You were arrested for a misdemeanor
DUI, but it’s been over a year since the date of your arrest and you
still haven’t heard back from the courts. Is there a statute of
limitations for DUI? How long do you have to keep looking over your shoulder?
A misdemeanor DUI must be filed within one year of the date of the arrest.
For felonies, the state has three years to file charges with exceptions,
such as murder.
If the state filed the complaint within one year of the date of your arrest,
you likely have a warrant for your arrest. However, this brings us to
the speedy trial motion, known as a
If your DUI case was filed and you were never asked to appear in court,
you may have a Serna issue, which we recommend exploring.
But what is a Serna motion?
It’s a motion to dismiss a criminal case because the defendant was
not afforded the right to a speedy trial or prosecution. We bring these
in DUI cases where the prosecutor filed the complaint, but he or she waited
a long time before bringing the DUI defendant to court or trial.
Essentially, when we file the “Serna motion,” we’re filing
a motion to dismiss the California DUI charges because our client was
not afforded the constitutional right to a speedy trial. If we are successful
in filing a Serna motion, the result is we get your DUI charges dismissed.
Serna motions are meant to protect your rights under the Sixth Amendment
of the United States Constitution and under
Article I, Section 15 of the California Constitution. Our basic argument is that if it’s
been more than a year since your arrest, then your Constitutional right
to a speedy trial has been denied.
If this is the case, we’re shifting the burden back to the government,
who must explain their reasons for the lengthy delay. In practice, this
is very difficult for them to do so it works in the defense’s favor.
Do you have an old DUI case? If so, a Serna motion may be an effective
Contact an Orange County DUI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Virginia L.
Landry, Inc. to discuss this possibility.