When do they have to charge me with a DUI in California? 12 Answers as of November 27, 2010

They did not arrest me at the scene of the accident or hospital after the BAC test. Is this normal? Are they waiting for the results? How long will it take?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
There is a one year statute of limitations in which to charge any misdemeanor offense. They may be waiting for the result, investigating the case further or just too busy to make your case a priority. If you are charged within that time, they could simply issue an arrest warrant for which you would have to post bail or in some jurisdictions the court would send you a notice to appear in court on a given day.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/27/2010
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
It is unusual for it to work this way but not unheard of. They have a year in which to charge you. However, if it does not happen in the next couple of months it most probably will not. You (or your attorney) can call the DAs office to find out if the charge is under submission or has been rejected.

As you were not arrested, you would be notified by a letter if they decide to press charges. They obviously did not feel they had enough evidence at the time or they would have arrested you. If you gave blood, then it takes a couple of weeks to get the results.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/19/2010
Law Office of Joseph Galasso
Law Office of Joseph Galasso | Joseph Galasso
No, this is not normal. Generally if the police have probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence they will arrest you and keep you in custody for approximately 8 hours or so, then release you with a notice to appear in court.

They will base their decision to arrest you on any objective symptoms you may be showing such as water eyes, smelling of alcohol, unsteady gait, how you answer a series of questions, field sobriety tests, the results preliminary alcohol screening device, etc.

Considering you had to go to the hospital, perhaps you were there long enough for them to consider you sober, then they let you go. Perhaps you were to injured for them to interview you or conduct any of the preliminary tests.

If this is true they likely took a blood sample from you. The results of the blood sample can take some time. If you blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or greater then they can charge you with a dui. If it is below a .08 they can still charge you with a DUI but they will base the arrest on your symptoms and driving. Since there was an accident and you went to the hospital they could use this to show bad driving.

I have done countless DUI cases and what I have stated is based on my experience, considering that we have not had a conversation about what happened.

If they feel they have enough evidence for a prosecution they can take up to one year from the incident to charge you with a misdemeanor or up to three years to charge you with a felony. It generally does not take that long. Felony DUI can be charged if there is an injury or upon 3 or more DUI prior convictions. If you have any questions please contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/17/2010
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
They have one year to arrest you. The blood test can take up to a month.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/17/2010
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
If they drew blood it takes a while to get the results. They should have given you a court date.

If you gave a breath test they get the results right away and would have either arrested you or given you a citation. If they did not you are probably in the clear.

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Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/17/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    If there were injuries [you mentioned hospital] then you are likely to be charged with a felony. The authorities have up to three years to charge and arrest you. Under your circumstances, I would expect the BA results will trigger that within 4-6 weeks. When you get the DAs letter to appear in court, hire an attorney if you intend to. If directly arrested, do not speak to or discuss the case with anyone but your attorney. If serious about hiring counsel, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/17/2010
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    They have up to a year in which to file misdemeanor DUI charges in California. One possibility for the delay may be (hopefully) that your BAC may not have been over the limit (though you can get charged for a BAC ranging from over .05%-.07% if poor driving was evident). The other possibility is that the test results haven't come back. I have seen blood test results taking from a few weeks to several months to come back. Make sure your address on your CDL is current because, if charges are eventually filed, the DAs office usually sends a letter to that address letting you know when to come to court for arraignment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2010
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Generally speaking, they have up to a year on a misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2010
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Generally, if you BAC was high then you would be arrested. However, you mentioned an accident, and hospital. If you were being treated for injuries then it is unlikely they would arrest you. You will receive a letter from the DA's office advising you that charges have been filed. This must be done within a year of the incident.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It is highly unusual, but they do have 1 year before prejudice is presumed. Consider getting representation now before more incriminating evidence is volunteered.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2010
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Probably waiting for results. These things can take months as the labs are backed up.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2010
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