What You Need to Know About the Statute of Limitations for Criminal and Civil Sexual Assault Cases By State

The statute of limitations refers to the legal deadline the state allots an individual or filing lawsuits such as sexual assault cases. The statute of limitations allotted for civil and criminal sexual assault cases vary and may differ by state. Here are the sexual assault statute of limitations by the state for both civil and criminal cases.

The distinction between civil and criminal cases appears in the chart below. The government brings criminal cases against a citizen to determine if the defendant is guilty of a criminal offense. A citizen brings civil cases against another citizen or business to determine if the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s damages. Contact an experienced sexual assault attorney to most accurately determine which distinction is best.

Related: Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations By State

Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations by State

State Civil Cases Criminal Cases

 

Alabama 2 years Felonies: 5 years (no limit if the victim was under 16 years of age)

Misdemeanors: 1 year (no limit if the victim was under 16 years of age)

Alaska  

3 years

 

Felonies: No time limit (10 years after commission of certain Class C felonies such as incest and sexual assault)

Misdemeanors: 5 years (no limit if the victim was under 18 years of age)

 

 

Arizona

 

 

 2 years Felonies: 7 years (no limit if the victim was under 15 years of age)

Misdemeanors: 1 year

Arkansas 3 years

 

Sexual assault (first degree): No limit

Sexual assault (second, third and fourth degrees): 3 years (no limit if the victim was a minor)
Misdemeanors: 1 year

California 10 years for adults OR 3 years from the date of discovery if the incident occurred earlier than 2019

In cases of minors until their 40th birthday OR within 5 years of their discovery of the abuse

 

Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor: 3 years

Spousal rape: 6 years

Aggravated sexual assault of a child: No limit

Incest: 3 years

Sexual acts with a child 10 or younger: No limit

 

Colorado

 

None

 

Offenses against a child under 15: No limit
Offenses against a child 15-18: 20 years after the victim reaches age 18
Offenses against an adult: 20 years
Misdemeanors: 5 years
Connecticut No time limit for sexual assault of the first-degree

3 years

 

Class A felonies: No limit

Class B felonies: 20 years

Class C felonies: 5 years

Class D felonies: 20 years

Class A misdemeanors: 10 years

Spousal or cohabiting relationship assault, sexual assault second degree: 5 years

Aggravated sexual assault of a minor: No limit

Delaware 2 years

No time limit for cases involving minors

Class A felonies: No limit

All other felonies: 5 years

Class A misdemeanors: 3 years

All other misdemeanors: 2 years

District of Columbia (D.C.) 3 years

If the victim was a minor, they have until their 21st birthday

Felonies: No limit

Misdemeanors: 3 years

Florida 4 years after leaving the dependency of the abuser or from the time of discovery (whichever occurs later)

If the victim was a minor, they have until 7 years after reaching the “age of majority” (18)

8 years for a first or second-degree felony sexual battery

No limit for sexual battery involving a minor under 16 years old

No limit on first or second-degree felony sexual battery cases reported to authorities within 72 hours

Capital felony, life felony, or a felony that results in death: No limit

First-degree felony: 4 years

Any other felony: 3 years

Georgia

 

2 years

If the victim is a minor, they have until 5 years after reaching the “age of majority.”

If the victim is 65 or older, the clock does not begin ticking until the crime is reported to authorities.

Sexual assault, incest: 4 years (7 years in cases involving minors

Rape: 15 years for forcible rape, or 7 years for non-forcible rape (no limit if the victim was under the age of 16 and occurred on or after July 1, 2012)

Statutory rape, child molestation, aggravated child molestation (under 16): 7 years

Sexual battery: 2 years for a first offense, or 4 years if there are prior offenses (7 years if the victim was under the age of 16)
Aggravated sexual battery: 7 years

Hawaii 2 years

The statute of limitations pauses if the victim is a minor until they turn 18

 

Class A & B felonies: No limit

Class C felony: 3 years from the incident (or age 21 if the victim was under 18 at the time of the incident)

Misdemeanors: 2 years

Petty misdemeanor: 1 year

Idaho

 

2 years

If the victim was a minor, they have 5 years after reaching the “age of majority” (age 23) to file a civil action so long as the incident occurred on or after July 1, 1989.

Rape, sexual abuse, incest: 5 years (no limit if the victim is 16 or under)

Sexual exploitation by a medical care provider: 2 years

Sexual abuse and exploitation of a vulnerable adult: 5 years

Ritualized abuse of a child, female genital mutilation of a child: 3 years after notifying law enforcement

Illinois

 

2 years

No limits in Class X or Class 1 felony cases (aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault) or incidents involving minors

Felonies: No limit

Misdemeanors: 10 years after the victim achieves the age of adulthood (age 28)

Indecent solicitation of an adult, a solicitation to meet a child, sexual exploitation of a child: 3 years (or 18 months for misdemeanors)

Indiana

 

2 years

For minors, either 7 years from the date of the incident, or 4 years from the end of dependency on the abuser.

 

Rape: For Level 1, no limit exists. For a Level 3 felony, the prosecution must commence within 5 years (10 years if the victim was under 18).

Child molesting: For Level 1 & 2 felonies, no limit exists, but the prosecution must commence before the victim reaches 31 years of age. For Level 3 & 4 felonies, the prosecution must commence within 5 years (10 years if the victim was under 18).

Sexual battery: For Level 4 & 6 felonies, the prosecution must commence within 5 years (10 years if the victim was under 18).

Sexual misconduct with a minor: For Level 1 & 2 felonies, no limit exists. For all remaining felonies, the prosecution must occur before the victim reaches 31 years of age.

Incest: Prosecution must occur before the victim reaches 31 years of age.

Iowa

 

2 years

For minors, 5 years from the date of discovery (applies to all cases in which the incident occurred after July 1, 1990).

In cases involving a school employee, counselor, or therapist, victims have 5 years from the date of last treatment/enrollment to file a civil action.

 

Sexual abuse, incest: 10 years (or 15 years after the victim reaches age 18 if they were a minor)

Lascivious acts with a child/minor, indecency with a child, sexual exploitation of a minor: 10 years after the victim reaches age 18

Assault with intent to commit sexual abuse: 3 years (or 10 years after the victim reaches age 18 if they were a minor

Kansas

 

2 years

For minors, within 3 years of achieving adulthood or from discovery, whichever occurs later.

 

Rape, aggravated criminal sodomy: No limit

Sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, indecent liberties with a child, indecent solicitation of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, aggravated incest: 10 years (or 10 years from when the victim turns 18 if they were a minor)

Sexual battery, unlawful sexual relations, electronic solicitation, incest: 5 years

Kentucky 1 year

For minors, 5 years after either the most recent incident, discovery, or achieving adulthood, whichever occurs later.

 

Felonies: No limit

Misdemeanors: 1 year (5 years for crimes involving minors)

Louisiana For minors, 10 years after achieving adulthood, or 1 year from discovery. Rape: No limit for 1st and 2nd-degree rape; 6

years for 3rd-degree rape

Felonies against a minor: 30 years after the victim turns 18 (age 48)

Felonies punishable with imprisonment or hard labor: 6 years

Felonies not punishable with imprisonment or hard labor: 4 years

Misdemeanors punishable with a fine, imprisonment, or both: 2 years

Misdemeanors punishable only with a fine or forfeiture: 6 months

Maine

 

2 years

No limit for crimes against minors under the age of 16.

 

Crimes against minors under age 16: No limit

Gross sexual assault: 20 years

Sexual abuse of minors (age 16 or older): 6 years for Class A, B, or C crimes; 3 years for Class D or E crimes

Unlawful sexual contact: 20 years for Class A, B, or C crimes; 3 years for Class D or E crimes

Unlawful sexual touching: 3 years

Sexual exploitation of a minor: 6 years

Incest: 6 years for Class C crimes; 3 years for Class D crimes

Maryland

 

3 years

For minors, 7 years after reaching the “age of majority.”

Felonies: No limit

Sexual offense (fourth-degree): 1 year (3 years if the offender was in a position of authority or the victim was a minor)

Sexual conduct between correctional or juvenile justice employee and inmate or confined child: 1 year

Massachusetts 3 years

For minors, they must bring a claim within 35 years of the incident or 7 years from when the person discovered or could have been reasonably expected to discover the incident. (The time does not begin until the victim turns 18.)

Rape, assault with intent to commit rape: 15 years
Wanton or reckless behavior creating a risk of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child: No limitStatutory rape and sexual abuse (of a child under 16): No limitDrugging persons for sexual intercourse: 6 years

Incestuous marriage or sexual activities: 10 years

Michigan 2 years

 

Criminal sexual conduct (first degree): No limit

Criminal sexual conduct (second degree): 10 years (15 years for minors or by their 28th birthday, whichever occurs later)

Criminal sexual conduct (third or fourth degree), assault with intent to commit criminal sexual contact, female genital mutilation: 10 years (for minors, must occur before their 21st birthday, whichever occurs later)

Crimes against nature or sodomy, indecent exposure, gross indecency: 6 years

Minnesota 6 years from when the victim knew or had reason to know that the sexual abuse caused the injury

For minors, the time does not begin until the victim turns 19 and terminates at age 25.

Criminal sexual conduct (1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree): 9 years (for minors, the victim reported either 9 years after commissioning of the offense or 3 years after the victim reported the offense to authorities, whichever occurs later)

Criminal sexual conduct (4th or 5th degree): 3 years (for minors, either 9 years after commissioning of the offense or 3 years after the victim reported the offense to authorities, whichever occurs later)

Criminal sexual predatory conduct, child solicitation, incest, female genital mutilation: 3 years

Mississippi 3 years

For minors, the time does not begin until the victim turns 18.

Child fondling, statutory rape, drugging, spousal rape, sexual battery of a child: No limit

All other crimes: 2 years

Missouri 5 years

For minors, 10 years after turning 21 or 3 years from discovery, whichever occurs later.

 

First-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, and felonies against a minor (under 18): No limit

All other felonies: 3 years

Misdemeanors: 1 year

Montana 3 years

For minors, 3 years after discovery.

Sexual abuse of children, ritual abuse of minors: No limit

Sexual assault, sexual intercourse without consent: 10 years (no limit in cases involving minors that occurred after May 7, 2019)

Aggravated sexual intercourse without consent, indecent exposure, deviate sexual conduct, incest: 5 years (no limit in cases involving minors occurring after May 7, 2019)

Misdemeanors: 1 year

Nebraska 4 years

For minors, the time does not begin until age 21.

 

Sexual assault (first degree), sexual assault of a child (any degree), incest: No limit

Sexual assault (second or third degree): 18 months (no limit for crimes against children under 16)

Nevada 2 years

For minors, within 10 years of turning 18 (age 28) or 10 years from discovery.

 

Sexual assault: 20 years (no limit if the victim files a written report within 20 years or before age 36 or 43 in the case of child sex abuse)

Luring children or persons with a mental illness, statutory sexual seduction, incest, open or gross lewdness, sexual conduct between certain employees or volunteers of a school and a student, sexual penetration of a

dead human body: 3 years

Gross misdemeanors: 2 years

New Hampshire

 

3 years

For minors, 12 years after their 18th birthday (age 30) or 3 years from discovery.

 

Felonious sexual assault, aggravated felonious sexual assault, incest, indecent exposure: 6 years (or within 22 years of the minor victim’s 18th birthday)

Sexual assault: 1 year (or within 22 years of the minor victim’s 18th birthday)

Misdemeanors: 1 year

New Jersey

 

2 years

For minors, the time begins at the moment a reasonable person would have discovered the offense.

 

 

Sexual assault aggravated sexual assault: No limit

Criminal sexual conduct, genital mutilation of a female child: 5 years (5 years after turning 18 for crimes against minors or 2 years after discovery, whichever occurs later)

Lewdness: 5 years (or 1 year if a disorderly person offense)

 

New Mexico 3 years

For minors, they must file a claim before their 24th birthday or 3 years from discovery, whichever comes first.

 

First-degree felonies: No limit

Second-degree felonies: 6 years

Third or fourth-degree felonies: 5 years

Misdemeanors: 2 years

New York 5 years

 

 

Class A or B felonies: No limit

Class C, D, or E felonies: 5 years for offenses committed after September 18, 2019 (for minors, the time begins on their 23rd birthday)

Misdemeanors: 2 years (for minors, the clock starts running on their 23rd birthday)

North Carolina 5 years Felonies: No limit

Misdemeanors: 2 years

North Dakota 2 years

For minors, 10 years from the point of reasonable discovery.

 

 

Felonies against a minor (under 18): Within 21 years of the offense if the victim is below age 18, or within 3 years from reporting the offense to authorities

Sexual assault, sexual imposition, sexual abuse of wards, sexual exploitation by a therapist, incest: 3 years (or 7 years if aggravated by the use of force)

Misdemeanors: 2 years

Ohio

 

2 years

For minors, 12 years from the victim’s 18th birthday.

 

Rape, sexual battery: 25 years

Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition: 20 years

Importuning, public indecency: 6 years

Sexual imposition and other misdemeanors: 2 years

Oklahoma 2 years

For minors, the time starts at the victim’s 18th birthday or 5 years after the police release the perpetrator from custody, whichever occurs later.

 

Rape, crimes against nature, forcible sodomy: 12 years after the discovery of the offense, or before the victim’s 45th birthday

Incest, indecent exposure: 3 years

Oregon 2 years

For minors, they must file a claim before they reach age 40 or 5 years from discovery, whichever occurs later.

 

Rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, and unlawful sexual penetration (first degree): 12 years (or before the minor victim’s 30th birthday)

Rape, sodomy and unlawful sexual penetration (second or third degree), sexual abuse (second-degree), incest: 6 years (for minors, before the victim’s 30th birthday or within 12 years after the offense is reported, whichever occurs first)

Sexual abuse (third degree): 4 years (for minors, before the victim’s 22nd birthday or within 4 years after the offense is reported, whichever occurs first)

Sexual misconduct and other misdemeanors: 2 years

Pennsylvania

 

2 years

For minors, 12 years from reaching the “age of majority.”

 

Felonies: 12 years (for minors, the clock starts running on the victim’s 18th birthday or expires on the victim’s 50th birthday)

Misdemeanors: 2 years

 

Rhode Island 3 years

For minors, 7 years from the incident or from the point of discovery, whichever occurs later.

 

Sexual assault (first degree): No limit for first degree, 3 years for second or third-degree

Child molestation sexual assault: No limit

South Carolina 3 years

For minors, 6 years from their 21st birthday, or 3 years from discovery.

No Limits
South Dakota 3 years

For minors, within 3 years of the incident or discovery.

 

Rape (first or second degree): No limit

Rape (third or fourth degree), sexual contact with a person under 16, sexual contact with a person incapable of consent, sexual contact without consent, sexual exploitation of a minor, incest: 7 years or any time before the victim’s 25th birthday, whichever occurs later

Tennessee 1 year

For minors, the time begins on the victim’s 18th birthday.

 

Crimes against a minor under 18: No limit

Aggravated rape: 15 years

Rape aggravated sexual battery: 8 years

Incest: 4 years

Sexual battery: 2 years

Texas

 

2-5 years

For minors, the time begins on the victim’s 18th birthday.

No limitation in cases involving a serial rapist.

Crimes against children: No limit

Sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault: 10 years

Improper student-teacher relationship, prohibited sexual conduct: 3 years

Utah

 

4 years

No limit for minors

 

Rape, statutory rape, forcible sodomy, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual assault: No limit

Other felonies: 4 years

Misdemeanors: 2 years

Vermont 3 years

For minors, within 6 years of the act of discovery.

Sexual assault aggravated sexual assault: No limit

Sexual abuse, lewd and lascivious conduct: 6 years (within 40 years for vulnerable adults)

Sexual exploitation of an inmate: 3 years

Washington 2 years

For minors, the time starts on their 18th birthday

 

Felonies: No limit

Misdemeanors: 1 year (for minors, by age 19)

West Virginia 2 years

For minors, the time starts on the victim’s 18th birthday.

Sexual assault, sexual abuse (first degree), incest: No limit

Sexual abuse (second or third degree): 1 year

Wisconsin 2 years

For minors, they must file the claim before the age of 35.

 

Sexual assault (first degree), sexual assault of a child (first degree): No limit

Sexual assault (second or third degree): 10 years

Sexual assault of a child (second degree), sexual exploitation of a child, incest with a child: Before the victim’s 45th birthday incest: 15 years therapist commits sexual exploitation: 6 years sexual assault (fourth degree), sexual intercourse with a child 16 or over: 3 years

Wyoming 4 years No limit

 

 

All information above is accurate as of June 19th, 2022. State statutes regarding the statute of limitations for civil and criminal cases of sexual assault are subject to change and many have exceptions. Individuals should consult the state website where the incident occurred for further information on the statute of limitations for both civil and criminal sexual assault cases. Consult with a qualified and knowledgeable sexual assault attorney to file a sexual assault case.

Related: Criminal Statutes of Limitations By State

Sources:
https://www.rainn.org/state-state-guide-statutes-limitations
https://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/state-civil-statutes-of-limitations-in-child-sexua.aspx
https://www.findlaw.com/injury/torts-and-personal-injuries/sexual-assault-civil-statutes-of-limitations-by-state.html

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