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Illinois Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Every state imposes time limits -- called a "statute of limitations" -- on the filing of criminal charges. Time limits, in theory, ensure that the evidence (physical as well as eyewitness) has not deteriorated to the point where it's unreliable. Still, some serious crimes have no time limits. Illinois' criminal statute of limitations law, for example, places no limits on first degree murder charges.

Learn about Illinois criminal statute of limitations law in the table below. If you have specific questions about your unique circumstances, speak with a qualified Illinois criminal defense attorney to learn more. 

Code Section 720 ILCS 5/3-5; 5/3-7
Felonies 1st or 2nd degree murder, attempt to commit first degree murder, criminal solicitation to commit murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, treason, arson, forgery: none; others: 3 yrs. Extended limitations when: victim of theft a minor or under legal disability, then during minority or legal disability or within 1 yr. of termination; misconduct in public office: within 1 yr. of discovery, max 3 yr. extension; incestual sexual conduct or penetration of a minor: 1 yr. after victim turns 18; child pornography, indecent solicitation or juvenile pimping of a child, sexual abuse of a minor: within 1 yr. of victim turning 18, 3 yr. minimum; sexual conduct or penetration in professional of fiduciary relationship: 1 yr. after discovery by victim; hazardous waste violations: 5 yrs. after discovery; criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse: 10 yrs, or 2 yrs. if reported; criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or failure to report those offenses under Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act: 20 yrs. after victim turns 18; any offense involving sexual conduct or penetration of a minor where DNA profile of offender entered in database within 10 yrs., victim reported within 2 yrs. (unless given longer under statute), and offender's identity unknown: none
Misdemeanors 18 mos.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run Nonresident prosecution pending

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Illinois Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources

Have Your Case Reviewed for Free by a Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are times when you may have technically committed a crime, but procedurally the state can’t bring a case against you because the time limit has passed. While every case is different, you’ll want to know about the law and any possible statute of limitations defenses that may be available to you. Contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney today to learn more and get a free case review.

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