"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 Montana 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 27, Chapter 2 of the Montana Code. You can scroll through the laws in this Chapter to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Description

Statute

Assault and Battery, 2 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-204(3)

Contract (in writing), 8 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-202(1)

Contract (oral or not in writing), 5 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-202(2)

False Imprisonment, 2 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-204(3)

Fraud, 2 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-203

Enforcing Court Judgments, 10 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-201(1) and (2)

Legal Malpractice, 3 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-206

Libel, 2 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-204(3)

Medical Malpractice, 3 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-205(1)

Personal Injury, 3 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-204(1)

Product Liability, 3 years

Mont. Code Ann. �� 27-2-204(1)

Property Damage, 2 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 22-2-207(2)

Slander, 2 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-204(3)

Trespass, 2 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 22-2-207(1)

Wrongful Death, 3 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-204(2)

Criminal

Note: Most of the criminal statutes of limitations are in Title 45, Chapter 1, Part 2 of the Montana Revised Statutes. You can scroll through the criminal laws in the other Chapters in Title 45 to find crimes not listed below, and then use the sections in Chapter 1, Part 2 to find the statutes of limitations for those crimes.

 

Description

Statute

Arson, 5 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(a)

Assault, 1 or 5 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(a) or (b)

Burglary, 5 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(a)

Disorderly Conduct, 1 year

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(b)

Kidnapping, 5 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(a)

Manslaughter, involuntary ("Negligent Homicide"), No time limit

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(1)(a)

Murder, first degree ("Deliberate Homicide"), No time limit

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(1)(a)

Murder, second degree ("Mitigated Homicide"), No time limit

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(1)(a)

Rape, No time limit, or 5 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(1)(b) or (1)(c) or (2)(a)

Receiving Stolen Property, 1 or 5 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(a) or (b) or 7(b)

Robbery, 5 years

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(a)

Theft, 1 or 5 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(2)(a) or (b) or 7(b)

 

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