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Colorado Sex Crimes: Statute of Limitations

Colorado Sex Crimes – The Colorado Statute of Limitations and Sentencing Provisions for Sex Offenses

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Sex Offenses?

The Colorado statute of limitations (Section 16-5-401, C.R.S) requires law enforcement personnel to commence prosecution for criminal offenses within a set period of time. The time period is different, depending on the specific crime and its circumstances. Murder, kidnapping, treason, specified sex offenses against children, and forgery have no time limit for commencement of prosecution. Most other felonies must be prosecuted within three years of the commission of the crime. The time limit is suspended for up to five years while an offender is absent from the state of Colorado.

Felony sex offenses

Sex offenses, especially those committed against children, have their own categories of limitations to prosecution. The time period during which an individual may be prosecuted for a felony sex offense is up to ten years after the commission of the crime. Prosecution must commence within ten years after the victim reaches the age of 18 for the felony offenses of sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact when the victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the offense. Prosecution for failure to register as a sex offender against children must commence within three years of the commission of the crime. There is no statute of limitations for specified sex offenses against children.

Misdemeanor sex offenses

Prosecution of misdemeanor offenses charged under the sex assault (Section 18-3-402 (3), C.R.S.) and unlawful sexual contact (Section 18-3-404 (2), C.R.S.) statutes must be commenced within five years of the commission of the crime. All other misdemeanor sex offenses must be prosecuted within 18 months of the commission of the crime.

DNA exception

In a case where a sex offense is reported to law enforcement officials within ten years of the commission of the crime and the identity of the offender is determined by DNA evidence, there is no time limit for commencing prosecution