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Statute of Limitations on Discovery Rule in CA for 2024

The discovery rule statute of limitations in California allows individuals to file a lawsuit within a certain period after they discover or reasonably should have discovered their injury or damages. The rule applies to cases involving latent or hidden injuries, such as medical malpractice, toxic exposure, or fraud, where the injury may not be immediately apparent.
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What is the Statute of Limitations for Crimes in California?

According to EG Groupation, several Penal Codes address the statutes of limitations in California. The range is usually from one year for many misdemeanors, three years for many felonies, to no time limit at all for crimes that are punishable by death or by life in prison [1].

Understanding the nuances of these statutes can be crucial, so let’s delve into some key provisions outlined in California Penal Codes 799-802:

No Limitation:
California Penal Code 799 PC designates certain crimes with no statute of limitations. These typically include offenses punishable by death, embezzlement of public funds, and crimes subject to life imprisonment. Notable examples encompass serious crimes like murder (Penal Code 187 PC), kidnapping (Penal Code 207/209 PC), and rape (Penal Code 261 PC).

Six-Year Limitation:
Under California Penal Code 800 PC, crimes carrying a penalty of eight years or more in state prison fall under a six-year statute of limitations. This category encompasses offenses such as first-degree robbery (Penal Code 211 PC) and arson (Penal Code 451 PC).

Three-Year Limitation:
California Penal Code 801 PC establishes a three-year statute of limitations for crimes not covered in the aforementioned categories. Offenses punishable by imprisonment are included here, like assault with a deadly weapon (Penal Code 245 PC) and burglary (Penal Code 459 PC).

One-Year Limitation:
According to California Penal Code 802(a) PC, unless exceptions apply, offenses not resulting in death or imprisonment carry a one-year statute of limitations. This category encompasses misdemeanors like driving under the influence (Vehicle Code 23152 VC), misdemeanor hit and run (Vehicle Code 20002 VC), and petty theft (Penal Code 484 PC).

Wobbler Misdemeanors:
When a misdemeanor charge could have been pursued as a felony, the statute of limitations aligns with the maximum potential prison term for the felony charge. This underscores the importance of understanding the potential severity of the offense and its corresponding limitations period.

Navigating these statutes requires careful consideration of each case’s specifics. Seeking legal guidance can provide clarity on the applicable limitations and ensure timely action within the confines of California law.

What is the Discovery Rule?

According to McCready Law Group, in the realm of criminal law, the discovery rule serves as a pivotal state law that halts the statute of limitations until law enforcement, state, or federal prosecutors uncover or reasonably become aware of the crime, prompting them to initiate charges against the accused individual. This rule essentially dictates when the “clock starts ticking” on the statute of limitations [2].

According to California’s discovery rule – or delayed discovery rule – for criminal cases, the statute of limitations for some crimes will begin when the offense, violation, or wrongdoing is discovered or could have been discovered. If charges are not brought against the defendant within the statute of limitations, the allegations may be dismissed – McCready Group.

Claims Against the Government

According to the Judicial Council of California, when taking legal action against a government agency, there’s a specific protocol to follow. Before heading to court, you must first file an administrative claim with the respective government office or agency, utilizing the official form provided by the government [3].

For cases involving personal injury or personal property damage, the administrative claim must be submitted within 6 months of the injury date. If it’s a breach of contract or real property damage matter, the administrative claim should be filed within 1 year of the contract breach or property damage incident.

After you file your claim, the government has 45 days to respond. If the government agency denies your claim during the 45 days, you have 6 months to file a lawsuit in court from date the denial was mailed or personally delivered to you. If you do not get a rejection letter, you have 2 years to file from the day the incident occurred. But do not count on having 2 years to file your claim – Judicial Council of California.

Understanding the statute of limitations for government claims can be intricate. If you’re unsure about the timeline, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a legal professional.

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The Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new legal challenges in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one was involved with these matters, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

References:

1. https://www.egattorneys.com/california-statute-of-limitations#
2. https://zacharymccreadylaw.com/blog/the-discovery-rule/
3. https://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm

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