A statute of limitations sets a time limit for the government to file criminal charges. This law protects defendants from unfair and unreasonable prosecutions when evidence in a case has disappeared or deteriorated. A case against a defendant may be dismissed if enough time has passed since the alleged offense.
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a felony, also known as an indictable offense, is five years after a crime is committed. Misdemeanors, called disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey, have a statute of limitations of one year. However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations for certain crimes and offenses.
Common Charges in New Jersey and the Statute of Limitations for Each
- Motor-vehicle offenses – The statute of limitations for most traffic offenses is 30 days. Certain offenses, such as assault by auto, are subject to the standard statute of limitations for misdemeanors and felonies.
- Manslaughter and murder – There is no statute of limitations for murder or manslaughter charges in New Jersey. Because murder and manslaughter are such serious crimes, the law allows the government to file these charges no matter how much time has passed since the offense.
- Sex offenses – There is also no statute of limitations for sexual assault cases in New Jersey. However, other sex crimes do have a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for criminal sexual contact is five years. Criminal sexual contact with minors and endangering the welfare of children both have a five-year statute of limitations. This time limit starts when the victim turns 18 or within two years of the discovery of the crime by the victim.
- Misconduct and bribery – There is a seven-year statute of limitations for official misconduct, bribery in official or political matters, bribing a witness, and conspiracy to commit bribery or misconduct.
- Environmental offenses – There is no statute of limitations for environmental crimes in New Jersey. This rule applies to solid waste disposal, medical waste disposal, air pollution, asbestos disposal, and water pollution violations.
- Theft, robbery, and burglary – Burglary and robbery are indictable offenses with a five-year statute of limitations. However, theft may be an indictable offense or a disorderly persons offense depending on the circumstances. There is a one-year statute of limitations for theft as a disorderly persons offense.
- Kidnapping – Kidnapping is a felony in New Jersey with a five-year statute of limitations.
- Arson – Arson is also a felony subject to a five-year statute of limitations.
- Disorderly conduct – Disorderly conduct has a one-year statute of limitations.
Contact Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, do not count on the NJ criminal statute of limitations to protect you from prosecution. Contact the legal team at Keith Oliver Criminal Law immediately to protect your legal rights. Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can evaluate your case and discuss your options during a free initial consultation.