September 11, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

Penal Code section 801.5 provides that prosecution of certain offenses, including grand theft, fraud and perjury, “shall be commenced within four years after discovery of the commission of the offenses . . . .” (emphasis added). Section 803, subdivision (c), provides that the four-year statute of limitations “does not commence to run until the discovery of [the] offense . . . .” (emphasis added).

The Penal Code does not specifically identify whose discovery triggers the running of the statutes of limitations, but case law holds that the limitations period begins running on the date either the “victim” or a responsible “law enforcement official” learn of facts which, if investigated with reasonable diligence, would make that person aware a crime had occurred. (People v. Kronemyer (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d 314, 330-331 (Kronemyer); People v. Lopez (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 233, 246 (Lopez).)

For purposes of determining whether a particular person’s discovery of facts will be deemed to trigger the running of the statute of limitations, a “victim” does not include a person with a “special relationship” to the actual victim of the defendant’s crime, nor does a “victim” include a person with a “special interest” in the subject matter of the crime. In short, the criminal discovery statutes extend no further than those persons who are direct victims of a crime, and those persons who are clothed with a status imposed by law.

Wallin and Klarich has years of experience in defending those accused of serious felonies. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in California and the charge may be barred by the statute of limitations, call Wallin & Klarich. Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience in criminal defense. Call 1-888-280-6839 to speak to one of Wallin & Klarich’s aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorneys in California today. Also visit us on the web at

Contact Us
  •   17592 Irvine Blvd,
      Tustin, CA 92780
  •   (714) 730-5300
  •   (888) 280-6839
SCHEDULE YOUR free consultation

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, this is the time to contact us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Copyright © 2024 Wallin & Klarich - All rights reserved

California Criminal Defense Lawyer Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. Any case results presented on the site are based upon the facts of a particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. The contents of this website may contain legal advertising. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a free telephonic consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of California.