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Understanding Criminal Statutes of Limitations

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Or How Long Does the State of New York Have to Charge You With a Crime? //

People can change a lot from year to year, and their past actions do not always represent who they are now. If you made a mistake a long time ago, time may heal the wound – at least legally speaking. In New York, punishments for certain crimes are bound by statutes of limitations. According to the New York State Unified Court System (NYCourts.Gov):

Statutes of limitations are laws which say how long, after certain events, a case may be started based on those events.”

Although some crimes, like 1st-degree murder and rape, have no statute of limitations, the period for persecution may “expire” for other crimes. If you commit a misdemeanor, for example, the state only has 2 years from the date of the crime to charge you.

In some cases, however, the time limit for the prosecution does not begin “tolling” until your crime is discovered or should have been discovered.

If you are charged with a crime after the statute of limitations has expired, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you understand your rights and next steps.

If you are accused of a crime without a statute of limitations, Foley Griffin can also help defend you.

Call us at (888) 966-8480 to get started.


Statutes of limitations in New York range from 1 year to forever, and some crimes have multiple statutes of limitations.

New York has one (1) year to charge you with:

  • Petty offenses

The state has 2 to 5 years (depending on the facts) to charge you with:

  • Arson
  • Assault/battery
  • Burglary
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Theft/larceny

Plaintiffs/prosecutors have 2 years to charge you with:

  • Misdemeanors

Other statutes of limitations for crimes include:

  • 5 years for 1st- and 2nd-degree manslaughter
  • 5 years for some kidnappings
  • 5 years for other felonies

Once again, there is no time limit for Class A felonies, 1st-degree murder, rape, and some cases of kidnapping and arson.

If you have any questions about these time limits or a case or accusation you may be facing, please do not hesitate to call us at (888) 966-8480 for a free, confidential consultation.

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