Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is often a very stressful experience in Los Angeles. Some drivers expect to face immediate charges after a DUI arrest. However, sometimes the prosecution waits to file charges. This raises the question: can you be charged with a DUI months later?
In fact, you can face DUI charges for months – or even years – after the date of your arrest. The amount of time the prosecution can wait to press charges depends upon the kind of charge you face. Dig into this subject in more detail right now.
If you’re facing a DUI charge months after your arrest, reach out to us today at (310) 896-2724 for a free consultation.
DUI Charges and the California Statute of Limitations
You may have heard the phrase “statute of limitations” before. This phrase refers to the amount of time an individual has to pursue legal action. Prosecutors in the state of California are subject to a statute of limitations when it comes to DUI charges. They have up to:
- One year to press charges for a misdemeanor DUI offense
- Three years to press charges for a felony DUI offense
The statute of limitations generally begins counting down from the time an offense is “discovered.” Often, the discovery of a DUI offense is an initial arrest. However, sometimes DUI offenses are discovered later, due to the reports of witnesses.
Focus on Misdemeanor and Felony DUI Offenses
As we mentioned, not all DUI charges are handled the same way in court. Most DUIs are considered misdemeanors. Misdemeanor charges can lead to jail time, fines, and restrictions on your driver’s license.
Some DUIs are treated as felonies. Felonies are more serious legal offenses. They could lead to time in prison. Generally, you only face felony charges for a DUI if:
- You have three or more prior misdemeanor DUI convictions in a 10-year period
- You have one or more prior felony DUI convictions in a 10-year period
- Someone was hurt or killed in a DUI accident
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help you review the differences between misdemeanor and felony charges. Get additional information now by calling us at (310) 896-2724. We are prepared to provide you with detailed answers to your legal questions.
Los Angeles Prosecutors Will Build a DUI Charge Over Time
We’ve established that the prosecution can wait to file a DUI charge against you in Los Angeles. You may wonder why prosecutors would hesitate before filing charges. Often, the prosecution waits because they are gathering evidence. For example, they may have to wait for the results of a blood alcohol content (BAC) test.
Police officers can administer these tests before or after your arrest. In most cases, they perform a breathalyzer test before an arrest. After you are arrested, they can also request that you perform a blood or urine test.
Note that you are legally required to complete any lawfully ordered tests after you are arrested. Refusal to comply with BAC testing can result in the immediate suspension of your license. You should also know that these tests could take time to return, especially if the lab is backed up.
Finally, a positive BAC test does not guarantee a conviction in Los Angeles. A lawyer can work with you to dispute the results of these charges. This could allow you to build a defense after a DUI arrest here in California.
Don’t Wait to Get Help with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
The prosecution could wait to file DUI charges against you in California. However, this does not mean you should just ignore a DUI offense. You should consider getting help from a lawyer right away to handle the DMV. This is because the DMV will automatically suspend your license 30 days after a DUI arrest if not properly contested.
You can take steps to prevent this suspension by requesting a DMV hearing. You have 10 days after the date of your arrest to request this hearing. A DUI lawyer can help ensure you request the hearing and help you prepare for it.
Your DMV hearing will allow your lawyer to review the charges you are facing and to focus on your eventual legal defense. Start getting help quickly after a DUI arrest by contacting us.
Find Out if You Can Be Charged with a DUI Months Later
You can face DUI charges months after your initial arrest in California. This is true whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges. We’re here to provide you with fast help after a DUI arrest. You don’t have to wait to get answers to your legal questions if you reach out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Contact us and get started with a free consultation.
You can reach us by calling (310) 896-2724. You can also complete our online contact form.