Florida’s Statute of Limitations for DUI
The statute of limitations in a criminal case creates a deadline for the prosecutor to commence the prosecution. For a DUI case, the statute of limitations depends on how the DUI is charged. Under Section 775.15, F.S., the following time limitations apply for DUI cases:
- one year for a DUI-related offense charged as a second-degree misdemeanor;
- two years for a DUI-related offense charged as a first-degree misdemeanor;
- three years for a DUI-related offense charged as a third-degree or second-degree felony;
- four years for a DUI-related offense charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony; or
- no time limit for any felony DUI-related offense that results in the death of another person.
In Florida, a DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the number of prior convictions or the type of injury caused in a crash.
Avoiding an administrative suspension after a DUI arrest and a court-ordered revocation after a DUI conviction is important because that suspension or revocation will remain on your driving record for 75 years.
Attorney on Florida’s Statute of Limitations for DUI
If you are under investigation for DUI and concerned about Florida’s statute of limitations, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our main office is located in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County, FL. We have additional offices in Clearwater and New Port Richey.
Our attorneys represent clients charged with a variety of DUI cases. We fight the first, second, third, or fourth DUI charge. We also represent clients accused of causing a crash with property damage or injury.
If the prosecutor took too long to commence the prosecution, we could help you determine whether the statute of limitations might bar the prosecution.
Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.
Reasons the Statute of Limitations Applies to DUI Prosecutions
Determining the statute of limitations for a criminal case can be more difficult. As a practical matter, the statute of limitations rarely comes into play in a DUI prosecution because any evidence of impairment or intoxication disappears quickly.
Additionally, these crimes typically involve a roadside investigation by a police officer. Since the police are immediately involved in the investigation, there is rarely any reason for a delay in the prosecution.
Most DUI cases are commenced when the arresting officer issued a DUI citation, usually on the same day that the offense occurs. In some cases, the state attorney might charge the crime through “direct file information” after a crime lab returns the urine or blood test results.
The longest delay can occur when the officer doesn’t gather blood or urine samples because the suspect is taken to the hospital. In those cases, the prosecutor might attempt to issue an investigative subpoena to get the medical records to determine the blood alcohol concentration.
Before the subpoena can be issued, the prosecutor must notify the patient of the proposed subpoena duces tecum to produce medical records concerning the patient’s blood alcohol concentration.
For these reasons, the prosecutors typically charge the crime of DUI and DUI-related offenses well within the statute of limitations period. The bigger problem in DUI cases is violations of the defendant’s right to a speedy trial which is a separate issue.
Florida’s Civil Statute of Limitations
The civil statute of limitations applies after a motor vehicle accident for personal injury. In a civil personal injury case to sue for damages after a crash, any person injured in the crash has only four (4) years from the accident date to file a claim against the at-fault driver.
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