"Statutes of limitations" are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a "civil" lawsuit, like a personal injury lawsuit, or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the legal claim or crime involved in the case, and they're different from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As a general rule:

  • The time period begins to run on the date your claim arises or "accrues," like the day of the car accident, or when a crime is committed, and
  • Once the statute of limitations has expired or "run," you can't file a lawsuit (or be prosecuted for a crime)

Below are the statutes of limitations in Maine for various civil claims and crimes. The list doesn't cover everything. Also, the laws may change at anytime, so be sure to check the current laws and read them carefully, or talk to an attorney if you have any questions.

Civil

Note: Most of the civil statutes of limitations are in Title 14, Chapter 205 of the Maine Revised Statutes or "code." You can scroll through the laws in that Chapter to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Description

Statute

Assault and battery, 2 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 753

Contract (in writing), 6 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 752

Contract (oral or not in writing), 6 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 752

False Imprisonment, 2 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 753

Fraud, 6 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 859

Enforcing Court Judgments, 20 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 864

Legal Malpractice, 6 or 20 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 752 and 14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 753-B

Libel, 2 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 753

Medical Malpractice, 3 years

24 Me. Rev. Stat. § 2902

Personal Injury, 6 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 752

Product Liability, 6 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 752

Property Damage, 6 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 752

Slander, 2 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 753

Trespass, 6 years

14 Me. Rev. Stat. § 752

Wrongful Death, 2 years

18-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 2-804(B)

Criminal

Note: The Maine criminal statutes of limitations generally are in 17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8. You can scroll through the criminal laws (found in Title 17-A) to find crimes not listed below, and then use § 8 to find the statutes of limitations for those crimes.

Description

Statute

Arson, 6 years

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A)

Assault and Battery, 3 or 6 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A) or (B)

Burglary, 6 years

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A)

Disorderly Conduct, 3 years

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(B)

Kidnapping, 6 years

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A)

Manslaughter, 6 years

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A)

Murder, No time limit

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(1)

Rape, No time limits or 6 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(1) or (2)(A)

Receiving Stolen Property, 3 or 6 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A) or (B)

Robbery, 6 years

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A)

Theft, 3 or 6 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

17-A Me. Rev. Stat. § 8(2)(A) or (B)

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