Statute Of Limitations For a DUI

December 8, 2015

Statute Of Limitation For DUIIn California, a DUI can be a misdemeanor or a felony.  A felony DUI is filed when there are more than 3 prior DUI convictions, from the arrest date to the 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.  Also, a felony DUI can be filed if you have a previous felony DUI conviction within the past 10 years.  A misdemeanor DUI will be filed in all other instances and that is the majority of Los Angeles DUI prosecutions.

Statute Of Limitation Misdemeanors

Statutes of limitations can be found in California Penal Code sections 799-805.  A misdemeanor DUI case has to be prosecuted within one year from the date the DUI happened (see PC 802(a)).  If the police did not bring the case to court within one year of when it happened, the DUI cannot be filed anymore.  The reason a DUI that is more than 1 year cannot be prosecuted is the “statute of limitation”, which is the law that gives the police time to bring their case to the court.  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, 2021, and the police did not have your DUI case filed in the court by December 31, 2021, the court will not have jurisdiction to handle your DUI.  Violations of “statute of limitation” are “jurisdictional defects” and they will stop the Court from hearing your Los Angeles DUI case, in the same way, your DUI case cannot be filled in a faraway court.  The statute of limitations for your Los Angeles DUI has expired and this DUI criminal case no longer can be heard by a Los Angeles judge.

However, once in a while, the police (or the prosecutor) try to file older cases in Los Angeles and try to come up with an excuse for why the case was not filed on time.  Recently, due to COVID, some courts give the prosecutors more time to file old cases.   When this happens, you have to hire a Los Angeles DUI attorney and fight your Los Angeles DUI.

These kinds of legal violations, to wit, the violations of the statute of limitations for a DUI can be fought anytime during the pendency of the case.  Yet, it is far better to fight a statute of limitation violation prior to entering a plea and as early as the first appearance in the criminal court, which is called, the arraignment.  Legally, when you are trying to get a criminal case dismissed based on a violation of the statute of limitation at arraignment, you are asking for a “demurrers’, which is the same thing as asking for dismissal of the complaint. Demurrers is a request to dismiss a complaint because of the defect is 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 talk to a Los Angeles DUI 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 is within one year of filing or it will dismiss the case for a lack of jurisdiction.  If you or your Los Angeles DUI attorney files a “demurrer” you can use this language:

“The Defendant is demurring to the charges in the complaint because they violate the statute of limitation.  Specifically, the date listed in the complaint is DATE X.  The case was filed on DATE Y.  Because DATE Y is more than 1 year after DATE X, the case is filed more than 1 year after the alleged crime took place.

Penal Code Sections 802 and 804 explain that a DUI has to be filed by the prosecution within 1 year:

§ 802. Time period for commencement of prosecution

  • (a)Except as provided in subdivision (b), (c), (d), or (e), prosecution for an offense not punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 shall be commenced within one year after commission of the offense.
  • (b) Prosecution for a misdemeanor violation of Section 647.6 or former Section 647a committed with or upon a minor under the age of 14 years shall be commenced within three years after commission of the offense.
  • (c) Prosecution of a misdemeanor violation of Section 729 of the Business and Professions Code shall be commenced within two years after commission of the offense.
  • (d) Prosecution of a misdemeanor violation of Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code shall be commenced as follows:
    • (1) With respect to Sections 7028.17, 7068.5and 7068.7 of the Business and Professions Code, within one year of the commission of the offense.
    • (2) With respect to Sections 7027.1, 7028.1, 7028.15, 7118.4, 7118.5, 7118.6, 7126, 7153, 7156, 7157, 7158, 7159.5 (licensee only), 7159.14 (licensee only), 7161, and 7189 of the Business and Professions Code, within two years of the commission of the offense.
    • (3) With respect to Sections 7027.3 and 7028.16 of the Business and Professions Code, within three years of the commission of the offense.
    • (4) With respect to Sections 7028, 7159.5 (nonlicensee only), and 7159.14 (nonlicensee only) of the Business and Professions Code, within four years of the commission of the offense.
  • (e) Prosecution for a misdemeanor violation of Section 6126, 10085.6, 10139, or 10147.6 of the Business and Professions Code or Section 2944.6 or 2944.7 of the Civil Code shall be commenced within three years after discovery of the commission of the offense, or within three years after completion of the offense, whichever is later.

§ 804. Commencement of prosecution

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, for the purpose of this chapter, prosecution for an offense is commenced when any of the following occurs:

  • (a)An indictment or information is filed.
  • (b)A complaint is filed charging a misdemeanor or infraction.
  • (c)The defendant is arraigned on a complaint that charges the defendant with a felony.
  • (d)An arrest warrant or bench warrant is issued, provided the warrant names or describes the defendant with the same degree of particularity required for an indictment, information, or complaint.
Here, in violation of Penal Code section 802, the prosecution, as prescribed by Penal Code section 804, did not commence within 1 year, therefore the demurrer should be granted and the case dismissed.

This legal issue comes up once in a while in DUI cases and other Los Angeles Criminal cases.  A legal violation like this will allow DUI Attorney Los Angeles to get a dismissal of Los Angeles DUI charges.  Drunk driving attorneys in Los Angeles are very experienced in getting dismissals based on jurisdictional defects and based on due process rights violations.  If you are facing a 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 cases in Los Angeles, other traffic-related charges, DMV hearings and appeals, and other criminal cases in Los Angeles.

waste of timepoornot badgoodexcellent (5 rating, 1 votes)

10 responses to “Statute Of Limitations For a DUI”

  1. Michale Tull says:

    Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb blog!

  2. Kareem Cerritelli says:

    Wonderful post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

  3. bastcilk doptb says:

    I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  4. web design ploiesti says:

    Hi there. I discovered your web site by the use of Google at the same time as searching for a comparable subject, your web site came up. It seems to be good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  5. Ebonie Gulati says:

    At this time it seems like Expression Engine is the best blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  6. Kevin Fitchpatrick says:

    Throughout this great pattern of things you’ll receive an A+ just for hard work. Where you confused everybody was first in your specifics. As as the maxim goes, details make or break the argument.. And it could not be more accurate at this point. Having said that, allow me inform you just what exactly did give good results. The article (parts of it) is definitely very powerful which is probably the reason why I am taking the effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, whilst I can easily see a leaps in logic you make, I am not confident of how you appear to unite the points which inturn make the conclusion. For now I shall yield to your point however trust in the future you actually connect your dots better.

  7. Haywood Greenman says:

    Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any recommendations for first-time blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  8. Austin Rhodarmer says:

    Hi there this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  9. Ned Maggard says:

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your blog and in depth information you offer. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  10. corburt erilio says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.