Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why Is It Taking So Long For My DUI Case To Be Filed?

Many people are arrested and given a citation or notice to appear for a future Court date only to discover that the District Attorney has not filed charges and there is no case on calendar.  Interestingly, many people do not realize that when the police make an arrest they do not have the power to charge a person with a crime, only the DA has that ability.  Unlike a typical traffic ticket, a DUI is a misdemeanor that must first be reviewed and filed by the county prosecutor before the Court will calendar the matter.  So what are some of the reasons why a case may be delayed?

Perhaps the single biggest reason for prosecutorial delay is that they do not have all of the paperwork in the case.  Most DUI investigations include numerous reports by many different people and each person involved in the process will write a report.  For example, if a cop stops you and another officer shows up to assist in the field sobriety tests or to administer a breath test each officer will be required to write a report of their observations.

Moreover, if the case involves an accident, a different officer will sometimes prepare a report of measurements, witness statements or opinions about the cause of the accident.  When a blood test is given, their are even more people involved such as the person who drew the sample, the officer who transports the sample and delivers it to the lab,  the technician who does the testing and so on...
In some instances there may be two or more breath tests that need to be considered and the records of the machine may need to be obtained.

Many counties are backlogged and do not have the staff to expedite the compilation of all of the reports, evidence and other documents therefore delays occur.  Most attorneys will use this time to submit requests to dismiss or ask that evidence be re-considered or that a supervisor review the case for the possibility of a rejection of the case and dismissal.

You must be patient.  California law allows the DA a full year to file any misdemeanor DUI case and they can take all of that time if need be.  Even in cases where the blood test comes back lower than the legal limit of .08, the DA can file charges of impaired driving if the officer renders an opinion that you were impaired by the alcohol or drugs, prescription or otherwise in your system.