"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 Maryland 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 5 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings part of the Maryland Code. You can scroll through the laws in this Title to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Description

Statute

Assault, 1 year

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-105

Contract (in writing), 3 or 12 years (Depending on if the contract is "under seal")

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101 or Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-102(a)(5)

Contract (oral or not in writing), 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

False Imprisonment, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Fraud, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Enforcing Court Judgments, 12 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-102(a)(3)

Legal Malpractice, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Libel, 1 year

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-105

Medical Malpractice, 3 or 5 years (Depending on when the injury is "discovered")

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-109

Personal Injury, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Product Liability, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Property Damage, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Slander, 1 year

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-105

Trespass, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Wrongful Death, 3 years

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code § 5-101

Criminal

Note: The criminal statutes of limitations generally are in sections 5-106 and 5-107 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings part of the Maryland Code. As you can tell from these code sections, Maryland has no statutes of limitations for felonies - crimes that seriously threaten human life or property. You can scroll through the criminal laws, which are located in the Criminal Law portion of the Maryland Code (you need to use the navigation tools on the code's web site to see those laws) to find crimes not listed below, and then use §§ 5-106 and 5-107 to find the statutes of limitations for those crimes.

Description

Statute

Arson, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Assault, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Burglary, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Disorderly Conduct, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Kidnapping, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Manslaughter, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Murder, first degree, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Murder, second degree, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Rape, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Receiving Stolen Property, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Robbery, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

Theft, No time limit

Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code §5-106

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