The duration for a particular statute of limitations depends on the crime and other factors. Misdemeanors, called “disorderly persons” offenses in New Jersey, have a one-year statute of limitations. Felonies can vary. Most are five years while official misconduct and bribery come with seven years. With sex crimes involving a minor, the statute of limitations is five years after the victim turns 18 or two years after the victim discovers the offense, whichever is later. Some crimes, such as murder, have no statute of limitations.
It’s important to be mindful that the statute of limitations may be suspended or “tolled” under certain circumstances, such as if the accused becomes a fugitive from the law or currently faces prosecution for the same conduct. Tolling might be set aside when DNA links someone to an incident.
When a person is facing an indictment for felony crimes that occurred in the past, their criminal defense attorney may point out that the statute of limitations expired and present the necessary evidence to support the claim. When the statute of limitations is tolled, an attorney might proceed with another defense. The attorney may advise a defendant about a plea bargain or jury trial strategies.