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Washington Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

States impose time limits for prosecutors to file criminal charges against defendants, with the intention of preserving evidence (both witnesses and physical evidence) and ensuring an efficient judicial process. But time limits, or "statutes of limitation," sometimes don't apply to the worst crimes. In Washington, for example, there are no time limits on filing charges for murder, homicide by abuse, and other serious felonies.

Washington's criminal statute of limitation laws are listed in the chart below. See Criminal Law Basics for more information.

Code Section 9A.04.080
Felonies Murder, arson causing death: none; homicide by abuse, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault causing death, hit-and-run injury/accident causing death: none; public official misconduct, arson: 10 yrs.; rape if reported 1 yr. of commission: 10 yrs., or if victim is under 14 yrs. old, 3 yrs. after victim turns 18, whichever is later; rape if not reported within 1 yr.: 3 yrs. or if victim is under 14 yrs. old, 3 yrs. after victim turns 18 yrs. old, but not more than 7 yrs. after rape; child molestation, indecent liberties, incest: if victim is under 14 yrs. old, 3 yrs. after victim turns 18 yrs. old, but not more than 7 yrs. of offense; leading organized crime or criminal profiteering: 6 yrs.; Class C felony: 5 yrs.; bigamy and all other felonies: 3 yrs.
Misdemeanors Gross misdemeanors: 2 yrs.; other offenses: 1 yr.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run Not publicly a resident

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Washington criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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