Arizona law defines a Misdemeanor DUI charge in terms that cover multiple offenses (Regular DUI, Extreme DUI, & Super Extreme DUI). Allowable maximum penalties vary, depending on the level of the offense and any prior convictions. Regardless of the charge, the same statute of limitations applies to all Arizona misdemeanor DUIs.
According to Arizona law, A.R.S. 13-107 imposes a one-year filing deadline on misdemeanor-level DUI charges throughout the entire State of Arizona. Pursuant to A.R.S. 13-107 (E), the statute of limitations is "tolled," or does not commence until the State becomes aware of both the crime and identity of the alleged perpetrator. The date of actual arrest is when the time limit begins in most cases.
However, there are a few exceptions to the general rule that do exist. A prime example would be committing a DUI offense within Arizona borders during a vacation or brief business trip and then returning to your state of residence shortly afterward. Likewise, if an Arizona resident moves out of the state or deliberately conceals themselves within the state to avoid prosecution for a Misdemeanor DUI charge, they accomplish nothing but stopping the clock on the one-year statute of limitations. Under A.R.S. 13-107(D), the one-year time limit is suspended during the defendant's absence from Arizona or flight as a fugitive from justice. Thus, remaining time to file charges begins to run only once the accused is located or returns to Arizona.
Still another exception might arise in cases where previous charges were dropped prior to expiration of the one-year limitations period. Per A.R.S. 13-107 (G), the prosecutor may re-file the Misdemeanor DUI charges at any point during the first six months after final dismissal or within the initial one-year deadline, whichever is longer.
Given the harsh penalties that Arizona has for those convicted of DUI, it's smart to hire or speak to a lawyer after you've been arrested, even if you haven't been charged yet. A good DUI lawyer will monitor warrants and can do so until the statute of limitations runs out or until there have been charges filed. If you have a DUI arrest in Arizona, contact the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor today for a free case consultation where we'll look at the facts of the case and give you our opinion.