First, what is a statute of limitation? A statute of limitation sets forth the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. They are known collectively as “periods of prescription” or “prescriptive periods.”
The purpose of a statute of limitations or its equivalent is to ensure that the possibility of punishment for an act committed sufficiently long ago cannot give rise to either a person’s incarceration or the criminal justice system’s activation.
In short, unless the crime is exceptionally heinous in nature, social justice as enacted through law has compromised that lesser crimes from long ago are best let be rather than distract attention from contemporary serious crimes. ( Wikipedia)
Second, what are some of the common statutes of limitations for Colorado Crimes?
For crimes such as Forgery, Kidnaping, Treason, and Murder – there is no limit on the time to file these criminal charges. The same is true of Sexual Assaults on c Child – ( but this can vary depending on the date of the offense)
For crimes of Fraud and most felonies, the statute of limitations is 3 years
For most Misdemeanors, including DUI, DWAI, DEACthe statute of limitations is 18 months.
For Class 1 and 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses One year
For Petty Offenses – 6 months
Once the time allowed for a case by a statute of limitations runs out, if a party raises it as a defense and that defense is accepted, any further litigation is foreclosed and there is a legal bar to bringing the case.
Most jurisdictions provide that limitations are tolled under certain circumstances. Tolling means stopping the running of the statute of limitations and prevents the time for filing the criminal case from running while the condition exists.
An example of such a circumstance is the situation where charges have not been filed and the defendant flees the state to avoid being arrested thereby delaying the prosecution of the case.
Under this circumstance – the law reads:
(2) The time limitations imposed by this section shall be tolled if the adult offender or juvenile is absent from the state of Colorado, and the duration of such absence, not to exceed five years, shall be excluded from the computation of the time within which any complaint, information, indictment, or petition in delinquency must otherwise be filed or returned.