Iowa 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 Iowa. 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.

Iowa Code 802.1, 802.2, 802.2A, 802.3, 802.4, 802.5, 802.10

Murder: no statute of limitations

Other felonies or aggravated or serious misdemeanors: within 3 years after its commission or within 3 years after DNA evidence is available

Simple misdemeanor or violation of a municipal or county rule or ordinance: within 1 year after its commission

Sexual abuse in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree where victim is under the age of 18: within 10 years after the victim turns 18 or within 3 years after DNA evidence is available which identifies perpetrator, whichever is later

Any other sexual abuse in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree: within 10 years after its commission or within 3 years after DNA evidence is available which identifies perpetrator, whichever is later

Incest with person under 18: within 10 years after victim turns 18. Any other incest: within 10 years after its commission

Sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist, or school employee where victim is under 18: within 10 years after victim turns 18. Any other sexual exploitation: within 10 years after victim was last treated by the counselor or therapist or within 10 years after victim was enrolled at the school

Tolling Provisions

Fraud or a breach of fiduciary obligation: within 1 year after discovery of the offense, up to a maximum additional 3 years

Statute of limitations is tolled:

  • when a person leaves the state and during any period when the person is not publicly a resident within the state
  • during any time when the defendant is a public officer or employee if the offense relates to duties and trust of that office or employment

Back to State Criminal Defense Statutes

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