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Statute Of Limitations For New Jersey Criminal Offenses

Statutes of Limitations are laws that set forth a period time during which a person must be prosecuted for a crime if he is to be prosecuted at all. If the time period elapses, that person cannot be prosecuted for the crime. There are certain instances that will toll or stall the statute of limitations period, allowing it to resume at the close of the circumstance. There are also certain crimes like homicide or manslaughter which do not have a statute of limitations in New Jersey. This means that the time period to prosecute someone for murder or manslaughter never expires.

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo and if you feel that the statute of limitations prevents you from being prosecuted for a charge, I can assist you with this matter. I am an experienced defense attorney who defends individuals against crimes in New Jersey and with over 35 years of success, I am one of the most assured criminal lawyers in the state. Contact me today at 908-272-9700 for a Free Consultation.

NJ Statute Of Limitations

According to N.J.S. 2C:1-6, in New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a disorderly persons offense is one year, and the statute of limitations for indictable crimes is five years. This means that if someone commits a first, second, third, or fourth degree crime, that individual must be prosecuted for this crime within 5 years of committing it. There are, however some exceptions to the general rule and for certain crimes the statute of limitations is extended.

  • The statute of limitations is seven years for crimes of official misconduct and bribery.
  • The statute of limitations is 10 years for crimes in which a person intentionally causes an explosion, flood, avalanche, collapse of a building, release or abandonment of poison gas, radioactive material or any other harmful or destructive substance, or causes a hazardous discharge.
  • For crimes of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of children: if a victim is under 18, prosecution must commence within five years after the victim attains 18, or within two years after the discovery of the offense, whichever is later.

When Does The Statute Of Limitations Begin To Run?

The statute of limitations begins to run the day the offense is committed, except that if the prosecution later obtains physical evidence that identifies the defendant by DNA or fingerprint testing, the time will not start to run until the day the prosecution obtained the physical evidence.

When Is The Statute Of Limitations Tolled Or Frozen?

If the defendant flees the police or is “on the run” the statute of limitations period will be frozen until the accused is apprehended, at which time it will be set back in motion. The period of limitations will also be temporarily stopped during any time when a prosecution against the accused for the same conduct is taking place within the state. Thus, if one charge cannot be brought because another is currently taking place, the statute of limitations will be tolled so that prosecution can continue with the second charge after the first charge is resolved.

When Does The Prosecution Begin?

In New Jersey, the prosecution begins when an indictment, complaint or warrant is issued which charges the accused of the crime. This rule applies so long as the warrant or process has not been subject to unreasonable delay. The prosecution may downgrade an offense to a lower offense, even if the statute of limitations would have run for the lower offense, so long as prosecution was commenced during the applicable statute of limitations for the greater offense.

For example, imagine a man is charged with official misconduct six years after he committed the crime. Official misconduct carries a seven-year statute of limitations so the charge can be brought. The prosecution can later downgrade the crime to fraud even though the statute of limitations for fraud is only five years and expired before the official misconduct charge was brought. This is acceptable so long as the charge for the greater offense was brought within the applicable time period, seven years.

Anthony N. Palumbo has a rock-solid record of powerful wins and in the immense majority of cases obtains extremely positive results. This is why he is one of the most well respected and assured criminal litigators in the New Jersey. Contact him today for a Free Consultation at 908-272-9700 and put your charge to rest.

New Jersey Criminal Lawyer

If you want to know whether the statute of limitations prevents a criminal complaint, warrant or indictment from being issued against you, I can assist you in this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me. I am ready to speak to you immediately and even if your charge is not barred by the statute of limitations, I will be happy to discuss the details of your case and help you ascertain the best possible outcome for your charge.

Contact me today at 908-272-9700 for a Free Consultation where you can feel free to speak privately about your case. I defend individuals throughout New Jersey.