Maryland Criminal Statute of Limitations


 When you face a lengthy legal battle, you may want to know how the Maryland Criminal Statute of Limitations could affect you. Contact Scrofano Law for help.

Statute of Limitations for Crimes in Maryland


When a person makes a mistake or otherwise breaks a Maryland law, it is in their best interest to reach out to criminal defense lawyers to learn their options. Although many offenses eventually expire, a person wishing to wait for the statute of limitations to run out may be disappointed. Worse, they may find themselves facing charges for felonies or misdemeanors punishable by heavy fines or jail time.

In Maryland, prosecutors have a certain amount of time to file criminal charges against a suspect before the statute of limitations expires. A disorderly conduct lawyer from Scrofano Law can offer information and counsel if you are accused of a crime and face judicial proceedings. By building a strong attorney-client relationship with a reputable law firm, you can enjoy their support and advice in various situations.

How Criminal Statutes of Limitations Work in Maryland


Laws governing criminal cases specify the maximum period of time during which prosecutors can file criminal charges and take legal action after an alleged offense. The statute of limitations is usually set by state law and varies by state.

Statutes of limitations were created to ensure fairness in legal proceedings. A significant period of time can result in the loss of physical evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints, leading to an unjust result for either the prosecution or defense.

Suspects can either be charged with felonies or misdemeanors. Consider consulting a local law office for advice to avoid unexpected charges, a conviction, and a life-long criminal record.

It is essential to know that the statute of limitations for criminal cases in Maryland is different from civil cases. A Maryland criminal lawyer can provide more information about your case.

Crimes With a Statute of Limitations in Maryland


The limitations period for criminal statutes in Maryland varies based partly on whether they are felony or misdemeanor offenses. Some of the more serious crimes have no time limits.

The period for a statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of crime. Generally, Maryland law balances the seriousness of the crime with interest in fair trials by extending the statute of limitations for certain crimes.

Here are a few of the crimes and their time limits as specified by Maryland’s criminal law statutes of limitations:

  • Murder, manslaughter, unlawful homicide, and rape: no time limit
  • Misdemeanors punishable by prison time: no time limit
  • All other misdemeanors: one year
  • Crimes involving the unlawful use of a driver’s license or driver’s license application fraud: 2 years
  • Crimes of drunkenness or breaking Sabbath: 30 days
  • Manslaughter or vehicular homicide: 3 years

It is possible for the statute of limitations to run out for one offense, but the accused may still be prosecuted for another — or in another jurisdiction. Additionally, the right to a speedy trial can be affected by other timing issues in criminal cases.

An experienced criminal lawyer can better explain how the statute limitations affect your case and provide you with the necessary legal resources. Call Paolo Gnocchi of Scrofano Law for assistance.


How Can an Attorney Help With Maryland Criminal Statute of Limitations?

In many cases, statutes of limitations are complicated. For example, manslaughter, murder, rape, or unlawful homicides are felonies that do not have statutes of limitations. A three-year statute of limitations applies to other felony crimes, such as manslaughter and homicide by vehicle.

Even if the statute of limitations has expired for a crime occurring in Maryland, it may not affect potential federal charges. These may include certain computer crimes and illegal sales or trafficking of drugs.

If you are concerned that you could be implicated in a crime, a knowledgeable attorney experienced with Maryland laws can assess your situation and help you weigh the options and possible outcomes based on proper legal research.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can a Statute of Limitations Be Extended?

The statute of limitations can sometimes be extended, such as when the accused is a fugitive or overseas evidence needs to be gathered.

Most statutes of limitations only run while the alleged criminal remains visible and in the state where the crime occurred. Criminals aren’t necessarily free from liability just by hiding out or moving out of state. This means that the statutory clock will stop running if a criminal leaves the state, runs away, or stays in hiding for any length of time. The clock will begin again when the criminal returns to the state


When Does the Criminal Statute of Limitations Start in Maryland?

The criminal statute of limitations in Maryland starts running from the moment the criminal offense is committed. Prosecutors can institute criminal proceedings by filing criminal charges at any time between the date of the offense and the statute of limitations.

The clock starts running once the crime has ended, even if it took several days, weeks, months, or years to commit.


Do all Misdemeanors have a 1-year Statute of Limitations?

Misdemeanors typically have a statute of limitations of one year. However, some misdemeanors have a two-year period in which the prosecution must file charges, including:

  • Offenses that carry a prison sentence and not a jail sentence
  • Misdemeanors listed under the Maryland Public Ethics Law
  • Committing or conspiring to commit criminal misconduct, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office by a state official


Do Federal Crimes Have Statutes of Limitations?

The federal statute of limitations is typically five years. But just like state crimes, some statutes of limitations may be longer or non-existent for certain crimes. Federal charges can be brought against anyone who is accused of any federal crimes that carry a death sentence, terrorism crimes that caused death or serious bodily injury, and sex crimes involving a minor.

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