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New Jersey Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

There are time limits for prosecutors to file criminal charges against suspects, called the statute of limitations (civil cases also have time limits for filing). The criminal statute of limitations is intended to preserve the integrity of evidence, including witness testimony, and to ensure that criminal cases are resolved in a timely manner.

In New Jersey, there is no statute of limitations for murder or manslaughter -- meaning, someone may be prosecuted for these two offenses regardless of whether the crime was committed one year ago or fifty years ago. When it comes to other felonies, official misconduct and bribery-related offenses carry a seven-year statute of limitations, with other felonies carrying a five-year statute of limitations. When children under the age of 18 are victims of sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, and/or endangering the welfare of children, the state has five years after the victim turns 18 to prosecute the crime.

When it comes to misdemeanors in New Jersey, the state has one year to file charges for petty offenses, while most other crimes have a five- or seven-year statute of limitations.

Learn more about New Jersey's criminal statute of limitations in the following table. See Time Limits for Charges: State Criminal Statutes of Limitations for a general overview.

Code Section

2C:1-6;

Felonies

Murder, manslaughter: none; official misconduct, bribery and related offenses: 7 yrs.; others: 5 yrs.; if victim under 18, prosecution must begin within 5 yrs. after victim attains 18 for sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and endangering welfare of children

Misdemeanors

Petty offense or disorderly persons offense: 1 yr.

Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run

Fleeing justice; prosecution pending for same conduct

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more general information, feel free to take a look at FindLaw’s section on criminal law.  To learn more about New Jersey’s statute of limitations laws, the links below will connect you with additional resources. Finally, if you have specific questions regarding a criminal matter, consider retaining a criminal lawyer.

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