Here Are the General Rules and Exceptions
Video Transcribed: How long does the state have to file criminal charges in Oklahoma? I’m James Wirth, a lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and that’s the question that we have. It deals with the statute of limitations in Oklahoma that sets the timeframe within which the state of Oklahoma can file criminal charges, whether that’s through the Attorney General’s office or more likely whether it’s through a county DA’s office. Once that time is expired, charges can no longer be filed. If they are filed, that can be grounds to get those dismissed.
So how long does the state have? Well, the general rule, the catchall provision is that the state has three years from the date that the offense occurred. That is the default. However, there are exceptions to the default where many crimes go beyond that, particularly sex offenses against children or sex offenses against adults can be longer, up to the 45th year of the person’s birthday if it’s an adult.
Other ones that have longer statutes of limitations, if you are income tax fraud, something along those lines. Five-year statute of limitations. If there’s a deadly weapon involved, a seven-year statute of limitations. Worker’s comp fraud, it’s three years from the date of the discovery or up to a maximum of seven years from the date of the alleged crime. Arson is seven years. Human trafficking is three years from the discovery of the crime, but discovery is defined as when it’s reported to law enforcement.
So long story short, in the great majority of crimes in the state of Oklahoma, the statute of limitations is three years from when the crime occurred. However, there are exceptions and it can get a little bit tricky talking about which law is the appropriate one because the statute of limitations laws changes somewhat regularly. There’ve been a few changes somewhat recently regarding certain crimes is it the one that was in place at the time the crime occurred, or is it the one that’s in place currently?
Generally, it’s going to be the one that was in place at the time the crime occurred. However, there may be an argument to bootstrap that into a newer version if the original one did not expire before the new one went into place. It can be somewhat complicated.
So long story short. If you are a victim of a crime, want to see if it can still be prosecuted or if you are a potential defendant and want to see if you still have the potential of being charged, you’re going to want to talk to an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney privately and confidentially about your specific circumstances. To get that scheduled with somebody at my office you can go online to makelaweasy.com.