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Is there a statute of limitations for a dui in pennsylvania?

Norristown, PA |

I got a dui in PA 6 years ago and never showed up to court because I moved out of the country before the trial. If I come back will I be arrested? Is there a time period when the charges will just go away? Wishful thinking...Thanks for any help

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Attorney answers 6


Yes there is a statute of limitations but no it does not help you because the charges have already been filed, presumably within the statute. Now you have a warrant that will never go away until you deal with it. Hire a lawyer to resolve it.


The statute of limitations only applies to the time between the incident and when the charges are filed. Once, the charges are filed the statute is no longer considered to be running. In short, a person cannot leave the country and return X amount of years later in order to get around the statute. Almost certainly, there is a bench warrant. You need to clean this up or else you will be arrested by the police. Contact an attorney immediately.

Michael L. Doyle
(215) 735-5900


Agree with my colleagues. Unfortunately the statute of limitations will not apply because you have already been charged. There is probably an outstanding warrant on the case. However, the age may affect the Commonwealth's ability to prosecute the case. You should consult with an attorney about clearing the warrant and resolving your case if you have not already done so, if you plan to return.

David Bradley
Bradley Law Firm. LLC


It would not apply to you if your bench warranted. Hire a local lawyer and deal with it.
Ellis Klein


I agree with my colleagues above. It is very important that you contact local counsel to assist you with this matter. Your failure to appear will most certainly have resulted in a bench warrant being issued for you. When you come back into the U.S, Immigration will have computer access to your warrant and will likely detain you when you cross the border ( that can be at an airport) It is therefore important to coordinate with local counsel to arrange your surrender on the warrant as close to home as possible. I've had clients that live in Montgomery County PA but when they came back into the country they came through other cities ie New York. They actually sat in the out of state prison waiting to be extridited to PA longer than they would have served if convicted.

Adam D. Zucker, Esq.
Mudrick & Zucker, PC
Conshohocken, PA
(610) 832-0100

This information does not create an attorney /client relationship and should not be use or relied upon to make any decision in your case. Only consultation with your own attorney can provide you with the advice you need for your case.


The charges will not just go away. There will always be a bench warrant on you until the bench warrant is lifted by appearing in court. The statute of limitations only takes place between the incident date and the time the charges are filed. In your case, the charges have already been filed and the statute of limitations is not an issue. It would be best to hire an attorney.