In the legal world, time is one of the factors that significantly influence the pursuit of justice and serves as evidence of the impact of time. The statute of limitation constitutes the cornerstone of justice and sets the boundaries of time within which criminal acts can be investigated and prosecuted. In Maryland, the legal doctrine of the statute of limitation implicates the time frame within which the accused of a crime must be charged. This blog will take you through all you must know about the statute of limitations in Maryland to polish your legal awareness.

What is A Statute of Limitations? 

In civil law systems, a statute of limitations outlines the maximum period between a specific incident or injury and initiates the legal proceedings. After the statute of limitations expires, the right to file a lawsuit or prosecute a crime in the judicial system is lost. This principle intends to guarantee fairness and impartiality, avoid endless delays, and speed up the trial process in the legal system. 

Why are the Statute of Limitations Enacted? 

You may wonder how these limitations affect the state’s legal system. There are several reasons behind the reinforcement of these limitations. Some of the most convincing reasons for doing the same are as follows. 
  • Fairness and equity: It avoids raising legal suits at a stage when the plaintiffs’ memories and evidence may have faded and enables defendants to defend themselves effectively when the allegations are still fresh.
  • Preservation of evidence: Promotes early investigation and keeps evidence intact by giving a time limit to file lawsuits.
  • Legal certainty: It leads to the more precise delimitation of the periods when a party can be sued or prosecuted for actions completed earlier.
  • Encouragement of diligence: Ensures that parties take their legal claims seriously rather than procrastinating endlessly and using legal proceedings as a tool of exploitation.
Maryland Criminal Lawyer

Overview of Maryland Criminal Law

Under the Annotated Code of Maryland Criminal Law Article, the crimes have been categorized into 14 articles with subtitles in each set. The court has provided criminal statute codes for each listed crime, which entails the provisions of one or more of these laws, deciding the course of your legal case. The punishment sentencing guidelines of each crime depend on the severity of the crime and are finalized by the court judge.

How Does Statute of Limitations In Maryland Work? 

After knowing what is the statute of limitations in Maryland, it is crucial to understand how these statutes work.


In Maryland, the statute of limitations fixes the time frame by which actions must be filed as civil and criminal court cases. The duration of the time limit may depend on the type of lawsuit or sentence concerned. Usually, time begins to run from when wrongful action or breach has been made. The lapse of the statute of limitation means the plaintiff has no right to a lawsuit or a criminal case. Yet, these are exceptions to certain deeds that need consideration, too. Additionally, more serious offenses have no limitations, under which one can make charges at any time. Furthermore, under certain circumstances, such as during the defendant’s absence from the state or when the plaintiff is a minor, the statute of limitations may be tolled or halted. Knowledge of the statute of limitations is important for parties to a dispute that seek to preserve their legal entitlements within the prescribed time frame. 

Crimes With a Statute of Limitations in Maryland

Below is a non-exhaustive list of the proposed limitations on the various crimes per Maryland’s laws. 
  • Most felonies not classified as crimes of violence: Five years from the commission of the offense
  • Misdemeanors: One to three years from the commission of the offense, depending on the specific misdemeanor
  • Burglary: Three years
  • Theft and Larceny: Three years
  • Vandalism: Three years from the date the damage occurred.
  • Drug Possession: Three years
  • Drug Trafficking and Distribution: No specific statute of limitations as it depends on the severity of the offense
  • Fraud: Three years
  • Embezzlement: Three years
  • Identity Theft: Three years
  • DUI/DWI: Three years
  • Reckless Driving: Three years
  • Hit-and-Run: Three years

 Limitation Period for Statute of Limitations

A limitation period of the Maryland statute of limitations implies a specified time within which legal proceedings should be filed after a relevant event or injury. This limits the time frame for the injured party to file a lawsuit or accuse the defendant of a crime associated with a particular event. 
In Maryland, the approximate outline of this limitation is three years across various types of cases. However, it is crucial to remember that these limitation periods can be subject to exceptions and may vary depending on the circumstances of a case. Additionally, certain actions may have different procedural requirements. It is essential to consult your Maryland Criminal Lawyer to understand the particulars of your case.

Get Legal Advice At Thompson Legal Group

Eliminate the complexities of legal procedures by partnering with Thompson Legal Group, a renowned group of the state’s most prestigious lawyers. We have expertise across multiple domains of legal matters, making a suitable fit for all your court-related proceedings. We tailor our approach to meet the unique needs and objectives of each client, ensuring personalized attention and unwavering support. Schedule your consultation with us via our website today.


No, Maryland does not have a statute of limitations for felonies. This implies that a felony criminal case can be filed at any time.

Under exceptional circumstances, the statute of limitations can be extended. Some of these conditions include:

  • Absence of the defendant
  • Discovery rule
  • Minority or mental incapacity
  • Newly discovered evidence

You can consult with a lawyer to understand if the limitation can get an extension in your case.

Yes, federal crimes generally have statutes of limitations, including those prosecuted in Maryland.

It’s usually tricky to “get around” the statute of limitations in Maryland or any other jurisdiction. However, there are some exceptions or circumstances where the statute of limitations may be extended or tolled.

Some of the crimes that do not have a statute of limitations in Maryland include:

  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • First-degree arson
  • Unlawful homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder or manslaughter
  • Robbery
Sharing is Caring