Arizona Criminal Law Statute of Limitations

If you are facing criminal charges in Arizona criminal law statute of limitations applies to such charges. That means prosecutors only have a specific amount of time to file a case. There are several things that come into play when determining a statute of limitations and how it affects a criminal case. The Arizona criminal law statute of limitations depends on the specific kind of crime and how the laws are written regarding the time limits. As an example, sometimes the time limit doesn’t begin to “run” until investigators find out that a crime took place. At other times, it might start running from the actual time the crime was committed.

The Specific Statutes of Limitations for Criminal Acts in Arizona

As previously mentioned the criminal statutes of limitations vary significantly from one crime to another. For violent sexual assaults or murder, there is no statute of limitations. This means that the state allows an individual to prosecuted for these crimes regardless of whether they happened last year or 40 years ago. Most other felonies have a seven-year time limit for charges to pursued. If you are facing charges for a misdemeanor, the State of Arizona has a year to file charges against you and take you to court. If it is a petty offense, the statute of limitations drops to six months.

What About Federal Crimes?

If you are facing federal charges, a different statute of limitations will come into play. But, the federal statute of limitations do apply to federal crimes. Federal crimes fall under a federal jurisdiction or take place on federal property. Examples of federal crimes include vandalizing federal property, burglarizing a federal building, or committing mail fraud. There are several different crimes that can be federally charged and prosecuted, so consult with your Arizona criminal defense attorney.

The Specifics for Arizona Criminal Laws and Statutes of Limitation

The specifics for criminal statutes of limitation in Arizona are specific. Here is a breakdown:

  • Felonies, such as misuse of public money, falsifying public records, violent sexual assault, and homicide – no statute of limitations, can be prosecuted at any time.
  • Other felonies – such as auto theft, assault, drug possession, or forgery – 7 years.
  • Misdemeanors – One year.
  • Petty offenses – Six months.
  • Acts during which statute does not run – The statute will not be actively running if the perpetrator is not in the state or has no ascertainable residence in the state or if the identity of the suspect is not known.

State laws do change frequently, so you should consult with an Arizona criminal law attorney who is familiar with these matters and who can properly advise you on the statute of limitations as it applies to your specific situation.

Prosecuted for Crimes Years After the Fact

arizona criminal law statute of limitationsIt is not uncommon to hear of an arrest being made years after a crime. Often, these arrests are for serious offenses that the statute of limitations do not apply to. As an example, this might involve a cold case involving a murder or a violent sexual assault and years later, DNA evidence is discovered, or a witness comes forward. Sometimes even the suspect might have a guilty conscience and as they become older, he or she might have felt led to confess to the crimes committed in the younger years. Sometimes war crimes are prosecuted decades after the war has ended. It depends on the severity of the crime and the charges that would apply to this specific situation. If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, consult with an Arizona criminal defense attorney so you can make sure your rights are protected.