LEGAL GUIDE
Written by Avvo Staff | Dec 11, 2015

Criminal statute of limitations by state

Every state has its own laws related to how long someone can be charged with a crime. This time limit is called the statute of limitations, and varies by the type of crime.

Misdemeanors are minor criminal charges, such as trespassing or disorderly conduct, punishable by less than 1 year in prison and/or a fine. The statute of limitations to be charged with a misdemeanor is typically 1 or 2 years.

Felonies are crimes that are punishable by at least 1 year in prison. The statute of limitations to be charged with a felony varies significantly by state and the type of crime.

Crimes without a statute of limitations. Most violent felony crimes, like murder, rape, arson do not have a statute of limitations. Offenders can be charged decades after the crime. Punishments may be as severe as life in prison or the death penalty.

State statute of limitations for criminal charges
  Felonies without limitations Most other felonies Most misdemeanors
Alabama Arson, forgery, any capital offense, counterfeiting, use, attempted use, or threat of violence, felony with serious physical injury/death, any sex offense with one under 16, drug trafficking 3 years 1 year
Alaska Murder, sexual abuse of a minor 5 years 5 years
Arizona Homicide, violent sexual assault, misuse of public money, falsifying public records 7 years 6 months or 1 year
Arkansas Murder 6 years 1 year
California Murder, other offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment, embezzlement of public funds 3 or 6 years 1 year
Colorado Murder, kidnapping, treason, forgery, or attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit these offenses 3 years 6 months or 1 year
Connecticut Murder, class A felony 30 years 1 year
Delaware Murder, class A felony, attempt to commit these offenses. 5 years 2 or 3 years
District of Columbia First or second degree murder 3 or 6 years 3 years
Florida Felony that resulted in death, perjury in official proceeding that relates to prosecution of a capitol felony, capital or life felony 3 or 4 years 1 or 2 years
Georgia Armed robbery, kidnapping, rape with DNA evidence. 7 years 2 years
Hawaii First or second degree murder, attempted or criminal solicitation to commit murder 6 years 1 year
Idaho Murder, voluntary manslaughter, terrorism, rape 5 years 1 year
Illinois Murder or attempted murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, treason, arson, forgery Varies 18 months
Indiana Murder, class A felony 5 years 2 years
Iowa Murder 3 years 1 year
Kansas Murder, terrorism, or illegal use of weapons of mass destruction 2 or 5 years 2 years
Kentucky Most felony offenses No limitations 1 year
Louisiana 4 to 6 years 4 to 10 years 2 years
Maine Murder, incest, rape, or gross sexual assault 3 or 6 years No limitations
Maryland Most felony offenses No limitations 1 year
Massachusetts Murder, most offenses related to child abuse 6 years 6 years
Michigan Murder 6 years 6 years
Minnesota Murder 3 years 3 years
Mississippi Murder, manslaughter, arson, burglary, forgery, counterfeiting, robbery, larceny, rape, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses of property 2 years 2 years
Missouri Murder, class A felony 3 years 1 year
Montana Deliberate, mitigated, or negligent homicide 5 years 3 years
Nebraska Murder, treason, arson, forgery 3 years 1 year
Nevada Murder 4 years 1 or 2 years
New Hampshire Murder 6 years 1 year
New Jersey Murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, terrorism, widespread injury or damage 5 years 1 year
New Mexico Capital felony, first degree violent felony offenses 3 to 6 years 2 years
New York Class A felony, first degree rape or sexual abuse 5 years 2 years
North Carolina All felony offenses No limitations 2 years
North Dakota Murder 6 years 2 years
Ohio Murder 6 years 2 years
Oklahoma Murder 3 years 3 years
Oregon Murder; attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit murder; manslaughter 3 years 2 years
Pennsylvania Murder, voluntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder, vehicular homicide, aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer 2 to 12 years 2 years
Rhode Island Treason against the state, arson, burglary, counterfeiting, forgery, robbery, rape, first degree sexual assault 3 years 3 years
South Carolina Most felony offenses No limitations No limitations
South Dakota Class A, class B, class C felonies 7 years 7 years
Tennessee Any crime punishable by death or life in prison 4 to 15 years 1 year
Texas Murder and manslaughter, most sexual assault, offenses against young children, leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in death, trafficking of persons 7 years 2 years
Utah Capital felonies, murder, manslaughter, child abuse, kidnapping, rape 4 years 2 years
Vermont Aggravated sexual assault, human trafficking, murder, arson causing death, kidnapping 6 years 3 years
Virginia Murder, manslaughter 3 years 1 years
Washington Murder, arson causing death, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault causing death 10 years 1 or 2 years
West Virginia Most felony offenses No limitations 1 or 3 years
Wisconsin Murder, most instances of child abuse 6 years 3 years
Wyoming Most felony offenses No limitations No limitations

If you've been suspected of a crime, consult a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options.

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