Can I be charged with a crime 20 years later?

UPDATED: Jun 25, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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