I Was Arrested for DUI, but Don’t Have a Court Date Yet. How Long do the Police Have to Charge Me With a DUI Offense?

Information on Being Formally Charged with a DUI or DWI

DUI Arrest Statute of Limitations
I got a DUI but no court date, what should I do next? The DA is supposed to notify a driver charged with DUI of a pending court date once it has been set. However, it is not entirely uncommon that they fail to do so in a timely manner. A person has the option of calling the clerk of the court weekly to check if the DUI case has been officially filed, and avoid any future problem with a warrant out for an arrest for failure to appear. Taking advantage of an online arrest review is always the best option, since it will get a person the direct answers they need about if or when a DUI case might be filed, and alleviate any cause for lingering worry.

DUI, DWI arrest files for drivers released from police booking are notoriously behind schedule in getting filed in court. If a person chooses not to hire a lawyer first to look into the potential pending case status, you can call the clerk of the court once a week on your own to inquire if there is a court date set.

Is court closed due to the public health emergency November 2020?

No. In most locations throughout every state today, courts that handle misdemeanor offenses such as DUI are likely to be be delayed in scheduling cases, but most court locations have begun reopening with health safety precautions in place. Many DUI, DWI cases already scheduled or have not yet been scheduled in court, will be postponed for at least another 30-day period that started nearly 7 months ago on Tuesday March 17 due to the current national public health emergency in an effort to limit and minimize gatherings of people. However, it is important that every DUI defendant who has no court date yet or has an already pending court case delayed for a later continuance, not to wait for court to resume in order to get immediate free legal advice 24/7 that will establish the arrest-specific best defense for how to defeat pending DUI charges.

Regardless of whether a DUI arrest happened recently in November 2020 or several months ago, a person should never call or inquire about a court case with the DA. Since there is a chance the DUI case file was lost or was forgotten about filing altogether by the police, contacting the DA would only bring it to their attention. What happens though with the DMV license suspension status, is totally separate from any possible criminal case in court. For this reason, an online arrest review can immediately assist a driver in time with saving a driver’s license before it is automatically suspended in a matter of days following a DUI, DWI arrest.

When an individual is arrested and cited for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) it does not mean they have automatically been charged with the crime. What typically happens in these instances, is a person does not yet have any scheduled court date, or even know when to expect one in the future.

The scenario occurs because the officer who pulls over, cites, and arrests the individual for the DUI or DWI charge, is tasked with writing a report and sending it to the District Attorney’s office for the state in which the arrest took place. This report is then passed on to the individual who is responsible for writing up and filing the formal charges.

Deputy District Attorneys have the final say on a decision to file charges against an individual who has been arrested. A lot of times, Deputy DA’s get their queue backed up with filing requests, meaning that the driver who got arrested for a DUI but with no court date yet, may not be charged until sometime later. In most states, the District Attorney’s office has up to a year to make the charges official – this is known as the “Statute of Limitations.” Depending on the charge being considered, the DA may have up to three years to file.

If the individual is arrested, booked, and then released, meaning they were not bailed out of a jail, a complaint against them must be filed within a 25-day period in some cases. This is a little known statute of limitations although, in many cases, the judge will not dismiss the case even if this 25-day period has not been honored – most states rely heavily on the one-year statute of limitations.

Should the DA’s Office not file charges within that one year period, the court will lose jurisdiction against the defendant.  Any person who has been recently charged, needs to know how to take proactive measures with being prepared so any pending DUI charge gets dismissed.

When a driver gets a DUI, DWI charge but there still has not yet been a court date scheduled, it is understandable for people to sometimes be hesitant in getting a lawyer right away to begin a DUI defense strategy for court.

In these cases where a person either cant afford an attorney or chooses to wait until they have a scheduled court date for the DUI, free bono lawyers can often be the best option to help with advice in the meantime without necessarily having to pay legal fees.

Statutes of Limitations for DUI/DWI by State

Although one year is the general statute of limitations schedule for Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated charges, there is some variance from one state to the next. Additionally, the statute of limitations will vary between a misdemeanor and felony DUI or DWI charge.

The statutes of limitations for misdemeanor DUI, DWI charges allow prosecutors at least one year after the date the offense was committed in order to file former charges. Some states allow for longer statues of limitations on these types of violations.

Misdemeanor DUI or DWI charges are often restricted to offenders who commit first, second, or third DUI offenses without any additional aggravating factors. It is important to keep in mind, however, that some states consider second or third offense arrest to be felony charges. Here are some examples of statutes of limitations for misdemeanor DUI by state:

  • Alabama: 12 Months
  • Arizona: 12 Months
  • Colorado: 12 to 18 Months
  • Florida: 12 to 24 Months
  • Idaho: 12 Months
  • Iowa: 12 to 36 Months
  • Louisiana: 6 to 24 Months
  • Minnesota: 36 Months
  • New Jersey: 24 Months
  • Pennsylvania: 24 Months

The statute of limitations for felony DUI or DWI charges are significantly longer than those of misdemeanor drunk or drugged driving charges. If additional crimes were involved, such as a death as a result of the individual driving under the influence of alcohol, Marijuana, or prescribed medicine, additional charges may be applied including vehicular manslaughter.

If these additional charges are cited to the individual, the statute of limitations will be even longer for the prosecutor to file office charges in the case. Felony DUI charges are often those operating while intoxicated arrests which include aggravating factors. Some of these aggravating factors include:

  • Causing Injury or Accident
  • Very High BAC (Blood Alcohol Content)
  • Presence of a Minor
  • Resisting or Evading Arrest
  • Having Previous DUI or DWI Charges on a criminal record

It is important to note that missing or skipping court dates or evading police in order to run out the statute of limitations will not protect an individual from prosecution. The District Attorney can still file formal charges against an individual even if they have not appeared in court or been formally served their charge and, as long as they do so within the allotted time provided by the state, the charges will stand.

Here are some examples of statutes of limitations for felony DUI charges by state:

  • Arkansas: 36 Months to 6 Years
  • California: 36 Months to 8 Years
  • Georgia: 4 Years
  • Michigan: 6 Years
  • Montana: 5 Years
  • Nevada: 3 Years
  • Ohio: 6 Years
  • South Carolina: No Limit
  • Texas: 36 Months
  • Utah: 24 to 36 Months

Penalties to Expect for DUI or DWI by State

Just as the statute of limitations for an individual to be charged with a DUI or DWI vary from state to the next, so do the penalties that individuals can expect to face when they are charged. Although the punishment to expect to happen will vary, the most common consequences individual’s face include fines, loss or suspension of license, having to take alcohol education classes, and possible jail time. Additionally, those who are second or third offenders of DUI or DWI charges often face much harsher penalties than first offenders do.

Here are some examples of the penalties individuals face for first offense DUI charges by state:

  • Arizona: 90 Day License Suspension, Alcohol Education Courses
  • Delaware: 3 Month License Suspension, Alcohol Education Courses, Possible Ignition Interlock Device Requirement
  • Florida: 6 Month License Suspension, Alcohol Education Courses, Possible Vehicle Confiscation, Possible Ignition Interlock Device Requirement
  • Kentucky: 30 Day License Suspension, Alcohol Education Courses, Possible Vehicle Confiscation, Possible Ignition Interlock Device Requirement
  • Maryland: 60 Day License Suspension, Possible Ignition Interlock Device Requirement
  • New Jersey: 3 Month License Suspension, Alcohol Education Courses, Possible Ignition Interlock Device Requirement

As mentioned earlier, the penalties for second and third DUI or DWI charges are often much harsher than those for first time offenders. In most states, these higher consequences include longer license suspension and the required use of an ignition interlock device on their individual’s vehicle.

The following are some examples of the penalties individuals face for second and third DUI conviction by state:

  • Arkansas: 1 Year License Suspension for 2nd Offense, 3 Year License Suspension for 3rd Offense, Possible Vehicle Confiscation for 2nd Offense
  • Illinois: 1 Year License Suspension for 2nd Offense, Varied License Suspension for 3rd Offense, Possible Vehicle Confiscation for 3rd Offense, Possible Ignition Interlock Device Requirement for 2nd Offense
  • North Carolina: 60 Day License Suspension for 2nd Offense, 90 Day License Suspension for 3rd Offense, Possible Vehicle Confiscation for 4th Offense
  • Pennsylvania: 1 Year License Suspension for 2nd and 3rd Offenses, Possible Ignition Interlock Device Requirement for 2nd Offense
  • Texas: 180 Day License Suspension for 2nd and 3rd Offenses, Possible Vehicle Confiscation for 3rd Offense
  • Wisconsin: 1 Year License Suspension for 2nd Offense, 2 Year License Suspension for 3rd Offense, Possible Vehicle Confiscation for 3rd Offense

It is important to note that the penalties listed here are not the only consequences that individuals face when they are charged with DUI. Since there is so much variance in the Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated laws from one state to the next, it can often be difficult to track each individual penalty.

As a general rule of thumb, first time DUI offenders will often face fines and the possibility of jail time. Second and third time DUI offenders will incur higher fines, and can expect a mandatory period of time to serve in jail for an average minimum length ranging 10 to 60 days. Since many of the best defenses that work to stay out of jail after DUI are time sensitive in order to have the highest chances of success, waiting to act because of no court date scheduled yet is typically not advised with top defense lawyers in this field of law.

The best remedy when you get a DUI with no court date, no DUI charges filed, or without DUI paperwork summons in the mail, is always with an arrest review as early as possible after the incident with police. A careful proactive review for legal technicality defenses early enough after a DUI arrest, but before a court date or even official charges are filed in a DUI, DWI case, will always be the ultimate advantage for mitigation to have charges dropped or dismissed when a case eventually does go to court.

3 thoughts on “I Was Arrested for DUI, but Don’t Have a Court Date Yet. How Long do the Police Have to Charge Me With a DUI Offense?”

  1. I was arrested over two years ago for a dwi in Texas, but I have never been to court. I am on probation for a DWI in the same county that happened 5 months before that arrest. My second arrest has been added to my record as if I was convicted, but how can that be if I never been to court for it?

    Reply
  2. I got a DUI right before the covid-19 quarentine.
    The court house is closed and has been for months. What do you think the probability of the DA filling charges not only me but many other misdomenor cases that can date back to late 2019? I’m sure they will be swomped with cases that are more recent. What is your opinion and / or best educated guess on how they will Handel these classes?

    Reply
  3. I always wonder why someone would run away from their court date. It seems like the penalties would be much harsher. It’s interesting that South Carolina doesn’t have a limit on how long they can sentence you for a DUI.

    Reply

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