The state (through state prosecuting attorneys) must file criminal charges within a certain period of time, called the criminal statute of limitations. These time limits vary by the type of crime, although the most serious crimes (such as murder) often have no statute of limitations. The "clock" generally begins running on the day the crime was committed, but time may be paused temporary if the suspect is either living out of state or otherwise attempting to evade law enforcement. For instance, someone who has committed a felony in a state where the statute of limitations for felonies is three years cannot simply hide out until the time runs out. But once that person returns and lives openly, police officers may take action.
These time limits serve a few different purposes with the intention of maintain fairness, accuracy, and efficiency. The statutes of limitations help preserve evidence (including witness testimony) and also create more of an incentive to solve crimes quickly. Time limits usually differ according to crime classification (felony or misdemeanor, for example), but murder and other serious crimes usually don't have a time limit for charges.
North Dakota Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance
As in virtually all other states, there is no statute of limitations for murder in North Dakota. When a child victim is under the age of 15, the statute of limitations does not begin tolling until he or she has reached 15. All misdemeanors in the state have a two-year statute of limitations.
Additional details of North Dakota's time limits for criminal charges are listed below. See Time Limits to Bring a Case: The Statute of Limitations to learn about similar time limits used in civil law.
|Code Section||29-04-01 to 04|
|Felonies||Murder: none; sexual abuse of children: 7 yrs. or within 3 yrs. of reporting of offense; others: 3 yrs.|
|Crimes in Which a Child is a Victim
||If the victim of a violation of chapter 12.120 is under the age of 15, the applicable period of limitation, if any, does not begin to run until the victim has reached the age of 15.|
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||Absent state|
Note: State laws may change at any time through a number of ways, including the enactment of newly signed legislation and the decisions of higher courts. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact a North Dakota criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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North Dakota Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
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