Can a driver be charged for DUI at a later date when he was not charged at the scene of the accident?

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Can a driver be charged for DUI at a later date when he was not charged at the scene of the accident?

A sobriety test was given and the driver was released after.  They were not ticketed, taken in, and no BAC test or breathalyzer was given.

Asked on February 5, 2011 under Criminal Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While this is not a typical occurance in a DUI case, it can be done.  All states have what is known as a "statute of limitations"; this is a time period in which charges must file the charge of DUI against you. Law enforcement generally has the entire length of the statute of limitations in which to charge you with a crime (usually 1 -3 years, depending upon the state). So yes, you can be charged with a DUI after the fact.

Since a DUI triggers not just a civil but a criminal case as well, it is advisable to have legal counsel represent you on this.  A skilled DUI attorney could potentially get the charge dismissed on a technicality, possibly get it reduced, or win an acquittal.  The fact that you were not arrested at the scene may work in your favor - a lawyer experienced in these type cases will know best.  Choose one that practices in the court in question.  They will have local contacts within the system that could prove invaluable when negotiating with the prosecutor on your behalf, or pleading your case before a judge. 


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