As all Seattle DUI and Seattle criminal defense attorneys know, every case has a filing period known as a Statue of Limitations (“SOL”). If a criminal case is not filed within that time period, the case cannot ever be filed by the government.
The SOL on misdemeanors is 1 year, on gross misdemeanors 2 years, and on class C felonies 3 years. So, for example, the government must file a hit and run – property charge that happened on April 20, 2020 no later than April 20, 2021; a DUI that happened on April 20, 2020 no later than April 20, 2022; and an Assault 3 charge that happened on April 20, 2020 no later than April 20, 2023. If they fail to get their case into the court system prior to these time limits, the case cannot be litigated, period.
As we all know, there is a Pandemic currently impacting all of our lives. What some may not know, however, is that it is also now impacting criminal SOL’s. As of April 14, 2020, all criminal case SOL’s in the state of Washington have been tolled. This is so because Governor Jay Inslee announced a new emergency order that is effective at least through May 14, 2020. The order is intended to help the criminal justice system by combating the lapse of SOL’s while the courts (for all intents-and-purposes) are closed. The governor’s proclamation suspends SOL’s for any crimes. So, for example, the government now has until March 15, 2021 to charge someone for a DUI incident that took place on January 15, 2019. This time period could, of course, be extended depending on how long the Covid-19 pandemic lasts, and the governor’s stay home order remains in place.
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge, or have been arrested in Seattle, don’t hesitate to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.