Applying the Statute of Limitations to New Jersey Prosecutions
Prosecutions That Are Not Barred By the Passage of TimeCertain types of serious crimes can be prosecuted at any time; and, are not affected by the application of the SOL. These types of charges specifically include Murder; Manslaughter; Terrorism; The Production or Possession of Biological, Nuclear, or Radiological Weapons; Hindering the Apprehension or Prosecution of Terrorism; and, the Solicitation, or Support of Resources for Terrorism. If you are charged with these types of crimes, the clock does not even start. The State can prosecute you whenever they find you.
Prosecution of Other CrimesUnless otherwise specified, a prosecution of an indictable charge must be commenced within 5 years from when it was committed, and a prosecution of a non-indictable charge must be commenced within 1 year of when it was committed. Specific terms of 7 years apply to crimes involving Bribery and Corrupt Influence; Obstructing Governmental Operations; Escape; and, Misconduct in Office. Additional provisions pertain to Aggravated Sexual Contact; Endangering the Welfare of a Child; Arson; and several other offenses. If you are charged with these types of offenses, it is critical to discuss the application of the SOL to your case with your lawyer. If you can establish a basis to apply the SOL to your case, the prosecution may be barred.
Definitions and the Tolling (Stopping) of the SOL Time PeriodsGenerally, an offense is committed when every element of the offense has occurred. A prosecution is commenced in regards to a crime when an indictment has been issued by the Grand Jury. A prosecution is commenced in regards to a non-indictable offense when a warrant or summons is issued. The clock stops when the defendant flees the prosecution and becomes a fugitive from justice. If you have been charged, determine if the clock has been started, and whether it has been stopped by your own actions. If it has been stopped, discuss with your lawyer if there is a way to get it started again.