Can I be charged with a crime 20 years later?

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Can I be charged with a crime 20 years later?

When I was a teenager in VA and I used to “experiment” with my cousin who was 3 1/2 years younger than me. This happened from when I was 12 until I was about 16 when I realized what we were doing was wrong. I am now 37. Can I be charged with anything? She has approached me and wants to discuss what happened, but I want to make sure nothing that I say to her via e-mail can come back to haunt me. Should I consult with a criminal defense attorney? In El Paso County, CO.

Asked on June 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The applicable statute of limitations will determine whether or not you can be charged with a crime after so many years.  If the statute of limitations has expired, then you won't be charged with the crime.  The definitions of certain crimes include the elements of lesser offenses.  The statute of limitations may differ for various crimes.  If the statute of limitations for a lesser offense has not expired, you could be charged with the lesser offense.  It would be advisable to speak with a criminal defense attorney.


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