State prosecutors have time limits for bringing criminal charges, known as the criminal statute of limitations. The "clock" typically begins running at the point the crime is committed and is paused when a suspect is living out of state, under the age of majority, or making efforts to evade law enforcement (such as living under an assumed identity).
For instance, if someone commits a violent crime, drives to another state, and goes into hiding, the statute of limitations will pause unless he or she moves back to the state where the crime was committed and lives openly. This does not mean crime suspects are "safe" in other states -- states tend to work together in such instances -- but gives prosecutors more time to file formal charges.
Statutes of limitation are meant to help preserve the integrity of evidence, including witness testimony, and maintain greater efficiency in the criminal justice system generally. There are usually no time limits for murder or other serious felonies.
New Hampshire Criminal Statute of Limitations at a Glance
The state of New Hampshire imposes a one-year statute of limitations for all misdemeanors (three months for violations), while there are a few different time limits for felony charges in the state. As in other states, there is no time limit for murder. For sexual assault of victims under 18, the statute of limitations runs until the victim is 40 years old (within 22 years of the victim's 18th birthday).
Additional details of New Hampshire'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 length of time for which prosecution proceedings can be commenced for a crime.
- Murder: no time limit
- Trafficking in persons: 20 yrs.
- Class A or B felony or unemployment compensation offense: 6 yrs.
- Offense of hunting game or fur-bearing animals or violation of off highway recreational vehicles: 3 yrs.
- Breach of fiduciary duty; destruction or falsification of evidence, witness tampering, unlawful conduct delaying discovery of the offense: within 1 yr. of offense
- Official misconduct: within 2 yrs. of offense
- Violation of rule or regulation of the state fire marshal: 1 yr.
- Misdemeanors: 1 yr.
- Violations: 3 mos.
- Violation-level offense involving a motor vehicle accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury: within 6 months
- An offense defined by RSA 282-A: 6 yrs.
- An offense under RSA 208, RSA 210, or RSA 215: within 3 yrs.
- Forgery of certificate of insurance: 2 yrs.
|Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim
- Sexual assault and related offenses when victim is under 18 yrs. old: within 22 yrs. of victim's 18th birthday
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run
- Absent state, no residence or work in state
- Prosecution pending for same conduct
- Perjury, false swearing, unsworn falsification, proving law enforcement false reports, tampering with witnesses and informants, falsifying evidence, tampering with public records (if any committed with the purpose to assist in or conceal a murder, or to conceal or hinder the investigation or apprehension): none
Note: State laws are always subject to change through higher court decisions, the enactment of newly signed legislation, and other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you may also want to contact a New Hampshire criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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New Hampshire Criminal Statute of Limitations: Related Resources