State prosecutors must file criminal charges within the time limits established by the criminal statute of limitations, which vary by the type of crime. Generally, the "clock" begins running at the approximate point the crime was committed. However, the time may be paused temporarily if the suspect is either living out of state or otherwise attempting to evade law enforcement.
For example, a car thief who crosses state lines and lives under an assumed name cannot simply return after the statute of limitations has passed and "beat" the rap, since the clock would have been paused during his or her time living incognito. But once that individual returns and lives openly, police officers may take action. Additionally, state troopers often cooperate with one another when dealing with fugitives.
The reasons for these time limits are to help preserve evidence, including witness testimony, and to ensure greater efficiency of the criminal justice system. Time limits usually differ according to crime classification (felony or misdemeanor, for example), but murder and other serious crimes usually don't have a time limit for charges.
Alaska Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance
As in virtually all other states, there is no statute of limitations for murder in Alaska. Most felonies and all misdemeanors carry a five-year time limit, while the maximum additional "tolling" for a suspect living in hiding is three years.
Additional details of Alaska's time limits for criminal charges are listed below. See Time Limits to Bring a Case: The Statute of Limitations to learn about similar time limits used in civil law.
|Code Section||12.10.010 et seq.|
|Felonies||Murder: none; 10 yrs. for certain violent felonies; felony sexual abuse of a minor: none; other felonies: 5 yrs., any offense that includes fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation, official misconduct in public office: extension 1 year after discovery offense, with a maximum extension of 3 years.|
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||If outside the state hiding, maximum extension 3 yrs when a prosecution against the accused for the same conduct is pending in this state.|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through a few different means, including the enactment of newly signed legislation and case law from higher court decisions. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact an Alaska criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Alaska Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
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