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Maine Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Every state has laws imposing time limits in which to bring a case, called the “statute of limitations,” in both civil and criminal cases. Criminal statutes of limitations limit when a formal criminal charge can be brought against a defendant.

The goal of these time limits is to ensure that evidence is fresh and that individuals don’t have to fear prosecution for minor crimes, like shoplifting, indefinitely. Typically, the statute of limitations varies by the type of crime. There are also no time limits in most states for serious crimes like murder, including in Maine.

Maine Criminal Statute of Limitations Statute

The following table briefly explains the criminal statute of limitations in Maine.

State Maine
Topic Criminal Statute of Limitations
Definition The length of time for which prosecution proceedings can be commenced for a crime.
Code Section Section 8
Felonies
  • Murder, 1st or 2nd-degree criminal homicidenone
  • Other felonies, called Class A, B, or C crimes: 6 yrs.
  • Class A, B, or C crimes involving unlawful sexual contact or gross sexual assault: 20 yrs.
Misdemeanors
  • Class D or E crimes (misdemeanors): 3 yrs.
  • Breaches of fiduciary obligations: within 1 yr. of discovering the crime up to a maximum of 5 yrs.
  • Official misconduct by a public servant: within 2 yrs. with a maximum extension to 5 yrs.
Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim
  • Incest, rape, or gross sexual assault if victim is under 16 years old: none
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run
  • The defendant is absent from the state: maximum 5 yrs.
  • Prosecution is pending against the same defendant for the same crime based on the same conduct
  • When the defendant has a pending juvenile crime in juvenile court based on the same conduct
Other
  • If the complaint or indictment is dismissed due to an error or defect, then a new prosecution on the same crime can be brought within 6 mos.

Note: State laws change all the time. Please contact a knowledgeable attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these state criminal laws.

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