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Kentucky Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

A statute of limitations is a law that prohibits the district attorney or prosecutor from charging a defendant with a crime that was committed longer ago than the statute allows. In most states, misdemeanors have shorter time limits than felonies and at least some felonies, such as murder or sex crimes against children, have no time limit.

Kentucky’s time limits are quite simple. Essentially, felonies have no limit and misdemeanors have a one year limit. For more details on this, see the table below that outlines the criminal statute of limitations in Kentucky.

Code Section Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 500.050 – Time Limitations
Felonies Felonies don’t have a statute limiting when they can be prosecuted. Therefore, crimes you committed in Kentucky many years ago can come back to haunt you, at least if they are felonies.
Misdemeanors Misdemeanors or violations (like infractions) in Kentucky, unless stated otherwise, must be prosecuted within one year of the crime.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run Many states provide for “tolling” or stopping the clock on the criminal statute of limitations for different things, such as the young age of the victim. As felonies aren’t limited in Kentucky, tolling is more important for misdemeanors.

If the victim of a misdemeanor crime under Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 510: Sexual Offenses (such as rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse) was under 18 when the crime occurred, the offense doesn’t need to be prosecuted within one year. In that situation, the prosecution must begin within five years after the victim turns 18 years old.

If you’re concerned about prosecution for a crime you’ve committed, you may wish to consult with an experienced Kentucky criminal defense attorney. Lawyers have ethical guidelines that prohibit them from sharing their clients’ secrets. In addition, the attorney-client privilege applies so your lawyer or former lawyer can’t testify against you, unless it’s to rebut your claim of his or her ethnical wrongdoing or a fee-related dispute (such as to prove the number of hours he or she worked on your case when you refuse to pay based on failure to work on your case).

Note: Because state laws change regularly, it’s important to verify the laws you’re researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting a knowledgeable attorney.

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