Why Does the Statute of Limitations Matter for Criminal Cases in Arizona?
Understanding all of your rights in the aftermath of being investigated, charged, or arrested for a crime can go a long way towards reducing the anxiety you will experience. If someone has violated your constitutional rights or laws, you may have a strong defense strategy to help minimize or eliminate penalties for you. One of the most important attributes of a potential defense has to do with the statute of limitations.
The criminal statute of limitations in Arizona is rooted in the concept of fairness so that evidence integrity can be preserved. It would not be fair to wait so long to bring a criminal accusation that an accused is denied a right to a fair trial. Time limits during which charges may be brought also helps ensure that criminal cases are processed in a timely fashion. If the time before the case is filed has exceeded the statute of limitations, an individual cannot be held to answer to the crime. This is why details of your case can be critical when your criminal defense attorney reviews the timelines involved.
The Statute of Limitations in Arizona
Under A.R.S. § 13-107, the time limit by which charges may be brought are categorized either by the crime or the crime’s classification. The state has up to 1 year to bring charges for misdemeanors and up to 7 years for most class 2 through class 6 felonies.
If charges are filed before the statute of limitations has expired and then are dismissed, the prosecutor may be allowed an additional 6 months of time to re-file the charges, even if the time limit has expired, unless the purpose of the dismissal and refiling is to evade the protection of the statute of limitations. It is critical to hire an attorney with experience, so that you can be confident about the effectiveness of your legal representation and you defense overall.
Crimes Not Subject to the Statute of Limitations
Some crimes are not subject to the statute of limitations in Arizona. This is true for sexual offenses, sexual exploitation of a child, homicide, violent sexual assault, terrorist acts, rapes, felony public records falsification, or misuse of public funds.
There are other exceptions to the traditional statute of limitations in Arizona. This includes situations where the subject has been absent from the state of Arizona for a period of time or when the subject being charged has no residence in Arizona.
How the Statute of Limitations May Affect Your Case
If the statute of limitations has run, the State cannot bring charges against you for this matter unless one of the above-mentioned exceptions applies. If you believe that the clock is running out on a potential charge, and someone is investigating you for a crime, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer soonest.
Consulting with an attorney can help answer questions and give you a sense of confidence about your case and the process. Hiring an experienced lawyer in the event that charges are filed will provide you the best chance of a better outcome. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you think the statute of limitations is an issue in your case.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Statute of Limitations, or any other criminal defense matters, please feel free to contact Criminal Defense Attorney, Michael Kielsky at 480.461.5309, log on to www.udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.