On rare occasions, prosecutors do not file criminal charges for months or even years after the alleged offense occurred. Under some circumstances, if the prosecutor waits to long to file the charges, they may be dismissed under an applicable statute of limitations in the Utah Criminal Code. At our firm, we are always checking to make sure certain offenses can even proceed forward under these statutes or whether they should be dismissed. You should always check with an Utah criminal defense attorney if you think a statute of limitations applies to your case in favor of dismissal. As general information, we provide the following list of SOL provisions:
- FELONIES – Generally speaking, felonies must be commenced within 4 years.
- MISDEMEANORS – Generally speaking, misdemeanors must be commenced with 2 years.
- INFRACTIONS – Generally speaking, infractions must be commenced within 1 year.
The general rules do not apply to all charges and there are exceptions to these general rules so we cannot stress enough the need to speak with an attorney before relying on any information or proceeding in any certain manner.
Commencing a Prosecution
What many people do not realize is what actually qualifies as meeting the statute of limitations. You do not necessarily have to be given any notice that a charge was filed against you for the statute of limitations to be saved. A prosecution may be commenced sufficient to save the SOL in three ways. First a prosecution may be commenced upon the filing of an indictment by a grand jury. Second, a prosecution may be commenced by the filing of a complaint or information. And finally, the one that often really gets people, is the issuing of a citation sufficient to save the SOL.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Provo
Expiration of the statute of limitations is rarely a defense because normally charges are filed relatively soon after allegations are made. However, we have represented a number of clients in which their cases were dismissed as a result of the SOL date running. If you think a valid SOL defense applies in your case, call and speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in our Provo office today.