Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-5-401

Current through 2022 Legislative Session and 11/8/2022 Election
Section 16-5-401 - Limitation for commencing criminal proceedings, civil infraction proceedings, and juvenile delinquency proceedings - definitions
(1)
(a) Except as otherwise provided by statute applicable to specific offenses, delinquent acts, or circumstances, no adult person or juvenile shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense or delinquent act unless the indictment, information, complaint, or petition in delinquency is filed in a court of competent jurisdiction or a summons and complaint or penalty assessment notice is served upon the defendant or juvenile within the period of time after the commission of the offense or delinquent act as specified below:

Murder, kidnapping, treason, any sex offense against a

child, and any forgery regardless of the penalty provided:

No limit

Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit murder;

attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit kidnapping;

attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit treason;

attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any sex

offense against a child; and attempt, conspiracy, or

solicitation to commit any forgery regardless of the

penalty provided:

No limit

Vehicular homicide, except as described in subsection

(1) (a.5) of this section; leaving the scene of an

accident that resulted in the death of a person:

Five years

Other felonies:

Three years

Misdemeanors:

Eighteen months

Class 1 and 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses:

One year

Petty offenses:

Six months

(a.5) The period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted for the offense of vehicular homicide, as described in section 18-3-106, C.R.S., and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in the death of a person, as described in section 42-4-1601(2)(c), C.R.S., when both offenses are alleged to have occurred as part of the same criminal episode in the same indictment, information, complaint, or petition in delinquency filed in a court of competent jurisdiction is ten years.
(b) Repealed.
(c) For purposes of this section:
(I) "Delinquent act" has the same meaning as defined in section 19-2.5-102.
(II) "Juvenile" has the same meaning as set forth in section 19-1-103.
(III) "Petition in delinquency" means any petition filed by a district attorney pursuant to section 19-2.5-502.
(IV) "Sex offense against a child" means any "unlawful sexual offense", as defined in section 18-3-411(1), C.R.S., that is a felony.
(1.5)
(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (1.5), the provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children shall apply to offenses and delinquent acts committed on or after July 1, 1996.
(b) The provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children shall apply to an offense or delinquent act committed before July 1, 1996, if the applicable statute of limitations, as it existed prior to July 1, 2006, has not yet run on July 1, 2006.
(c) It is the intent of the general assembly in enacting the provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children to apply an unlimited statute of limitations to sex offenses against children committed on or after July 1, 1996, and to sex offenses against children committed before July 1, 1996, for which the applicable statute of limitations in effect prior to July 1, 2006, has not yet run on July 1, 2006.
(2) The time limitations imposed by this section shall be tolled if the adult offender or juvenile is absent from the state of Colorado, and the duration of such absence, not to exceed five years, shall be excluded from the computation of the time within which any complaint, information, indictment, or petition in delinquency must otherwise be filed or returned.
(3)
(a) The period within which a prosecution must be commenced does not include any period in which a prosecution is pending against the adult defendant or juvenile for the same conduct, even if the indictment, information, complaint, or petition in delinquency which commences the prosecution is quashed or the proceedings thereon are set aside or are reversed on appeal.
(b) The period within which a prosecution must be commenced does not include any period in which a prosecution is pending against the adult defendant or juvenile for the same conduct, even if filed in a court without jurisdiction, when based on a reasonable belief the court possesses jurisdiction.
(4) When an offense or delinquent act is based on a series of acts performed at different times, the period of limitation prescribed by this code or by the "Colorado Securities Act", article 51 of title 11, C.R.S., starts at the time when the last act in the series of acts is committed.
(4.5) The period within which a prosecution must be commenced begins to run upon discovery of the criminal act or the delinquent act for:
(a) Offenses relating to the "Uniform Commercial Code", pursuant to part 5 of article 5 of title 18, C.R.S.;
(b) Cybercrime, pursuant to article 5.5 of title 18;
(c) Theft, pursuant to section 18-4-401, C.R.S.;
(d) Theft of trade secrets, pursuant to section 18-4-408, C.R.S.;
(e) Defacing or destruction of written instruments, pursuant to section 18-4-507, C.R.S.;
(f) Criminal simulation, pursuant to section 18-5-110, C.R.S.;
(g) Obtaining signature by deception, pursuant to section 18-5-112, C.R.S.;
(h) Criminal impersonation, pursuant to section 18-5-113, C.R.S.;
(i) Offering a false instrument for recording, pursuant to section 18-5-114, C.R.S.;
(j) Dual contracts to induce loan, pursuant to section 18-5-208, C.R.S.;
(k) Issuing a false financial statement or obtaining a financial transaction device by false statements, pursuant to section 18-5-209, C.R.S.;
(l) Unlawful activity concerning the selling of land, pursuant to section 18-5-302, C.R.S.;
(m) Offenses relating to equity skimming, pursuant to part 8 of article 5 of title 18, C.R.S.;
(m.5) Offenses relating to identity theft, pursuant to part 9 of article 5 of title 18, C.R.S.;
(n) Offenses relating to bribery and corrupt influences, pursuant to part 3 of article 8 of title 18, C.R.S.;
(o) Offenses relating to abuse of public office, pursuant to part 4 of article 8 of title 18, C.R.S.;
(p) Offenses relating to perjury, pursuant to part 5 of article 8 of title 18, C.R.S.;
(q) Offenses relating to the "Colorado Organized Crime Control Act", pursuant to article 17 of title 18, C.R.S.;
(r) Unlawful concealment of transactions, pursuant to section 11-107-105, C.R.S.;
(s) Embezzlement or misapplication of funds, pursuant to section 11-107-107, C.R.S.;
(t) Unlawful acts or omissions relating to financial institutions, pursuant to section 11-107-108, C.R.S.;
(u) Repealed.
(v) Criminal offenses relating to savings and loan associations, pursuant to section 11-41-127;
(w) Criminal offenses relating to securities fraud, pursuant to part 5 of article 51 of title 11;
(x) Insurance fraud, pursuant to section 18-5-211;
(y) Tampering with a deceased human body, pursuant to section 18-8-610.5;
(z) Abuse of a corpse, pursuant to section 18-13-101; and
(aa) Criminal offenses relating to misuse of gametes, pursuant to section 18-13-131.
(5) The period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be extended for an additional three years as to any offense or delinquent act charged under sections 18-8-302, 18-8-303, 18-8-306, 18-8-307, 18-8-402, 18-8-406, 18-8-407, 39-21-118, and 39-22-621(3), C.R.S.
(6) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section pertaining to sex offenses against children or felony sexual assault in violation of section 18-3-402, C.R.S., the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be extended for an additional seven years as to any offense or delinquent act charged under section 18-6-403, C.R.S., or charged as criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the acts specified in said sections.
(7) When the victim at the time of the commission of the offense or delinquent act is a child under fifteen years of age, the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be extended for an additional three years and six months as to a misdemeanor charged under section 18-3-404, C.R.S., or criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit such a misdemeanor.
(8)
(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section pertaining to sex offenses against children or felony sexual assault in violation of section 18-3-402, C.R.S., and except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (a.3) and (a.5) of this subsection (8), the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be ten years after the commission of the offense or delinquent act as to any offense or delinquent act:
(I) Charged under section 18-3-403, C.R.S., as said section existed prior to July 1, 2000, or section 18-6-403, C.R.S.;
(II) Charged as a felony under section 18-3-404, C.R.S.; or
(III) Charged as criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the offenses specified in subparagraphs (I) and (II) of this paragraph (a).
(a.3) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children or felony sexual assault in violation of section 18-3-402, C.R.S., if the victim at the time of the commission of an offense or delinquent act is a child under eighteen years of age, the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be ten years after such victim reaches the age of eighteen years as to any offense or delinquent act:
(I) Charged as a felony under section 18-3-403, C.R.S., as said section existed prior to July 1, 2000, or section 18-3-404, C.R.S.; or
(II) Charged as criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the offenses specified in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a.3).
(a.5) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children or felony sexual assault in violation of section 18-3-402, C.R.S., in any case in which the identity of the defendant or juvenile is determined, in whole or in part, by patterned chemical structure of genetic information, and in which the offense has been reported to a law enforcement agency, as defined in section 26-1-114(3)(a)(III)(B), C.R.S., within ten years after the commission of the offense, there shall be no limit on the period of time during which a person may be prosecuted after the commission of the offense as to any offense or delinquent act charged:
(I) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2016.)
(II) Under section 18-3-403, C.R.S., as said section existed prior to July 1, 2000; or
(III) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2016.)
(IV) As criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the offenses specified in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (a.5).
(a.7)
(I) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section pertaining to sex offenses against children and except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (a.3) and (a.5) of this subsection (8), the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be twenty years after the commission of the offense or delinquent act as to any offense or delinquent act charged as a felony under section 18-3-402, C.R.S., or as criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit a felony under section 18-3-402, C.R.S.
(II) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children, if the victim at the time of the commission of an offense or delinquent act is a child under eighteen years of age, the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be twenty years after such victim reaches eighteen years of age as to any offense or delinquent act charged as a felony under section 18-3-402, C.R.S., or as criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit a felony under section 18-3-402, C.R.S.
(III) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section concerning sex offenses against children, in any case in which the identity of the defendant or juvenile is determined, in whole or in part, by patterned chemical structure of genetic information, and in which the offense has been reported to a law enforcement agency, as defined in section 26-1-114(3)(a)(III)(B), C.R.S., within twenty years after the commission of the offense, there shall be no limit on the period of time during which a person may be prosecuted after the commission of the offense:
(A) As to any offense or delinquent act charged as a felony under section 18-3-402, C.R.S.;
(B) Under any other criminal statute if the offense is a felony or would be a felony if committed by an adult and is based on the same act or series of acts arising from the same criminal episode as the offense or delinquent act charged as a felony under section 18-3-402, C.R.S.; except that this sub-subparagraph (B) does not apply if the court finds that there is no probable cause for the felony under section 18-3-402, C.R.S.; or
(C) As to criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the offenses in this subparagraph (III).
(b) This subsection (8) shall apply to offenses and delinquent acts committed on or after July 1, 1984; except that subparagraph (III) of paragraph (a.5) of this subsection (8) applies to offenses and delinquent acts committed on or after July 1, 2011.
(9) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be five years after the commission of the offense or delinquent act as to a misdemeanor charged under section 18-3-404, C.R.S., or criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit such a misdemeanor. This subsection (9) shall apply to offenses and delinquent acts committed on or after January 1, 1986.
(10) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be three years after the date of the affected election as to a charge of any violation of any provision of the "Fair Campaign Practices Act", article 45 of title 1, C.R.S., or any criminal attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to violate any provision of the "Fair Campaign Practices Act". This subsection (10) shall apply to offenses and delinquent acts committed on or after July 1, 1991.
(11) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section, the period of time during which an adult person or juvenile may be prosecuted shall be three years after the discovery of the offense or delinquent act as to any offense or delinquent act charged under section 18-4-408, C.R.S. This subsection (11) shall apply to offenses and delinquent acts committed on or after July 1, 1998.
(12) The applicable period of limitations specified in subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to charges of offenses or delinquent acts brought to facilitate the disposition of a case, or to lesser included or non-included charges of offenses or delinquent acts given to the court or a jury at a trial on the merits, by the accused.

C.R.S. § 16-5-401

Amended by 2022 Ch. 68,§13, eff. 3/1/2022.
Amended by 2021 Ch. 462,§172, eff. 3/1/2022.
Amended by 2021 Ch. 136,§22, eff. 10/1/2021.
Amended by 2020 Ch. 238,§6, eff. 9/14/2020.
Amended by 2020 Ch. 100,§3, eff. 9/14/2020 and appicable to offenses committed on or after the applicable effective date of this act and all offenses committed prior to the applicable effective date of this act for which the statute of limitations has not expired as of the applicable effective date of this act.
Amended by 2018 Ch. 379,§3, eff. 8/8/2018.
Amended by 2017 Ch. 68,§2, eff. 8/9/2017.
Amended by 2016 Ch. 363,§1, eff. 7/1/2016.
Amended by 2014 Ch. 344,§2, eff. 7/1/2014.
Amended by 2014 Ch. 58,§1, eff. 7/1/2014.
Amended by 2013 Ch. 282,§64, eff. 7/1/2013.
Amended by 2013 Ch. 272,§3, eff. 7/1/2013.
L. 72: R&RE, p. 218, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 39-5-401. L. 75: (5) added, p. 608, § 1, effective May 15. L. 81: (1) amended, p. 890, § 2, effective July 1; (5) amended, p. 1879, § 1, effective July 1. L. 82: (6) and (7) added, p. 314, § 2, effective July 1; (1)(b) amended, p. 655, § 4, effective January 1, 1983. L. 85: (1)(b) repealed, p. 1359, § 8, effective June 28; (6) amended, p. 616, § 5, effective July 1. L. 87: (1)(a) amended, p. 1495, § 4, effective July 1; (6) and (7) amended and (8) and (9) added, p. 618, § 1, effective July 1. L. 89: (1)(a) amended, p. 827, § 34, effective July 1. L. 90: (1)(a) amended, p. 985, § 6, effective April 24. L. 91: (10) added, p. 646, § 3, effective May 29; (1)(a) amended and (4.5) added, p. 403, § 3, effective June 6. L. 92: (4.5) amended, p. 400, § 7, effective June 3. L. 93: (6) and (8) amended, p. 1726, § 4, effective July 1. L. 94: (6) and (7) amended, p. 1049, § 3, effective July 1. L. 95: (2) amended, p. 462, § 1, effective July 1. L. 98: (4.5) amended and (11) added, p. 156, § 2, effective July 1; (10) amended, p. 819, § 17, effective August 5. L. 2000: (12) added, p. 454, § 10, effective April 24; (6) and (8)(a)(I) amended, p. 710, § 47, effective July 1. L. 2001: Entire section amended, p. 730, § 2, effective July 1; (8)(a) amended and (8)(a.5) added, p. 1057, § 1, effective July 1. L. 2002: (8)(a) amended and (8)(a.3) added, p. 1127, § 1, effective June 3. L. 2003: (3) amended, p. 973, § 4, effective April 17; (4) amended, p. 1325, § 1, effective July 1; (4.5)(r) to (4.5)(u) amended, p. 1209, § 19, effective July 1. L. 2006: (1)(a), (1)(c), (6), (7), (8)(a), (8)(a.3), and (8)(a.5) amended and (1.5) added, p. 410, § 1, effective July 1. L. 2009: (1)(a) amended, (HB 09-1081), ch. 1609, p. 1609, § 1, effective July 1; (4.5)(m.5) added, (SB 09-093), ch. 1738, p. 1738, § 3, effective July 1. L. 2013: IP(4.5) and (4.5)(t) amended and (4.5)(u) repealed, (SB 13-154), ch. 1486, p. 1486, § 64, effective July 1; (4.5)(u) and (4.5)(v) amended and (4.5)(w) added, (SB 13-229), ch. 1427, p. 1427, § 3, effective July 1. L. 2014: (1)(a) amended and (1)(a.5) added, (SB 14-213), ch. 1535, p. 1535, § 2, effective July 1; (8)(a.5) and (8)(b) amended, (SB 14-059), ch. 260, p. 260, §1, effective July 1. L. 2016: (6), (8)(a), (8)(a.3), and (8)(a.5) amended and (8)(a.7) added, (HB 16-1260), ch. 1514, p. 1514, § 1, effective July 1. L. 2017: (4.5)(v) and (4.5)(w) amended and (4.5)(x) added, (HB 17-1048), ch. 215, p. 215, §2, effective August 9. L. 2018: (4.5)(b) amended, (HB 18-1200), ch. 2292, p. 2292, § 3, effective August 8. L. 2020: (4.5)(w) and (4.5)(x) amended and (4.5)(aa) added, (HB 20-1014), ch. 1156, p. 1156, § 6, effective September 14; (4.5)(w) and (4.5)(x) amended and (4.5)(y) and (4.5)(z) added, (HB 20-1148), ch. 388, p. 388, § 3, effective September 14. L. 2021: (1)(c)(I), (1)(c)(II), and (1)(c)(III) amended, (SB 21-059), ch. 712, p. 712, § 22, effective October 1; (1)(a) amended, (SB 21-271), ch. 3163, p. 3163, § 172, effective March 1, 2022.

(1) Amendments to this section by HB 01-1187 and HB 01-1344 were harmonized. Amendments to subsection (4.5)(u) by Senate Bill 13-154 and Senate Bill 13-229 were harmonized.

(2) Section 4(2) of chapter 100 (HB 20-1148), Session Laws of Colorado 2020, provides that the act changing subsection (4.5) applies to offenses committed on or after September 14, 2020, and all offenses committed prior to September 14, 2020, for which the statute of limitations has not expired.

(3) Section 803(2) of chapter 462 (SB 21-271), Session Laws of Colorado 2021, provides that the act changing this section applies to offenses committed on or after March 1, 2022.

2021 Ch. 462, was passed without a safety clause. See Colo. Const. art. V, § 1(3).

For the "Uniform Commercial Code", see title 4.