One DUI charge and conviction can significantly impact one’s life and future. Subsequent charges can leave individuals facing even more penalties – unless the look-back period has passed.

What is a look-back period?

Several institutions use look-back periods to review an individual’s history, such as Medicaid programs and the IRS. However, all states have a look-back period for DUI charges as well.

Regarding a DUI, the look-back period determines how long the charge or conviction remains on an individual’s driving record. This means that:

  • A subsequent DUI offense within the look-back period could potentially be considered a second offense; but
  • A second DUI offense after the look-back period passes would often not count as a second offense, but another first offense.

It is critical for drivers to understand how the look-back period works in Michigan, so they can determine what kinds of penalties they might be facing and how they can fight the charges.

Michigan has two look-back periods

Michigan is one of the few states in the country that has two DUI look-back periods. These periods are:

  1. Seven years: Once seven years pass after an individual’s first DUI charge, the charge will no longer appear on their record. Therefore, prosecutors and other agencies cannot use that charge against individuals.
  2. A lifetime: A third DUI offense, regardless of how many years have passed, is a felony. It will remain on an individual’s record.

In some cases, a look-back period can work in an individual’s favor, which is why all Michigan drivers should know how they work before they get behind the wheel.