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Statute of Limitations for DUI Warrants

In this post, we’d like to discuss the statute of limitations for driving under the influence (DUI) and the statute of limitations for DUI warrants in California. We bring these up because sometimes a driver is arrested and he or she doesn’t hear back from the court for some time regarding their DUI charge. People can also fail to appear on a DUI charge, and in effect a warrant will be issued for their arrest. So, we wanted to explain the statute of limitations in both of these cases.

For starters, a “statute of limitations” refers to a deadline or time limit. In the case of a DUI prosecution, the statute of limitations refers to the state’s deadline for filing DUI charges against a person. Once the statute of limitations is up, the state can no longer press charges. In California, the state has one year from the date of arrest to file misdemeanor DUI charges against someone.

As far as DUI arrest warrants – there is no statute of limitations so they last indefinitely. In other words, if the state files DUI charges against an individual and he or she fails to appear in court as required, the judge will issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The warrant, which stemmed from a DUI charge, does not expire.

Can My Case Be Dismissed?

Suppose you were arrested for DUI but you never heard back from the court. The hearing took place anyway and because you “failed to appear,” a warrant was issued for your arrest; however, you were never arrested and brought to court. If this happens, you may be eligible for a dismissal if it can be proven that law enforcement failed to properly arrest you and bring you to court.

Our question is, “Could the cops have found you if they really wanted to?” We’ll want to know if the address on your driver’s license is current, and if you paid your state taxes. We’ll want to know if you were receiving any type of state benefits and if law enforcement tried to contact you since the failure to appear. In other words, did law enforcement drop the ball? If so, it may be possible to get your case dismissed in court.

Of course, in order to handle your case, you’ll have to go back to court. Until the situation is confronted head-on, there will still be an active warrant for your arrest even if something has barred the DA from prosecuting you. In order to gain control over your situation, contact our Orange County DUI defense firm for a free case evaluation!