Statute of Limitations In Colorado

In Colorado, as in other states, the statute of limitations establishes the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated.

When it comes to criminal cases, these time limits can vary depending on the severity and type of crime. It’s important to note that these statutes are subject to change, so it’s always advisable to consult an experienced Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney for the most up-to-date information.

The following is an overview of the statute of limitations for criminal cases in Colorado:

  1. Felonies:
    • For most felonies in Colorado, the statute of limitations is generally 3 years.
    • However, there are several exceptions. For instance, for crimes like murder, kidnapping, treason, and any sex offense against a child, there is no statute of limitations. This means that these crimes can be prosecuted at any time, regardless of when they were committed.
    • For certain theft-related offenses involving breach of fiduciary obligation, the limitation period is extended to 4 years.
    • In cases of forgery, the statute of limitations is 5 years.
  2. Misdemeanors:
    • The statute of limitations for most misdemeanors in Colorado is 18 months.
    • For petty offenses, the statute of limitations is 6 months.
  3. Sexual Assault:
    • For sexual assault where DNA evidence is obtained, there is no statute of limitations.
    • If DNA evidence is not available, the statute of limitations can vary. It is advisable to check the current law for specific details as these cases can be quite complex.
  4. Exceptions and Extensions:
    • The statute of limitations may be extended or tolled under certain circumstances. For example, if the accused is absent from the state, the period of their absence may not be counted towards the statute of limitations.
    • In cases involving fraud or concealment, the statute may begin when the crime is discovered, rather than when it was committed.
  5. Impact of the Statute of Limitations:
    • If a criminal case is filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations, the defendant can use it as a defense to get the case dismissed.
    • It’s important to understand that the statute of limitations only affects the filing of the case. Once a case is filed within the appropriate time frame, the prosecution can proceed without concern for these time limits.
  6. Policy Reasons:
    • The rationale behind statutes of limitations is to ensure that convictions occur based on evidence (physical or eyewitness) that has not deteriorated with time. Over time, evidence can be lost, and memories can fade, potentially leading to unreliable or unfair outcomes.

Laws Governing The Statute of Limitations In Colorado

Remember, the laws governing statutes of limitations in Colorado can be complex and are subject to legislative changes. For specific cases or more detailed information, it is always recommended to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who is up to date with the current laws of Colorado.

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