Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Long Do You Have to Press Charges For Domestic Violence?

How Long Do You Have to Press Charges For Domestic Violence


In most states you can hold a person responsible for domestic violence through either civil or criminal cases. Depending on the state where you are located there may be some other factors impacting the stature of limitations where a person is seeking to pursue a civil case for the purposes of compensation. Read on to learn more.

Types Of Domestic Violence

When someone has suffered domestic violence that may contact the police and use the system of justice to take criminal action against the perpetrator using a prosecuting lawyer in the courts. It is vitally important to seek this option straight away, so it is more likely law enforcement officers believe the person making the accusations and they can file a police report in a timely manner. An investigation usually follows with a greater chance of a prosecuting lawyer who is local handling the matter in court. There is no set timeframe but the there is a stature of limitations for crimes of a non-major nature with the exceptions of murder and rape.

The other option is to pursue justice through the civil courts. Based ion state limits there will be a statute of limitations and normally the victim cannot go through with this course of action if the time limit has been exceeded – except under special circumstances ruled upon by a judge. This can take many years and are usually extremely tough to follow. The plaintiff will need the services of a lawyer for this.

Criminal Cases

You do not actually press charges when a victim goes to the criminal courts to seek justice. The law enforcement officers make a determination of how the victim will cooperate with the prosecuting lawyer. Often the prosecutor will not drop the case even if the victim requests this. Even if you recant on a statement, it may still go to court because of the evidence and the desire of the prosecution to see the trial through.

Statute Of Limitations

In civil cases for domestic violence claims, the statute of limitations may go from one to six years depending on your location. For criminal charges, the statute of limitations may depend on whether it is a felony or misdemeanor. This may have a significant impact on the case. There will also be state specific rules for how long the person must pursue justice with the criminal courts. This time may be from no more than a single year to up to more than three years.

Pursuing Domestic Violence Cases

The victim of domestic violence may want to pursue a civil case where monetary damages are available as opposed to a criminal case. The civil case may be followed because of expenses the victim has occurred because of important bills that need to be paid, for examples, hospital and doctor expenses. A lawyer may kick off a civil claim, but a police report is the starting point for a criminal case. Other options include a protection order or a restraining order to provide safety from the person who was violent. If a child or children are involved, you may seek emergency custody and remove the aggressor from the situation on a temporary basis. A lawyer needs to be hired as soon as possible if a civil remedy is the desired choice to make sure any statute of limitation does not run out.

Source: Hg.org, Hg.org, www.hg.org/legal-articles/pressing-charges-for-domestic-violence-what-is-the-time-limit-48722.

Contact Our Domestic Violence Attorneys In Scottsdale, AZ

Our domestic violence attorneys in Scottsdale can also help with restraining orders and orders of protection. We will ensure thorough preparation of your restraining order or order of protection, or defense from DV allegations levelled against you, and help you resolve legal issues that inevitably arise.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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