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Does California have a statute of limitations for drug related offenses? If so how long is it?

La Jolla, CA |

A potential client asked me whether he could be prosecuted in California because he used to sell cocaine and marijuana. He said he wasn't involved in heavy trafficking of any sort, but was just a local street dealer trying to make some extra cash. He said it has been about 3 months since he last sold any drugs and he no longer sells or is involved with it. If arrested for any reason could he face possible charges from past sales of drugs? Is there a statue of limitations regarding how far back charges can be given for selling drugs, if at all?

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Attorney answers 6


The statute of limitations on felony sales charges is generally three years from date of incident.

Law Offices of Lance Rogers, APC | (619) 333-6882 | | 835 Fifth Ave., Ste. 307, San Diego, CA 92101. Se habla espanol. I am licensed to practice in California and Federal Courts. My response assumes California or Federal law. It is provided as general information only and is not legal advice. It must not be relied upon by you. Legal advice must be based on the exact facts of the particular situation. This forum does not allow for the discussion of those specific, exact facts. I provide legal advice only during the course of an attorney-client relationship. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. In this matter, as in all cases, you should personally consult with an attorney in your area for legal advice.


Refer your potential client to a locally experienced CRIMINAL DEFENSE attorney.

Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555


They can go back at least 3 years depending on the evidence they have.

I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.


The normal statute of limitations for such an offense is three years. Nevertheless, you should refer the client to a criminal defense attorney. Most defense attorney's provide free consultations.

Law Office of Andrew Limberg, APLC 380 S. Melrose Dr., #329 Vista, CA 92081 (760) 806-4381


Given the seriousness of drug charges, your potential client should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, or if you are a licensed attorney, you should be associating with one as part of fufilling your duty to provide competent counsel.


Unless he was unfortunate to be part of some sort of police sting during his last few months selling, he will likely not be charged, ever. Even if someone snitched on him now or in the future, the physical drug evidence is probably "up in smoke" by now. It would be difficult to prosecute and convict someone for petty drug sales with no physical evidence of the drugs. To be safe, he should still consult with an attorney, as the penalties for drug sales can be severe.

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