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Oregon Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Each state imposes time limits for prosecutors to bring a criminal case against someone, called the criminal statute of limitations. While the "clock" generally begins running at the point the crime is committed, there are certain conditions that may extend this time limit. The statute of limitations for criminal charges varies from state to state and by the type of crime, while the most serious charges (murder, for example) typically have no time limit at all.

Once the time limit has expired, the perpetrator is essentially off the hook and cannot be charged. The clock generally does not run (or is not "tolled") if the criminal is out of state or in hiding, which would indicate an attempt to evade prosecution.

Oregon's Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance

As in most other states, Oregon law does not impose time limits for the prosecution of murder or manslaughter charges. There is a six-year statute of limitations for sexual felonies or crimes in which the victim is under 18 at the time of the offense. There is a three-year limit for all other felonies, and a two-year limit for most misdemeanors in the state.

Additional details are listed below. See Time Limits to Bring a Case: The Statute of Limitations to learn about similar time limits used in civil law.

Code Section 131.125, 145, 155
Felonies Murder, manslaughter: none; sexual felonies including criminal mistreatment sexual abuse in 1st and 2nd degree, rape, sodomy, incest, promoting or compelling prostitution: 6 yrs. or if victim was under 18 yrs. old at time of offense, anytime before victim turns 24 yrs. old, whichever occurs first; others: 3 yrs.
Misdemeanors Sexual misdemeanors: sexual abuse in the 3rd degree or sending, furnishing, exhibiting or displaying obscene materials to minors: 4 yrs. after the offense is reported or if victim is under 18 yrs. old, upon turning 22 yrs. old, whichever occurs first
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run Absent state, hides within state, not resident of state; max. extension 3 yrs.

Note: While some laws are based on common law and seldom (if ever) change, you should never assume they are set in stone. Laws may change either through the passage of new legislation, the issuance of appellate court decisions, or through other means. Make sure you contact an Oregon criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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