Statute of Limitations (SOL)


A statute is another name for a law. Arizona's laws are contained in the Arizona Revised Statutes or A.R.S. A statute of limitations sets a time limit for someone to file a lawsuit, or lose the right to do so.

Below is information that may be helpful if a creditor files a lawsuit against you but it is not a substitute for legal advice. There are other rules and laws that may apply to your situation, but these are common rules and laws that apply in civil cases.


 

1  PURPOSES
  • There are several purposes for a statute of limitations, including:
  • to protect defendants because necessary evidence may get lost, memories fade, and witnesses may disappear or become unavailable if a claim is not filed closer to the date of the event.
  • to ensure timely claims by requiring the plaintiff with a valid claim to file it in a timely manner.
  • to promote justice, as unexpected litigation of a stale claim may become unreasonable. 

2  TYPES OF DEBT

In Arizona, the statute of limitations is different depending on the type of debt.

Medical debt........................................................................6 years

Written contracts, including most credit card debt..................6 years

Auto loan debt if there was a repossession............................4 years

State tax debt....................................................................10 years



3  REMEDIES
  • Arizona law allows creditors to collect on a judgment by placing a lien on property, garnishing wages or bank accounts, and levying personal property. Once the statute of limitations period passes, the debt does not disappear but creditors can no longer pursue these legal remedies as a means of collection. 
  • Creditors may still use non-legal remedies, such as calling the debtor's personal and office telephones, mailing numerous late payment notices to the debtor, contacting the debtor's family, friends, and neighbors to confirm the debtor's contact information, and appearing at the debtor's front door.
4  STARTING THE CLOCK
  • For closed installment accounts, the statute of limitations runs 6 years after the final payment date.
  • For open accounts, such as credit cards, the statute of limitations begins 6 years from the first uncured missed payment, whether or not there is an acceleration clause. 
5  CREDIT REPORT
  • The debt will generally remain on a credit report for 7 years, which may damage a debtor's credit score and make it difficult to open a line of credit, get a loan, or even rent an apartment.