The statute of limitations for a DUI is two years. The two years begins on the date when the crime was committed, which is usually the same date as when you were arrested. If you're wondering what the statute of limitations is and how it affects you, read on to find out more.
What Does the Statute of Limitations for a DUI Affect?
The statute of limitations for a DUI mainly affects the prosecution. The prosecution must be commenced within two years, which means they have to draw up an accusation and follow it. If they've done that within two years, then the case will proceed as planned. If they do that outside the two-year window, however, then they're time-barred. Your DUI defense lawyer can file a plea in bar in this case.
What Is a Plea in Bar?
When a lawyer files a plea in bar, it means that they are saying that the trial cannot move forward. In this case, it's because the prosecutor violated the statute of limitations. After this the case will get dismissed and the charges against you will be dropped.
Is Commencement the Same as Going to Court?
A common misconception when it comes to the statute of limitations for a DUI is that you have to go to court within two years. This is not the case. In some cases DUI trials may be delayed until after the two-year window, which will not lead to a plea in bar.
What Is the Purpose of a Statute of Limitations?
The main reason why statute of limitations exist is for the sake of justice. Over time, evidence will be lost and eyewitness testimonies will become less reliable. The officer might misremember your physical status after you were pulled over, for example. When a prosecutor files a formal charge, they consider all the witnesses, police reports, and evidence. It's better for your criminal case if the information in the charge is accurate.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for a DUI?
Yes, there are two primary exceptions to the statute of limitations. One of them is if you were charged with a felony DUI, and another is if you request a speedy trial.
If you've been convicted of DUIs at least three other times, then the charge after that will be a felony case. In this case, the statute of limitations will be four years rather than two.
The right to a speedy trial is guaranteed in the Constitution and also outlined in § 17-7-170 of Georgia law, but it is your decision whether to act on it or not.
- 17-7-170 says the following: “If the defendant is not tried when the demand for speedy trial is made or at the next succeeding regular court term thereafter, provided that at both court terms there were juries impaneled and qualified to try the defendant, the defendant shall be absolutely discharged and acquitted of the offense charged in the indictment or accusation.”
This means that if the trial isn't conducted immediately or on the next succeeding regular court term, then the charge against you will be dismissed. Because of this, a speedy trial makes the statute of limitations for your DUI case significantly shorter.
Call a DUI Lawyer for Your Case Today
If you've been charged with a DUI, you'll want to find an experienced and detail-oriented lawyer that can keep up with the statute of limitations. Otherwise, you could miss out on the chance to have your charges dropped. At Brett Willis Law, we've had many client stories where DUI cases have been dismissed. Whether you need a DUI lawyer or you have more questions on the statute of limitations for a DUI,