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Indiana Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Each state has regulations in place, called the criminal statute of limitations, that limit how much time prosecutors have to file criminal charges. Like most states, Indiana has different limits for different kinds of crimes. For instance, while there is just a two year time limit for the filing of misdemeanor charges, felony charges have a five-year statute of limitations and there is no limit on murder charges.

Criminal Statutes of Limitation in Indiana

Learn about Indiana's criminal statute of limitation laws and related matters in the sections below.

Code Section

35-41-4-2

Felonies

Murder, Class A felony: none; others, Class B, C, D felony, forgery of an instrument for payment: 5 yrs.; child molesting (if person is at least 16 and victim is not more than 2 yrs. younger: 5 yrs.), vicarious sexual gratification, child solicitation or seduction, incest: when alleged victim turns 31 yrs. of age; Class B and C felony extended 1 yr. after DNA evidence revealing identity of offender discovered or should have been discovered

Misdemeanors

2 yrs.

Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run

Nonresident, absent state, conceals self or evidence of crime; prosecution is considered timely if defendant pleads guilty at any time

The point of criminal statutes of limitation is to ensure that criminal trials are based on the best available evidence. Testimonial evidence like officer statements and eyewitness accounts, and physical evidence like fingerprints and DNA can fade or be lost over time. Therefore, it is best to have criminal trials as soon after an incident as possible. Longer or indefinite statutes of limitation seek to balance the interest in fair trials with the seriousness of the offense. The thought here is that criminals should not be able to avoid the consequences for serious crimes by waiting out the authorities.

At the same time, most statutes of limitation will run only while the alleged criminal remains visible and in the state where the crime occurred. If the suspect is out of the state, on the lam, or otherwise living in hiding, this will pause, or “toll,” the statutory clock. The clock will resume running if and when the criminal reenters the state.

Indiana Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources

Criminal charges are a very serious matter, and criminal statutes can vary depending the crime and on the jurisdiction. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, you can contact an Indiana criminal defense attorney in your area to schedule a consultation. You can also visit FindLaw’s Criminal Law Basics for more introductory information on this topic.

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