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Nevada Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Generally speaking, there's a time limit on when someone can be charged with a crime. There are multiple good reasons for this policy - for both the prosecutor and the defendant. State laws place limits on how much time prosecutors have to file criminal charges, called the criminal statute of limitations. Most states have different limits for different kinds of crimes. Nevada follows this same model.

In Nevada, for most crimes, there's a three-year time limit for the filing of charges. However, for theft, robbery, arson, burglary, and forgery there is a four year time limit. Murder and several other serious charges, meanwhile, have no statute of limitations.

Criminal Statutes of Limitation in Nevada

Learn about Nevada's criminal statute of limitation laws and related matters in the sections below.

State Nevada
Topic Nevada Criminal Statute of Limitations
Definition The criminal statute of limitations is a time limit the state has for prosecuting a crime. Under Nevada law, the statute of limitations depends on the severity of the crime you face, ranging from one year to no time limit.
Code Sections NRS Section 171.080 et seq.
Felonies
  • Murder: No time limit.
  • Acts of terrorism or attempted acts of terrorism: No time limit.
  • Sexual assault arising out of same circumstances as murder or terrorism: No time limit.
  • Sexual assault if identity of accused person is established through DNA: No time limit.
  • Sexual assault or sex trafficking if written report filed with law enforcement during period of limitation: No time limit.
  • Theft: 4 years time limit.
  • Robbery: 4 years time limit.
  • Burglary: 4 years time limit.
  • Forgery: 4 years time limit.
  • Arson: 4 years time limit.
  • Sex trafficking: 4 years time limit.
  • Security fraud: 4 years time limit.
  • Fraud: 4 years time limit.
  • Sexual assault: 20 years time limit.
  • Any other felony: 3 years time limit.
  • Child sexual abuse:
    • Until victim turns 36 years old if the victim discovers that they were a victim of sexual abuse or trafficking by the date they turn 36.
    • Until victim turns 43 years old if the victim did not discover and reasonably should not have discovered they were a victim of sexual abuse or trafficking by the date they turn 36.
Misdemeanors
  • Gross misdemeanor: 2 years time limit.
  • Other misdemeanors: 1 year.
Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim Child sexual abuse:
  • Until victim turns 36 years old if the victim discovers that they were a victim of sexual abuse or trafficking by the date they turn 36.
  • Until victim turns 43 years old if the victim did not discover and reasonably should not have discovered they were a victim of sexual abuse or trafficking by the date they turn 36.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run Prosecution commences when indictment is presented.
Other Statute of limitation for kidnapping or attempted murder can be extended for five years if written report filed with law enforcement officer during period of limitation.

So where exactly was the idea of a criminal statute of limitations born? Mostly it exists to ensure criminal trials are based on evidence that has not deteriorated over time. The same applies to possible subsequent convictions, too. Testimonial evidence (officer statements, eyewitness accounts, etc.) and physical evidence (fingerprints, DNA, etc.) can fade or be lost over time. That's why it's generally better to have a criminal trial as soon after an incident as possible.

Longer or indefinite statutes of limitations attempt to balance the interest in fair trials with the seriousness of the offense. The thinking here is that criminals should not be able to avoid the consequences for serious crimes just by waiting out the authorities.

Most statutes of limitations will run only while the alleged criminal remains visible and in the state where the crime occurred. If the suspect is out of the state or otherwise living in hiding, this will pause, or “toll," the statutory clock. The clock resumes running, so to speak, if the criminal reenters the state.

Related Resources for Nevada Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws:

Any criminal charge is a serious matter, and criminal statutes can vary depending on your jurisdiction. If you have been charged with a crime, you can contact a Nevada criminal defense attorney in your area to discuss your case. You can also visit FindLaw's Criminal Law Basics for additional details.

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