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Colorado Sex Crimes Statutes of Limitations: How Long Does Colorado Have to Charge A Sex Assault On A Child Charge?

A statute of limitations is a time period imposed by a legislature, during which a criminal proceeding may begin. It is intended to promote timely and efficient disposition of cases because memories fade over time and evidence may be lost or damaged. A criminal statute of limitations begins running with the commission of a crime and runs for some fixed period of time, depending on the class of crime.

Pre- 2006 Law -Section 16-5-401 (1) (a), C.R.S. This Applies to Crimes Committed BEFORE JULY The bill took effect on July 1, 2006, and applies to offenses that were committed on or after July 1, 1996

Colorado law prior to the 2006 legislative session. If no time limit exists for a specific crime, prosecution may commence at any time. The crimes having no limit on commencing prosecution in Colorado are murder, kidnaping, treason, and forgery.1 Prosecutions for attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the aforementioned crimes are also not subject to any time limits.

The Prosecution of sexual assault must commence within 10 years of the crime’s commission or, if the victim is a minor at the time of the offense, within 10 years after the victim reaches the age of 18. There is no time limit for the prosecution of sexual assault if the identity of the suspect is determined by forensic DNA evidence. The time limit for most other felonies is three years after the commission of the crime.

Changes made in the 2006 legislative session.

The criminal statute of limitations was amended by House Bill 06-1088. The bill added felony sex offenses against a child to the list of crimes for which there is no time limit for commencing prosecution, along with the attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any felony sex offense against a child .

The bill defines a sex offense against a child as any of the following felony offenses:

enticement of a child;

• sexual assault when the victim is less than 15 years of age;

• felony unlawful sexual contact when the victim is less than 15 years of age;

• sexual assault on a child;

• sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust;

• aggravated incest;

• trafficking in children;

• sexual exploitation of a child;

• felony indecent exposure;

• soliciting for child prostitution;

• pandering of a child;

• procurement of a child;

• keeping a place of child prostitution;

• pimping of a child;

• inducement of a child;

• patronizing a prostituted child;

• class 4 felony internet luring of a child;


• internet sexual exploitation of a child.

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H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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