LEGAL CITATION LIMITS

Topic 26577 | Page 1

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SHANNON H.'s Comment
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How long does a state have legally to cite you for an accident?

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Depends on the state and the citation.

Look up "statute of limitations" in the state where you want to know.

Rick S.'s Comment
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Cite or "bring charges" can be two different things.

Example: I was in a motorcycle accident, where a drunk pedestrian ran in front of me at the last second and I had no way to avoid hitting him - and he died on the scene. I was medivac'd out. They had the scene blocked off for 6 hours, and it took them about a month to produce the traffic homicide report. Had I been found liable (at fault) in the accident, I likely would have been charged with vehicular homicide. I was not - case closed.

It really depends on the severity of the accident. If it was so severe that they had the scene roped off - if there was significant injury/death or significant property damage (beyond the vehicles themselves) - then it may take them awhile to produce the report and decide on charges.

Typically in minor accidents - if you aren't cited on the spot - then it's pretty much over. Most jurisdictions will make the "accident report" available after a week or so, and you can go down to the PD and pick up a copy.

But generally, if you aren't cited ON THE SPOT - you aren't going to get cited - ESPECIALLY SINCE (if) THE LEO DID NOT WITNESS THE ACCIDENT. Then they go by "general principle of law" - failure to yield (on intersection wrecks), following too closely (on rear-enders), careless driving (on "mystery" single car wrecks).

This DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT CIVIL CHARGES - being SUED by the other party. In minor stuff - the insurance companies hash it out amongst themselves. In cases of personal injury, where someone is going for (or talked into) trying for a cash settlement for a permanent disability - it can take awhile for a case to be filed - and this depends on the statute of limitations for filing. Example: here in FL - it's 2 years to file a civil case for an accident - I waited until to day before the 2 year limit to file a case.

So - in your case - if you got in an accident recently: call the PD where it occurred and ask if there was an accident report and if you can get a copy of it. Chances are - absent the things I discussed above - if it was minor and you weren't cited ON THE SCENE - you won't be...

Rick

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Southern Dad's Comment
member avatar

I had a relative who was killed in a head on accident. The driver of the other car was not cited until over a month later. The really bad part... This was a texting and driving accident that killed someone and it's only a misdemeanor. The District Attorney can review the reports and make the decision if the police aren't able to come to a conclusion at the time. I was stunned they did not cite him for anything at the scene, he clearly crossed the centerline, that wasn't even in question.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

It really depends on the citation or possible citation.

For instance in Missouri DWI can be a Class B Misdemeanor or a Class A Felony depending on the circumstances or prior DWI offenses. The arresting officer will only charge you will DWI. The prosecutor will look at the circumstances and prior record to determine if they want to amend the initial citation up to a higher offense level. Each class of misdemeanor has a different statute of limitations as does each class of felony.

Missouri DWI Laws

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

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