The criminal justice system in New York is designed to protect society by punishing those who violate the law. However, this system also includes protections for individuals who are accused of crimes. One of these protections is the criminal statute of limitations, which sets a time limit for the prosecution of a criminal offense. The New York Criminal Statute Of Limitations varies depending on the type of crime and the severity of the offense. This time limit starts to run from the date that the crime was committed or, in some cases, from the date that the crime was discovered.
Understanding the criminal statute of limitations is essential for both prosecutors and defense attorneys. For prosecutors, it is important to ensure that charges are filed within the required timeframe to avoid the dismissal of the case. For defense attorneys, knowledge of the statute of limitations can be used to argue for the dismissal of charges or negotiate plea bargains.
This Eastcoastlaws.com article will provide an overview of the criminal statute of limitations in New York, including the time limits for different types of offenses, exceptions to the statute of limitations, and how the statute of limitations affects criminal cases. Whether you are a prosecutor, defense attorney, or someone who has been accused of a crime, understanding the criminal statute of limitations is crucial for navigating the New York criminal justice system.
No Time Limits Or Statute Of Limitations For Certain Types Of NY Crimes
A criminal action must typically be started within the time frame outlined in the following subdivisions of this section. Nonetheless, there is no statute of limitations issue and the prosecution can start at any moment for some of the offenses specified in CPL 30.10(2)(a). These offenses consist of:
- any class A felony, or
- Criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in the first or second degree
- rape in the first degree as defined in section 130.35 of the penal law, or
- a crime defined or formerly defined in section 130.50 of the penal law, or
- aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree as defined in section 130.70 of the penal law, or
- a course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree as defined in section 130.75 of the penal law may be commenced at any time.
Statute Of Limitation For A Felony Under NY Law
For other types of felony offenses not listed in § 30.10(2)(a), the statute of limitation requires that the “prosecution for any other felony must be commenced within five years after the commission thereof…” See § 30.10(2)(b).
Statute Of Limitations For A Misdemeanor Under NY Law
Under New York law, CPL § 30.10(2)(a), a “prosecution for a misdemeanor must be commenced within two years after the commission thereof.”
Statute Of Limitations For A Petty Offense Under NY Law
New York’s Criminal Procedure Law § 30.10(2)(d) provides that a “prosecution for a petty offense must be commenced within one year after the commission thereof.”
Time Limits: Categories And Specific Crimes
Below are examples of time limits for specific crimes in New York. Keep in mind that the following is a partial list that broadly summarizes the law. You should look at the actual law for nuances, exceptions, and legislative changes—and know that court rulings can affect the interpretation of the law. (N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law 30.10 (2019).)
|Aggravated murder in the first and second-degree kidnapping in the first degreePredatory sexual assault against a childRape in the first-degree criminal sexual act in the first degree aggravated sexual abuse in the first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degreeIncest in the first degreeTerrorism resulting in, or creating likely risk of, death or serious personal injury
|No time limit
|Rape in the second-degree criminal sexual act in the second degreeIncest in the second degree
|The earlier of:20 years after the crime, or10 years after the crime is first reported to police
|Rape in the third-degree criminal sexual act in the third degree
|10 years after the crime
|The course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree
|5 years after the most recent act
|Misconduct in public office
|While a person is still in office or within 5 years after leaving office (with limitations)
When Does New York Criminal Statute Of Limitation Start Or Stop
The statute of limitations often begins when the offense is committed. Nonetheless, the legislation may postpone the start of the timer in situations when it is impossible to find the offense or a victim may be very afraid to report it. For instance, under New York law, many sexual offenses against children don’t become crimes until the victim reaches the age of 23, or until the crime is reported to the police, whichever comes first.
Also, the statute gives the prosecutor more time to file charges if a suspect tries to “evade” (avoid) being arrested for a crime. The statute of limitations is tolled in New York for up to five years while a defendant is constantly out of the country or otherwise untraceable.
Related Topic – NEW YORK GRAND LARCENY IN THE FIRST DEGREE
Related Topic – NEW YORK GRAND LARCENY IN THE SECOND DEGREE
Related Topic – NEW YORK GRAND LARCENY IN THE THIRD DEGREE
Related Topic – NEW YORK GRAND LARCENY IN THE FOURTH DEGREE
Periods Not Included In New York’s Statute of Limitations
CPL Section 30.10(4) provides that when calculating the time limitation applicable to the commencement of a criminal action, the following periods shall not be included:
- Any time after the offense was committed when (i) the defendant was continuously outside of this state or (ii) it was continuously unknown and continuously impossible to find the defendant using reasonable care. The statute of limitations may be extended, but never by more than five years above the time that would otherwise apply under subdivision two.
- When an accusatory document upon which a prosecution for an offense is based is later dismissed by an authorized court with instructions or circumstances allowing the filing of another charge for the same offense or an offense based on the same conduct, the period spanning from the start of the thereby defeated prosecution to the dismissal of the accusatory is considered to have occurred during the legal commencement of the prosecution for the offense within the prescribed period of limitation.
Extending The Statute Of Limitations For Certain Types Of Crimes In New York
Criminal Procedure Law § 30.10(3) provides that “[n}otwithstanding the provisions of subdivision two, the periods of limitation for the commencement of criminal actions are extended as follows in the indicated circumstances:
Larceny in Violation of a Fiduciary Duty – Statute of Limitations
(a) A prosecution for larceny committed by a person in violation of a fiduciary duty may be commenced within one year after the facts constituting such offense are discovered or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have been discovered by the aggrieved party or by a person under a legal duty to represent him who is not himself implicated in the commission of the offense.
Misconduct in Public Office -Statute of Limitations
(b) A prosecution for any offense involving misconduct in public office by a public servant including, without limitation, an offense defined in article four hundred ninety-six of the penal law, may be commenced against a public servant, or any other person acting in concert with such public servant at any time during such public servant’s service in such office or within five years after the termination of such service; provided however, that in no event shall the period of limitation be extended by more than five years beyond the period otherwise applicable under subdivision two of this section.
Environmental Conservation Laws – Statute of Limitations
(c) A prosecution for any crime set forth in title twenty-seven or1 article seventy-one of the environmental conservation law may be commenced within four years after the facts constituting such crime are discovered or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have been discovered by a public servant who has the responsibility to enforce the provisions of said title and article.
Tax Code Misdemeanors – Statute of Limitations
(d) A prosecution for any misdemeanor set forth in the tax law or chapter forty-six of the administrative code of the city of New York must be commenced within three years after the commission thereof.
Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the Second Degree – Statute of Limitations
(e) A prosecution for course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree as defined in section 130.80 of the penal law may be commenced within five years of the commission of the most recent act of sexual conduct.
Sexual Offenses Against a Child – Statute of Limitations
(f) For purposes of a prosecution involving a sexual offense as defined in article one hundred thirty of the penal law, other than a sexual offense delineated in paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section, committed against a child less than eighteen years of age, incest in the first, second or third degree as defined in sections 255.27, 255.26 and 255.25 of the penal law committed against a child less than eighteen years of age, or use of a child in a sexual performance as defined in section 263.05 of the penal law, the period of limitation shall not begin to run until the child has reached the age of eighteen or the offense is reported to a law enforcement agency or statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment, whichever occurs earlier.
Terrorism – Statute of Limitations
(g) A prosecution for any felony defined in article four hundred ninety of the penal law must be commenced within eight years after the commission thereof provided, however, that in a prosecution for a felony defined in article four hundred ninety of the penal law, if the commission of such felony offense resulted in, or created a foreseeable risk of, death or serious physical injury to another person, the prosecution may be commenced at any time; provided, however, that nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to shorten or otherwise lessen the period, defined in any other applicable law, in which a prosecution for a felony designated in this paragraph may be commenced.
Time To Talk To A Lawyer
To put it mildly, statutes of limitations are unclear. Moreover, a single act may give rise to many criminal charges, in which case multiple statutes of limitations may be applicable. To learn how the statutes of limitations apply in a particular case, speak with an experienced lawyer in your area.