Drivers who have been stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol may not be charged with an offense for many months following the traffic stop. Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested a month ago for DUI, but I have not heard anything from the state about charging me a crime. How long does the state have to charge me with a crime?”
If you have been stopped and arrested for DUI you will generally be charged with a misdemeanor DUI unless you have caused injury to another person or you have had multiple DUI convictions within a specified time period identified by your state. For instance, in California you can be charged with a felony DUI if you have three or more DUIs within a ten year period.
If you are charged with a DUI misdemeanor there is a one year statute of limitations for the state to file criminal charges against you. So, unfortunately, even if the DUI stop was months ago and you have not heard anything it does not mean you will not be charged with a crime. Generally, it can take several months for the prosecution to receive the blood results for the arrest, for the results to be reviewed by the police, and for the report to be sent to the prosecutor who will make the decision about whether or not to file a DUI charge.
Gross Misdemeanor for DUI
Some states allow DUI charges to be classified as gross misdemeanors, charges which are not as serious as a felony but more serious than a misdemeanor charge. If you have been arrested for a gross misdemeanor the state has up to two years from the date of the DUI arrest to decide whether or not to file DUI charges.
Although jail time may be avoided for a first offense of a gross misdemeanor, you will still have to pay high fines, penalties, and potentially serve probation or perform community service. For example, in the state of Nevada if you are charged with a gross misdemeanor you can be charged up to $2,000 and could spend up to 364 days in jail.
Waiting for the charges to be filed…what do I do?
So what do you do while you are waiting to find out if you will be charged with a DUI? First, do not post any information online on any social networking site or the internet that could potentially hurt your case, including incriminating information or details about arrest.
Next, depending on the type of evidence the state has against you, it may be a good idea to talk to a DUI lawyer. Although you may not be charged with a crime, the lawyer can give you information about what needs to be done if charges are filed.
It is also important to remember that even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor DUI if you are convicted you could suffer long-term consequences including the loss of your license and charges which cannot be expunged from your driving record.
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