What Is the Statute of Limitations in Georgia for a DUI?

Did you know that in Georgia, the majority of DUI convictions are categorized as misdemeanors, placing them in a similar legal standing as minor traffic offenses like running a red light or being involved in a minor car accident?

But, don’t underestimate the legal consequences of getting a DUI charge. If you’re a repeat offender, you should even be more worried about how getting a DUI can impact your life and your career.

In this article, we will explain one of the crucial elements of DUI and answer your question about the statute of limitations for a DUI in Georgia.

The duration of the statute of limitations in Georgia for a DUI offense sets a deadline for when legal proceedings can be initiated. Some exceptions and factors can affect this limitation, leading to potential consequences if not handled properly.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations pertains to the deadline for when legal proceedings can be initiated. To understand the statute of limitations for DUI cases in Georgia, you must be aware of the time constraints that govern how long the state has to prosecute these offenses. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for DUI cases is generally two years. This means that the state has two years from the date of the offense to file charges against you.

In most states, the exact duration of when a case can be filed against you is also determined by the severity of the offense and certain circumstances surrounding the case. If charges aren’t brought within the specified time frame, you may be able to use the statute of limitations as a defense to have the case dismissed.

According to Riverside DUI lawyer Steve Najera, the statute of limitations isn’t just about when charges can be filed, but also about whether or not you can still use the evidence in court. Over time, evidence may degrade, witnesses may become unavailable, and memories may fade, all of which can impact the outcome of your case.

Factors Affecting DUI Statute of Limitations

Here are the factors that can influence the duration within which charges can be brought against you:

One key factor is the severity of the offense. For example, if the DUI resulted in serious injury or death, the statute of limitations may be extended due to the more severe nature of the crime.

Your location at the time of the offense can impact the statute of limitations. If you were arrested in a different state or fled Georgia after the incident, the time limit for prosecution may be affected.

The availability of evidence plays an important role. If key evidence surfaces later or if there are delays in obtaining evidence, the statute of limitations may be extended to allow for a fair trial.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

In certain circumstances, the statute of limitations for DUI cases in Georgia may be extended beyond the typical two to four-year range. One exception is when the defendant flees the state or becomes a fugitive. In such cases, the time the defendant is absent from the state isn’t counted towards the statute of limitations period. This means that if a person leaves Georgia after committing a DUI offense, the statute of limitations clock may stop until they return.

Another exception is when the defendant is a minor at the time of the offense. If a person is under 17 years old when they commit a DUI, the statute of limitations is tolled until they reach the age of 17. This guarantees that minors don’t face the same time constraints as adults for offenses committed while they are underage.

Consequences of Exceeding the Limitation

Should the statute of limitations for DUI cases in Georgia be exceeded, potential consequences may vary depending on the circumstances of the case.

If the prosecution attempts to bring charges after the statute of limitations has passed, your defense attorney can file a motion to dismiss the case based on the expired time limit. This motion will argue that the charges should be dropped because they weren’t filed within the legally allotted time frame.

There are exceptions to the statute of limitations for DUI cases, such as if the defendant absconds or is out of the state. In such instances, the statute of limitations may be tolled, meaning the time period is paused until the individual returns or is located.

Exceeding the statute of limitations can result in significant benefits for the defense, as it may lead to the dismissal of the charges. Consult with a knowledgeable DUI attorney in Georgia to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your specific case and what steps can be taken to leverage it in your defense.


So, if you’ve been charged with a DUI, you must be aware of the statute of limitations that applies to your case. Remember, the clock is ticking from the date of the offense, and once the time limit has expired, you may no longer face prosecution. Stay informed, seek legal advice, and act immediately to protect your rights and guarantee a fair outcome in your DUI case.

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