When a person in California is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), there must be formal charges filed against them within a specified period of time. This is known as California’s statute of limitations.
The state of California takes DUI very serious. It is estimated that over 1,400 fatalities occur annually in California as a result of DUI. There are also more than 190,000 arrests for DUI. This charge will be based on the amount of alcohol or other substance found in a person’s system who is driving. This will be determined by a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Should a person 21 years old or older who is operating a passenger vehicle have a BAC of .08 percent or higher, they will be charged with DUI. This is also the case if a person is operating a commercial vehicle who has a BAC of .04 percent or higher. A person younger than 21 years old can be charged with DUI if they have a BAC of .01 percent or higher. A person can also be charged with DUI based on the prescription medications they have taken. They can also be charged with DUI for consuming over-the-counter medications or drugs with alcohol in them such as cough syrup.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in California is determined by the DUI offense being classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. Should a person be charged with misdemeanor DUI, the prosecutor in charge of the case will have twelve months to formally file charges against a suspect. When a person is charged with felony DUI, the prosecutor handling the case has up to three years to file formal charges. California has no statute of limitations for a DUI arrest warrant. These will be active for an indefinite period of time.
In the state of California, a DUI is defined as a wobbler offense. This means the facts of a DUI case can make it able to be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. Most of the people in California are charged with misdemeanor DUI. A person will probably not be charged with felony DUI unless it is they have four or more DUI charges in a ten year period. A person could also be charged with felony DUI if the incident resulted in people having serious bodily harm or death.
Not all the DUI charges a person can be given are the same. The penalties a person receives will be based on their age, type of license and any other previous DUI convictions. Penalties can include jail time, community service, fines, a criminal license suspension as well as an Admin Per Se license suspension and more.
Many people in California arrested on DUI believe the process of them having a court trial or agreeing to a plea deal will happen quickly. This is usually not the case. Many people are arrested for DUI, spend a night in jail and are given a notice of a court date. They will then show up to court on the assigned day only to be told the district attorney has not filed any criminal charges against them at this time. In some cases, months can pass, and a person will not hear about their DUI case. They should never assume the charges against them have been dropped or forgotten. It’s better to think the district attorney is working hard to gather additional evidence to present in court. This is a time when Los Angeles DUI Lawyers can help a person. They will be able to tell a person about their rights in this situation and how to best to move forward toward a positive result.