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California Statute of Limitations

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The moment a crime occurs in California, the clock begins to tick. Government agencies in the state only have a certain amount of time they can wait after most crimes have occurred to bring a criminal charge. If they wait too long after the date of the alleged crime, they could lose their chance to prosecute.

If a prosecutor has charged you for a crime that happened long ago, discuss your case with an Aron Law Firm criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An Aron Law Firm lawyer can determine if your charges are within the state’s allowable time frame. If your charges have been brought too late, we will fight to have them dropped on your behalf.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Criminal Cases in California?

Under California State Law, the government has a certain amount of time in which they are allowed to bring criminal charges or file a lawsuit against a negligent party. These time limits are known as the “statute of limitations.” Unfortunately, figuring out when the statute of limitations runs out is not always clear-cut.

In California, the statute of limitations prevents the following crimes from being charged four years after the offense has been completed or four years after the discovery of the offense, whichever is later:

  • Theft or embezzlement against an elderly or dependent adult
  • Felony fraud
  • Misconduct by a public official

Anyone charged for a crime after the statute of limitations has passed may be eligible to have their charges dismissed.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Violent Crimes in California?

Most states, including California, allow longer lengths of time to bring charges for violent crimes.

Certain crimes against elderly or dependent adults and inflictions of bodily injury against a current or former intimate partner can be charged up to five years after the date of the offense. Other felony sex offenses that require registration as a sex offender have a limit of ten years unless it was against a child. Sexual offenses against children have up to the victim’s 40th birthday to prosecute.

Some crimes committed in California do not have a limitation and can face prosecution at any time. They include:

  • Aggravated sexual assault of a child
  • Embezzlement of public funds
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Treason

Although the timer usually begins when the crime occurs, some circumstances allow more time for the prosecution to file. Some events can trigger the statute of limitations to pause or “toll.” If you were out of the state for a period of time or if a voluntary agreement was signed by both parties, the statute of limitations may be tolled. The timer may also be suspended if the defendant is a minor, was in prison, or is insane.

Consult a California Criminal Defense Attorney About the State’s Statute of Limitations

California’s statute of limitations can be confusing if you do not have much experience handling criminal cases in the state. Consult a knowledgeable California criminal defense attorney at Aron Law Firm today if you have any questions about how the statute of limitations could affect your criminal case.

At Aron Law Firm, we are focused on a single objective – getting our clients to a better place. We invest a substantial amount of time and energy into each and every case because when your lifestyle is on the line, you deserve to have a legal representative who will take the time to build the strongest defense for your case. Call (805) 500-0759 or complete our contact form to learn more about how our firm can protect your rights.