A relative was arested for a misdemeaner crime in Oregon 7 years and was told that if he left the state he would not be prosecuted.

When can he return?

Asked on June 7, 2009 under Criminal Law, Oregon


M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Most criminal statutes have something called a "statute of limitations."  That means it must be prosecuted within a certain amount of time of the alleged crime, or else the prosecution waives their ability to prosecute the defendant.  In some instances, with respect to serious felonies such as murder or rape (depending on the state that you are in) there is no statute of limitations, which means that the state could prosecute a murder from, for example, 1920 if new evidence surfaced.  However, with respect to misdemeanors, there should be a statute of limitations that may or may not have expired by now.  Without knowing the exact crime that your relative was charged with, it is impossible to determine what the relevant statute of limitation is and whether or not it has expired.  I suggest consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your state to determine whether your relative can safely return to the state.

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