Here’s a great article by Zooomr – a Los Angeles car lease tech startup that also handles huge cities like San Diego, NYC, and San Francisco. In California, you have the right to a speedy trial. When you’re charged with a crime, the state prosecutor has a limited amount of time to bring charges against you. If they don’t bring the charges within that period of time, they can never bring the charges. A Los Angeles DUI attorney can get a case dismissed rather quickly if law enforcement tries to bring a case after the statute of limitations has passed.
The statute of limitations is a legal term for the period of time that law enforcement has to bring charges. The people who made the U.S. constitution decided that it wasn’t fair for law enforcement to bring charges after a long period of time has passed. The time frame for the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of crime. For something like drunk driving, the time period is shorter. For an offense like homicide, there might not be a statute of limitations at all.
In most drunk driving cases, law enforcement has one year from the date of the offense to bring the charges. If they miss this deadline, you can ask the court to dismiss the charges. This is the case even if you’re completely guilty and you have no viable defenses. The passage of time is enough to act as a complete bar to criminal charges.
There are times that the statute of limitations doesn’t apply. If the state files charges against you and you fail to appear in court, you can’t rest on the statute of limitations in order to ask the court to dismiss the pending charges. The statute of limitations doesn’t apply in any case where the prosecutor files the charges with the court within the required time frame.
This is true even if you don’t know that there are charges against you. If the court notices go to the wrong address, you might not know about your court date. This might be your fault, and it might not be. However, the result is the same. The charges stay viable until you find out about the charges and address them.
Once the state files charges against you, you have a right to a speedy trial. That means the prosecutor can’t wait too long to bring the case to trial, or the court might find that the prosecutor violated your constitutional rights. This is something that your DUI attorney can address, especially in cases where there’s a blood test.
In some cases, law enforcement tries to prove that you’re over the legal limit by taking your blood to test for an alcohol level. This sample of blood goes off to a testing lab. Often times, the state lab is slow to conduct tests on the samples. If it takes them too long, the prosecutor might not be able to get the charges filed against you on time.
If you believe that the state has violated your constitutional right to a speedy trial, you can bring what’s called a Serna motion. That’s the informal name for the type of motion that asks the court to dismiss the case based on a violation of your right to a speedy trial. The court considers the four factors listed in the Barker v Wingo case.
Specifically, the court considers the length of the delay and the reason for the delay. They consider if you contributed to the delay and whether you took steps to avoid addressing the charges. If the court agrees that the prosecutor violated your right to a speedy trial, the result can be a complete dismissal of the charges against you.