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Oklahoma Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Criminal prosecutors are tasked with taking evidence gathered by police and turning it into criminal charges, when appropriate, and possibly a trial. But there is a time limit on how long prosecutors have to try criminal defendants. These limits vary depending on the type of crime, with misdemeanor charges generally having shorter limits than more serious felony charges. Here is a quick introduction to criminal statutes of limitations laws in Oklahoma.

Criminal Statutes of Limitation in Oklahoma

The following table lists the specifics of Oklahoma’s criminal statutes of limitation.

Code Section

Oklahoma Statutes Title 22 §151, et seq.: Statutes of Limitation

Felonies

Murder: none; bribery, embezzlement or misappropriation of public money or other assets, falsification of public records, conspiracy to defraud state or other subdivision, rape or forcible sodomy; lewd or indecent proposals or acts against children crimes involving minors in pornography, sodomy: 7 yrs.; (extended if DNA evidence collected and preserved: within 3 yrs. of identity establishment of offender through DNA testing); criminal conspiracy, embezzlement, criminal state income tax violations: 5 yrs.; all others: 3 yrs.

Misdemeanors

3 yrs.

Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run

Absent state or not a resident of the state

Criminal statutes of limitation try to ensure speedy criminal trials that are fair and based on the best possible evidence. Physical evidence of a crime, like fingerprints and DNA, and testimonial evidence, like officer statements and eyewitness accounts, can degrade or even disappear over time. Therefore, the sooner the evidence can appear at trial, the better. Statutes of limitation vary in length because the justice system is attempting to balance the interest in prosecuting the most serious offenses with the interest in not having criminal charges hang over a person’s head indefinitely.

Normally, the statutory “clock” on most crimes only runs while the alleged perpetrator remains visible in the state where the crime occurred. If the suspect is outside the state or otherwise in hiding, the clock will pause, and resume running if and when the suspect reenters the state. This prevents criminals avoiding prosecution for serious crimes by running, hiding, and trying to wait out the authorities.

Oklahoma Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources

State statutes of limitation var, they can be confusing. If you would like legal advice regarding a criminal matter, you can contact an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney. You can also find more information and resources in FindLaw’s section on Criminal Law Basics.

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