Washington Statute of Limitations

State and federal courts have time limits for either filing a civil complaint or formal criminal charges, which are intended to ensure the integrity of evidence and to prevent people from threatening lawsuits indefinitely. These time limits are called the “statutes of limitations” and typically differ by type of civil claim or criminal charge. In Washington, there is a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury, injury to property, fraud, and trespass claims; but defamation claims only have a two-year limit. For Washington criminal charges, there is no limit for murder charges but a two-year statute of limitations for gross misdemeanors.

States impose time limits for prosecutors to file criminal charges against defendants, to preserve evidence (both witnesses and physical evidence), and ensure an efficient judicial process. Time limits, or “statutes of limitation,” apply to all crimes, both misdemeanors and felonies.

Generally speaking, the time period begins to run on the date when a crime is alleged to have been committed. Once the statute of limitations has expired or “run,” you can’t be prosecuted for that crime in most circumstances.

Not all crimes are governed by statutes of limitation. In Washington, there are no time limits on filing charges for murder, homicide by abuse, and other serious felonies. This includes all types of murder, arson that leads to a death, and all vehicular crimes that involve death.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

Leave a reply