A criminal statute of limitations sets a time limit on prosecuting a case. The exact period will vary depending on the crime and the jurisdiction – serious crimes such as murder and kidnapping often have no statute of limitations and each state and the federal government set their own period.
When the applicable period has run, however, it’s a complete bar to prosecution. The state is barred from bringing a case. Here’s a summary of Vermont’s criminal statute of limitations laws. Note that Vermont’s civil statute of limitations laws are separate.
Vermont’s Statute of Limitations
Murder, arson causing death, kidnapping, and aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, human trafficking, aggravated human trafficking, and manslaughter have no statute of limitations in Vermont.
Many child sexual offenses have no statute of limitation or carry a 40-year period of limitations. Children are more vulnerable to abuse, and it can frequently take decades for them to recall and be able to understand what happened to them. States have enacted a longer period to make prosecuting these cases easier.
Several serious crimes and white-collar have a 6-year statute of limitations. These include sexual assault of a vulnerable adult, robbery, and burglary. White-collar crimes have a longer statutory period because they can be difficult to detect and take time to uncover. Vermont's 6-year statute of limitations period applies to bribery, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, and felony tax charges.
Most other felonies and misdemeanors carry a 3-year statute of limitations. Individual crimes may have their own statute of limitations period.
||Criminal Statute of Limitations
||The length of time for which prosecution proceedings can be commenced for a crime.
||13 V.S.A. § 4501
- Murder, arson causing death, kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, human trafficking, aggravated human trafficking, manslaughter: none
- Maiming, sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult: 40 yrs.
- Arson, first degree aggravated domestic assault: 11 yrs.
- Lewd and lascivious conduct, sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult, grand larceny, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, forgery, bribery, false claims, fraud, and felony tax offenses: 6 yrs.
- All other felonies: 3 yrs.
|Crimes in Which a Child Is a Victim
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a minor: none
- Sexual assault against a minor, lewd and lascivious conduct against a minor, lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, sexual exploitation of a minor: 40 yrs.
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run
Related Resources for Criminal Statute of Limitations
You can find more general information about criminal statutes of limitations and criminal trials here on FindLaw. For more specific information about a particular case, consider speaking with a local criminal law attorney.