North Carolina Criminal Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations set time limits for prosecutors to file criminal charges in a case.

By , Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated February 01, 2024

Statutes of limitations set time limits for the government to bring criminal charges in a case. If the prosecution charges someone after the applicable time period has passed, the person charged can have the case dismissed.

Statutes of Limitations for Felonies and Misdemeanors in North Carolina

In North Carolina, felony crimes have no statutes of limitations—meaning a felony criminal case can be filed at any time. Most misdemeanor cases must be charged by the prosecutor within two years of the crime. Exceptions to the two-year limit are noted below. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15-1 (2024).)

Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanors Involving Abuse and Sexual Assault Against Children in N.C.

In 2019, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a 10-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor crimes involving abuse against children. These time limits only apply to crimes committed after December 1, 2019. (If one of these crimes occurred before December 1, 2019, the time limit to file charges would still be two years.)

The 10-year time limit applies to the following misdemeanors:

Talk to a Lawyer

The expiration of a criminal statute of limitations does not automatically prevent a prosecutor from filing criminal charges in a case. The issue must be raised as a defense by the criminal defendant in court. If the defense fails to move for dismissal of charges based on the running of the limitations period, the prosecution moves forward. If you have any questions about criminal statute of limitations, consult a local criminal defense attorney.

Talk to a Defense attorney
We've helped 95 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you