Washington DC Criminal Statute of Limitations

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Below is a summary of the statute of limitation periods for criminal cases in the District of Columbia. Statutes of limitations set forth the time period within which the state must commence a case for a crime. If the state tries to bring an action against someone after the applicable time period has passed, the person charged can have the case dismissed. In general, violent crimes have a longer statute of limitations, and with some crimes there is no statute of limitations. In certain instances, the statute of limitations may be tolled, or suspended, which grants the state additional time to commence a legal action.

D.C. Code Ann. § 23-113

No statute of limitations for the following crimes

Murder in the first or second degree; murder in the second degree; murder of a law enforcement officer or public safety employee; first degree murder that constitutes an act of terrorism; second degree murder that constitutes an act of terrorism; and murder of a law enforcement officer or public safety employee that constitutes an act of terrorism

First degree sexual abuse; second degree sexual abuse; first degree child sexual abuse; and second degree child sexual abuse: within 15 years after crime is committed

Third degree sexual abuse; fourth degree sexual abuse; enticing a child for the purpose of committing felony sexual abuse; first degree sexual abuse of a ward; second degree sexual abuse of a ward; first degree sexual abuse of a patient or client; second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client; using a minor in a sexual performance or promoting a sexual performance by a minor; incest; and trafficking in labor or commercial sex and sex trafficking of children: within 10 years after crime is committed

All other felonies

Within 6 years after crime is committed

Any other criminal offense

Within 3 years after crime is committed

Within 3 years for the following felonies or misdemeanors, up to a maximum additional 9 years for a felony and 6 years for a misdemeanor

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

Tolling Provisions

The statute of limitations is tolled when a prosecution against the defendant for the same offense is pending in the courts of the District of Columbia

The period of limitation does not begin until the victim is 21 years of age for the following offenses: first degree child sexual abuse; second degree child sexual abuse; enticing a child for the purpose of committing felony sexual abuse; using a minor in a sexual performance or promoting a sexual performance by a minor; incest; certain prostitution crimes; forced labor, trafficking in labor or commercial sex, sex trafficking of children, and benefitting financially from human trafficking where the victim is a minor

The period of limitation shall not begin to run for first degree sexual abuse of a ward or second degree sexual abuse of a ward until the victim is no longer a ward

The period of limitation shall not begin to run for first degree sexual abuse of a patient or client or second degree sexual abuse of a patient or client until the victim is no longer a patient or client of the actor

The period of limitation shall not begin to run for forced labor, trafficking in labor or commercial sex, sex trafficking of children, and benefitting financially from human trafficking until the victim is no longer subject to the means used to obtain or maintain his or her labor or services or commercial sex acts

There is no statute of limitations for any person fleeing from justice

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