Georgia Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
Prosecutors have time limits for filing charges against defendants, called statutes of limitations. The main reason for these limits is to ensure that convictions are obtained with evidence, whether it's eyewitness testimony or physical evidence, that has not yet deteriorated. As in other states, Georgia criminal statute of limitations laws allow longer periods of time for rape, crimes against children, and other offenses where victims may not report the crime until years later.
While the statute lists specific felonies and their corresponding time limits for bringing charges, those not listed have a 4-year statute of limitations. All misdemeanors have a 2-year statute of limitations.
The basics of Georgia criminal statute of limitations laws are listed in the following table. See Details on State Criminal Statute of Limitations for more information.
|Topic||Criminal statute of limitations|
|Definition||A statute of limitations tells you the time frame when the prosecution must bring a charge for a crime.|
|Code Sections||Georgia Code sections 17-3-1 to 17-3-3|
|Misdemeanors||Cases for misdemeanors must be started within 2 years.|
|Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim||
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||
The time limit does not run when:
Additionally, if the victim of any crime is 65 years old or older at the time of the crime, the time limit does not start until the violation is reported or is discovered by the authorities, whichever is earlier. Unless the general time limit for the crime is more than 15 years, a case must be brought within 15 years under these circumstances.
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- Georgia Law
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and D.C.
Georgia Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources
- Criminal Law Basics
- Time Limits to Bring a Case: The Statute of Limitations (Civil)
- Georgia Civil Statute of Limitations
Have Questions About Georgia Criminal Statute of Limitations? Ask a Lawyer
Depending on the severity of the crime, a conviction can deprive you of your freedom for a period of months or years and can have lasting impacts on your life. If you've been charged with a crime in Georgia, it's best to contact a local criminal defense attorney who will ensure that your rights are protected and defend you in court, if necessary.
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