Statute of Limitations in Florida

The Statute of Limitations sets the maximum time period in which a criminal prosecution can be commenced. If the prosecution is not commenced within the time period, the charges are subject to being dismissed.

The reasoning behind the Statute of Limitations is that the more time that passes, the more difficult it would be to locate witnesses, gather evidence, or remember events.

In Florida, a person only needs to be notified within the statutory time period that formal criminal charges have been filed to satisfy the Statute of Limitations. There is no requirement that a person actually receive a trial within the statutory time period.

Tolling of Statute of Limitations

In Florida, the Statute of Limitations is tolled (meaning it does not run) during any time that a person is continuously absent from the state or has no reasonably ascertainable residence or place of employment within Florida.

Statute of Limitations Time Periods

Below are the general Statute of Limitations time periods for felony and misdemeanor criminal offenses in Florida.

However, certain crimes have no Statute of Limitation, and for other crimes there are offense specific limitation periods that supersede the general Statute of Limitations.

Felony Statute of Limitations

Offense Designation Time Limitation
3rd Degree Felony 3 years
2nd Degree Felony 3 years
1st Degree Felony 4 years
Life Felony None
Capital Felony None

Misdemeanor Statute of Limitations

Offense Designation Time Limitation
2nd Degree Misdemeanor 1 year
1st Degree Misdemeanor 2 years

Offense Specific Statute of Limitations

Offense Designation Time Limitation
Violation of Probation: None
Any Theft Offense: Five Years
Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Elderly or Disabled Adults Five Years

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you or a loved one have been arrested on an old criminal accusation, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer to assist you in challenging the prosecution based upon Florida's Statute of Limitations.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action to take.