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How long do they have to charge you with a DUI after being stopped

Phoenix, AZ |

My daughter was 19 and stopped by police. they suspected she had been drinking, took her and had her blood drawn then let someone come pick her up. her car was impounded for 30 days and she received a notice of her license suspension because she failed the blood test. It has been 2 months and the court has no record of charges against her. why would they wait so long to file charges?

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Attorney answers 3


My colleagues (particularly Mr. Snader, who also practices in Arizona) are correct, the State has 12-months within which to file misdemeanor charges against your daughter, and up to 7-years within which to file a felony charge against her. A web link to the applicable statute appears below.

Based on what you wrote, I doubt very seriously that a felony, Aggravated DUI is being contemplated by the State, so she is most likely looking at a misdemeanor charge (DUI and/or being a Minor While Driving with Alcohol in her System). Being a Minor While Driving with Alcohol in her System can carry penalties even harsher than a DUI; namely, a 2-year drivers license suspension, so this is not something she should take lightly.

Hiring an experienced, Arizona-licensed attorney could make a difference in your daughter's case. Please feel free to contact me at my web links below if I can be of further assistance to you or your daughter.


Hi - I am a certified criminal law specialist in Arizona and handle these cases quite often. In Arizona, they have 1 year to file charges for a misdemeanor and 7 years for a felony. It is not unusual at all for them to wait this long. . .unfortunately there is a backlog in labs and in the prosecutor's offices. There will also be other issues given that she is a minor. Please feel free to call my office with any questions - the earlier you consult with an attorney, the better.


The state has up to a year on a Misdemeanor to file charges and the reason they waited so long is impossible to know. They may have misplaced the paperwork or it was lost or there is just to much work to do. Who knows? I suggest you wait it out and see what happens after consulting with a local attorney.

Good luck.

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