Being arrested for driving under the influence can become a complicated issue, with potentially unfair charges if other individuals were involved, or simply if the arresting officer was in a bad mood. The laws in each state vary regarding driving while drunk or impaired by drugs, so speaking with an experienced DUI attorney is recommended to ensure your case is handled in the best way possible. The proceedings you can expect after you are charged will likely include:
- The officer filing a report to the District Attorney
- The DA filing the charges to a Deputy DA
- The Deputy DA then making the filing decision (as a misdemeanor, a felony, or they can reject the case, or ask for further investigation)
Whether you will be charged as a criminal depends on your unique situation, and can be determined by the DA, a jury, or a prosecuting attorney. If you are prosecuted as a criminal, these charges will move forward once certain documents are given to the filing deputy, such as:
- Arrest or crime report from the officer
- Evidence report
- Your criminal record, if relevant
Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind, there are statutes of limitations for these cases to be filed by government offices. If the offices are backed up with too many other cases, they may not get to your case in time and your charges would be dropped.
The statute of limitations for DUIs in many states is around 18 months from your original charge. If your case becomes a felony DUI, the statute of limitations is usually three years. Check with your state or county to determine the specific timelines for the area you were arrested in. These laws are put in place to protect you, because over time, eyewitnesses forget what happened, evidence is lost, and your ability to defend yourself becomes weaker.
Ensuring your case is handled fairly is incredibly important, especially if it has the potential to involve jail time. Things can become even more complicated if your DUI involved other individuals.
If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI and want to have a better chance of your case being filed fairly or the court proceedings going in your favor, consult an experienced DUI lawyer in San Francisco, CA. They will understand your state’s most up-to-date laws regarding how these types of cases are handled, the statute of limitations, and the best strategies for reducing your charges, especially in the cases that the charges are more than what they should be.
Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal law and DUI arrests.