“How long does my neighbor have to file criminal charges on me for destruction of property? I pointed a laser at my neighbors surveillance camera from inside my house and they say they have a video recording of me doing it.”
The first step in this analysis is this: Which offenses, if any, are chargeable here?
California has no-laser pointing laws, but based on what you wrote, they wouldn’t apply. For example, penal code sections 417.25, 417.26 and 417.27 prohibit pointing lasers at cars and particular people with the intent to annoy or scare; penal code Sections 247.5 and 248 talk about pointing lasers at aircrafts. Thus, based on what you wrote, California lasers laws don’t apply.
But, we have penal code 594(a) – vandalism. That is potentially chargeable here. To find out the time limits or statute of limitations, we must look at penal code 801: This code says that a felony with a 3 year county jail maximum must be filed within 3 years from the offense date. You could only be charged with a felony vandalism if the amount of damage exceeds $400. If the amount of damage is less than $400, then the prosecutor can only file a misdemeanor – if that is the case, penal code 802(a) applies, which says that the misdemeanor must be filed within one year from the offense date.
Now, let me also explain something else: An individual person does not have the authority to file a criminal complaint. This individual person can only tell the police; the police then investigate, prepare a report and submit it to the local prosecutor. The prosecutor decides whether or not to file a case on you and they have either one or three years to do it depending upon the amount of damage here.