Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
Virginia law establishes time limits, as do all other states, for how soon after an arrest a prosecutor must file formal criminal charges. The statute of limitations, as these time limits are referred to, are meant to preserve the integrity of evidence and to ensure an efficient justice system. Most misdemeamors in Virginia have a one-year time limit, while murder charges are not bound by any statute of limitations in Virginia.
The basic provisions of Virginia's criminal statute of limitations are highlighted in the chart below. See Details on State Criminal Statute of Limitations for a general overview.
|Felonies||Murder: none; cruelty to animals: 5 yrs. (except for agricultural animals: 1 yr.); making false presentation under VA Unemployment Compensation Act to receive benefits, attempt to evade or failure to pay taxes, violation of laws re: discharge, dumping, or emission of toxic substance, violation of rules of VA Real Estate Board, illegal sales of wild birds, animals, or freshwater fish: 3 yrs.; malfeasance in office, Building Code violations: 2 yrs.; violation of Campaign Finance Disclosure Act: within 1 yr. of discovery, max. 3 yrs. after offense|
|Misdemeanors||Petit larceny: 5 yrs.; attempt to produce abortion: 2 yrs.; others: 1 yr.|
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||Fleeing justice or concealing self to avoid arrest|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources