Missouri Criminal Statute of Limitations

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Below are the statutes of limitation for criminal cases in Missouri 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.

Mo. Rev. Stat. 556.036, 037

No statute of limitations: Murder, forcible rape, attempted forcible rape, forcible sodomy, attempted forcible sodomy, or any class A felony

Other felonies: 3 years

Misdemeanors: 1 year

Infractions: 6 months

Arson in the 1st degree classified as a class B felony, arson in the 2nd degree, or knowingly burning or exploding: 5 years

Any offense involving fraud or a breach of fiduciary obligation:  within 1 year after discovery, up to a maximum additional 3 years.  

Misconduct in office by a public officer or employee: any time while the person is still in public office or employment or within two years thereafter, up to a maximum additional 3 years

Intentional and willful fraudulent claim of child support arrearage: within 1 year after discovery of the offense, up to a maximum additional 3 years

Prosecutions for unlawful sexual offenses involving a person 18 years or under must be commenced within 20 years after the victim reaches the age of 18 (except for forcible rape, attempted forcible rape, forcible sodomy, kidnapping, or attempted forcible sodomy)

Tolling Provisions

The statute of limitations does not run:

  • when the accused is absent from the state, up to a maximum additional 3 years
  • when the accused is concealing him or herself either within or without the state
  • when a prosecution against the accused for the offense is pending in the state
  • when the accused is found to lack mental fitness

Back to State Criminal Defense Statutes

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