Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations

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

Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-8 et seq.


Murder or manslaughter: no limits

Misdemeanors: within one year

Petit larceny: within five years

Attempt to produce abortion: within two years

Practicing law without being authorized or licensed: within two years of the discovery of the offense

Placement of children for adoption without a license: within one year from the date of the filing of the petition for adoption

Making a false statement or representation of a material fact knowing it to be false or knowingly failing to disclose a material fact, to obtain or increase any benefit or other payment under the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act: within three years

Violation of certain statutes regarding discharge, dumping or emission of any toxic substance: within three years

Certain Building Code violations: within one year of discovery of the offense (see VA Code Ann. § 19.2-8 for conditions)

Certain professional/occupational misdemeanors: within one year of the discovery of the offense, but not later than five years from occurrence of the offense

See VA Code Ann. § 19.2-8 for other limitations

Tolling provisions

Time limits to prosecution do not apply to people fleeing from justice or concealing themselves inside or outside of the state of Virginia to avoid arrest

Back to State Criminal Defense Statutes

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