Former County Prosecutor Can Give You the Best Chance of Getting out of Serious Trouble
You don’t hear about statutes of limitations for crimes all that often.
When someone reports a crime, the police investigate and bring charges as soon as possible.
But law enforcement officers don’t solve every crime right away.
Sometimes it takes time for the police to investigate. In other circumstances, a crime may not be discovered until years after it occurs.
If you believe the police suspect you of committing a crime, you need help right away from an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney.
Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer Austin Lux knows Colorado criminal statutes well.
He has the experience you can trust to help you get the best possible outcome for your case. To learn more, contact us today.
What Are the Colorado Statutes of Limitations for Criminal Law?
Statutes of limitations are laws that protect people from facing charges that happened long ago.
When the current system of laws developed, people understood that you shouldn’t have to live your life worrying about something you did a while back returning to haunt you.
Additionally, evidence, such as witness testimony is often more reliable closer in time to the event, which benefits the prosecution and the defense as well.
As a result, laws placed limits on the amount of time someone has to take legal action.
Colorado statutes of limitations in criminal law work the same way as statutes of limitations in civil law.
Civil statutes of limitations tell people when they need to file a case or forever lose their right to bring one.
The limitations periods vary depending on the type of claim you might have.
In some civil claims, you have only one year to file, but in others, you might have two or three years.
You need to talk to a lawyer to be sure you know when the statute of limitations “runs,” meaning the date on which you lose your right to file a lawsuit.
The same theory applies to Colorado criminal laws. The prosecution cannot file a case against you if too much time has gone by.
But unlike with civil actions, not every crime has a statute of limitations. Some crimes are so notorious that the police never have a deadline to file charges.
What Crimes Don’t Have a Statute of Limitations?
Murder never has a statute of limitations. You may have heard of cold cases?
Those are murder investigations that have gone cold because of the passage of time.
However, our society believes that no one should get away with murder.
As a result, the police can charge anyone with murder as long as they have probable cause to believe their suspect committed the crime.
Other charges such as kidnapping, treason, sex offenses against children, and forgery also do not have a statute of limitations.
There is no statute of limitations for any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation of any of these crimes either.
Other Colorado Criminal Statute of Limitations for Criminal Laws
Most felonies have a three-year statute of limitations. The three years start ticking upon the commission of the crime.
Notwithstanding, there are other felonies with longer statutes of limitations.
Those crimes include violations of the Colorado antitrust act, which has a six-year statute of limitations, and crimes like vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident with death resulting, and criminal violations of the Colorado Commodities Code, which have five-year statutes of limitations.
The statute of limitations for vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is 10 years if the crimes arise out of the same incident.
Other crimes have even longer statutes of limitations.
For example, the statute of limitations is 20 years after the incident or from when the victim turns 18 for a sexual assault when the victim is 15 or older.
Felony unlawful sexual contact on a person 15 or older is 10 years from the date of the incident or 10 years after the victim reaches 18.
Statutes of Limitations for Misdemeanors
Even misdemeanors are subject to Colorado statutes of limitations under criminal law.
The statute of limitations is one year for traffic misdemeanors.
For DUI charges and the majority of misdemeanor charges, the statute of limitations is 18 months after the crime occurs.
However, the statute of limitations for theft begins to run when the victim discovers the theft.
When Do the Colorado Statutes of Limitations for Crimes Begin?
Having a lawyer who understands Colorado criminal statutes is key to coming up with a winning defense.
You might be able to walk away from a crime that happened long ago if the statute of limitations runs out.
However, the prosecution will argue that the time under the statute of limitations is “tolled.”
Tolling of the statute of limitations simply means that the clock stopped running.
For instance, the clock does not start running for some crimes until someone discovers the crime.
The time also tolls when a victim of a sex crime is under 18. Additionally, the time under the statute will toll if you are outside of Colorado during the statutory period.
However, that time is not unlimited. The statute of limitations runs again after five years.
Contact a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Having a Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer by your side gives you the best chance to minimize the impact criminal charges have on your life.
Attorney Austin Lux has unparalleled experience in Colorado’s criminal justice system.
You can rely on his experience to help you get the best outcome for your case.
Contact Austin by calling 719-368-7698 to schedule a free consultation.