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Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Colorado 

It’s not uncommon for crimes of sexual assault not to be reported to authorities. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63% of all sexual assaults are not reported. Young people are less likely to report the crime. On the other hand, sex crimes are some of the most fervently prosecuted crimes in the United States and Colorado. 

For those accused of sexual assault, it can be nerve-wracking to think of someone from your past coming years later to accuse you of this offense. Fortunately, there are time limits surrounding when prosecutors can bring criminal charges against you. At The Law Offices of Elaine E. Lukic, we understand what you are going through. I am a former domestic violence and sexual assault prosecutor, so I know the ins and outs of these laws and how to leverage them in your case. Contact us for a free case review to learn more from a Lakewood sexual assault defense attorney

What Is a Statute of Limitations? 

A statute of limitations is a time limit for how long someone has to take legal action. Prosecutors have statutes of limitations that they must adhere to. If the relevant statute of limitations passes, the D.A. can no longer bring criminal cases against the suspect. 

Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations in Colorado

For most felony cases, prosecutors must adhere to a three-year statute of limitations. This short time limit ensures that prosecutors and law enforcement investigate criminal matters quickly and bring forth charges when the evidence and witness memories are fresh. 

However,  the statute of limitations for sexual assault in Colorado is generally 20 years from the date of the alleged criminal act under CRS 18-3-402. Authorities and lawmakers know that many sexual assaults go unreported, so the law provides a much longer window for alleged victims to process their trauma and report the crime to authorities, who can then prosecute the accused. 

Exceptions to Colorado’s Sexual Assault Statute Of Limitations 

There are exceptions to the general requirement for prosecutors to bring criminal charges within 20 years of the alleged sexual assault. For example, if the victim was between the ages of 15 and 17, the 20-year window does not start until the alleged victim turns 18. Additionally, if the crime was reported within 20 years and there is DNA evidence that confirms the suspect’s presence, prosecutors can file criminal charges at any time. Likewise, if the alleged victim was 14 years old or younger at the time of the alleged sexual assault, no statute of limitations applies. 

Civil Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Colorado

In addition to criminal charges, those who have been sexually assaulted reserve the right to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator to seek financial compensation for medical expenses, counseling, pain and suffering, and other damages. A two-year statute of limitations generally applies to personal injury cases. However, the law in Colorado was changed effective 2022 so that there is no longer a statute of limitations for civil complaints of sexual assault. 

Contact Us for a Free Case Review with an Experienced Colorado Sexual Assault Lawyer 

Sexual assault charges can result in serious consequences, including significant time behind bars, mandatory psychiatric treatment, and registration as a sex offender. Minimum penalties for sex offenses cannot be negotiated in Colorado, so you must work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can mount a solid defense on your behalf. Contact The Law Offices of Elaine E. Lukic today at 800-478-8859 for a free and confidential consultation.