Florida’s Statute of Limitations & Criminal Cases

Here’s Why Florida’s Criminal Statute of Limitations Matters for Your Case

by Aaron Delgado
12/20/18 (Updated: 09/09/21)

If you’re the suspect of a crime, you’re probably worried about being charged. But—with the exception of certain violent crimes—there is a time limit for prosecutors to file criminal charges against a suspect. That time limit is called the statute of limitations, which varies from crime to crime.

How does Florida’s statute of limitations work?

The criminal statute of limitations for Florida sets restrictions on the amount of time a prosecutor can wait to file formal criminal charges against a defendant.

In any specific case, the exact alleged crime(s) will determine the applicable statute of limitations. For example, there is no time limit to bring charges for serious crimes, such as murder or a felony that resulted in death. Misdemeanors and lesser felonies, on the other hand, have a statute of limitations between one and five years.

Keep in mind, however, that the “clock” will not run if you are out of the state or otherwise evading law enforcement.

Florida’s Criminal Statute of Limitations: At-a-Glance

In general, this is how long the statute of limitations is for each type of criminal offense:

Florida’s Criminal Statute of Limitations: At-a-Glance
Noncriminal Violation
1 year
Second Degree Misdemeanor
1 year
First Degree Misdemeanor
2 years
Other Felonies
3 years
First Degree Felony
4 years

Florida’s Criminal Statute of Limitations: Specific Offenses

For some criminal offenses, the statute of limitations may differ from the list above. Here are some specific offenses which have their own statutes of limitations:

Florida’s Criminal Statute of Limitations: Specific Offenses
Florida Staute
§ 775.15
Sexual offenses such as battery, assault, and intercourse with someone under the age of 18
Begins running at age 16 or when the violation is reported, whichever is earlier.
Misconduct in public office
Within 2 years of leaving office or any above limit, whichever is greater.
Any offense in which fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation is a material element
3 years
Violation of environmental control
5 years from the date of discovery
Violation of a securities transaction
5 years
First degree felony and second degree felony for abuse or neglect of aged or disabled adult
5 years

Offenses With No Statute of Limitations

A person accused of any of the following types of criminal offenses have no time limit, meaning the accused person may be charged any day of any week of any year after the original offense:

  • Felonies resulting in death
  • Felonies punishable by death
  • Felonies punishable by life in prison
  • Perjury in an official proceeding associated with the prosecution of a capital felony

This Is When the "Clock" Stops Running

If a person accused of committing a crime does any of the following, the statute of limitations will be placed on hold:

  • Is continually absent from the state
  • Has no identifiable place of work in the state
  • Has no identifiable home in the state

This exception to the statute of limitation’s timer cannot extend the statute of limitations period for more than three years.

Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help

Whether you've been charged with a crime or believe charges are coming, consulting with a Florida criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

criminal defense lawyer

At Aaron Delgado & Associates, we represent people facing all types of criminal charges, including but not limited to:

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Daytona Beach or the surrounding areas, give us a call at 386-222-6677 to find out how we may be able to help you. Our criminal defense consultation is always free.

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

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