Overview Limitation Law (Criminal Procedure Law) in the State of California

The „California Criminal Statute of Limitations“ is quite extensive and complex and can only be summarily listed here.

According to California Pen. §§ 799-803 one distinguishes first between felonies = crime and misdemeanors = offense (as in German criminal law in statute of limitations)

There is basically no statute of limitations for life offenses punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Otherwise statute of limitations:

  • Offenses imprisonment of eight years or more (with some exceptions) = 6 years
  • Other offenses with imprisonment (with some exceptions) = 3 years.
  • Offenses of production of pornographic material with minors = 10 years
  • Other offenses: 1 year after the date of the offense


Specified offenses committed to minors under the age of 14 years become statute-barred 3 years from the date of the offense.

There are exceptions similar to the interruption, the inhibition and the suspension of the statute of limitations in German criminal law. However, this right of „statute of limitations“ is quite casuistic and can only be shown here by way of example.

Certain sex crimes against victims under the age of 18 may be prosecuted at any time prior to their 28th birthday or within 10 years of committing the offense under certain conditions; similar to the rest in German criminal law.

However, a sexual offense against a victim younger than 18 in which the limitation period has expired, can be prosecuted within 1 year of the time a report (complaint) was filed with a state law enforcement agency. The statute of limitations status is „tolled“ during a period in which the same behavior is pending against the same person.

Last but not least as well as in Germany, in the respective US state it can be accused in the state of the crime scene or also the place of the seizure.

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