Generally, aside from murder, many criminal statutes prohibit the filing of criminal charges after a certain amount of time has passed.

For the purposes of this question, assume the police do not know the true identity of the criminal who committed the crime, but have probable cause that a person who goes by a certain alias committed the crime.

Can a District Attorney file a criminal complaint (or initiate grand jury proceedings) against this alias? Will the filing of this complaint toll the statute of limitations? Under what conditions will the tolling stop? (If this complaint does indeed toll.)

Is there any legislation on this topic?

I am interested in an answer for any jurisdiction in the United States, I imagine the answer could be different for the different jurisdictions within the states.

1 Answer 1


The statute of limitations sets out the period of time after a crime has been within which formal criminal proceedings must be commenced.

If the police or DA were to request and receive an arrest warrant that met the requirements of the Fourth Amendment then the person would be a fugitive and time spent as a fugitive does not count.

From Groh v Ramirez:

The Fourth Amendment states unambiguously that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The requirement is that the person to be seized must be "particularly described" - that is unambiguously identified. A name will do that but so will a commonly used alias.

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