What is the statute of limitations for most crimes in Mississippi?

The statute of limitations for most crimes in Mississippi is two years.  Miss. Code Ann. § 99-1-5.  This means that the prosecution must “commence” against you within two years after you allegedly committed the offense, or you can raise it as a defense, and the charges may be dismissed.  The prosecution is “commenced” by either the issuance of a warrant, or by binding the defendant over, or by indictment or affidavit.  An arrest also is interpreted to mean that the prosecution has commenced.

There are SO many exceptions to this law.  First, the statute of limitations for conspiracy and falsely receiving aid from the government is five years.  And each of the following crimes is exempt from any limitation at all, because they have been determined by the state of Mississippi to be “so serious and the implications to public safety so great that prosecution should not be barred merely by the passage of time”: 

  • murder
  • manslaughter
  • aggravated assault
  • kidnapping
  • arson
  • burglary
  • forgery
  • counterfeiting
  • robbery
  • larceny
  • rape
  • embezzlement
  • obtaining money or property under false pretenses or by fraud
  • felonious abuse or battery of a child
  • touching or handling a child for lustful purposes
  • sexual battery of a child
  • exploitation of children

Also, the statute is “tolled” (put on hold) where a person absconds or flees from justice or absents himself or herself from the state or jurisdiction or conducts himself or herself in such a way that he or she cannot be found by officers.  In other words, the two years stops running if you disappear, and starts again when you are found.  You can’t hide from it. 

The law changes frequently, so it is best that you contact a criminal defense lawyer if you believe you have a statute of limitations issue with your case.  Give me a call at 601-991-1099, or fill out my contact form at www.guthriefirm.com.  I will help you if I can.