Tennessee Criminal Statute of Limitations

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

Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-2-101, et seq.

Felonies

Offenses punishable with death or by imprisonment in the penitentiary during life: no limit

Class A felony: within 15 years

Class B felony: within eight years

Class C or Class D felony: within four years

Class E felony: within two years

Offenses arising under the revenue laws: generally three years following the commission of the offense, six years in certain circumstances such as for defrauding the state, evading or defeating payment of tax, and failing to pay tax

Arson: within eight years from date of offense

Certain sexual criminal offenses committed against a child prior to July 1, 1997: no later than the date the child attains the age of majority or within four years after the commission of the offense, whichever occurs later; an offense punishable by life imprisonment may be prosecuted at any time

Certain sexual criminal offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 1997: no later than the date the child reaches 21 years of age, unless a longer period of time is prescribed for offenses punishable with death or by imprisonment in the penitentiary during life or for Class A through Class E felonies

For offenses committed prior to November 1, 1989, the limitation of prosecution in effect at that time shall govern

Certain sexual criminal offenses committed against a child on or after June 20, 2006: no later than 25 years from the date the child becomes 18 years of age

Certain sexual criminal offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2007: no later 25 years from the date the child becomes 18 years of age

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors, with a few exceptions: within 12 months (within six months for gaming)

Criminal impersonation by use of a fraudulently obtained driver license: within one year of the date the driver license expires or within three years of the date the non-expired driver license was last used to falsely impersonate the person, whichever is longer

Tolling Provisions

The limitation period for prosecutions is suspended for any period in which the accused conceals the fact of the crime or is not usually and publicly resident within the state

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