When is it too late to press assault charges? 51 Answers as of July 03, 2013

I would like to know how long I have to press assault charges and how I would go about doing so?

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Burdon and Merlitti
Burdon and Merlitti | Adam Van Ho
Technically, assault charges can be pressed up to two years after the event happened unless there was "serious physical harm" or a weapon was involved, which would make the offense Felonious Assault. If it was Felonious Assault, the statute of limitations would be six years. However, when making charging decisions, law enforcement will consider if there is a good reason between the assault and the filing of a police report. If there is not a good reason for why it took so long to press charges, then law enforcement may decline to charge someone for an assault.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 1/3/2012
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor is 1 year, 3 years for a felony.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/21/2011
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
Go to the police and report the crime and do it as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/12/2011
Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
You should call the police department immediately. A prosecution gets weaker the longer time passes.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/12/2011
Law Offices of Sean Logue
Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
When the statute of limitations is up.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 7/3/2013
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You have to make a police report, and the report would be forwarded to the prosecutor in your area to determine whether charges were appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    That depends upon which degree of assault so you should talk to a prosecutor if you really want to file charges. Generally for misdemeanors the statute of limitations to file charges is less than with felonies ( some types of assault are felonies ) generally 1 year or less.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/7/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    Contact your local police department.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
    There is probably a two year statute of limitations on assault, but the better question is "why wait"? If you have been assaulted you can't wait so you can use that as a weapon against your assailant. The longer you wait, the less likely the police will investigate or the prosecutor will file charges. The evidence becomes weaker and less convincing. Be very careful with your safety. Legal charges are not a game, they are the price we demand as a society for those who hurt people.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/6/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Make a complaint at the police department where the assault took place.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    It is too late after the statute of limitations time but every day that you wait weakens the chance of a conviction. Call the police to report the incident.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C.
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C. | Robert Valles Jr.
    Statue of limitations is 2 years.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Misdemeanor assault has a 2 year statute of limitations; 4 years for felony aggravated assault. Be careful, though. The longer you wait the less credible your accusation becomes.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    The statute of limitations for most crimes in Washington is six years but waiting too long to report an assault means that witnesses may no longer remember events and evidence may no longer be available so, even if you report as assault after a long passage of time, law enforcement may not be able to find probable cause a crime had occurred.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    For a Felony 1st degree its 4 years, for a Felony 2nd or 3rd degree its 3 years, for Misdemeanor 1st degree its 2 years; and for Misdeameanor 2nd degree its 1 year. It all depends on what the charges are. You would have to go to the state attorney's office and request to prosecute the person. Hope this has helped you out. Keep in mind though, the longer you wait, the harder it is to remember things about the incident.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    YOU do not press charges, at least criminally. YOU can file a complaint in civil court for the damages for an assault. Sounds like small claims.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    In Illinois, you have 18 months after the crime to file charges, if a felony aggravated battery, 3 years.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    There is a statute of limitations for different types of assault. Go to the police and made the report if it a recent assault.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    Most assault cases are misdemeanors. All misdemeanors much be charged within a year of the offense. You as an individual don't press charges. You can report a crime, but it is within the discretion of the DA to press charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    The sooner you press charges after the assault, the better. Usually a magistrate will be reluctant to issue a warrant if months have gone by, and usually not more than 12 months since the offense date.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Law Office of James S. Lochead
    Law Office of James S. Lochead | James S. Lochead
    At least a year. You will have proof problems after that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, only a prosecutor may charge a criminal offense or dismiss a criminal offense. They may do so so long as they believe there is sufficient evidence to support probable cause for the charge. Second, the longer reporting an offense is delayed, the less likely it is that there will be credible evidence sufficient to support criminal charges.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    It is up to the District Attorney if charges will be filed or not. However, there are statutes of limitations that apply. If the case is a misdemeanor, the statute of limitations is typically 1 year.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Depending upon the seriousness of the assault, the period of time to report can be anywhere from 1 year to multiple years, even longer if you are a minor because the statute of limitations does not begin to run until you are 18. If you are deciding to file a complaint/press charges, you need to contact the police, who will then conduct the appropriate investigation, and if the facts and evidence are there, then the police refer the case to a prosecutor for filing of criminal charges. It is not as simple as you saying that you want to press charges.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/5/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    The state can charge an assault anytime within the statute of limitations applicable to your state. Your bigger concern may be convincing the state to bring charges if you have delayed reporting the incident for a specific time period. You "press charges" by making a report to your local police. If the state refuses to charge, you may still have the ability to pursue the individual civilly for money damages.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/3/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Report the assault to the police. If it has been within one year should be OK.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/3/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You have one year if the offense was a misdemeanor and three years if the offense was a felony.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    You need to contact the local police and let them know. The statute of limitations varies on the type of offense.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Depends on whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. The longer you wait, the less likely the prosecution will file it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    You would contact the police and file a report. After the police investigation, a report would be sent to the prosecuting attorney who would determine if any charges should be filed. Only the prosecutor can authorize criminal charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
    There is no such thing as "pressing charges." One reports a crime to the police, who investigate, and they can either arrest the accused if they have probable cause to do so, or turn the reports over to the DA, who decides whether or not to file charges. If the case is a misdemeanor, charges must be filed within a year; if a felony, three years. The likelihood of filing charges diminishes with time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Call the police department and ask for an Inspector who handles assaults, etc. They then evaluate to see if it should go to the DA or not. You have 1 year to have a misdemeanor charged and 3 years for a felony. HOWEVER, unless you get this to the cops quickly, as soon after the event as possible, they will most likely blow you off unless it is terribly serious.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    After one year for misdemeanor, after 3 years for felony. Call the cops!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Technically, you have until the statute of limitation expires. However, the longer you wait to file charges, the more suspicion and questions will be raised by the police and prosecutors as to your motives and credibility.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    The statute of limitations varies depending on the level of offense. Generally you have at least two years to file a complaint with the police department, who then forward the case to the prosecutor to determine if charges will be brought.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Thomas C. Brandstrader Attorney At Law | Thomas C. Brandstrader
    The longer you wait the less likely the complaint will be accepted and/or acted upon.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    Never too late. There is no statute if limitations in Wyoming. You just lose credibility the longer you wait. There is less evidence of assault.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    2 years from the date of assault.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Matthew Cameron Attorney at Law
    Matthew Cameron Attorney at Law | Matt Cameron
    You always have the right to go to your local police station to report a crime that has been committed against you, and they will decide whether or not there is probable cause for a charge. If the assault was relatively minor (to the extent that an assault can be minor) and not too recent, you may not have much luck. You also always have the right to apply for a private complaint directly in your local District Court, but your best option is always to go the police first.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    There is a three (3) year statute of limitations on pressing assault charges in Minnesota. You should begin by filing a police report. The officer will then submit the report to either a city prosecutor, if the offense is a misdemeanor, or to a county attorney, if the offense is a felony, for review. If the prosecutor determines that there is probable cause to believe a criminal offense occurred, a criminal complaint will be drafted charging out the offense.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    If you mean to sue civilly as a tort, the answer is one year. You'd do this by finding a lawyer to take your case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    You need to contact the police and file a police report. Once a report is filed it can be forward to the DA's office to determine if criminal charges will be sought. The longer the time the less likelihood of charges ever being filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    You can't press any charges, it does not work that way in California. A person becomes charged with a crime after a citizen reports a crime or a member of law enforcement witnesses a crime. Law enforcement then either arrest or cites the person and then law enforcement forwards a report the district attorney in the county the crime occurred. The prosecutor then makes a determination about whether charges should be filed. If the prosecutor believes they can prove the case charges will be filed and the defendant will be prosecuted. There is no part in the process where a citizen presses charges against another citizen. The prosecutor represents all of the people of California, they file charges because they believe a crime has been committed against one or more citizens of California. If you were assaulted and you did not report it. You can report it at anytime however as time passes the prosecutor will be less likely to file charges. If you already reported the assault to the police the prosecutor basically has one year to file charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    It's not up to you to "press charges" for any crime. That decision is up to the prosecuting agency in the jurisdiction where this occurred. You can make a police report and if appropriate, they will forward it to the prosecution for their review and decision.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    There is a 2 year statute of limitations on a misdemeanor and 5 years on a felony. If you were not injured it might be a Harassment charge and that is 1 year. If you know who assaulted you and you did not strike that person first you can go to the police station in your neighborhood to file charges. If you lie to them you will be charged with making a false complaint.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    1 year. Need to file police report.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You have six years from the date of the offense to formally file charges via a criminal complaint or indictment. You would have to call the police and first make a police report and then the matter would be turned over the prosecutor's office. You can think speak your wishes and voice your position to the prosecutor once they have the police report. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the harder it is to press charges and get a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The Statute of Limitations (SOL) for misdemeanor assault is one year. If you are a year and a day after the assault, it is too late. If it is a felony assault, the SOL is three years. Individuals do not "press charges" in Washington State. It is up to the prosecuting attorney or his deputies to file criminal charges. You have to have the police come out and take a report. The police then forward the report to the prosecutors' office for consideration of filing. The big hurdle in this situation would be if you have waited a long time to report the crime. Obviously, a crime should be reported immediately during the commission of the crime or as soon as possible after it occurs. You would have a credibility issue if you were to say to the police three years after the fact that someone assaulted you. Your best bet would be to report the assault and let the authorities decide how to proceed. If you want to sue the person, you must file suit within two years of the assault. At two years and a day, you would be too late. From the prosecutor's point of view, they would rather have you cooperate with the criminal case first so you don't appear to have a financial motive to testify against the defendant. Whatever you do, don't rest on your rights. Rights are perishable and they have a way of blowing away if not exercised.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Depending upon severity, probably up to 2 years until the end of the Misdemeanor Statute of Limitations.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 12/2/2011
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