Statutes of Limitations

When a crime is committed, there is a window of time that a state has to charge the perpetrator. The laws that determine this time frame are called criminal statutes of limitations. As high-profile cases of sexual violence continue to make headlines—and as survivors seek to report crimes—it can help to have a better understanding of these laws and how they vary.

Is your publication interested in covering statutes of limitations? Talk to an expert at RAINN. 

Email RAINN's press secretary, Erinn Robinson, at

Please include the name of your publication and deadline in your inquiry. 


Statutes of Limitations by State

Each state has laws that prevent someone from being prosecuted for a crime after a certain period of time, these are known as statutes of limitations. Some states provide exceptions to their time limits—for example, if DNA evidence is discovered, the state is allowed more time to prosecute. Use this map to find out how your state compares.

District of Columbia

Understanding Statutes of Limitations for Sex Crimes

Welcome to Statues of Limitations 101. Statutes of limitations are as varied as they are important. Learn more about how statutes of limitations work, and how they differ from state to state.

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RAINN's Legislative Guide on Reforming Criminal Statutes of Limitations

RAINN offers the following recommendations to policymakers to ensure state statutes of limitations for sex offenses reflect best practices and afford the best chance for justice. This guide highlights key components of effective statutes of limitations and draws attention to the need for reform. 

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Five Things that Make an
Effective Statute of Limitations

Does your state leave enough time to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable? Check out RAINN's top five recommendations for state statutes of limitations.

DNA evidence can increase likelihood of holding a perpetrator accountable.

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Sexual violence has fallen by half in the last 20 years.

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