Statute of Limitations in Ohio for Dummies


If you've always wondered about the Statute of Limitations, look no further. We've got a quick analysis that will educate you with the information you need in the event you want to file a lawsuit against someone, or if someone has a claim against you.


What is the Statute of limitations? It is a law that forbids both a person desiring to file a lawsuit, and prosecutors, from charging someone who committed a crime more than a specified number of years ago. The historical source comes from ancient Roman Law. While there is no language regarding the Statute of Limitations in the Constitution, the Supreme court has upheld many statute of limitations laws across various states. Each state has their own laws regarding time limits to file suit. The specific time limits largely depends on the cause of action (underlying reason for filing suit or crime done).


Why have a Statute of Limitations? To ensure that convictions are based upon accurate evidence like physical evidence or eyewitness accounts that has not deteriorated with time. It also ensures that if a person desires to file suit against another, that they pursue this with reasonable diligence. From a more philosophical perspective, as a society we don't want "bad actors" to be responsible for their actions indefinitely. People or companies deserve a chance to reinvent themselves without having to carry the burden of the past.


Why does this matter to me? It matters to you if you have a potential legal claim that you are considering to file suit upon. These laws change periodically and vary by state and subject matter. Therefore, it’s important to keep up to date to know what the current time frame for the statute of limitations is on your specific legal issue. Our team at Witkes Law encourages you to speak to a competent attorney promptly about a potential legal claim, or injury, if you are considering filing suit.


For example: one of the most recent Ohio updates regards Breach of Contract:

  • On June 16th, 2021 the statute of limitations for breach of contract was shortened. The law was amended to reduce the statute of limitations for claims based on a written contract from eight years to six years, and oral contracts were shortened from six years to four years.

  • Source: O.R.C. § 2305.06


Civil Statute of Limitations in Ohio:

​Injury to a Person

Libel/Slander

1 yr. §2305.11(a)

​Fraud

Injury to Personal Property

2 yrs. §2305.10

​Professional Malpractice

1 yr.; Medical: 1 yr. to give notice which extends time 180 days after notice, max. 4 yrs. §§2305.11(a); 2305.113

Trespass

​4 yrs. §2305.09(a)

Contracts

Written: 6 yrs. §2305.06; Oral: 4 yrs. §2305.07

Collection of Debt on Account

6 yrs. §2305.07

Judgments

21 yrs. §2325.18


What If the Statute of Limitations Runs Out on my civil case?

You cannot seek legal reparation. If you file a civil action after the time limit has expired, the court will likely grant a dismissal of the case.



Criminal Statute of Limitations in Ohio:

​Code Section

Felonies

  • Murder; aggravated murder: none

  • Rape; sexual battery; conspiracy or attempt to commit any of these offenses: 25 yrs.

  • Voluntary manslaughter; involuntary manslaughter; kidnapping; trafficking in persons; gross sexual imposition; prostitution; aggravated arson; support of, including through money laundering, terrorism; terroristic threats; terrorism; possession, use or assembly of any chemical weapon; aggravated robbery or burglary; robbery; burglary; aggravated riot; assault; felonious or aggravated assault (if victim is peace officer); conspiracy or attempt to commit any of these offenses: 20 yrs.

  • Most other felonies must be filed within 6 years

Misdemeanors

  • Most misdemeanors must be filed within 2 years

  • Minor misdemeanor: 6 mos.

Crimes in which a Child is a victim

Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor: 20 yrs.

Acts During Which Statute does not run

  • The corpus delicti remains undiscovered.

  • The accused purposely avoids prosecution, including departed this state or concealed the accused's identity.

  • A prosecution against the accused based on the same conduct is pending in this state.

  • Abuse or neglect of a child under 18 years of age or of a child with a disability under 21. Period of limitations will run once the victim reaches the age of a maturity or a public children services agency has been notified of the abuse.

Other

If the period of limitation has expired, prosecution must be commenced for an offense of which an element is fraud or breach of a fiduciary duty: within one year; misconduct in office by a public servant: within 2 years; identity fraud: within 5 years


What happens if the Statute of Limitations runs out for a criminal case?

When a statute of limitations expires in a criminal case, the courts no longer have jurisdiction.


Our growing team at Witkes Law is proud to provide free legal consultations via zoom, or in person. We urge you to understand the laws of Statute of Limitations, and to promptly seek legal representation in the event you have an authentic legal claim to resolve. Or reach out to us via email at aw@witkeslaw.com so we can provide you with legal counsel regarding your case.


You might not have a legal claim today, but you may have one tomorrow.

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Graphs provided by Findlaw:

  • https://www.findlaw.com/state/ohio-law/ohio-civil-statute-of-limitations-laws.html

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