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David E. Stanley APLC

What Is The Statute Of Limitations Period For Crimes Under Louisiana Law?

A. First, it is important to understand which type of limitations period we are talking about:

  1. The limitations period applicable to how long from the date of the crime does the state have to institute prosecution against an offender for the specific crime charged; or
  2. The limitations period applicable to how long the State of Louisiana have to bring my case to trial after prosecution has been instituted against me by indictment or the filing of a bill of information.

For many reasons, these are important and sometimes difficult to questions to answer that should be discussed in detail with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A careful review of the specific crime charged, and its penalties, whether the identity of the offender is known, the age of the victim, whether the relationship or status involved has as ceased to exist, and other facts can affect the answer to this question.

It is also important to understand, that the limitations period applicable to the crime charged may be suspended or interrupted. So, for example, the applicable limitations period is interrupted if the accused person flees from the state, is outside of the state, or absent from his usual place of residence for the purpose of avoiding detection, apprehension, or prosecution.

In Louisiana, some crimes have no limitations period on the institution of prosecution. For example, there is no limitations period upon the institution of prosecution for crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment, such as murder, or for the crimes of forcible rape or second degree rape. The limitations period upon the institution of prosecution for certain sex crimes is thirty (30) years.

Generally, and except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall be shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for an offense which is not punishable by death or life imprisonment unless the prosecution is instituted within the following periods of time after the offense has been committed:

  1. Six (6) years for a felony that requires imprisonment at hard labor;
  2. Four (4) years for a felony that authorizes, but does not require, imprisonment at hard labor;
  3. Two (2) years for a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both;
  4. Six (6) months for a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine or forfeiture.

About the Author If you have been charged with a federal or state felony crime,
Attorney David Stanley works tirelessly to protect and
defend the legal rights for you.