California DUI cases are subject to a number of rules designed to protect the legal rights of defendants. One of these rules is the statute of limitations. Because DUI is considered, in most cases, to be a misdemeanor in the state of California, the general statute of limitations for filing DUI charges is a one year period of time. This means the prosecutor must file DUI charges within one year from the time you were found to be driving under the influence, or he will not be able to file charges. Different rules, however, may exist if the DUI led to a fatal accident or was a felony DUI.
The purpose of the statute of limitations is to protect a defendant's right to a speedy trial, as guaranteed by the US constitution, and to ensure that very old crimes are not prosecuted once evidence has been lost. If you are facing DUI charges and you believe the statute of limitations on those charges has expired, it is imperative you consult with an experienced lawyer to make sure that your rights are protected and that you don't have to deal with charges that should no longer be brought.