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How long do u have for the da to pick up a case and prosecute

Margate, FL |

how long does one have before th da picks up the case

Fire for a fradulant medical card, my license was suspended; I took the necessary test to get it reinstated by DMV, come to find out that other employees on the job has the same card and didnt get fired do I have the right to sue.....

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Attorney answers 4


There is not a lot of information here to go on, but basically:

If no arrest has been made, the State may elect to file charges within the applicable statute of limitations for whatever offense they have probable cause to believe has occurred.

If an arrest has been made, and the accused is in jail, the State must file formal charges within 30 days, or on the 40th day the accused will be released on his/her own recognizance. Notwithstanding the release status of an accused, the case must be brought to trial within the speedy trial window (90 days for misdemeanor, 175 days for felony) unless speedy trial is waived. There are some other technical components to this, but generally the above is what applies.

Please feel free to review my AVVO profile and website. I consult and handle criminal cases throughout Florida and family law, bankruptcy and civil cases in the Panhandle.


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There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided.

There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. You may also contact the Florida Bar, (850) 561-5600.


That depends on the statute of limitations for the offense. There are laws that say that if the government plans to bring a charge against someone that they must do so within a reasonable period of time. This ensures that charges cannot lie in waiting for whenever the government chooses to bring them in order to preserve evidence, both prosecution evidence as well as defense evidence, and to ensure fundamental fairness in the system.

The limiting time period depends on the charge: most misdemeanor crimes carry a two year limitation, most low level felonies are three years, and some are four. In very few instances, there is no limit, such as murder charges.
These statutes of limitation start the day the crime was committed and their length, the statutory period, is set by the legislature, so each jurisdiction may be slightly different and the periods can change as the legislature adjusts them.

If a person charged has had a warrant served or a notice to appear in court served, then the time period is "tolled," or stopped. It is not how long you can avoid going to court, but how long the authorities have to serve the warrant. Filing an information or petition is not enough to toll the statute, nor is swearing out a warrant. The State has to serve the warrant or claim that despite a diligent effort you avoided them. Leaving the state can also toll the statute in many cases.

So, to use an example, if the police come and talk to someone about a misdemeanor crime, but never serve an arrest warrant or appearance warrant, then that person really isn't safe until two years later. They may even have an outstanding warrant for the entire two years, but if they never get picked up, and never become aware of the warrant, then after the two years the prosecutor has lost the opportunity to bring the charges against the person.

Of course, like many rights, you have to know this and ask the court to dismiss because the statute of limitations has expired. Saying that puts the burden on the State to prove they acted within the limit. If you do not raise the defense, the court may not either, and you will have waived it for good. That is one very good reason to always be represented by a competent attorney: the rights you are unaware of may be waived if you do not assert them, and unless you've gone to law school, you probably don't know about all of them that may be available.

This answer is for educational purposes only. Hope that helps.


Generally speaking, the statute of limitations (time for DA to file) is three years for a felony and one year for a misdemeanor. Your state may be different, but a felony will generally have a longer statute of limitations than a misdemeanor.

Edward J. Blum


If there is no arrest, the State's ability to formally file charges is limited by the Statute of Limitations for the particular offense. Most statute of limitations are set by Section 775.15, Florida Statutes.

However, once there is an arrest, the State's ability to formally file charges is limited by Florida Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191, which requires them to formally file charges within 90 days for a misdemeanor or 175 days for a felony.

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