Georgia Criminal Statute of Limitations

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Below is a summary of the statute of limitation periods for criminal cases in the state of Georgia. Statutes of limitations set forth the time period within which the state must commence a case against someone for a crime. If the state tries to bring an action against someone after the applicable time period has passed, the person charged can have the case dismissed. For certain types of crimes, there is no statute of limitations and the state never loses its right to prosecute for the offense.

Ga. Code Ann. 17-3-1, 2, 2.1, 2.2

Murder: No statute of limitations

Crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment: within seven years after the commission of the crime

Rape: within 15 years after the commission of the crime

Other felonies: within four years after the commission of the crime

Misdemeanors: within two years after the commission of the crime

Felonies against victims under the age of 18 years: within seven years after the commission of the crime

Tolling Provisions

The statute of limitation is tolled during any period when:

  • the accused is not usually and publicly a resident within this state
  • the person who committed the crime is unknown or the crime is unknown
  • the accused is a government officer or employee accused of theft by conversion of public property while in office or employed
  • the accused is a guardian or trustee accused of theft by conversion of property of the ward or beneficiary

DNA Evidence. For the following crimes, no statute of limitations applies if DNA evidence is used to establish the identity of the accused: armed robbery; kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, or aggravated sexual battery

Crimes Involving Minors. For the following crimes where the victim is under 16 years of age, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim turns 16 or the crime is reported to the state, whichever is earlier: cruelty to children, rape, sodomy and aggravated sodomy, statutory rape, child molestation and aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, incest

Crimes Against the Elderly. If the victim is 65 years of age or older, the statute does not begin to run until the violation is reported to or discovered by a law enforcement agency, whichever occurs earlier, up to a maximum extension of 15 years

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