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Idaho Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

We’ve seen it play out on television and in movies: a crime is committed, the police race to figure out who did it, and the criminal goes to trial, all within the time of the episode or before we finish our popcorn. As it turns out, police and prosecutors are racing against the clock in the real world, too, because they only have so long to bring a criminal to justice. Here are the basics of criminal statutes of limitations laws in Idaho.

Criminal Statutes of Limitations

Every crime has a limit on how long prosecutors have to take evidence the police gather and turn it into criminal charges and a trial. The time limits normally vary depending on the type of crime, with prosecutors having more time to convict felony charges than for less serious misdemeanor charges. For example, all misdemeanors in Idaho have a limitation of one year for prosecution, while there is no limit for murder, manslaughter, or rape.

Criminal Statutes of Limitations in Idaho

The chart below highlights Idaho’s criminal statutes of limitations.

Code Section

Idaho Statutes 19-401, et seq.: Time of Commencing Criminal Actions


Murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape: none; other felonies and felonies committed upon or against a minor child: 5 yrs.; sexual abuse of or lewd conduct with a child under 16 yrs. of age: 5 yrs. after the child reaches the age of 18; ritualized abuse of child: 3 yrs. after initial disclosure by victim


1 yr.

Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run

Absent from state

Criminal Statutes of Limitations

Statutes of limitations exist to ensure timely criminal trials that are based on the best possible evidence. Physical evidence and testimonial of a crime can degrade or even disappear over time. So the sooner the evidence can appear at trial, the better. Most state laws will pause the statutory “clock” if the suspect is outside the state, and then resume running if and when the suspect reenters the state. This is to prevent criminals from avoiding prosecution for serious crimes by hiding and trying to wait out the authorities.

More Resources for Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws in Idaho

Criminal charges are serious and criminal statutes can be complicated. FindLaw’s section on Criminal Law Basics can provide you with further articles and information on this topic. If you would like legal assistance with a criminal matter, you can consult with an experienced Idaho criminal defense attorney in your area.

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