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Utah Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

For every crime, there is a limit on how long criminal prosecutors have to take evidence gathered by police and turn it into criminal charges, and possibly a trial. These time limits generally vary depending on the type of crime, and prosecutors have more time to bring serious felony charges than for less serious misdemeanor charges. This is an introduction to criminal statutes of limitations laws in Utah.

Criminal Statutes of Limitation in Utah

The table below lists Utah’s criminal statutes of limitations.

Code Section

Utah Code 76-1-301, et seq.: Limitations of Actions

Felonies

Capital felony, murder, manslaughter, none; other felony or negligent homicide: 4 yrs.; fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation, official misconduct: 3 yrs. max.; rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse of a child: within 4 yrs. of reporting offense; child abuse homicide, aggravated kidnapping, child kidnapping: none; violent felony: none if identity of perpetrator unknown but DNA evidence is collected and would identify the person at a later date (does not apply if statute of limitations has run as of May 5, 2003 without changes filed), once identification made, within one year if statute of limitations has run; misuse of public monies, falsification or alteration of public records, bribery: 2 yrs. after facts reported to prosecutor

Misdemeanors

2 yrs.; infractions: 1 yr.

Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run

Absent state

Criminal Statutes of Limitation

Statutes of limitations try to ensure timely criminal trials that are fair and based on the best possible evidence. Because 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, the sooner the evidence can appear at trial, the better. Statutes of limitations encourage prosecutors to bring cases to trial sooner rather than later.

Under most state laws, the statutory “clock” on criminal charges runs while the alleged perpetrator remains in the state where the crime occurred. If the suspect is outside the state, the clock will pause, and then resume running if and when the suspect reenters the state. This is designed to prevent criminals from avoiding prosecution for serious crimes by running, hiding, and trying to wait out the authorities.

Related Resources for Utah Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Any criminal charge is a serious matter. If you would like legal assistance regarding a criminal matter, you can consult with a Utah criminal defense attorney. You can also find additional articles and information by visiting FindLaw’s section on Criminal Law Basics.

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