How long after an assault can a criminal complaint be filed?

UPDATED: Jan 16, 2015

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How long after an assault can a criminal complaint be filed?

I was hit in the eye resulting in permanent injury. The incident happened in a restaurant/bar. The police were called and I was asked if a I wanted to declare myself a victim. However, my vision was gone in that eye so I said I needed to get to the hospital. I contacted a lawyer who kept my case with his firm until today. In about 3 weeks, it will be 2 years since the assault occurred. The law firm released my case because although the lawyer said I was certain to win, there are not enough assests to support a civil suit. It is a civil case I was told because assault charges were not filed. Can I seek assault charges now? I have video evidence.

Asked on January 16, 2015 under Criminal Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You don't provide any detail about how you were hit in the eye. If it was not with a weapon, it may be either assault in the 4th degree, which would be a misdemeanor, or assault in the 2nd degree, which would be a felony. The degree of injury you describe could make it a felony depending on the intention of the person injuring you--e.g. was there an intention to commit or cause injury or not?

If it's 4th degree assault (no intention to cause serious injury), it would be 2-year statute of limitations; if 2nd degree, 3-year. Therefore you are still in time to file or press charges for either, if you act NOW; if you wait, you would only be able to file or press charges if the assault would be characterized as 2nd degree.

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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