Welcome to FindLaw's section on the District of Columbia statutes of limitations, covering the time limits imposed on both criminal and civil actions in D.C.'s courts. Statutes of limitations ensure a relatively efficient court system and help prevent charges or lawsuits being threatened indefinitely. For instance, most criminal charges in the District must be filed against a suspect within roughly three to six years of the date of the crime. Exceptions include sexual abuse (15 years) and first- or second-degree murder (no limits). Most civil lawsuits, meanwhile, must be filed within three years of the alleged offense. Click on a link below to learn more about Washington, D.C.'s statues of limitations.