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New Jersey Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

There are time limits for prosecutors to file criminal charges against suspects, called the statute of limitations (civil cases also have time limits for filing lawsuits as well). The criminal statute of limitations is intended to preserve the integrity of evidence, including witness testimony, and to ensure that criminal cases are resolved in a timely manner.

In New Jersey, there is no statute of limitations for murder or manslaughter -- meaning, someone may be prosecuted for these two offenses regardless of whether the crime was committed one year ago or fifty years ago.

When it comes to other felonies, official misconduct and bribery-related offenses carry a seven-year statute of limitations, with other felonies carrying a five-year statute of limitations. When children under the age of 18 are victims of sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, and/or endangering the welfare of children, the state has five years after the victim turns 18 to prosecute the crime.

When it comes to misdemeanors in New Jersey, the state has one year to file charges for petty offenses, while most other crimes have a five- or seven-year statute of limitations.

Learn more about New Jersey's criminal statute of limitations in the following table. See Time Limits for Charges: State Criminal Statutes of Limitations for a general overview.

State New Jersey
Topic New Jersey Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
Definition The criminal statute of limitations is a time limit the state has for prosecuting a crime. Under New Jersey law, the statute of limitations depends on the severity of the crime you face, ranging from one year to no limit.
Code Sections N.J.S.2C:1-6
Felonies
  • Murder: No time limit.
  • Manslaughter: No time limit.
  • Sexual assault: No time limit.
  • Causing or risking widespread injury or damage: No time limit.
  • Bribery in official and political matters, attempt or conspiracy to commit this crime: 7 years time limit.
  • Compounding, attempt, or conspiracy to commit this crime: 7 years time limit.
  • Official misconduct, attempt, or conspiracy to commit this crime: 7 years time limit.
  • Speculating or wagering on official action or information, attempt, or conspiracy to commit this crime: 7 years time limit.
  • Criminal sexual conduct with minors: Legal action must be commenced within 5 years of victim turning 18 years old or within 2 years of the discovery of the crime by the victim, whichever is later.
  • Endangering welfare of children: Legal action must be commenced within 5 years of victim turning 18 years old or within 2 years of the discovery of the crime by the victim, whichever is later.
  • Any other crimes: 5 years time limit.
Misdemeanors Disorderly persons offense or petty offense: 1-year time limit.
Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim
  • Criminal sexual conduct with minors: Legal action must be commenced within 5 years of victim turning 18 years old or within 2 years of the discovery of the crime by the victim, whichever is later.
  • Endangering welfare of children: Legal action must be commenced within 5 years of victim turning 18 years old or within 2 years of the discovery of the crime by the victim, whichever is later.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run
  • When a person is fleeing from justice.
  • When a prosecution against the accused for the same conduct is pending in New Jersey.
Other  

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more general information, feel free to take a look at FindLaw's section on criminal law. To learn more about New Jersey's statute of limitations laws, the links below will connect you with additional resources. Finally, if you have specific questions regarding a criminal matter, consider retaining a criminal lawyer.

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New Jersey Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources

Charged with a Crime in New Jersey? Get Legal Help

If you or one of your family members has been charged with a crime in New Jersey, you have several rights afforded to you. One right is that you can't be charged with a crime if the time limit has expired in most circumstances. If you want to learn more about New Jersey criminal statute of limitations laws, or if you've been charged with a crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney near you today.

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