One legal concept I frequently get questioned about is the statute of limitations. Different offenses have different applicable statutes of limitations, meaning that different offenses have different set time limits for the filing of charges. Some offenses, of course, have no statute of limitations at all. Should a statute of limitations apply and charges not be filed within the pertinent time period, then charges cannot be filed at some later point.
The statute of limitations typically begins to run following the commission of the offense, should a statute of limitations even apply. However, some offenses do not consist of finite events but instead constitute what is known as a “continuing offense”. A continuing offense is one where the statute of limitations does not begin to run so long as the illegal conduct is continuing. Escape is one such charge, meaning that the escape does not end until the defendant is terminated until the defendant is returned to custody in Colorado, at which point the statute of limitations begins to run.
Should you wish to know the applicable statute of limitations on a particular offense, the following information may be of assistance to you:
Offenses to which no time limit applies: murder, kidnapping, treason, sex offense against a child, forgery, attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit murder, attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit treason, attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit forgery
NOTE: FOR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING OFFENSES, STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS BEGINS TO RUN UPON DISCOVERY, NOT COMMITTING, OF CRIMINAL ACT
Offenses to which a five-year limit applies: vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death,
Offenses to which a three-year limit applies: all other felonies
Offenses to which an eighteen month limit applies: misdemeanors
Offenses to which a one year limit applies: class 1 and 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses
Offenses to which a six month limit applies: petty offenses
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.