Most crimes by law cannot be prosecuted if a certain period of time has elapsed between the time of the incident and the time the victim reports the incident. This is referred to as the “statute of limitations.” For the most serious types of sexual assault (first and second degree), the statute of limitations is 15 years. For third- and fourth-degree sexual assault, the statute of limitations is 10 years.
Sexual assault is a serious crime that is aggressively prosecuted in the District of Columbia. To understand what conduct constitutes sex assault, the District of Columbia Code sets out four degrees of behavior. D.C. Code 22-3002 defines first degree sexual assault and provides a maximum penalty for the crime at life imprisonment.