In Colorado and the rest of the country, law enforcement is required to charge someone with a crime within a certain period of time. Depending on the crime and the circumstances in which it was committed, this time frame may vary. It is called the statute of limitations.
There are a handful of crimes in which there is no statute of limitations. These include murder, treason, kidnapping, forgery and specific sex offenses against children.
Sex crimes involving children have their own statute of limitations. For felony sex offenses, it is 10 years. There are some variances, though. For example, the prosecution of the defendant must begin in 10 years after the alleged victim turns 18 for the felony of unlawful sexual contact with children under the age of 18 when the crime was committed or for felony sexual assault.
There is no statute of limitations for many sex crimes against children. For the misdemeanors sex offenses of unlawful sexual contact and sex assault, the statute of limitations is five years. However, this is when the victim is over the age of 18 when the crime occurred. Any other misdemeanor sex crimes that do not involve children must be prosecuted within 18 months.
Technology has also had an effect on the statute of limitations. When DNA is used to identify an offender, there is no statute of limitations.
As you can see, the statutes of limitations on sex crimes in Colorado varies significantly depending on the offense. For those facing charges for an alleged crime that happened in the distant past, your attorney may be able to fight the charges by showing that the statute of limitations has already passed.
Source: law.du.edu, “Laws Governing Sex Offenders in Colorado,” Jessika Shipley, accessed Nov. 12, 2016