How Long Does the State of Minnesota Have to Charge You With a Crime?

How Long Does the State of Minnesota Have to Charge You With a Crime?

In Minnesota, you cannot be infinitely held accountable for a crime. Prosecutors face a time limit, called a “statute of limitations” during which to bring charges against you. If they fail to do so, you cannot be charged with the crime. These limits reflect a desire to keep our legal system fair by ensuring that evidence is recent and witnesses’ memories are fresh

But, how much time do prosecutors have in matters of criminal law? How long does the state of Minnesota have to charge you with a crime?

Statutes of Limitation

Generally, statutes of limitation vary depending on the severity of the crime. A misdemeanor might have a relatively short statute of limitations, but a more serious crime like murder might have a longer statute of limitations—or none at all.

Statutes of limitation generally start running when the crime is committed. And the rules cannot be changed to alter the time limit on a case after the statute of limitations has already run. (Instead, the statute of limitations may be changed for other similar cases in the future.)

Minnesota Law on Limitations in Criminal Cases

In our state, Minnesota Statute, Section 628.26 outlines Minnesota law on statutes of limitation in criminal cases. The law requires prosecutors to file misdemeanor charges within three years of the alleged offense. If the accused participates in a diversion program, the time spent in that program doesn’t count against the statute of limitations.

There is a longer statute of limitations on some crimes related to sex trafficking of people under the age of 18 or other sexual crimes. For those, prosecutors have nine years from the date of the crime to bring charges, or they have three years from the date that the victim came forward.

Crimes that result in the death of the victim do not have a statute of limitations in Minnesota. Prosecutors may bring charges at any point. There is also no statute of limitations on kidnapping charges or labor trafficking charges when the victim is under 18 years old.

Get Legal Help When You’re in Trouble

If you are facing criminal charges or think you might be, contact a lawyer for help. The sooner you are represented, the sooner your attorney has a chance to fight for you. In some cases, that can mean preventing charges from ever being filed in the first place. 

The important thing to remember is to talk with a lawyer before you talk to the police. To talk confidentially with an attorney at White & Associates, give us a call at 763-241-0477 or send us a message.