How long after someone threatens to kill you can you press charges?

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How long after someone threatens to kill you can you press charges?

My daughter’s husband pulled out a gun and threatened to kill her when she tried to leave him. This happened sometime ago, they got back together (she was scared of him). They have a little boy. Now she has moved to my house. Can she still press charges for him threatening to kill her?

Asked on November 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a victim files a criminal complaint; it is the prosecutor who files charges.  He or she will do so after reviewing the complaint, witness statements, and any other ecidence.  That having been said, the amount of time between a criminal incident and when a suspect can be charged is governed by something called the "statute of limitations."  In most states, the limitations period for an offense such as this is several years.  However, the closer in time the complaint is filed to the incident the stronger the case will be.  It may well affect whether or not the prosecutor decides to file charges, but then again it may not.  It will depend on the overall facts of the case.    

What your daughter may want to also consider is getting a retraining order against her husband.  What she should do now is to at least speak with the police and go over her situation.  They can help and/or direct her to someone who can.


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