DUI arrests don't always lead to convictions in court. Police officer mistakes, faulty breathalyzers and crime lab errors may get your charges reduced or dismissed. Visit our California DUI page to learn more.
The problem is that there is no hard-and-fast rule for how long the prosecution can wait to bring you to trial.
For misdemeanor cases, a wait of one (1) or more year after you are arrested or a complaint is filed is an important milestone. After a 1-year delay in a misdemeanor case, a judge analyzing your case under the U.S. Constitution will presume that you have been prejudiced–harmed–by the delay. So the key question will be whether the government can offer a good excuse for the delay.
But in felony cases–or in cases that focus on the California constitutional right to a speedy trial–the Serna motion analysis is more complicated. There is no clear “deadline” for the government to bring you to trial after charging or arresting you. The judge will look at the length of the delay, but also any harm you suffered because of it and the justifications the prosecution offers for the delay, in deciding how to act on your speedy trial motion.
About the Author
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.