STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: CRIMINAL OFFENSES: DC CRIMINAL LAWYER

In all criminal offenses, it is critical to understand and be cognizant of the statute of limitations for the particular offenses.  Particularly if the matter is under investigation or pending indictment or even if dormant.

The time in which an offense is committed that starts the clock for the statute of limitations is defined as:

  • An offense is committed either when every element occurs, or
  • If a legislative purpose to prohibit a continuing course of conduct plainly appears, at the time when the course of conduct, or
  • The defendant’s complicity therein, is terminated.

Time generally starts to run on the day after the offense is committed or completed.

Generally and unless otherwise specified as listed below, felonies have a 6 year statute of limitations and misdemeanors and all other criminal offenses three years.

However, felonies and  misdemeanor may be brought only within three (3) years under the two circumstances:

  • After a public officer or employee has left office, for any completed offense based on official conduct; or
  • After a fraud or breach of fiduciary trust has been, or reasonably should have been, discovered for any completed offense based on that fraud or breach of fiduciary trust

Prosecution of the following crimes is NOT subject to any statute of limitations:

  • Murder in the first or second degree (D.C. Official Code §§ 22-2101 and 2102 [22-2102]);
  • Murder in the second degree (D.C. Official Code § 22-2103);
  • Murder of a law enforcement officer or public safety employee (D.C. Official Code § 22-2106);
  • First degree murder that constitutes an act of terrorism (D.C. Official Code § 22-3153(a));
  • Second degree murder that constitutes an act of terrorism (D.C. Official Code § 22-3153(c)); and
  • Murder of a law enforcement officer or public safety employee that constitutes an act of terrorism (D.C. Official Code §§ 22-3153(b)).

In the District most serious sexual offenses are subject to 15 years statute of limitations such as:

  • First degree sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3002);
  • Second degree sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3003);
  • First degree child sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3008); and
  • Second degree child sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3009).

Less severe sexual offenses are subject to 10 years statute of limitation, those are:

  • Third degree sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3004);
  • Fourth degree sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3005);
  • Enticing a child for the purpose of committing felony sexual abuse (D.C Official Code § 22-3010);
  • First degree sexual abuse of a ward (D.C. Official Code § 22-3013);
  • Second degree sexual abuse of a ward (D.C. Official Code § 22-3014);
  • First degree sexual abuse of a patient or client (D.C. Official Code § 22-3015);
  • Second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client (D.C. Official Code § 22-3016);
  • Using a minor in a sexual performance or promoting a sexual performance by a minor (D.C. Official Code § 22-3102);
  • Incest (D.C. Official Code § 22-1901); and
  • Trafficking in labor or commercial sex and sex trafficking of children as prohibited by [D.C. Official Code §§ 22-1833 and 22-1834], respectively, etc.

Moreover, the period of limitation shall not begin to run until the victim reaches 21 years of age for the following offenses:

  • First degree child sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3008);
  • Second degree child sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3009);
  • Enticing a child for the purpose of committing felony sexual abuse (D.C. Official Code § 22-3010);
  • Using a minor in a sexual performance or promoting a sexual performance by a minor (D.C. Official Code § 22-3102);
  • Incest (D.C. Official Code § 22-1901), etc.

Please review our Washington DC Criminal Lawyer page for more detailed information on DC Criminal Offenses.

Categories: Criminal Defense.