Statute of limitations on DUI in Illinois
The statute of limitations, which is outlined in federal or state statute, refers to the length of time the state or federal government has the right to initiate a legal proceeding against a defendant in a criminal case. Statute of limitations have been instituted to ensure that evidence, which generally deteriorates over time, will be available to successfully prosecute a case.
A statute of limitations has been imposed for all criminal offenses, except murder. If the state fails to file charges prior to the statute of limitations, which generally starts to run on the date the crime is committed, the defendant may avoid criminal prosecution. Additionally, the statute of limitations cannot be modified without a revision of the law by the appropriate state or federal officials.
DUI in Illinois and Statute of Limitations
Driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a serious crime in the State of Illinois. Drivers convicted of DUI may be assessed severe fines and penalties, including license suspensions, additional insurance requirements, jail time, probation, and mandatory educational classes.
As with other all crimes (except murder), the state has a specific amount of time, referred to as the statute of limitations, to charge a driver with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the State of Illinois criminal code, the case against a driver “must be commenced within 3 years after the commission of the offense if it is a felony, or within one year and 6 months after its commission if it is a misdemeanor.”
Although certain exceptions exist, in general, this means that all drivers charged with misdemeanor DUI in the State of Illinois must be charged within 18 months from date of the crime, and drivers charged with felony DUI must be charged within 3 years from the date of the crime.
Statute of limitations tolled
Although a statute of limitations has been enacted for all DUI charges, there are exceptions. For example, the statute of limitations may not run when the defendant is absent from the state or a prosecution or other criminal law proceeding is pending against the defendant for the same conduct.
Talk to a DUI lawyer if you have questions about the statute of limitations for your DUI case.
Statute of Limitations vs. Right to Speedy Trial
The statute of limitations for charging a suspect with a criminal DUI charge should not be confused with a defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
If you have been charged with a crime you have a right to a speedy trial, a right which is granted to all individuals under Illinois statutes, the Illinois Constitution, and under the U.S. Federal Constitution.
Under Illinois statutes, drivers who are in custody and who have been charged with a DUI must be brought to trial within 120 days. A defendant in custody does not have to demand a speedy trial in order to start the speedy trial clock.
Drivers who are not in custody, however, must be brought to trial within 160 days from the date they request a trial (725 ILCS 5/103-5). All requests must be in writing and must be served appropriately on the State.
Requirements for a speedy trial also vary for defendants who are currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) as well as defendants in the custody of an out-of-state prison. If you are currently in state custody, talk to a lawyer if you have questions about how to demand a speedy trial.
Bottom Line: Statute of limitations protects a defendant against the filing of DUI charges years and years after an offense has allegedly occurred. Statute of limitations are determined by state law and vary based on the severity of the DUI offense. Additionally, if DUI charges have not been filed but a driver escapes to another state, the statute of limitations may be legally suspended or “tolled,” allowing the state more time to file charges against the defendant.
Previous ArticleSouth Dakota DUI Law Information
Next ArticleSteps to Reinstate Your Drivers License After DUI