Massachusetts Criminal Statute of Limitations

Below is a summary of the statute of limitation periods for criminal cases in the state of Massachusetts.

Below is a summary of the statute of limitation periods for criminal cases in the state of Massachusetts. 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. 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.

Mass. Gen. Laws 277 § 63

Murder: no statute of limitations

No statute of limitations for: Indecent assault and battery on child under 14 or person with intellectual disability; reckless behavior with risk of harm or sexual abuse to a child; rape of child; rape and abuse of a child; assault of child with intent to commit rape. After 27 years, need independent corroborating evidence in addition to victim’s testimony to support case.

Rape and assault with intent to commit rape: within 15 years of offense

Armed robbery, assault on person over 60, incest: within 10 years of offense

Any other crime: within 6 years of offense

Indecent assault on child or person with intellectual disability; rape, abuse, or assault of child; kidnapping of minor; sexual offenses such as drugging for sex, enticing for marriage, or inducing minor into prostitution; lewd and lascivious behavior or acts; dissemination of harmful matter to minors; exhibiting nudity; or crime against nature: when victim reaches 16 years of age or violation is reported, whichever is earlier

Tolling Provisions

Statute of limitations does not run during any period when the defendant is not usually and publicly a resident within the state

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