Seattle Law Hawks - Everett DUI Glossary

Understanding DUI Terminology

Jurisdiction: this term is actually used to refer to several different things in criminal law. First, jurisdiction refers to whether a court has the authority to hear a case. Authority is determined be the Washington State and United States Constitutions, and State and Federal law. For example, juvenile courts were created and given authority to hear many cases where the defendant is under the age of 18, but not driving cases such as DUI (which are heard in district or municipal court). Jurisdiction also refers to whether a law enforcement agency is allowed to operate in a given area. Washington State Patrol, for example, is given authority to monitor all State Highways and Freeways, but not to patrol City streets unless in pursuit of a vehicle. Finally, jurisdiction refers to how long after a conviction a court can monitor a person. For DUI and many domestic violence charges, the court can take jurisdiction up to 5 years; other misdemeanors are generally 2 years and felonies vary depending on the type of charge and what the court is monitoring. Jurisdiction is tolled (does not count toward the time period) anytime a warrant is issued.

'Speedy Trial:'CrR 3.1 and CrRLJ 3.1 outline a defendant\'s Time for Trial Rights when charged with a crime in Washington.

Statute of Limitations (SOL): in criminal law the statute of limitations refers to the amount of time the City or State has to file charges in a case. In DUI and most misdemeanor cases charges can be filed up to two years from the date of the incident. In Washington, the SOL for felonies is often 3 years, but can be up to no limit in charges like Murder. Once charges have been filed in the required amount of time the SOL is no longer relevant. If a person fails to appear when charged, and a warrant is properly issued, the charges do not go away with the passage of time. Thus, SOL does not help you wait out a warrant or other court obligation. There are several time limits that do start running after you are charged and they are referred to as 'jurisdiction' and 'speedy trial'.


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