Is There a Time Limit to Pressing Charges?

There is a time limit to pressing charges for most crimes in the United States, with the exception of murder. However, serious crimes involving violence, arson, kidnapping or forgery have no time limit for pressing charges in many states, reports FindLaw.

The statute of limitations is the time period in which a person or entity must initiate legal charges against a person or entity for alleged wrongdoing, according to The statute of limitations for a crime varies depending upon how the crime is classed and the laws in place where it occurred. The applicable federal, state or local legal code contains this information.

There are cases in which the law permits exceptions to the time limit because of later discoveries. If a patient normally has three years to press medical malpractice charges after surgery, but it is found 10 years after the fact that a surgeon left a scalpel in his body, the person is able to press charges upon that discovery.