De Kamp, 080383 CAAGO, AGO 82-1208

Docket Nº:AGO 82-1208
Case Date:August 03, 1983
Court:California
 
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JOHN K. VAN DE KAMP Attorney General
JOHN T. MURPHY Deputy Attorney General
AGO 82-1208
No. 82-1208
California Attorney General Opinion
Office of the Attorney General State of California
August 3, 1983
         THE HONORABLE EDWIN L. MILLER, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SAN DIEGO COUNTY, has requested an opinion on the following question:          Does the issuance of a bench warrant by a magistrate for the arrest of a defendant toll the statute of limitations under Penal Code section 802.5?          CONCLUSION          The issuance of a bench warrant by a magistrate for the arrest of a defendant tolls the statute of limitations under Penal Code section 802.5          ANALYSIS          As specified in the Penal Code,[1] certain criminal prosecutions must be commenced within particular periods of time. (§§ 799-802.) Penal Code section 802.5 states as follows:
"The time limitations provided in this chapter for the commencement of a criminal action shall be tolled upon the issuance of an arrest warrant or the finding of an indictment, and no time during which a criminal action is pending is part of any limitation of the time for recommencing that criminal action in the event of a prior dismissal of that action, subject to the provisions of Section 1387." (Emphasis added.)
         We are asked to determine whether the words "arrest warrant" as used in section 802.5 include a bench warrant.          Our research discloses no judicial interpretations of section 802.5. Consequently, we resort to the rules followed by courts in construing statutes. The fundamental rule is to "ascertain the intent of the Legislature so as to effectuate the purpose of the law." (Select Base Materials v. Board of Equal. (1959) 51 Cal.2d 640, 645.) In determining legislative intent we examine the words of the statute and give those words their usual and ordinary import. (Moyer v. Workmen's Comp. Appeals Bd. (1973) 10 Cal.3d 222, 230; People v. Belleci (1979) 24 Cal.3d 879, 884.)          In its usual and ordinary meaning, a warrant is "a commission or document giving authority to do...

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