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Criminal Defense

Oklahoma’s Statute of Limitations for Criminal Offenses

By April 9, 2019April 2nd, 2024No Comments

Section 152 in title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes details the statute of limitations for criminal offenses.  Statutes are the amount of time allowed for the prosecution to file a charge against an individual for a certain type of crime.  This statute has been altered over time to differentiate between the different variations of criminal allegations. The time frame permitted for the prosecution to file charges differs according to the type of crime allegedly committed.  Distinct statutes of limitations are in place for civil and criminal claims. If you have been charged with a crime or are worried about being charged with a crime, it is important that you understand the relevant statute of limitations.

Oklahoma’s Statute of Limitations Differs by Crime

The type of crime in question determines the length of the statute of limitations.  In general, the prosecution must file charges for a crime three years following the commission.  Furthermore, the prosecution for a crime of accessory at a future point in time must start in the same time limit permitted for the felony that the individual in question was an accessory.  

The statue details the exact time frames for different types of crimes.  As an example, a criminal violation relating to a bogus or false check must be prosecuted in the next five years.  The clock starts ticking when the offense is committed. Charges for workers’ compensation fraud and criminal fraud have to be filed within three years of the point in time at which the crime was discovered.  However, the charges cannot be filed beyond seven years after the crime was committed.

The two Important Events of Discovery and Commission

The state’s statute of limitations commences following one of two events: the point in time at which the crime is committed or the point in time when the crime is discovered.  The term discovery indicates the date the crime is publicized to anyone beyond the individual who participated in the act. As an example, files must be charged within seven years from the point in time at which the crime for solicitation of murder in the first degree was discovered.

Category Groupings for the Statute of Limitations

Some crimes are sectioned into categories strictly for statute of limitations purposes.   As an example, the prosecution must file charges within seven years from the discovery of crimes grouped together such as bribery and the embezzlement of bonds, public money, assets, securities, state/county property, misappropriating public money and the conspiracy to defraud the state.  The prosecution of such crimes must start within five years of the point in time at which the crime was discovered. Furthermore, the majority of sex crimes are grouped with one another. For example, the prosecution must file charges by the victim’s 45th birthday for sexual crimes such as rape, sexual crimes against children, lewd proposals, child trafficking, etc.

Is it Possible to be Charged After the Statute of Limitations has Expired?

In general, one cannot be prosecuted after the amount of time detailed if the statute of limitations has expired.  Yet there is an exception detailed in section 153 of title 22 in the state’s statutes. If the offense is committed when the defendant is out of the state of Oklahoma, the prosecution can press charges in the amount of time designated after the defendant returns to the state.  The term commences upon the alleged criminal’s return to the state. The prosecuting attorney is tasked with proving the defendant has been out of state for an extended period of time. The law is written this way to prevent people from committing crimes and fleeing the state, only to return at a later point in time and arguing the statute of limitations has expired.

Do not Attempt to Navigate the Legal Maze on Your Own

It is clear Oklahoma’s statute of limitations for criminal offenses are nuanced.  Do not attempt to figure out the idiosyncrasies of the law on your own. Our criminal defense attorneys are here to help you better understand Oklahoma’s unique statute of limitations for specific crimes and build a convincing legal defense.  Consult with an attorney and you might even find the statute of limitations has expired and you have no criminal liability. Contact Jacqui Ford today to schedule an appointment.