Pittsboro, NC asked in DUI / DWI for North Carolina

Q: Is there a statute of limitations on dwi in NC?

It has been more than two years since I was charged

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2 Lawyer Answers
Amanda Bowden Johnson
Amanda Bowden Johnson
  • DUI & DWI Lawyer
  • Jacksonville, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Statutes of limitations typically apply to you being charged. Since you have already been charged, you likely need to consult with an attorney in the area you were charged in.

Bill Powers
Bill Powers
  • DUI & DWI Lawyer
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: No. The NC Supreme Court JUST ruled on that legal issue.

Despite what many legal scholars consider to be the clear language of the N.C.G.S., the Supreme Court found the North Carolina General Assembly could never have intended an end result and dismissal of charges for the State's failure to comport with the law(s), writing:

"We conclude that other valid criminal pleadings listed in NCGS 15A-921, including the citation issued to defendant in this case, toll the section 15-1 statute of limitations."

Chapter 15 - Criminal Procedure / Article 1 - General Provisions.

§ 15-1. Statute of limitations for misdemeanors.

The crimes of deceit and malicious mischief, and the crime of petit larceny where the value of the property does not exceed five dollars ($5.00), and all misdemeanors except malicious misdemeanors, shall be charged within two years after the commission of the same, and not afterwards: Provided, that if any pleading shall be defective, so that no judgment can be given thereon, another prosecution may be instituted for the same offense, within one year after the

first shall have been abandoned by the State.

§ 15A-921. Pleadings in criminal cases.

Subject to the provisions of this Article, the following may serve as pleadings of the State

in criminal cases:

(1) Citation.

(2) Criminal Summons.

(3) Warrant for arrest.

(4) Magistrate's order pursuant to G.S. 15A-511 after arrest without warrant.

(5) Statement of charges.

(6) Information.

(7) Indictment

The Supreme Court found, regarding the language in the statute, "[W]hen a literal interpretation of the language in a statute will lead to absurd results. . .the strict letter thereof shall be disregarded."

Per the NC Supreme Court, the law requiring an indictment, and the State's failure to obtain the same in a timely fashion, would result in an "absurd result," to wit: Dismissal of DWI charges.

As such, the North Carolina Supreme Court both set aside the ruling of the Court of Appeals and found the Uniform Citation sufficient to toll the Statute of Limitations, thus creating new law and finding a traffic ticket is AOK instead of an indictment.

SEE: https://law.justia.com/cases/north-carolina/supreme-court/2018/441pa16.html

Bill Powers

North Carolina DWI Defense

Co-Author of the NC DWI Quick Reference Guide

SEE: https://www.carolinaattorneys.com/files/powlandspiralqrgrev1-4-18lr.pdf

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