Rhode Island Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
Similar to time limits for civil lawsuits, state prosecutors are required to file criminal charges within the limits established by the criminal statute of limitations. These time limits start running at the time the crime was committed, but the "clock" may be paused if the suspect is trying to evade law enforcement or living out of state.
These time limits for criminal charges are meant to help preserve the integrity of evidence, including witness testimony, and maintain greater efficiency in the criminal justice system generally. Murder usually has no statute of limitations, but time limits typically are divided by crime classification (felony or misdemeanor).
Rhode Island Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance
In Rhode Island, there is no statute of limitations for murder, arson, burglary, counterfeiting, robbery, rape, sexual assault, child molestation, and other serious crimes. That means people can be charged with these crimes no matter how much time has passed.
Most other felonies and misdemeanors have a three-year time limit during which charges have to be filed.
Additional details of Rhode Island'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.
|Topic||Criminal Statute of Limitations|
|Definition||The length of time for which prosecution proceedings can be commenced for a crime.|
|Code Sections||12-12-17; 12-12-18|
|Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim||
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||
Note: State laws are constantly changing through decisions from higher courts, the enactment of newly signed legislation, and other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you should contact a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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- Rhode Island Law
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Rhode Island Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
- Rhode Island Civil Statute of Limitations
- Rhode Island Criminal Laws
- Classifications of Crimes
- Criminal Law Overview
- Find a Criminal Law Attorney
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