All states have time limits for how long prosecutors have to file charges after a crime has been committed (or "discovered"), called the criminal statute of limitations. These time limits ensure a more efficient criminal justice system, while making sure evidence and witnesses' memories remain relatively fresh. These time limits also prevent prosecutors from threatening criminal charges indefinitely. However, there is no statute of limitations for murder charges in virtually every state, due to the seriousness of the crime.
Minnesota Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance
In Minnesota, as in other states, the statute of limitations vary for different types of crimes. For example, misdemeanors carry a three-year time limit, while the time limits for some felonies range from three to nine years. However, for more serious crimes, such as murder or sex trafficking of minors, Minnesota law permits charges to be filed against a suspect at any time with no time limits.
Additional details of Minnesota's criminal statute of limitations can be found in the following table.
||Criminal Statute of Limitations
||The criminal statute of limitations is a time limit the state has for prosecuting a crime. Under Minnesota law, the statute of limitations depends on the severity of the crime you face, ranging from 3 years to no limit.
||Minn. Stat. Ann. Section 628.26
- Murder or manslaughter: none
- Kidnapping: none
- Human trafficking: none if the victim is younger than 18 years; 6 years if the victim is 18 years or older
- Sex trafficking, criminal sexual conduct: none if DNA evidence is collected and preserved; Without DNA evidence, nine years after offense is committed if the victim is 18 years or older
- Bribery involving a public officer or employee, medical assistance fraud, or employer wage theft: 6 years
- Financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, check forgery exceeding $35,000 in stolen property or services, identity theft with either eight or more direct victims or losses exceeding $35,000, environmental crimes involving pollution and disposal and transport of hazardous waste/harmful substances, or arson : 5 years
- All others: 3 years
|Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim
- Human trafficking: none
- Sex trafficking, criminal sexual conduct: none if DNA evidence is collected and preserved; Without DNA evidence, nine years after offense committed or three years after reported to police, whichever is later
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run
Any period which the defendant:
- does not usually reside in Minnesota
- Participates in a pretrial diversion program related to the crime
Any period involving DNA analysis related to the crime unless defendant can show there was intentional delay used to gain an unfair advantage.
Note: State laws are constantly changing. We strive to maintain accurate and up-to-date state law summaries, but you may also want to contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
How is the Statute of Limitations Tolled?
Time limits for filing criminal charges run only when the suspect is visible and within the state where the crime was committed.
Tolling a statue of the limitations suspends the running of the time limit. This prevents criminals from simply crossing state lines or hiding out in order to avoid charges. So an individual who commits bank robbery, promptly leaves the state, and lives under an alias will not avoid charges after three years because the statute of limitations period will not run during that time. But once the individual returns and lives openly in the state where the crime was committed, the clock will begin running again.
Research the Law
Minnesota Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources