Statute of Limitations – Criminal DUI Offenses


     By Ramsell & Associates, LLC

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The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor DUI is generally18 months from the date of offense. The statute of limitations for a felony DUI is generally 3 years from the date of offense.

(720 ILCS 5/3-5) § 3-5. General Limitations, states as follows:

(a) A prosecution for: (1) first degree murder, attempt to commit first degree murder, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving death or personal injuries under Section 11-401 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, failing to give information and render aid under Section 11-403 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, concealment of homicidal death, treason, arson, aggravated arson, forgery, or (2) any offense involving sexual conduct or sexual penetration as defined by Section 12-12 of this Code in which the DNA profile of the offender is obtained and entered into a DNA database within 10 years after the commission of the offense and the identity of the offender is unknown after a diligent investigation by law enforcement authorities, may be commenced at any time. Clause (2) of this subsection (a) applies if either: (i) the victim reported the offense to law enforcement authorities within 2 years after the commission of the offense unless a longer period for reporting the offense to law enforcement authorities is provided in Section 3-6 or (ii) the victim is murdered during the course of the offense or within 2 years after the commission of the offense.

(b) Unless the statute describing the offense provides otherwise, or the period of limitation is extended by Section 3-6, a prosecution for any offense not designated in Subsection (a) 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.

The time for filing a felony indictment or information for DUI against a defendant is not automatically tolled by the existence of a misdemeanor complaint for the DUI offense. Rather, the prosecution must plead any exception to the 3 year limitation, including a tolling due to pending misdemeanor charges arising out of the same conduct. It is insufficient if the indictment merely mentions that a misdemeanor DUI was pending at some time prior to the filing of the felony – rather, the indictment or information must specifically state that the prosecution is relying upon the pendency of the misdemeanor charges in order to extend the limitations period, or the charges are susceptible of dismissal.

720 ILCS 5/307(c) provides that, when calculating the statute of limitations, the period in which a prosecution for the same conduct is pending is excluded. Thus, the courts have held that a charge of DUI could be filed after the 18 month timeframe when a reckless homicide charge had been pending for the ‘same conduct’. People v. Martin 266 Ill.App.3d 369, 640 NE2d 638 (4th. Dist 1990)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donald J. Ramsell
Mr. Ramsell received his bachelor of science in criminal justice from Loyola University and his juris doctor, law degree, from DePaul University.

In 2002, Donald J. Ramsell became the only Illinois DUI defense attorney to appear and argue a DUI case before the United States Supreme Court in its entire 213 years of existence. In 2007, Mr. Ramsell was nominated and honored to become a Sustaining Member of the National College for DUI Defense.

This article is taken from Mr. Ramsell's book: "DUI Law and Practice Guidebook, 2009 ed. (Vol. 25, Illinois Practice Series)", which provides insight from an experienced DUI defense attorney about preparing a DUI case in Illinois. Topics covered include implied consent, procedure, and types of DUI evidence. It offers an evaluation of the relevant statutes and case law pertaining to DUI law in Illinois, and provides insight on preparing for and presenting a DUI case.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.



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