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The 'Loophole' That Really Isn't: What Happens When No Charges Have Been Filed in Time for Your Court Date?

The Constitution guarantees due process and the right to a speedy trial. As part of that guarantee, the law establishes time limits for the prosecution of most criminal offenses called "statute of limitations". Simply put, if the charges are not filed within the time limit allowed by law, you cannot be prosecuted. Yet the "wheels of justice" sometimes move slowly- so what happens when no actual criminal charges have been filed against you by the time your court date arrives?

What if no Criminal charges were filed on my Court date?

If no criminal charges or DUI charges are filed on your Court date, they could still be filed later.  If no charges are filed within 3 Court days and you are in custody, you will be released.  Charges could still be filed as long as they are filed by the D.A. (District Attorney) within the statute of limitations.  The statute of limitations is the law which says any criminal charges must be filed within a specific time frame, depending on the offense, or they can never be filed. Misdemeanors must be filed within 1 year, most felonies must be filed within 3 years.  There are some criminal charges like murder which has no limitation on filing, other serious felonies like child molestation and other serious offenses can be filed many years later.  The California Penal Code can tell you what the various statutes of limitation are for different offenses.

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