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How long do police have to formally charge you?
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How long do police have to formally charge you?

My friend was told over the phone that he might be charged. How long does he have to wait before they can't file charges? he is being wrongly charged of animal cruelty. He was told almost 2 weeks ago, how much longer does he have to wait before they cannot formally charge him?

It depends on the crime and the jurisdiction -- each has a different "statute of limitations" which defines how long the prosecutors have from when the crime was committed before they can no longer file criminal charges. For misdemeanors and other minor crimes -- it's usually a few years -- for serious felonies -- it may be 10 or more years -- and for some crimes (ex: murder, in many jurisdictions) there is no limit.

jim w
as long as they want.

Until the Statue of Limitations runs out... Normally the Statue of Limitations for a Crime is based on the maximum penalty for that crime. So if you could go to jail for 2 years for committing it then they normally would have 2 years to charge you with the crime. There is no Statue of Limitations for Capital Offenses though

The police do not charge you, the prosecuting attorney does. The police would forward the report to the prosecutor, who reviews it, and decides if a criminal complaint should be filed. If the complaint is filed, it needs to be registered with the court, and then served on the person. Depending on the prosecutors case load, and the severity of the crime, this could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months. The time limit is set by your state laws on statute of limitations. You didn't say where you were from, my state has 3 years for a misdemeanor, 7 years for a felony, and no limits on intentional homicide.

Depends on the crime. They have until the Statute of Limitations runs out on the crime. So from the day it HAPPENED until day X they can charge you. Different crimes have different Limitations on them.

They can charge someone for a crime anytime during the statute of limitations for the crime. Some states do not have these. The common statute of limitations in states that do is the maximum sentence a person can receive for the crime.

Barry C
If he hasn't been arrested yet, then until the statute of limitations of that crime have run out. If he has been arrested, it mightvary by locatin, but generally 72 hours from the arrest not including weekends and holidays. I hope he is taking the warning as an opportunity to line up an attorney for himself now.

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