Unfortunately you are not off the hook. When you were arrested you were given a date to appear in court. You showed up but you were told your case “had not been filed”. If you were smart you had a lawyer appear with you and he had your documents “stamped” to prove you appeared. However, this doesn’t mean the DA cannot file charges on you.
There are many reasons that charges are not filed by the time of your first “arraignment date”. Some of those include:
l. The police did not have time to complete their investigation to submit all of the police reports to the DA so the DA could decide to file the charges.
2. The DA received all of the police reports but has too busy to review them to make a decision as to what charges, if any to file against you.
3. The DA has received the paperwork but has returned the case back to the police for “further investigation” because he is not able to make a filing decision without more important data.
4. Your private criminal defense attorney may have spoken to the DA and asked him to delay filing so that they could discuss a possible case resolution.
So the question then is how long does the DA have to make a filing decision. In most misdemeanor cases the DA has up to one year from the date of your arrest to file charges. In most felony cases the DA has up to three years to file felony charges against you. If they fail to meet this filing deadline then the case will likely be “barred” due to what is called the statute of limitations.
However, in some cases, if the DA files the charges a lengthy period of time after you were arrested then your experienced criminal defense attorney can file a motion to discuss the charges due to the delay by the prosecution in making a filing decision. Your lawyer will have to show that
l. The DA failed to file the charges within a reasonable period of time
2. There was no legal justification for the lengthy delay in filing the charges
3. You have been prejudiced by the delay. You will have to show under this 3rd element that your case has been damaged. This often can be shown if a key witness to your defense is now deceased or cannot be located but he would have been able to testify if the DA had filed charges at an earlier date.
These type of cases are very complicated and you will need the legal services of an experienced criminal defense law firm. If you find yourself in this current situation call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Wallin & Klarich at 888-280-6839. We will be there when you call.