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  • Writer's pictureBlair Goss

DUI Statute of Limitations - California Law That Victims Must Know About

The Statute of Limitations exists to guarantee people don't file for charges years and years after the crime happened. In California, when it comes to DUIs, it's crucial because it helps drivers understand the type of charges they might be facing.


This article offers some insight into California law and the Statute of Limitations for DUIs, as well as why people should get legal assistance throughout this process.


What Is the Statute of Limitations?

What Is the Statute of Limitations?


Drivers who are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI) in California wonder, in many cases, what the Statute of Limitations is for their case.


The Statute of Limitations determines how long someone has to file criminal charges. It also encompasses the time the court system has to charge someone with a crime. Goss Law has more information on domestic violence statute of limitations California.


The Statute of Limitations depends on the crime. Sometimes, victims will have up to five years to file their case, for example, when domestic abuse takes place.


In other cases, there is no time limit, for instance, when a murder happens. In California, there are two different Statutes of Limitations for a misdemeanor or felony DUI charge.


The system has to commence the driver in one year for a misdemeanor DUI and three years for a felony DUI.


If the person is not charged at that time, it will not be possible in the future.


How Is the Statute of Limitations Determined for DUI Charges?


People must look at what the law says if they want to determine the Statute of Limitations for DUI charges. If they're not sure, the district attorney will still have the last say on it.


Nonetheless, before heading to the district attorney's office, victims can learn more about their situation. They must get help from a criminal defense lawyer who will explain everything about the process and suggest some options depending on their case.


A knowledgeable DUI lawyer will most likely tell victims if they'll face misdemeanor or felony charges.

If the driver gets an arrest warrant for misdemeanor charges, they'll likely have to spend from six months to a year in jail. It will depend on whether it's the first offense or if the issue has happened repeatedly.

When a person goes through this for the fourth time in 10 years, they won't face a misdemeanor DUI charge anymore.


A fourth offense DUI means the person will have to deal with felony charges. These can also be the consequence of hurting someone else (or accidentally killing them) while driving under the influence.

In California, the maximum punishment for felony DUI charges is three years in prison. However, the consequences the driver has to deal with will depend a lot on their specific case, previous criminal offenses, etc.


Can a Misdemeanor DUI Become a Felony DUI?


In short, a misdemeanor can become a felony DUI if the incident has happened more than three times in 10 years.


Overall, drivers should remember that bringing a DUI charge (as well as other criminal charges) rests at the discretion of the district attorney, any other prosecuting lawyer, or the grand jury.


Why Does a Crime Have a Statute of Limitations?

Why Does a Crime Have a Statute of Limitations?


When a driver has to go to state prison for a felony, they might wonder why a Statute of Limitations exists in the first place. Dealing with the consequences of their actions may be challenging, especially if they don't understand why the law works the way it does. Goss Law can also provide insight on misdemeanor statute of limitations California.


The Statute of Limitations exists to protect defendants in civil and criminal cases. The common law and courts have decided that people have a specific amount of time to pursue legal consequences.

Furthermore, plaintiffs and prosecutors must proceed with a degree of responsibility and diligence. They should also consider that the defendant will have severe disadvantages as time goes on because they most likely won't be able to gather significant evidence or even get witnesses for what happened.


The California Penal Code states the maximum punishment and Statute of Limitations for various crimes. Anyone who files charges after that period is subject to dismissal of their cases.


Although the grand jury and other law enforcement agents will decide whether or not to dismiss a case and will choose the maximum punishment, there are other factors at play when it comes to filing charges.


Why Are There Exceptions?


Litigation cases can be challenging, and in some cases, the person may be able to file charges even after the Statute of Limitations expired.


In domestic abuse cases, for example, many people wait until they're not near their partner anymore before filing charges because they're afraid of what they might do to them or their families if they try to get the law involved.


At the same time, there is no Statute of Limitations for murder, for instance. Overall, to know the specific details of what pertains to an individual case, the best option is to always get legal help.


Getting Legal Assistance


The DUI Statute of Limitations in California determines how long someone has to face misdemeanor or felony charges for having driven under the influence.


Things can change for DUI charges if the person hurt someone else and they come forward. In these cases, the Statute of Limitations may have different effects because it will depend on whether or not the victim files a lawsuit.


Regardless of the case, people should get legal assistance if they have any questions about California's Statute of Limitations. When this happens, it means they're going through a legal process they likely don't understand, so they should get experts to help them.


Sacramento criminal defense attorneys at Goss Law in Sacramento, California are ready to passionately defend their victims and explain all the details about their process.


If the person must face legal charges for a DUI, their attorney will guarantee they explore the best options to manage the consequences of their actions.


Overall, lawyers at Goss Law are ready to help victims in need, so they shouldn't hesitate to contact them if they need to.

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