Vermont Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

A criminal statute of limitations sets a time limit on prosecuting a case. The exact period will vary depending on the crime and the jurisdiction – serious crimes such as murder and kidnapping often have no statute of limitations and each state and the federal government set their own period.

When the applicable period has run, however, it’s a complete bar to prosecution. The state is barred from bringing a case. Here’s a summary of Vermont’s criminal statute of limitations laws. Note that Vermont’s civil statute of limitations laws are separate.

Vermont’s Statute of Limitations

Murder, arson causing death, kidnapping, and aggravated sexual assault have no statute of limitations in Vermont.  States, understandably, don’t want murderers, arsonists, kidnapers, and rapists to escape punishment by waiting out a statute of limitations period.

Many child sexual offenses carry a forty-year period of limitations. Children are more vulnerable to abuse, and it can frequently take decades for them to recall and be able to understand what happened to them. States have enacted a longer period to make prosecuting these cases easier.

Several serious crimes and white collar have a six year statute of limitations. These include manslaughter, sex assault, robbery, and burglary. White collar crimes have longer statutory period because they can be difficult to detect and take time to uncover. Vermont’s six-year statute of limitations period applies to bribery, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, and felony tax charges.

Most other felonies and misdemeanors carry a three-year statute of limitations. Individual crimes may have their own statute of limitations period.

Code Sections Tit. 13, §§ 4501-4511.
Felonies

Six years: Manslaughter, sexual assault, lewd and lascivious conduct, sexual exploitation of children, sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult, grand larceny, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, forgery, bribery, false claims, fraud, and felony tax offenses.

Forty years: sexual assault against a minor, lewd and lascivious conduct against a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, and manslaughter against a child.

No limit: Murder, Arson causing death, kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault.

Three years: all other felonies.

Misdemeanors Three years.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run Not specified.

Related Resources for Criminal Statute of Limitations

You can find more general information about criminal statutes of limitations and criminal trials here on FindLaw. For more specific information about a particular case, consider speaking with a local criminal law attorney.

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