Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
Virginia establishes time limits, as do all other states, for how soon after an arrest a prosecutor must file formal criminal charges. Known as statutes of limitation, these laws are meant to preserve the integrity of evidence and to ensure an efficient justice system.
Most misdemeanors in Virginia have a one-year time limit, including minor assault and battery and certain theft charges. However, Virginia is unique in that it does not have a statute of limitations for most felonies. Crimes for which there is no statute of limitations include aggravated assault and battery, rape, murder, burglary, kidnapping, manslaughter, and robbery.
When Does the 'Clock' Start Ticking?
If we think of the statute of limitations as a clock, it doesn't necessarily start "ticking" once the crime has been committed or for the duration of time following a crime. For example, the clock does not run if the suspect is out of state or otherwise living as a fugitive. So if someone commits a crime and flees the state that same day, even for several decades, the clock will begin ticking the moment that person reenters the state.
The basic provisions of Virginia's criminal statute of limitations are highlighted in the chart below. See Details on State Criminal Statute of Limitations for a general overview.
|Topic||Criminal Statute of Limitations|
|Definition||The length of time for which prosecution proceedings can be commenced for a crime.|
|Code Section||Va. Code sec. 19.2-8|
|Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim||
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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- Virginia Law
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources
Learn More About Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws from a Lawyer
Virginia takes a strict approach to crime, and its statute of limitations laws are no different. If you're concerned with how Virginia criminal statute of limitations laws affect your criminal case, or you have other questions about the criminal charges you're facing, it's a good idea to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney near you today.
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