Statute of Limitations in Arizona for Criminal Charges – R&R Law Group

Statute of Limitations in Arizona for Criminal Charges – R&R Law Group

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– In some situations,
the police will respond to an incident, they
will process somebody, they will make an arrest,
they may draw blood, they may do interviews,
but they won’t actually charge somebody, or file formal charges. So that person will end
up leaving police custody without any paperwork, they
won’t have a court date, they won’t have an MVD Notice, they won’t have any idea what’s actually happening. This is more common than people think, and people will call our
office, and they’ll say, hey, this whole thing
happened, I was just processed by the police, but I don’t
know what to do about this. This can happen in many situations where the police are
continuing their investigation. They’re either doing some chemical testing on a blood sample, they’re
testing some contraband, they’re doing interviews with other people who may or may not corroborate
what actually happened during a 911 call, there’s
a lot of different reasons why the police can do an investigation but not have enough evidence
to actually file charges, and they wanna continue
their investigation. We see this a lot in DUI
cases, where the blood results may take some time to be tested, then charges can be filed at a later date. So the question then becomes,
how long do police have, does the prosecutor’s office have, does the government have,
in order to actually bring those charges against an individual? Can they just sit out there forever? The answer is no, in
law, there’s a concept that’s called the statute of limitations, this means that the government
has to bring charges within a certain period of time, or else they can’t do it any longer. And so, it’s different for two different categories, or classifications of crimes. Misdemeanors have a much
shorter statute of limitations, and felonies have a much
longer period of time, so in other words, for misdemeanor cases, they can’t wait and
wait and wait and wait. They have to bring
charges much more quickly, whereas under a felony case,
if you’re gonna be charged as a felony, they have a
lot longer period of time. And so let’s say something
happened on day one, under a misdemeanor case,
they have up to one year from that day, so one
year, all the way around, from the date of the incident. From the date of the
incident, they have one year. So one year, that’s the
statute of limitations. If they wait a year
and a day from the date of that incident, so if it happened today, we waited one year
later, the following day, they could not bring any more charges, they could not file charges
against that person, because the statute of
limitations expired. It’s much, much longer in felony cases. This is the date of the
incident, plus seven years. And felonies can be a
little bit more complicated, there are some other exceptions that really don’t have
statute of limitations, they go on much, much
longer from the actual date of the incident, generally
this involves sex crimes and things like that,
but for most felonies, it’s seven years, and so you can see it’s a much, much longer period of time. And it’s important to know that, we’ve gotten many cases
dismissed on that regard, so sometimes people will report late, prosecutor’s offices will just
forget about filing charges, they will put it on their calendar, they’ll file a day late or two days late. We’ve gotten cases dismissed literally because the charges were filed just a day late or two days late. They don’t do that often, but it is something that’s important. But really why this is more important is it helps give people a
little bit of closure. That way, you know that you’re not gonna be waiting around forever
and ever and ever. ‘Specially if it’s a misdemeanor case, if the case progresses
past a certain period of time, say for example, we know that blood is generally
tested in three months, the case hasn’t been filed in six months, it may be less likely that
that charge is getting filed. If it’s going nine
months, even better odds. If it goes a year and a
day, they can no longer file charges against you anymore, and so that case is closed. Felonies are obviously a little longer, seven years is a very long time to wait, but you also can have
kinda the same process, you can have the same
idea of whether or not these charges are gonna be filed. If you’re in this
situation, it doesn’t mean that you have to just sit around and wait. You can be proactive
about it, we help people through this process all the time, we do what’s called an investigation. So we don’t have to sit around and wait until charges are formally filed. We can go and start getting police reports or accident reports, we can
contact the prosecutor’s office, or the charging bureau with
the County Attorney’s Office, and communicate with them and say, hey, what’s going on, we
know this incident happened, we believe that there’s no evidence to support formal charges being filed, and so we can open up that dialogue, and maybe even prevent
charges from being filed, and get some closure on the case, prior to having to wait
all this additional time. So I hope this helps explain that, it’s something that for most people, the vast majority of
cases, you’re not gonna be waiting around for the rest of your lives to see if they file charges, it has to be brought,
for misdemeanor cases, and like I said earlier,
in most situations, it’s DUI cases and
domestic violence cases, have to be brought within one year, felonies, it’s seven
years unless it’s kind of one of those exceptions, it’s a sex crime or underage crime or something like that. Hope that helps, if you
have questions about it and want to speak to our office, speak to our team, speak
to myself about it, give us a call, we offer
free case evaluations, we can help you through
it, thanks for watching. (comforting music)

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