Florida Felony and Misdemeanor | Statute of Limitations | Theft and other Charges

Florida Criminal Statute of Limitations

“Time starts to run on the day after the offense is committed.”

Statute of Limitations

Frequently Asked Questions


How long can prosecutors wait to go forward on a criminal case?

What is the Statute of Limitations for criminal cases in Florida? 

The Florida Criminal Statute of Limitations, Theft, Drug and general Felony Statutes of Limitations sometimes depends on the nature of the criminal charges. Under Florida law:

  • Second degree misdemeanor must commence within one (1) year of the alleged incident;
  • First degree misdemeanor has two (2) years to commence prosecution;
  • First Degree (1st) felonies are 4 years; and
  • All other felonies (2nd and 3rd Degree) are 3 years.

The Statute provides, in part:

775.15 Time limitations; general time limitations; exceptions.—

(1)A prosecution for a capital felony, a life felony, or a felony that resulted in a death may be commenced at any time. If the death penalty is held to be unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court, all crimes designated as capital felonies shall be considered life felonies for the purposes of this section, and prosecution for such crimes may be commenced at any time.
(2)Except as otherwise provided in this section, prosecutions for other offenses are subject to the following periods of limitation:

(a)A prosecution for a felony of the first degree must be commenced within 4 years after it is committed.


(b)A prosecution for any other felony must be commenced within 3 years after it is committed.

(c)A prosecution for a misdemeanor of the first degree must be commenced within 2 years after it is committed.

(d)A prosecution for a misdemeanor of the second degree or a noncriminal violation must be commenced within 1 year after it is committed.

(3)An offense is committed either when every element has occurred or, if a legislative purpose to prohibit a continuing course of conduct plainly appears, at the time when the course of conduct or the defendant’s complicity therein is terminated. Time starts to run on the day after the offense is committed.

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