If you are facing DUI charges, you likely feel overwhelmed and intimidated. You probably have lots of questions that you feel like you need answers to for your peace of mind if nothing else.
One of these questions is probably whether you can review a DUI in the mail. The answer is, it depends, but if you have received a DUI in the mail from a prosecutor, it is likely genuine.
If you have received a DUI in the mail, you need the help of a skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer to protect your rights and advocate for you in court. You do not need to face a DUI alone. Contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney immediately for a free consultation and case review.
Receiving DUI Information Through the Mail
While it is fairly uncommon, sometimes you might receive information about a DUI charge through the mail, even if you were pulled over several weeks or months ago. This is because the prosecutors are not required to file charges for the DUI right away, even though they often do.
This is because of the statute of limitations, which is a law that limits the amount of time that prosecutors can wait before filing charges for various crimes. The statute of limitations acts as a sort of timer, which begins to run on the date that you committed the alleged crime, and puts a time limit on the amount of time that the prosecutor has to file charges.
For misdemeanor DUI charges, the prosecutor must “commence” your case within 1 year of the alleged DUI. For a felony DUI, the prosecutor must “commence” the case within 3 years of the alleged DUI. After that time limit, you cannot be charged for DUI, even if you did it.
Some DUIs are categorized as felonies rather than misdemeanors. In the State of California, the prosecutor cannot simply charge you with a felony. You must be indicted of the felony by a grand jury, which is a special type of jury that hears evidence briefly, and then returns a decision on whether there is probable cause that you committed the act. If the grand jury finds that there is probable cause that you committed the felony DUI, they issue charges in a document called an indictment.
For the purposes of the statute of limitations, a felony DUI is “commenced” at the time that the grand jury returns an indictment. Again, this must be done within 3 years of the alleged DUI. After those 3 years, even if the grand jury returns an indictment, your DUI attorney in Los Angeles will likely be able to have your charges dismissed.
Because misdemeanor crimes are less serious, the prosecutor does not need to have a grand jury issue an indictment to file charges against you. Instead, the prosecutor writes up a document called a “complaint” (sometimes also referred to as “information”), which is similar to an indictment but only needs to be approved by the prosecutor.
For the purposes of the statute of limitations, a misdemeanor DUI is “commenced” at the time that the prosecutor files the complaint with the court. In most misdemeanor DUI cases, you will simply be notified of your upcoming court date, but you will not be arrested unless you fail to appear. This notification can be in the mail.
It Is Possible to Be Arrested for Misdemeanor DUI
When a misdemeanor DUI charge is filed against you, you have to be notified of the charge. If the court has a proper address for you in their records, they will usually mail the notice to you. However, if the court does not have an address for you, their other option is a little bit more serious.
When the court cannot locate an address for you to mail you the DUI, it will most likely issue a warrant for your arrest. The warrant will be attached to your driver’s license in the police database, so if you are pulled over by a police officer anywhere in the State of California, or if you otherwise run into a police officer that knows of the warrant, that police officer is obligated to arrest you.
After you are arrested, you will be brought before the court for a hearing called a preliminary hearing or arraignment. At this hearing, you will be informed of the charges against you, and bail will be set. In most cases, if you were arrested for a misdemeanor just because the court could not find your address, you will not be required to post cash bail.
What Happens if You Do Not Receive Proper Notice in the Mail
Sometimes, normally because of simple clerical errors, the court will neglect to inform you of charges against you, or your court date. If this happens, you probably will not show up for the court date (how could you?), and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
However, there is no reason to be afraid if this happens to you. You have a right to due process, which includes that you must be notified of the charges against you. If you are not notified, you cannot be punished for failing to appear in court. If this happens to you, make sure to tell your DUI lawyer in Los Angeles that you were not notified of the charges against you.
Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney
If you have recently received mailed notice of a DUI, you need an attorney that will act as a zealous advocate on your behalf. You need a lawyer that will protect your rights and give you excellent legal advice. Defending yourself is not a good option, you need to contact a DUI attorney in Los Angeles.
If you are facing DUI charges in California, you need a skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Do not face DUI charges alone. Contact a skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer today for a free consultation and case review.