How Long Does A DUI Case Take To Resolve?
DUI Cases: Misdemeanor vs Felony
There are legal rules, practical rules and exceptions. Legal rules: DUI cases can generally be divided in two different categories. There is a misdemeanor and there is a felony.
Misdemeanor DUI Cases
A misdemeanor case is normally going to take around three to six months to be completed. The speedy trial rule means that the case should be resolved in 90 days or less. The reality is, when a notice of discovery is filed, you usually do not get all of the information the state is obligated to provide. This very common problem is usually because law enforcement officers do not usually send everything to the state attorney’s office. As a result, cases get continued.
Generally, although the speedy trial will take 90 days, clients are asked to sign a waiver of speedy trial so that if a continuance is needed to get additional information, then the attorney won’t have to have a hearing and go to court. Moreover, the client doesn’t have to take off from work, go to court and sit around all day just to hear their attorney speak for about five seconds on an uncontested continuance; it’s a waste of everybody’s time. A smart attorney will try and make the whole process as less of a burden as possible for the client. The simplest DUI case is set for at least five court dates and most are set for eight or more. In my view, the only time a client should be in court is for something truly important. Court appearances that waste their time and cost them money should be avoided.
My office does as much of the work for my clients as we can. This includes making the process as painless as possible.
Now, there is one caveat to the timeline: a misdemeanor DUI case generally takes about three to six months for rural and suburban counties in Florida. If you’re near a very large population center, an urban area like Miami-Dade, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, places like that, that’s when you start seeing DUI cases on the misdemeanor level last for up to a year or more. However, in rural suburban counties, that’s very rare and that’s not exclusive because each county is different and each judge is different.
Felony DUI Cases
With a felony case, the speedy trial rule is 175 days, or six months roughly. However, felony cases generally take five to seven months to resolve. In bigger population centers, they can take far longer than a misdemeanor DUI, around two years. Again, it is completely different in urban counties. You have so many divisions in the larger counties, especially like Miami-Dade, that you have to break it down to individual judges, in particular county court and circuit court divisions in order to get an accurate timeline.
Felony DUI charges are extremely dangerous. Many people charged with DUI a third time, a third offense, will quickly learn that the minimum is 30 days in jail. But very few people get offered thirty days in jail in your rural and suburban counties in Florida’s county courts. These local courts will impose prison time unless great care is taken. This is one of the reasons we developed advance sentencing strategies, including our signature use of SPECT (Single-photon-emission-computed-tomography) brain imaging for highly technical Rule 3.992(b) Specialized Treatment sentencing departures. We haven’t lost a DUI sentencing hearing with it one time in over ten years. I hope we never do, but that isn’t very likely.
If you need information on How Long A DUI Case Takes To Resolve, call the criminal defense office of Stephen G. Cobb for a FREE Initial Consultation at (850) 423-0035 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.
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