All states have time limits for prosecutors to bring a criminal case against a suspect, commonly referred to as the criminal statute of limitations. The "clock," so to speak, typically begins running at the point the crime is committed, but this time limit is put on hold (the clock is stopped) when suspects are being evasive (fugitives, etc.). Statutes of limitations often differ by the severity of the crime, with murder and other serious crimes having no time limit at all.
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.
Time Limits for Criminal Charges in Arkansas
In Arkansas, all misdemeanors carry a one-year statute of limitations. Felonies are more varied, with a 15-year time limit for rape; a six-year limit for Class Y and A felonies; and a three-year limit for Class B, C, and D felonies.
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.
|Felonies||Murder: none; rape: 15 yrs.; Class Y and A felonies: 6 yrs.; Class B, C, D, or unclassified felonies: 3 yrs.; if offense involves fraud or breach of fiduciary duty: 1 yr.; felonious conduct in public office: 5 yrs. with max. extension to 10 yrs.; if offense is against minor and limitation period has not expired since victim turned 18, statutory period for offense starts at age of majority.|
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||Continually absent from state or has no reasonably ascertainable home or work within the state, max. extension 3 yrs. when a prosecution against the accused for the same conduct is pending in this state.|
Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of new statutes or the issuance of higher court decisions. Be sure to contact an Arkansas criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Arkansas Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
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