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Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

Do felony crimes have statutes of limitations in Mississippi?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2021 | Federal Crimes

Coming under investigation for a crime can throw your entire life out of balance. You may feel stressed and anxious, and depending on the type of allegations involved, you may wonder whether police even have the ability to pursue a case against you, particularly if the alleged event occurred in the distant past.

Mississippi, like other states, has statues of limitations that apply to certain crimes. This typically means that, if a certain period of time has passed since a specific crime took place, authorities can no longer prosecute the suspect for the crime. However, if authorities are investigating you for a crime that took place even years ago, you may want to remember that not all crimes have such limitations.

When do statutes of limitations apply?

If authorities suspect a person of a misdemeanor crime, the statute of limitations typically runs out after two years under Mississippi law. Even certain felony charges may only have a statute of two years. However, if authorities suspect you of involvement in a serious felony, no statute of limitations may exist. Under state law, the following felony crimes have no time limitations:

  • Murder
  • Domestic violence
  • Aggravated assault
  • Manslaughter
  • Robbery
  • Rape
  • Embezzlement
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Forgery
  • Counterfeiting
  • Financial fraud
  • Larceny
  • Burglary

In cases of theft of timber, a six-year statute of limitations exists. If you face accusations of abuse of vulnerable persons, conspiracy or assistance program fraud, a five-year limit for prosecution exists.

What does this mean for you?

If authorities suspect you of any of the crimes listed above, they can still prosecute you for a crime that happened even decades ago. As a result, you may want to prepare yourself to defend against the allegations as well as possible. It may seem unlikely or even absurd that you could be a suspect in a long-ago case, but it is known to happen.

New evidence can arise, along with other details, that could give investigators more reason to pursue a case. Still, you have legal rights and options, and thoroughly reviewing the evidence against you as well as exploring your available defense options may allow you to face the ordeal more confidently. Because laws differ from state to state, you may want to ensure that you gain information that applies in Mississippi. Fortunately, local legal resources can often help.