Each state has its own set of criminal statute of limitations that restricts the amount of time prosecutors have to file charges against suspects. It’s important to understand the criminal statute of limitations in Colorado so you know how long prosecutors can file charges against you after a crime has been committed.
Statute of Limitations For Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Petty Offenses
The statute of limitations varies depending on the crime. In most cases, the statute of limitations for felony crimes is three years. However, this time limit is different for some of the more serious felony crimes. For example, the law was recently changed so there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault crimes. There is also no time limit for murder or kidnapping, which means prosecutors can file criminal charges against someone accused of murder or kidnapping at any time after the crime has been committed.
The statute of limitations for misdemeanor crimes is typically 18 months, whereas it is six months for petty offenses.
Some crimes, such as theft, can be charged as a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony. This means if law enforcement suspects that you have committed theft, they may have six months, 18 months, or three years to file charges, depending on the nature of the crime. It’s important to work with an attorney to understand which of these charges you could potentially face so you know how long the state has to take action.
Time Limit Extensions
The time limit can be extended under certain circumstances. For example, let’s say someone commits burglary, which is a felony crime that has a statute of limitations of three years. He finds out that law enforcement suspects that he has committed the crime, so he leaves the state to avoid being arrested. He may think that if he stays out of the state for three years, he can avoid facing criminal charges when he returns, but that’s not the case. If someone is in hiding or trying to “wait out” the statute of limitations, the time limit can be extended to ensure prosecutors have plenty of time to file charges.
Anyone who is under investigation should seek legal representation from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. If charges are filed, we will stand by your side and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.