South Dakota Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

All states have time limits for prosecutors to bring a criminal case against a suspect, commonly referred to as the criminal "statute of limitations." Criminal statutes of limitations apply to different crimes on the basis of their general classification as either felonies or misdemeanors. Generally, the time limit starts to run on the date the offense was committed, not from the time the crime was discovered or the accused was identified.

The running of the statute may be suspended for any period the accused is absent from the state or, in certain states, while any other indictment for the same crime is pending. This suspension occurs so that the state will be able to obtain a new indictment in the event the first one is declared invalid.

Statutes of limitations often differ by the severity of the crime, with homicide and other serious crimes having no time limit at all.

Effect of An Expired Statute of Limitations

Generally, criminal suspects may not be charged with a crime if the statute of limitations has expired, provided he or she was living openly (not evading law enforcement) throughout the statutory period. Statutes of limitation are meant to help preserve the integrity of evidence (including witness testimony) and maintain efficiency in the criminal justice system.

Criminal Statute of Limitations in South Dakota

In South Dakota, all misdemeanors carry a lengthy 7-year statute of limitations. Most felonies have a 7-year statute of limitations. Murder, Class A, B and C felonies do not have any statute of limitations.

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 23A-42-1, et seq.
Felonies Murder, Class A, B, or 1 felony: none; all other public offenses: 7 yrs.
Misdemeanors Seven (7) yrs.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run The period of limitation for prosecution is suspended during times in which the defendant is not an inhabitant of the state.

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

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