There are time limits for state prosecutors to bring criminal cases against accused individuals, called the criminal statute of limitations. After the time passes, the suspect is essentially off the hook. While the clock typically begins running when the crime is committed, it is stopped (or at least put on hold, referred to as tolled or tolling the statute of limitations) when an individual is being evasive by living out of state. For example, a suspected car thief drives across the country and lives under various aliases to avoid arrest. During that time, the statute of limitations likely will not run until the suspect returns to the state where the crime was committed.
Statutes of limitations help preserve the integrity of evidence, including witness testimony, and maintain efficiency and fairness in the criminal justice system. There are usually no time limits for murder or other serious felonies.
Nebraska Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance
Nebraska has no time limit for the state to file charges of murder, treason, arson, or forgery, but most felonies carry a three-year statute of limitations. There's an 18-month time limit for most misdemeanors.
Additional details of Nebraska'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.
|Criminal Statute of Limitations
|The criminal statute of limitations is a time limit the state has for prosecuting a crime. Under Nebraska law, the statute of limitations depends on the severity of the crime you face, ranging from 1 year to no limit.
|Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 29-110
- Treason, murder, arson, forgery, or first- or second-degree sexual assault: none
- Abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults or seniors: 6 years
- Violating the Nebraska Securities Act, welfare or public assistance fraud of more than $500, criminal impersonation, or identity theft or fraud: 5 years
- Others: 3 years
|Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim
- Sexual assault (second or third degree) when the victim is 14 or younger, third-degree sexual assault when the victim is under 16 when the assault happened, incest, sex trafficking, labor trafficking, or child pornography: none
- Kidnapping, false imprisonment, child abuse, pandering (activities involving prostitution), debauching a child under 17 (that is exposing or involving the child in sexual activities), obscene materials when victim is under 16: 7 years after the offense was committed or the child turns 16, whichever is later
- Failure to report child abuse or neglect: 18 months after the offense was committed or the child turns 18, whichever is later
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run
|When a person is fleeing justice, for example, leaving the state or the person's known residence within the state to avoid detection.
|Offense punishable by a fine or forfeiture not exceeding $100 and not more than 3 months in prison: 1 year
Note: State laws may change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from appellate courts, or other means. Be sure to contact a Nebraska criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Nebraska Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources