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If there is an open case pending with no further hearings, how long does it stay pending? Will they eventually drop the charge?

Anaheim, CA |

What if a declaration of arrest warrant is insufficient and there was no further court dates on the case? Does it stay pending? How long does the District Attorney have to prosecute before they drop the case?

It’s been filed already, but no progress since 12/09.

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Attorney answers 3


If the police submitted a case, but it was rejected for lack of sufficient evidence, the statute of limitations determines how long the prosecution has to file charges. In general, for most felonies, the statute of limitations is three years. There are exceptions for sex cases, fraud, and murder, but the three year rule covers most cases.

For misdemeanors, the general statute of limitations is one year, but there are a few exceptions there as well.


Has the case been filed by the prosecutor? If so, the statute of limitations has been met and they're simply awaiting your arrest or surrender before proceeding. However, if they fail to pursue the case for a prolonged period of time and ignore you, at some point an attorney can file a motion for dismissal for failure to respect your right to a speedy trial.

If the case hasn't been filed yet, the statute of limitations is running. The period of time depends on the offense. It can range from one year to indefinite depending on the crime.

You should consult a defense attorney about the right course of action to take.


If the Court has issued a warrant, there will be no further hearing scheduled until the defendant is brought before the Court or appears voluntarily.

Theoretically, the case can stay in this status forever. Some courts have policies with respect to dismissal after the lapse of different periods of time based upon the severity of the case. Some courts do not have any policy to review and dismiss. If the case does not go away on its own, an attorney might have to bring a motion to have it dismissed.

This is a very technical area of law with respect to constitutional rights to speedy trial. No answer could be given without review of all documents, the charges and even the circumstances that apply to the defendant.

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