Double your impact! Your donation today will be matched by a fellow supporter! Donate now. donate.rainn.org

Statutes of Limitations

Sexual Offense Statutes

Tenn. Code § 39-13-502 Aggravated rape is using force or coercion, or defendant is armed with weapon; or when victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless

  • Class A felony

Tenn. Code § 39-13-503 Rape using force, coercion, or fraud; or victim is  mentally incapacitated

  • Class B felony

Tenn. Code § 39-13-504 Aggravated sexual battery

  • Class B felony

Tenn. Code § 39-13-505 Sexual battery is unlawful sexual contact

  • Class E felony

Tenn. Code § 39-13-506 Statutory rape

  • Mitigated statutory rape, class E felony, if victim is at least 15 but under 18, and offender is at least four but not more than five years older than victim
  • Statutory rape, class E felony, if:
    • Victim is at least 13 but under 15, and offender is at least four years older but less than 10 years older than victim, or
    • Victim is at least 15 but under 18, and offender is more than five years older but less than 10 years older than victim
  • Aggravated statutory rape, class D felony, if victim is at least 13 but under 18, and offender is at least 10 years older than victim

Tenn. Code § 39-13-522 Rape of a child more than three but under 13

  • Class A felony

Tenn. Code § 39-13-527 Sexual battery by an authority figure of a victim 13 or older but less than 18

  • Class C felony

Tenn. Code § 39-13-531 Aggravated rape of a child three years or less

  • Class A felony

Tenn. Code § 39-13-532 Statutory rape by an authority figure of a victim at least 13 but less than 18 and defendant is at least 4 years older than victim

  • Class C felony

Tenn. Code § 39-15-302 Incest

  • Class C felony

 

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Tenn. Code § 40-2-101 Felonies

  • (a) No limit for an offense punishable with death or by imprisonment in the penitentiary for life
  • (b) (1) For a class A felony, within 15 years after commission of the offense
  • (b) (2) For a class B felony, within eight years after commission of the offense
  • (b) (3) For a class C or class D felony, within four years after commission of the offense
  • (b) (4) For a class E felony, within two years after commission of the offense
  • (e) For one of the following offenses committed against a child prior to July 1, 1997, within four years after commission of the offense or by the time the child attains the age of majority, whichever occurs later:
    • Aggravated rape (§ 39-13-502)
    • Rape (§ 39-13-503)
    • Aggravated sexual battery (§ 39-13-504)
    • Sexual battery (§ 39-13-505)
    • Incest (§ 39-15-302)
  • Pursuant to subsection (a), however, an offense punishable by life imprisonment may be prosecuted at any time after the offense has been committed.
  • (g) For one of the following offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 1997, within the period of time as described in subsections (a) and (b) or by the time the child attains the age of 21, whichever occurs later:
    • Aggravated rape (§ 39-13-502)
    • Rape (§ 39-13-503)
    • Aggravated sexual battery (§ 39-13-504)
    • Sexual battery (§ 39-13-505)
    • Rape of a child more than three but under 13 (§ 39-13-522)
    • Incest (§ 39-15-302)
  • (h) For one of the following offenses committed against a child on or after June 20, 2006, no later than 25 years from the date on which victim attains the age of 18:
    • Aggravated rape (§ 39-13-502)
    • Rape (§ 39-13-503)
    • Aggravated sexual battery (§ 39-13-504)
    • Sexual battery (§ 39-13-505)
    • Rape of a child more than three but under 13 (§ 39-13-522)
    • Sexual battery by an authority figure   (§ 39-13-527)
    • Incest (§39-15-302)
  • (i) For one of the following offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2007, no later than 25 years from the date on which victim attains the age of 18:
    • Aggravated rape of a child (§ 39-13-531)
    • Statutory rape by an authority figure (§ 39-13-532)
  • For one of the following offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2012, no later than 25 years from the date becomes 18:
  • Production and distribution of a pornography of a child

    (§ 39-17-902)
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor

    (§ 39-17-1003)
  • Aggravated sexual exploitation

    (§ 39-13-1004)
  • Especially aggravated sexual exploitation

    (§ 39-13-1005)
  • For one of the following offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2013, no later than 15 years from the date the child becomes 18:
  • Trafficking a person for a commercial sex act

    (§ 39-13-309)
  • Solicitation of a minor to observe sexual conduct

    (§ 39-13-529)
  • For one of the following offenses committed against a child on or after July 1, 2013, no later than 10 years from the date child becomes 18:
  • Patronizing prostitution

    (§ 39-13-514)
  • Promotion prostitution

    (§ 39-13-515)

Tenn. Code § 40-2-102 Misdemeanors

  • For all misdemeanors, within one year after commission of the offense

     

    Tenn. Code § 40-2-103 Concealment of crime or absence from state

    No period during which the party charged was not usually and publicly resident within the state is included in the period of limitation

State v. Henry, 834 S.W.2d 273 (Tenn. 1992)

  • Four year statute of limitations on prosecution for incest is not tolled by defendant’s parental control over victim

Oregon v. State, 874 S.W.2d 6 (Tenn. 1994)

  • Amendments to statute of limitations for aggravated sexual battery and child sex abuse cases do not apply retroactively

 

DNA EXCEPTION

Note, a DNA exception has been proposed (H.B. 2685, S.B. 2136.  Prosecutions can be brought through the period of the relevant statute of limitations or 1 year after the date on which the identity of the accused is established through the analysis of DNA evidence, whichever is longer.  The DNA exception would apply for Aggravated rape of a child three years or less (39-13-531); Rape of a child more than three but under 13 (39-13-522); Aggravated rape (39-13-502); Rape (39-13-503); Aggravated sexual battery (39-13-504); Sexual Battery (39-13-505)

 


Legal Disclaimer
For reprint permission, please contact RAINN's Policy Manager, Rebecca O'Connor, at policy@rainn.org. Last updated: February 2014.
RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network) provides general information that is intended, but not guaranteed, to be correct and up-to-date. The information is not presented as a source of legal advice. You should not rely, for legal advice, on statements or representations made by RAINN. If you need legal advice upon which you intend to rely in the course of your legal affairs, consult a competent, independent attorney. RAINN does not assume any responsibility for actions or non-actions taken by people who have used this information, and no one shall be entitled to a claim for detrimental reliance on any information provided or expressed. RAINN does not endorse, guarantee or warranty the accuracy, reliability or thoroughness of any referenced information, product or service.

National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1.800.656.HOPE(4673) | Free. Confidential. 24/7.

© RAINN 2009 | 1220 L Street NW, Suite 505, Washington, DC 20005 | 202-544-1034 | info@rainn.org
1.800.656.HOPE(4673) | CFC#10488 | Privacy Policy | Federal Funding Disclaimer