One of the reasons it is important to have a lawyer when you’re facing DUI/DWI charges is because DUI laws in Arizona are very complex. An example of this is that DUIs in Arizona tend to be classified as misdemeanors, a type of charge that has a one-year statute of limitations in the state. Thus, you might think if 365 days passed since your DUI arrest, you are safe from legal ramifications. However, this is not the always the case.
Helpful Link: Click the following link if you are looking for the Statute of Limitations for a Felony DUI.
Watch this short video explaining the statute of limitations for misdemeanor DUI/DWI in Arizona:
What makes the statute of limitations different for DUI arrests? At first glance, there appears to be no difference; A.R.S. § 13–107 clearly states that Arizona must formally file charges within a year for misdemeanors. However, the statute contains several exceptions that can help extend the amount of time the state has to file DUI charges against you.
For example, if the state isn’t sure of a DUI suspect’s identity, A.R.S. § 13–107(E) provides that the statute of limitations will be suspended until identity is confirmed. If the state knows your identity but you try to escape prosecution by leaving the state, you won’t find a loophole that way, either; A.R.S. § 13–107(D) suspends the statute of limitations if you are outside of Arizona for any reason, even if you have no choice in the matter.
The state legislature also built into the statute an extension provision, A.R.S. § 13–107(G). This provision allows the state to begin a new prosecution for a DUI within a six-month period following the dismissal of prior DUI charges or the expiration of the statute of limitations with regard to those charges. The time limit for the new prosecution is the longer of two potential measurements: either six months after the dismissal of the original charge was finalized; or the full extent of the original one-year limit.
In other words, even if the state is aware of your identity and you don’t leave the state at all following the date of your arrest, you could still find the statute of limitations to effectively be a year and a half. Such a situation might arise where the finalization of the dismissal of your original charges occurs eleven months after the arrest, because the new charges may then be prosecuted within six months of the dismissal date.
Did you find what you were looking for? If not, click here for a full list of Arizona DUI Laws & Defenses.
Having an experienced attorney from DM Cantor, guide you through the process will help you avoid pitfalls and move on with your life. If you have DUI charges pending against you, call us today at (602) 307-0808 or fill out a confidential contact form today for a Free Case Consultation.