"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 a car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As 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 Virginia for various civil claims and crimes. The list doesn't cover everything. Also, the laws may change at any time, 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 8.1, Chapter 4 of the Code of Virginia. 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

Va. Code § 8.01-243(A)

Contract (in writing), 5 years

Va. Code § 8.01-246(2)

Contract (oral or not in writing), 3 years

Va. Code § 8.01-246(4)

False Imprisonment, 2 years

Va. Code § 8.01-243(A)

Fraud, 2 years

Va. Code § 8.01-243(A)

Enforcing Court Judgments, 20 years

Va. Code § 8.01-251        

Legal Malpractice, 3 or 5 years (Depending on the type of contract or agreement)

Va. Code § 8.01-246(2) or (4)

Libel, 1 year

Va. Code § 8.01.247.1

Medical Malpractice, 2 and up to 10 years (Depending on the type of malpractice and when it's "discovered")    

Va. Code § 8.01-243(A) and (C)

Personal Injury, 2 years

Va. Code § 8.01-243(A)

Product Liability, 2 years

Va. Code § 8.01-243(A) and (B)

Property Damage, 5 years

Va. Code § 8.01-243(B)

Slander, 1 year

Va. Code § 8.01.247.1

Trespass, 5 years

Va. Code § 8.01-243(B)

Wrongful Death, 2 years

Va. Code § 8.01-244(B)

Criminal

Note: Most of the criminal statutes of limitations generally are in Title 19.2, Chapter 1 of the Code of Virginia. You can scroll through the criminal laws (found in Title 18.2 ) to find crimes not listed below, and then use Title 19.2, Chapter 1 together with Va. Code § 18.2-8 to find the statutes of limitations for those crimes.

Description

Statute

Arson, No time limit or 1 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

Va. Code § 19.2-8

Assault and Battery, No time limit or 1 years (Depending on the facts of the case)

Va. Code § 19.2-8

Burglary, No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8

Disorderly Conduct, 1 year

Va. Code § 19.2-8

Kidnapping ("Abduction"), No time limit or 1 years (Depending on the facts of the case)   

Va. Code § 19.2-8     

Manslaughter, voluntary, No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8.1

Manslaughter, involuntary, No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8.1

Murder, ("Capital Murder"), No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8.1

Murder, first degree, No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8.1

Murder, second degree, No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8.1

Rape, No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8

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

Va. Code § 19.2-8

Robbery, No time limit

Va. Code § 19.2-8

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

Va. Code § 19.2-8

Tagged as: Consumer Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Virginia, STATE statutes of limitations, statute of limitations, statute of limitation, statutes of limitation, limitation on actions, limitations on action, limitations of action, limitation of actions time limit, time limits, time limitations, assault, battery, contract, written contract, oral contract, false imprisonment, fraud, court judgments, legal malpractice, libel, medical malpractice, personal injury, property damage, product liability, slander, trespass, wrongful death, arson, burglary, disorderly conduct, kidnapping, manslaughter, misdemeanor, murder, rape, robbery, theft, lawyers.com, legal articles