All states have time limits for how long prosecutors have to file charges after a crime has been committed (or "discovered"), called the criminal statute of limitations. The general purpose for these time limits is to ensure a more efficient criminal justice system, while making sure evidence and witnesses remain relatively fresh. These time limits also prevent unscrupulous prosecutors from threatening criminal charges indefinitely. However, there is no statute of limitations for murder charges in virtually every state, due to the seriousness of the crime.
Minnesota Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance
In Minnesota, as in other states, the statute of limitations differ for different types of crimes. For instance, misdemeanors carry a three-year time limit, while the time limits for felonies range from three to nine years. Minnesota law also permits charges to be filed against a suspect at any time (with no time limits) if it involves a victim of human trafficking under the age of 18.
Additional details of Minnesota's criminal statute of limitations can be found in the following table.
|Felonies||Murder: none; bribery, medical assistance fraud, theft: 6 yrs. (if value of property/services in theft is over $35,000: 5 yrs.); familial sexual abuse, criminal sexual conduct: 9 yrs. or if victim under 18 yrs. of age, within 3 yrs. after; if DNA evidence collected and capable of testing: any time after offense is reported; arson, environmental offenses: 5 yrs.; all others: 3 yrs.|
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||Not inhabitant of or usually resident within state|
Note: State laws are constantly changing. We strive to maintain accurate and up-to-date state law summaries, but you may also want to contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
How is the Statute of Limitations 'Tolled?'
Time limits for filing criminal charges are tolled (or official counted) only when the suspect is visible and within the state where the crime was committed. This prevents criminals from simply crossing state lines or hiding out in order to avoid charges. So an individual who commits bank robbery, promptly leaves the state, and lives under an alias will not avoid charges after six years. But if he returns and lives openly, the clock will begin tolling again.
Research the Law
Minnesota Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.