The statute of limitation law establishes the time frame within which a plaintiff can initiate legal proceedings for a criminal or civil offense. Just like in other states, Louisiana has its time limits that apply to each type of offense.
But what’s the purpose of this law? In case someone is convicted of a crime, the law ensures a conviction is based upon evidence that hasn’t been compromised or severely deteriorated. A claim filed after the legally set time limit has passed may be subject to dismissal.
Here’s a breakdown of the Louisiana statute of limitations.
Criminal Statute of Limitation in Louisiana
The statute of limitations for criminal cases varies, depending on the nature of the offense. Felonies punishable by life imprisonment or death have no time limit, while others are prosecutable even after 30 years. For misdemeanor cases, prosecutors have six months or two years to file charges against offenders.
Let’s have a look at time limits for some crimes.
There’s no statute of limitations for serious crimes like murder. If it is negligent homicide, the legal period is 4 or 6 years. The law provides a 6-year time frame for manslaughter cases.
Forcible or second-degree rape offenses have no time limit. For third-degree rape, time expires after six years. Some sex crimes committed against minors have a 30-year limitation period. The clock starts once the victim is 18.
If it’s a case of aggravated battery involving a kid under 17, the clock waits until the victim turns 17.
General Louisiana Statute Of Limitations for Crimes
A crime can be a felony or a misdemeanor.
Here are the time limits for misdemeanor charges:
- A crime punishable by fine and imprisonment, or both – 2 years
- A crime punishable by fine or forfeiture – 6 months
- As for felony crimes:
- Felonies punishable by hard labor – 6 years
- Felonies not necessarily punishable by hard labor – 4 years
Trolling Provisions in Louisiana
The clock usually starts ticking once a person commits a crime. However, the law provides a few exceptions to the statute of limitations. Certain circumstances call for trolling, thus extending the limitations period for many years.
Louisiana trolling provisions include:
The trolling statute of limitations for certain financially motivated crimes begins once a person leaves their office, employment, or fiduciary position. It applies to charges involving:
- Public bribery and extortion
- Embezzlement and misappropriation of funds or a thing of value by anyone with powers to control it
- False accounting by public officials or employees entrusted with accounting roles
Fleeing outside the state
Let’s say you commit a crime that has a 2-year time limit. So you flee to avoid prosecution, but then you come back after the limitations period has expired. The prosecutor can still file charges against you because the clock doesn’t tick when someone runs away.
DNA evidence involving sexual offenses
In such a case, a prosecutor has up to 3 years to start legal proceedings against a sexual offender. The count begins after establishing their identity using DNA evidence.
Crimes involving the exploitation of persons with infirmities
The statute of limitations starts to run only when the person with infirmities or a competent third party discovers the crime. This trolling provision covers people with mental weakness, physical disabilities, the elderly, etc.
Civil Statute of Limitation in Louisiana
Many civil actions like personal injury, property damage, professional malpractice, and trespass have a 1-year statute of limitations. There are different time limits for civil actions involving rent and debt collection (3 years) and monetary judgments & contracts (10 years).
Contact an Attorney Near You
An experienced lawyer can help you learn more about the Louisiana statute of limitations that apply in specific civil and criminal cases. Contact the Carbine Law Firm, LLC, at (504) 233-8191 if you are in Gretna, LA.