Arrested for DUI but Not Charged? It’s Just a Matter of Time.
Often, people walk into our office after being arrested for DUI but have not been formally charged with a crime. Many think the police made a mistake or that the police decided to just let them go without criminal charges. However, an experienced criminal defense or Phoenix DUI defense lawyer will advise that is not what happened. Instead, what’s likely happening is that their case is still being investigated while the blood results or other lab analysis is pending.
How Police Investigate a DUI in Arizona
For a DUI case, the police investigation begins with the initial traffic stop or contact with the alleged driver, and usually ends with the taking of a sample of a person’s breath or blood. The police then write a police report that summarizes the investigation, and those reports are submitted to the prosecutor’s office for review and a charging decision.
In a situation where a person was not immediately charged and blood results are pending, the police will wait to submit their reports to the prosecutor until the results of the blood testing are received back from the lab. In some cases, it can take months for police to test the blood sample. This time frame is known as a pre-charge, pre-file, or investigative stage.
In DUI cases alleging an aggravating element (i.e. DUI while driving on a suspended license), law enforcement may contact Arizona MVD to verify the person’s license status and whether or not the license has any current restrictions.
Additionally, court records may be searched to determine if the person has a prior DUI conviction in Arizona or any other state. If the case is charged as an aggravated DUI, the DUI becomes a felony with increased penalties.
Don’t Wait! There Are Reasons to Seek Immediate Legal Representation
It’s important for anyone cited for DUI to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Even people in the pre-charge stage may benefit from things a DUI lawyer in Phoenix can do before criminal charges are filed.
One such benefit is that a DUI attorney can help track the charging process so you don’t miss a court date. It can sometimes be months before formal criminal charges are filed, and, generally, notice is sent by mail. Having a DUI defense lawyer on your side early can keep you from having a warrant issued for missing a court date.
Additionally, a DUI attorney can help protect your driving privileges. After being arrested for DUI, the motorist may be served with an administrative per se or implied consent form.
This form, once filed with the Arizona Department of Transportation, begins the process for either a 90-day or 12-month suspension of a person’s driving privileges. The best DUI lawyers will know how to properly request a hearing in a timely fashion in order to challenge the proposed suspension. This is a time-sensitive issue, which is why prompt legal representation following a DUI arrest is crucial.
Lastly, having a DUI defense lawyer from the start gives you peace of mind. Placing the burdens of a pending criminal charge in the hands of a criminal defense lawyer helps relieve some of the stress attendant to being investigated for a DUI.
Arizona’s Statute of Limitations in DUI Cases
Generally speaking, a statute of limitations defines a time period during which criminal charges must be initiated for a criminal offense. Arizona’s statute of limitations specifically determines how much time can pass before charging a person with a DUI, felony DUI, or drug DUI is no longer an option. For a misdemeanor DUI, the state must file criminal charges within one year of the DUI arrest. If the state seeks to charge for a felony DUI, it has up to seven years to file.
If charges are not filed within the aforementioned time frames, the state will be time barred from pursuing a prosecution in the future.
I Was Arrested for DUI and Need to Contact a DUI Lawyer Near Me
If you’ve been arrested for DUI but were not provided a criminal citation, you need an experienced DUI attorney in Phoenix on your side to protect your legal rights.
At the Lerner and Rowe Law Group, our Phoenix DUI lawyers have represented hundreds of people charged with DUI. Our award winning team of DUI lawyers in Phoenix will handle your case with integrity and professionalism, and be your guiding hand during this troubled time. You can contact us 24/7 for a free consultation to discuss your case at 602-667-7777.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.