SECTIONS ON THIS PAGE
- FindLaw Introduction to State Statutes of Limitations
- RAINN State Law Database on Criminal Statutes of Limitations
- Efforts to Change Statutes of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Crimes
FindLaw Introduction to State Statutes of Limitations
I occasionally use the FindLaw site to research background information on legal and criminal issues. Their page on Time Limits for Charges: State Criminal Statutes of Limitations gives this definition:
A statute of limitation is a law which forbids prosecutors from charging someone with a crime that was committed more than a specified number of years ago. The general purpose of statutes of limitation is to make sure convictions occur only upon evidence (physical or eyewitness) that has not deteriorated with time. After the period of the statute has run, the criminal is essentially free.
The kinds of crimes with statutes of limitation vary by state. FindLaws page on this topic contains a chart with state-by-state details. (It also includes the District of Columbia, but not US territories.) Columns in the chart are:
- Code Section.
- Felonies – kinds or categories of crimes and the length of the statute of limitation.
- Misdemeanors – kinds or categories of crimes and the length of the statute of limitation.
- Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run. For instance, there may be an extension on the statute of limitation if the alleged perpetrator flees that state; or if there is stolen, lost, or destroyed information.
This chart is useful to find general information about which states have statutes of limitation for crimes involving sex and/or violence.
- What is the statute of limitations for this crime?
- Statutory citation(s).
To see the information, click on the “+” plus sign to show the details, and the “-” hyphen/minus sign to hide the details.
The advantage of using the “compare all” option is that you can quickly move through the states, and leave multiple boxes in different states open, in order to compare.
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Efforts to Change Statutes of Limitations
for Child Sexual Abuse Crimes
States are trying to make it easier to punish the next Larry Nassar, by Carter Sherman. Vice News; March 16, 2018.