Under Oklahoma law, prosecutors have a limited period of time to press criminal charges. The time limit for filing charges is known as the "statute of limitations." This time-bar ensures that for most crimes, prosecutors do not have the ability to hold someone criminally liable indefinitely. The statute of limitations differs according to the crime, the discovery of evidence, and other variables. However, there is no statute of limitation for murder felonies.
When Does the Oklahoma Criminal Statute of Limitations Start?
Oklahoma's statute of limitations starts, or "runs," after one of two events: when the crime is committed, or when the crime is discovered. No legal action can be pursued against a person after the statute of limitations officially runs out. The time period runs only when the defendant is present in the state. If a person leaves the state, the clock stops, or "tolls," until the person returns to Oklahoma. This is meant to deter people from avoiding prosecution by fleeing the state.
The Oklahoma Statute of Limitations for Specific Crimes
• In Oklahoma, the prosecutor has three (3) years to press charges for misdemeanor or felony drug possession.
• The Oklahoma statute of limitations for sex crimes, like rape; sexual assault; lewd or indecent proposals or acts against children; trafficking; or involving minors in pornography is 12 years from the discovery of the crime. However, prosecutions may happen at any time if the victim notified law enforcement within 12 years after the discovery of the crime, or if physical evidence which was preserved is capable of being DNA tested, or if the identity of the offender is subsequently established through the use of a DNA profile. If a suspect is identified through a DNA profile, the prosecutor must file criminal charges within three years after the identity of the suspect is established by DNA testing.
• For white collar crimes such as embezzlement of public money, bonds securities, assets, or property; bribery; misappropriation of public finances (such as bonds, securities, assets, or county or state property); falsification of public records of the state or any county, school district, municipality or subdivision; and conspiracy to defraud the state or any county, school district, municipality or subdivision, have a seven-year (7) statute of limitations.
• In Oklahoma charge for False Personation, Identity Theft, or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult charges must be brought within five (5) years after the discovery of the crime.
• A prosecution under this exception must be commenced within three (3) years from the date on which the identity of the suspect is established by DNA testing.
• The Oklahoma statute of limitations for solicitation for first-degree murder is seven (7) years.
• The Oklahoma statute of limitations for arson is seven (7) years.
• Prosecutions for criminal violations in which a deadly weapon is used to commit a felony, or prosecutions for criminal violations in which a deadly weapon is used in an attempt to commit a felony, must begin within seven (7) years after the commission of the crime.
• The statute of limitations for violations of Oklahoma income tax law violation is five (5) years.
More information about Oklahoma statute of limitations is found in Oklahoma Statutes § 22-151 through 153.
An Oklahoma Criminal Lawyer Can Help You Understand the Statute of Limitations. There are many misconceptions about the statute of limitations for Oklahoma offenses. Determining the right statute of limitations can be complicated. Consulting with an Oklahoma attorney is critical to ensure you understand your criminal liability. Contact our experienced lawyers today, or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) and one of our Oklahoma Criminal Lawyers will help you understand your criminal liability. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library.