Delaware Criminal Statute of Limitations

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Below are the statutes of limitation for criminal cases in Delaware which set forth the time periods within which a legal proceeding must be commenced. If the state fails to bring a case within the specified time period, it loses its right to prosecute that crime forever. In general, violent crimes have a longer statute of limitations, and with some crimes there is no statute of limitations. In certain instances, the statute of limitations may be tolled, or suspended, which grants the state additional time to commence a legal action.

Del. Code Ann. Tit. 11 §205 (a), (b), (h), (c), (e), (i)

Felonies

Murder or any class A felony; certain sexual offenses as defined in subsection (e): No statute of limitations

Other felonies:  within 5 years after offense is committed

Misdemeanors

Class A misdemeanors: within 3 years after offense is committed

Class B misdemeanors, class C misdemeanors, unclassified misdemeanors or violations:  within 2 years after offense is committed

Offenses that include forgery, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, or actively concealed theft or misapplication of property by an employee, pledgee, bailee or fiduciary: within 2 years after actual discovery or when discovery should have been made, up to a maximum additional 3 years

Offenses based on misconduct in public office by a public officer or employee: any time while the person is still in public office or within 2 years thereafter, up to a maximum additional 3 years.

Tolling Provisions

Any prosecution based upon forensic DNA testing where the statute of limitations has expired: within 10 years after the offense was committed 

The statute of limitations is tolled:

  • during any time when the accused is fleeing or hiding and the accused's identity or whereabouts within or outside the state cannot be ascertained
  • during any time when the accused is a fugitive because of failing to appear for any scheduled court proceeding related to the prosecution
  • during any time when a prosecution is pending in the state against the accused for the same conduct

Back to State Criminal Defense Statutes

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