How Long Can a Felony Charge Be Pending? List of Times for All Charges

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Criminal Records | May 11, 2022

How long can a felony charge be pending? The answer depends on a number of factors, including the state where the crime was committed and whether or not additional charges have been tacked on, afterwards.

When additional charges are added, this can increase the time that felony charges can be pending, so the very first step for anyone is to perform a state and local level free criminal background check.

By searching state and local criminal courts, information on whether any additional charges have been filed, that are connected to the case, can be found.

For example, many suspects awaiting charges are released on bail, but if that person commits another crime that is connected to the pending felony (such as witness intimidation), those charges can be added to the upcoming case…which can increase the time frame before the charges are formally filed.

Being able to check for charges against you online is a great way to gain the information needed for a criminal defense.

Checking to see all charges that are pending first provides the information a person needs to prepare for defense (like if someone presses charges against you), or how to get charges dropped before going to court.

Do background checks show pending charges? Yes…so knowing where to look is crucial.

A full list of times for each type of criminal charge and offense can be found below.

What Does A Pending Felony Charge Mean?

A pending felony charge is an accusation against a person, usually after an arrest, an indictment, or a formal complaint. But, since the charges have not been formally filed, the person is technically under investigation.1

Screenshot of New Mexico courts rules for pretrial release and detention, with a yellow arrow pointing to a resource that explains how long can a felony case be pending in New Mexico.

If a person was arrested on a felony offense and they have a pending felony charge, the District Attorney will determine if official charges must be filed and if so, set a court date. If this is the case, the individual in question needs to appear in court for an arraignment.2 

Alternatively, many people wonder if charges are dismissed, do I have a criminal record? And while the answer to that question can vary based on the charge and the state where it’s filed, knowing how to find any potential charges, including felony charges, can make the judicial process easier to navigate and prevent a failed background check after starting job.

How Long Does the State Have to File Charges?

The state is limited in the time it has to file formal charges against someone. If the person has a felony charge pending, the state usually has 175 days to file the charging document.4

However, each state may allow more or less time for filing charges, and if there are additional charges, those times can be increased.

The following table provides a list of each state’s specific criminal code regarding pending charges, so that anyone can learn how to find out if there are pending charges against me for free.

How Long Can A Felony Charge Be PendingTimeHow Long Can a Case Be PendingTime
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in AlabamaRules of Criminal ProcedureHow Long Can a case Be Pending In AlabamaRules of Evidence
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in AlaskaStatute of Limitations on Alaska Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In AlaskaAlaska Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in ArizonaStatute of Limitations on Arizona Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In ArizonaArizona Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in ArkansasStatute of Limitations on Arkansas Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In ArkansasArkansas Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in CaliforniaStatute of Limitations on California Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In CaliforniaCalifornia Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in ColoradoStatute of Limitations on Colorado Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In ColoradoColorado Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in ConnecticutStatute of Limitations on Connecticut Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In ConnecticutConnecticut Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in DelawareStatute of Limitations on Delaware Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In DelawareDelaware Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in FloridaStatute of Limitations on Florida Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In FloridaFlorida Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in GeorgiaStatute of Limitations on Georgia Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In GeorgiaGeorgia Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in HawaiiStatute of Limitations on Hawaii Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In HawaiiHawaii Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in IdahoStatute of Limitations on Idaho Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In IdahoIdaho Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in IllinoisStatute of Limitations on Illinois Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In IllinoisIllinois Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in IndianaStatute of Limitations on Indiana Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In IndianaIndiana Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in IowaStatute of Limitations on Iowa Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In IowaIowa Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in KansasStatute of Limitations on Kansas Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In KansasKansas Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in KentuckyStatute of Limitations on Kentucky Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In KentuckyKentucky Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in LouisianaStatute of Limitations on Louisiana Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In LouisianaLouisiana Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MaineStatute of Limitations on Maine Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MaineMaine Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MarylandStatute of Limitations on Maryland Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MarylandMaryland Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MassachusettsStatute of Limitations on Massachusetts Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MassachusettsMassachusetts Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MichiganStatute of Limitations on Michigan Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MichiganMichigan Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MinnesotaStatute of Limitations on Minnesota Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MinnesotaMinnesota Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MississippiStatute of Limitations on Mississippi Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MississippiMississippi Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MissouriStatute of Limitations on Missouri Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MassachusettsMissouri Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in MontanaStatute of Limitations on Montana Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MassachusettsMontana Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in NebraskaStatute of Limitations on Nebraska Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MassachusettsNebraska Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in NevadaStatute of Limitations on Nevada Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In NevadaNevada Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in New HampshireStatute of Limitations on New Hampshire Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In New HampshireNew Hampshire Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in New JerseyStatute of Limitations on New Jersey Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In New JerseyNew Jersey Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in New MexicoStatute of Limitations on New Mexico Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In New MexicoNew Mexico Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in New YorkStatute of Limitations on New York Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In New YorkNew York Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in North CarolinaStatute of Limitations on North Carolina Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In North CarolinaNorth Carolina Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in North DakotaStatute of Limitations on North Dakota Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In MassachusettsNorth Dakota Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in OhioStatute of Limitations on Ohio Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In OhioOhio Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in OklahomaStatute of Limitations on Oklahoma Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In OklahomaOklahoma Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in OregonStatute of Limitations on Oregon Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In OregonOregon Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in PennsylvaniaStatute of Limitations on Pennsylvania Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in Rhode IslandStatute of Limitations on Rhode Island Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In Rhode IslandRhode Island Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in South CarolinaStatute of Limitations on South Carolina Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In South CarolinaSouth Carolina Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in South DakotaStatute of Limitations on South Dakota Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In South DakotaSouth Dakota Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in TennesseeStatute of Limitations on Tennessee Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In TennesseeTennessee Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in TexasStatute of Limitations on Texas Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In TexasTexas Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in UtahStatute of Limitations on Utah Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In UtahUtah Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in VermontStatute of Limitations on Vermont Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In VermontVermont Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in VirginiaStatute of Limitations on Virginia Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In VirginiaVirginia Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in WashingtonStatute of Limitations on Washington Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In WashingtonWashington Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in West VirginiaStatute of Limitations on West Virginia Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In West VirginiaWest Virginia Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in WisconsinStatute of Limitations on Wisconsin Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In WisconsinWisconsin Statutes of Limitations
How Long Can A Felony Charge Be Pending in WyomingStatute of Limitations on Wyoming Criminal ChargesHow Long Can a case Be Pending In WyomingWyoming Statutes of Limitations

How Long Do Police Have to Charge You With a Crime?

Does a police report show up on a background check? It can. Depending on the severity of the crime, the police also have a limited amount of time before they must charge someone. For example, most people have heard that there is no statute of limitation for murder. The statute of limitations is the legal name for how long the police have to charge someone after a crime has occurred.

NOLO Screenshot of criminal defense lawyer page showing how long do police have to charge you with a crime in Georgia.

Typically, a person is charged within a very short time after committing a crime. However, this time period can be influenced by the crime committed, evidence of the crime, and the district attorney’s office paperwork times.6

Once a person is arrested for a crime, the state will have specific statutes regarding the enforcement time limits. Most states have 72-hour time limits, with some exceptions having just 48 hours for the police to charge the person arrested.7

Overall, the time the police have to charge someone with a felony crime is for three years.  

Oklahoma human services website screenshot showing the case closure system policy for child support cases and yellow arrow button pointing to menu that can be used to find 2 felony charges jail time.

However, depending on the crime, the limit can be extended. Furthermore, prosecutors will often file criminal charges within 2-3 days after someone is charged with a crime.8

How Long After A Crime Can You Be Charged? (Statute of Limitations for Felony Chart)

How long can a felony charge be pending? Do pending court cases show up on a background check? The answer depends on the type of felony committed.

There are different time limits for how a person can be charged with a felony and the respective jail time for 2 or more felony charges grouped together. The following table outlines some of the most common criminal offenses:

Felony ChargeStatute of Limitations2 Felony Charges Jail Time 
First-Degree MurderIndefinitely15 years to life
Second-Degree MurderIndefinitely15 years to life
ManslaughterIndefinitely5-15 years
Supplying Alcohol to Minors1 year5+ years
First-Degree Rape20 yearsUp to life in prison
Second-Degree Rape5 years3-7 years
Third-Degree Rape5 yearsUp to 5 years
Vehicular Homicide5 years2-20 years
Robbery5 years10 years
KidnappingIndefinitely16 years
Arson10 years3-7 years
Burglary5 years3 years
Perjury5 years5 years
Disorderly Conduct2 years6 months
Theft4 years4-10 years
Indecent Exposure3 years16 months – 3 years
Forgery2 years7 – 20 years
Vandalism3 years3 years
Shoplifting2 years6 months9
Embezzlement5 years5 years
Public Intoxication2 years1 year
Conspiracy5 years5 years
Identity Theft3 years4-15 years
Money Laundering5 years10-20 years
Drug Charges5 years4-8 years
Aggravated Assault5-7 years2-20 years
Bribery6 years2-20 years

Understanding the statute of limitation in each state for respective crimes can help a person understand the criminal court system, as well as how long can a felony charge be pending, based on the type of crime committed.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Can a Felony Be Pending?

How Long Can A Felony Aggravated Assault Charge Be Pending?

An aggravated assault charge can be pending for a maximum of three years.10

How Long Can A Drug Felony Charge Be Pending?

A felony charge can be pending for as long as the statute of limitations runs on the case. For example, if the felony has a statute of limitation of 5 years, that is the length of the pending charges. The minimum statute of limitations for felonies is three years.11

How Long Does It Take For A Case To Be Dropped?

The length of time for a case to be dropped depends on the evidence, the prosecutor, the defense counsel, and the judge in the case. The longer the prosecutor waits to file charges, the higher likelihood the case will be dropped.

How Long Can Criminal Charges Stay Pending?

Criminal charges can stay pending in cases where there is not yet enough evidence to prosecute the person in question. The statute of limitation for most felonies is three years.

How Long Can A Felony Be Held Against You?

A felony can be held against a person for seven years on a background check and can stay on a person’s record for life.

How Long Can a Felony Case Be Pending?

The length of time for a felony case to be pending depends on the type of crime and where it was committed.

How Long Can Charges be Pending?

Pending charges can exist for various lengths of time, depending on the crime, whether additional charges are included, and where the crime occurred.


References

1Pending criminal charge definition. Law Insider. Retrieved from <https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/pending-criminal-charge>

2What is Going to Happen to My Pending Charges? Nola Criminal Law. Retrieved from <https://torigianlaw.com/pending-criminal-charge/>

3How Long Does the State Have to File Charges After an Arrest? The Law Office of John Guidry. Retrieved from <https://www.jgcrimlaw.com/how-long-does-the-state-have-to-file-charges-after-an-arrest.html>

4How Long can the State Wait Before They Charge Me With a Crime? Roth Davies. Retrieved from <https://www.rothdavies.com/criminal-defense/frequently-asked-questions-about-criminal-defense/your-rights/how-long-can-state-wait-they-charge-me-crime/>

5How Long Can You Be Held by Police without a Charge? (2021). V. James DeSimone Law. Retrieved from <https://www.vjamesdesimonelaw.com/how-long-can-you-be-held-by-police-without-a-charge/>

6Fisher, E. (2021). How Prosecutors Decide to Charge You With a Crime. FindLaw Staff. Retrieved from <https://www.findlaw.com/criminal/criminal-law-basics/what-happens-when-you-re-charged-with-a-crime.html>

7Misdemeanor and Felony shoplifting: What You Need to Know. Flagstaff Lawyer. Retrieved from <https://www.flagstaff-lawyer.com/library/when-you-ve-been-charged-with-shoplifting.cfm>

8Time Limits for charges: State Criminal Statutes of Limitations. (2020). FindLaw. Retrieved from <https://www.findlaw.com/criminal/criminal-law-basics/time-limits-for-charges-state-criminal-statutes-of-limitations.html>

9Criminal Law. (2015). How long can a felony drug charge be pending and why? Criminal Law. retrieved from <https://www.lawyers.com/ask-a-lawyer/criminal/how-long-can-a-felony-drug-charge-be-pending-and-why-1588502.html>