In California, a DUI can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony DUI are prosecuted when there is more then 3 DUI convictions, from arrest date to arrest date, within the past ten years. A felony DUI can also be filed when a Los Angeles DUI driver causes an injury to another person. A misdemeanor DUI can be filed in all other instances and will cover the majority of DUI prosecutions in Los Angeles.
A misdemeanor DUI case has to be prosecuted within one year from the date the DUI happened. If the police did not bring the case to the court within one year of when it happened, the law will not allow them do it anymore. The technical term for stopping police from filing a DUI case late is a “statute of limitation”, which is the law that determines how much time the police has to bring the case to the court. In short, a misdemeanor statute of limitations for a DUI in California is 1 year (like most other misdemeanors).
For example, if you were arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles on January 1, 2015 and the police did not bring the case to the court by December 31, 2015, the court will not have jurisdiction to handle your DUI. This, “jurisdictional defect”, stops the court from hearing such a case the same way most foreign court orders will not have any power in California. In short, the statute of limitations for a DUI has expired.
A violation of statute of limitations for a DUI can be fought anytime. Yet, it is far better to fight a statute of limitation violation prior to entering a plea and as early as the first appearance. The legal terminology to ask for a dismissal of the complaint based on such a jurisdictional violation is called a “demurer”. Demurrer is request to dismiss a complaint because of the defect obvious “on the face” of the complaint. If you are not certain what to do in your case, do not enter the plea, instead, ask for a continuance to find an attorney. A defective complaint can not be prosecuted and if the defect is obvious from reading the allegation, the court will give the government an option to fix the complaint, or dismiss it. In the example above, the court will ask the government to change the dates so that the offense within one year of filing or it will dismiss the case for a lack of jurisdiction.
This legal issue comes up once in a while in court proceedings. A legal violation like this will allow DUI Attorney Los Angeles to get a dismissal of Los Angeles DUI charges. Drunk driving attorneys Los Angeles are very experienced in getting dismissals based on jurisdictional defects and based on due process rights violations. If you are facing DUI Los Angeles case and need an affordable DUI attorney in Los Angeles, call our office to talk to a drunk driving attorney right now. We are known to provide quality representation at affordable prices. Our areas of expertise involve all DUI and traffic related charges, DMV hearing and appeals of adverse DMV findings.