hampshire, the look back period is 10 years.
How is a look back period calculated? In general, a DWI look back period begins and concludes on the exact date when a defendant was originally arrested for their DWI, rather than the actual conviction date. For example, if you were arrested for a DWI on March 14, 2014 and then arrested a second time in May of 2024, if you resided in a state with a 10 year look back period, your second arrest for DWI would be treated as your first since your look back period ended prior to your second arrest.
New Hampshire lawmakers created this look back period with the intention of decreasing the recidivism rate of DWI offenders. At the same time, they have also ensured that the legal rights of New Hampshire motorists are protected. Motorists do make mistakes, and the challenge lies in establishing a suitable period of time to identify repeat offenders while simultaneously avoiding unnecessarily harsh penalties and sanctions for motorists who are not repeat offenders.
If you have been arrested for and charged with a DWI offense in the state of New Hampshire, it is imperative for you to hire experienced and skilled legal representation. Our New Hampshire DWI lawyers can offer exactly that. If you can be classified as a repeat offender or your new arrest falls within the look back period since your prior one, it becomes even more important to hire an experienced DWI attorney in order to minimize the penalties associated with a conviction.
Your initial consultation is free, and our firm can be contacted via telephone, email, or through our website. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay.
Even if you are outside the 10 year lookback period, the Judge and prosecutor will/can use a previous DWI as part of sentencing.
If possible, you will want to get the previous dwi vacated. This is incredibly difficult to do, but Attorney Hynes has done it before.