Factors That Determine Length Of DUI Statute Of Limitations

Posted on: 3 April 2018

If you know even a little bit about personal injury cases, then you probably know about the statute of limitations, which bar injury victims from instigating personal injury claims after certain deadlines have passed. Well, the same thing applies in DUI (driving under the influence) cases, only this time the statute of limitations bar the government from instigating cases against DUI suspects after some time.

Why There Are Statute Of Limitations for DUIs

Most criminal cases are easier to prove or disapprove immediately after the alleged acts. For example, if you are being accused of DUI, it will be easier for you to defend yourself or for the prosecution to prove their case in the days, weeks, and months following the alleged incident. These are some of the things that happen when time passes before you are prosecuted:

  • It becomes difficult to trace witnesses
  • Witnesses' memories fade
  • Physical evidence disappear
  • Physical evidence deteriorate

For this reason, there are statutes of limitations that determine the period within which DUI cases can be instigated against you. Here are some of the factors that determine the duration of these DUI cases:

The Severity of the Charges

DUI charges are not all equal; they range from a misdemeanor to felony in their severity. The more serious your charges are, the greater the statute of limitations it may attract. For example, misdemeanor DUI charges may have a statute of limitations of only a few months while felony DUI may still be prosecuted a year after the act.

Your History Of DUI

Whether or not you have previous DUI convictions will also determine the length of the statute of limitations for the present case. As you can expect, a first-time DUI charge usually attracts shorter statute of limitations than subsequent DUI charges.

DUI Accident Injuries

It also matters whether you drunken driving resulted in an accident and whether the accident resulted in injuries or death. Certainly, a fatal DUI accident will receive a longer statute of limitations period than a fender bender DUI accident.

State Laws

Lastly, state laws also determine the duration or even existence (some states don't have statutes of limitations for DUIs) of the statute of limitations laws. For example, the stature of limitations for felony DUI in Florida is four years, but North Carolina doesn't have such laws.

As you can see, you should not assume that you won't be prosecuted for your DUI charges just because a long time has passed since the act. Prepare to defend your case by consulting a DUI attorney like Angela L Walker PC.

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