How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask xavierjd Your Own Question
xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
xavierjd is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I had a collection of pocket knives stolen from my residence

This answer was rated:

I had a collection of pocket knives stolen from my residence by an estranged family member last February 2011. What is the statute of limitations on my filing a complaint with the local District Attorney?

I have already requested the return of my personal property by certified mail, no response.
Thanks for using It will be my pleasure to assist you.

Did you ever file a police report?
The answer depends upon whether the crime committed was a felony or a larceny.

Burglary is illegally breaking into someone else’s property with a plan or intention of stealing something from that property. The seriousness of the crime can depend on when and where the crime occurred, whether or not people were present when the crime was committed, and the use (or non-use) of a weapon.


California law defines burglary under Penal Code 459 PC as "entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony (or a petty theft) once inside".


Although burglary is often referred to as "breaking and entering," prosecutors can charge you with this offense even if there is no forced entry of the structure. Penal Code 459 deleted the "breaking" well as the requirement that the offense be committed during "nighttime" the late 1800s.

All that is currently required is that you enter a building (or other specified enclosure) with the intent to commit a theft or felony once inside.


Burglary is a "wobbler" which means that, depending on (1) the circumstances of the case, and (2) a person's criminal history, it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Larceny is similar to burglary. Larceny is the taking and carrying away the “tangible personal property of another by trespass with intent to permanently deprive the person of his interest in the property.” Thus, real estate, services and other intangible “properties” cannot be objects of larceny.


The statute of limitations is a “time limit” for the police and prosecutor to file the theft or charges with the court. It is said that the issuance of an arrest warrant “tolls,” or complies with, the statute of limitations. However, if the case was filed in time but not “served” or the person named in the warrant is not arrested in a timely manner, or if not effort was even made by the police to serve the warrant, the fraud or theft case may be eligible to be dismissed.


In general, the statute of limitations for felony burglary is three years. The statute of limitations for misdemeanor burglary is one year.


So, depending upon when the crime occurred in Feb. of 2011, you are running a race against the statute of limitations. And, don't be surprised if the police ask you why you waited so long to file a police report. You need to file a police report. You can explain your reasons for not doing so and the police will determine whether there is enough information/evidence to take to the prosecutor. It is the prosecutor who will determine what, if any, charges will be brought.



It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. If you have a follow-up question, please reply and ask it.

If you are satisfied that your question has been answered, kindly select the ACCEPT button to close this thread and so that I receive credit for assisting you today.

xavierjd and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you