Washington Criminal Statute of Limitations

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Below are the statutes of limitation for criminal cases in Washington which set forth the time periods within which a legal proceeding must be commenced. If the state fails to bring a case within the specified time period, it loses its right to prosecute for that crime forever. 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.

Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.04.080

Offenses

Murder, homicide by abuse, arson if a death results, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault if a death results, hit-and-run injury-accident if a death results: no limit

Certain felonies committed by a public officer, arson if no death results: within ten years

Rape (if reported to a law enforcement agency within one year of its commission and victim was 14 years old or older): within ten years

Rape (if reported to a law enforcement agency within one year of its commission and victim was younger than 14 years old): up to the victim's 28th birthday

Rape (if not reported within one year of its commission and if victim was 14 years old or older): within three years after its commission

Rape (if not reported within one year of its commission and if victim was younger than 14 years old): within three years after the victim's 18th birthday or seven years after the rape's commission, whichever is later

Rape of a child, child molestation, certain indecent liberties, incest: up to the victim's 28th birthday

Leading organized crime or criminal profiteering, felony money laundering, felony identity theft, certain theft in the first or second degree when accomplished by color or aid of deception: within six years

Certain class C public welfare and fuel tax felonies: within five years

Bigamy: within three years

Other felonies: within three years

Gross misdemeanors: within two years

Misdemeanors: within one year

See Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.04.080 for other limitations

Tolling provisions

The periods of limitation are tolled (suspended) when the person charged is not usually and publicly resident within the state

DNA evidence

For a sex offense, the periods of limitation run from the date of commission or one year from the date on which the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing, whichever is later.

Back to State Criminal Defense Statutes

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