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Oregon Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

Each state imposes time limits for prosecutors to bring a criminal case against someone, called the criminal statute of limitations. While the "clock" generally begins running at the point the crime is committed, there are certain conditions that may extend this time limit. The statute of limitations for criminal charges varies from state to state and by the type of crime, while the most serious charges (murder, for example) typically have no time limit at all.

Once the time limit has expired, the perpetrator can no longer be charged for the alleged crime. The clock generally does not run (or is not "tolled") if the criminal is out of state or in hiding, which would indicate an attempt to evade prosecution.

Oregon's Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance

As in most other states, Oregon law does not impose time limits for the prosecution of murder or manslaughter charges. There is a six-year statute of limitations for sexual felonies or crimes in which the victim is under 18 at the time of the offense. There is a three-year limit for all other felonies and a two-year limit for most misdemeanors in the state.

Additional details are listed below. See Time Limits to Bring a Case: The Statute of Limitations to learn about similar time limits used in civil law.

State Oregon
Topic Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
Definition The criminal statute of limitations is a time limit the state has for prosecuting a crime. Under Oregon law, the statute of limitations depends on the severity of the crime you face, ranging from six months to no time limit.
Code Sections ORS Chapter 131.125; 131.145; and 131.155
Felonies
  • Aggravated murder: No time limit.
  • Murder: No time limit.
  • Attempted murder or aggravated murder: No time limit.
  • Conspiracy/solicitation to commit aggravated murder or murder or any degree of manslaughter: No time limit.
  • Rape in the first degree: 12 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Sodomy in the first degree: 12 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree: 12 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Sexual abuse in the first degree: 12 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Strangulation: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Criminal mistreatment in the first degree: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Rape in the second or third degree: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Sodomy in the second or third degree: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Unlawful sexual penetration in the second degree: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Using a child in a display of sexual conduct: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Incest: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Promoting or compelling prostitution: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Luring a minor: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Sexual abuse in the third degree: 4 years after the crime occurred, or 4 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 22 years of age.
  • Exhibiting an obscene performance to a minor: 4 years after the crime occurred, or 4 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 22 years of age.
  • Displaying obscene materials to minors: 4 years after the crime occurred, or 4 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 22 years of age.
  • Arson: 6 years time limit.
  • Theft in the first degree: 6 years time limit.
  • Aggravated theft in the first degree: 6 years time limit.
  • Extortion: 6 years time limit.
  • Robbery in the first, second, or third-degree: 6 years time limit.  
  • Forgery in the first degree: 6 years time limit.
  • Fraudulent use of a credit card: 6 years time limit.
  • Identity theft: 6 years time limit.
  • Any other felony: 3 years time limit.
Misdemeanors
  • For any misdemeanor: 2 years time limit.
  • For a violation: 6 months time limit.
Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim
  • Using a child in a display of sexual conduct: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Incest: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Luring a minor: 6 years after the crime occurred, or 12 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 30 years of age.
  • Exhibiting an obscene performance to a minor: 4 years after the crime occurred, or 4 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 22 years of age.
  • Displaying obscene materials to minors: 4 years after the crime occurred, or 4 years after the offense is first reported to law enforcement, or if the victim was under 18 years of age, anytime before the victim turns 22 years of age.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run
  • Accused is not a resident within the state.
  • Accused hides within the state to prevent process from being served upon accused.
  • Maximum extension of the period of limitations is 3 years.
Other If the statute of limitations for any other felony, misdemeanor, or violation has expired, a prosecution may still be commenced if:
  • The offense has as a material element either fraud or the breach of a fiduciary obligation: Prosecution may begin within 1 year from discovery of offense but shall not be extended by more than 3 years.
  • The offense is based upon misconduct in office by a public officer or employee: Prosecution may begin at any time while the defendant is in public office or employment or within 2 years after, but shall not be extended by more than 3 years.

Note: While some laws are based on common law and seldom (if ever) change, you should never assume they are set in stone. Laws may change either through the passage of new legislation, the issuance of appellate court decisions or through other means. Make sure you contact an Oregon criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Oregon Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources

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