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Statute Of Limitations By State 2021

A statute of limitations is a law that outlines how long a person has to file a lawsuit. The law sets the maximum amount of time that a party may initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, civil or criminal. In civil law systems, this is known as a prescriptive period.

Supporters of statutes of limitations believe they are necessary as important evidence may be time-sensitive, and witnesses' memories may become less clear as time goes on. However, statutes of limitations are controversial when legal action cannot be brought against an offender because the maximum length of time has passed. For example, if a state's medical malpractice state of limitations is two years, a person cannot sue for medical malpractice two years and one day after the incident.

For criminal cases, the statute of limitations dictates how long a prosecutor has to charge someone with a crime. For example, if a person commits a crime but many years have passed, the accused person may not have to go to trial or face criminal punishment depending on the state and the crime. Severe crimes, such as murder, typically have no maximum period. Under international law, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide have no statute of limitations.

Additionally, states have statutes of limitations on debt, which is how long a creditor has to sue an individual for payment on a debt.

In this article, we'll look at the statute of limitations for civil cases. This varies not just by state but also by the type of lawsuit being filed.

The table below contains common statutes of limitations for all 50 states and D.C. from Nolo. This information should be used as a rough guide, and one should their state's actual statute (provided in the table) for their specific claim or speak to an attorney.

Statute Of Limitations By State 2021

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Statute Of Limitations By State 2021

State Civil Cases (Written) Civil Cases (Oral) No Limit Felonies Other Felonies
Alabama6 years6 yearsforgery, violent felonies, arson, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, or a sex offense with a person under age 16.3 years
Alaska3 years3 yearsmultiple sex crimes, murder, or kidnapping.5 to 10 years
Arizona6 years3 yearshomicide, falsifying public records, misuse of public money, or violent sexual assault.7 years
Arkansas5 years3 yearsmultiple sex offenses or murder3 to 6 years
California4 years2 yearsmultiple sex crimes, offenses punishable by life in prison or death, or embezzlement of public funds3 to 6 years
Colorado6 years6 yearstreason, sex offenses against children, murder, kidnapping, or forgery3 years
Connecticut6 years3 yearsClass A felonies or murder5 to 30 years
Delaware3 years3 yearsmurder, Class A felonies, or multiple sex offenses5 to 13 years
Florida5 years4 yearsperjury, capital or life felonies, or felonies that result in death3 to 5 years
Georgia6 years4 yearsno statute of limitations on certain crimes against children and murder4 to 15 years
Hawaii6 years6 years1st or 2nd degree murder or attempted murder or solicitation to commit murder3 to 10 years
Idaho5 years4 yearsmurder, rape, sexual abuse or lewd conduct with a child, or voluntary manslaughter3 to 5 years
Illinois10 years5 yearsinvoluntary manslaughter, 1st or 2nd degree murder, reckless homicide, treason, arson, child pornography, or forgery3 to 7 years
Indiana10 years5 yearsmurder or Level 1 or 2 felonies5 to 6 years
Iowa10 years5 years1st and 2nd degree murder3 to 10 years
Kansas5 years3 yearsterrorism, rape, or murder5 to 10 years
Kentucky10 years5 yearsall feloniesno limits on all felonies
Louisiana10 years10 yearscrimes punishable by death or life imprisonment4 to 10 years
Maine6 years6 yearsincest, rape, gross sexual assault on a victim under 16, homicide, or murder2 to 6 years
Maryland3 years3 yearsmurder, unlawful homicide, or manslaughter3 years
Massachusetts6 years6 yearsmurder6 to 15 years
Michigan6 years6 yearsmurder6 to 10 years
Minnesota6 years6 yearsmurder3 to 9 years
Mississippi3 years3 yearsarson, burglary, forgery, murder, manslaughter, counterfeiting, rape, larceny, robbery, sexual crimes, obtaining money under false pretenses, and embezzlement2 years
Missouri10 years5 yearsClass A felonies or murder1 to 10 years
Montana8 years5 yearsmitigated, negligent, or deliberate homicide1 to 10 years
Nebraska5 years4 yearsforgery, arson, sex assaults, murder, or treason1 to 7 years
Nevada6 years4 yearscertain sexual assault offenses or murder4 years
New Hampshire3 years3 yearsmurder1 to 6 years
New Jersey6 years6 yearsmurder or manslaughter5 to 7 years
New Mexico6 years4 yearscapital or 1st degree felonies3 to 6 years
New York6 years6 yearsClass A felonies, murder, or rape1 to 5 years
North Carolina3 years3 yearsall feloniesno limits on all felonies
North Dakota6 years6 yearsmurders3 to 10 years
Ohio8 years6 yearsmurder1 to 20 years
Oklahoma5 years3 yearsmurder3 to 7 years
Oregon6 years6 yearsmanslaughter or murder6 to 12 years
Pennsylvania4 years4 yearsmurder, manslaughter, conspiracy to murder, soliciting to commit murder, or vehicular homicide2 to 12 years
Rhode Island10 years10 yearstreason, arson, homicide, counterfeiting, burglary, robbery, forgery, sexual assault, bigamy, child molestation, manufacturing, selling, distributing or possession of a controlled substance, or conspiracy3 to 10 years
South Carolina3 years3 yearsall feloniesno limits on all felonies
South Dakota6 years6 yearsmurder7 years
Tennessee6 years6 yearsany crime punishable by life imprisonment or death2 to 25 years
Texas4 years4 yearsmanslaughter, murder, or sex crimes3 to 10 years
Utah6 years4 yearsmanslaughter, murder, or sex crimes2 to 4 years
Vermont6 years6 yearsarson causing death, kidnapping, sex crimes, or murder6 to 40 years
Virginia5 years3 yearsmurder1 to 5 years
Washington6 years3 yearsmurder, arson causing death, or vehicular homicide1 to 10 years
West Virginia10 years5 yearsall feloniesno limits on all felonies
Wisconsin6 years6 yearsall feloniesno limits on all felonies
Wyoming10 years8 yearsall feloniesno limits on all felonies

Statute Of Limitations By State 2021