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Delaware Statute of Limitations

A stylized image of the state of Delaware with the words statute of limitations overlaid

Statute of Limitations DE- Summary

Delaware’s statute of limitations establishes a deadline before which civil cases – such as lawsuits – must be filed in the state. In relation to criminal charges, it also prevents prosecutors from charging an individual with a crime after a specified period of time has passed. The statutes of limitations for different civil actions and crimes can vary from state to state, so read on for more information about how they apply in Delaware. 

Delaware Civil Statute of Limitations

Delaware’s civil statute of limitations sets deadlines under which lawsuits and other civil actions must be filed in the state. Typically there is a three-year time limit provided for most civil cases in Delaware, including personal injury, libel, and fraud. The date or discovery of an incident is usually when time starts counting down.

Be aware that if you fail to file your civil claim before the established deadline, the opposing party can use the statute of limitations in their defense and file a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the time allotted to file it has already passed. Any legal claim will be lost forever once your case is dismissed. 

A summary of civil statutes of limitations in Delaware:

Injury to Person2 yrs. Tit. 10 §8119
Libel/Slander2 yrs. Tit. 10 §8119
Fraud
Injury to Personal Property2 yrs. Tit. 10 §8107
Professional Malpractice2 yrs. Tit. 10 §8119
Trespass3 yrs. Tit. 10 §8106
Collection of Rents
ContractsWritten: 3 yrs. Tit. 10 §8106; Oral: 3 yrs. Tit. 10 §8106
Collection of Debt on Account3 yrs. Tit. 10 §8106
Judgments5 yrs. Tit. 10 §5072

State laws related to filing lawsuits can change often. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting a Delaware attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching. 

Delaware Criminal Statute of Limitations

Delaware’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state. As it is in most states, Delaware does not place a deadline on bringing charges for crimes considered especially heinous, including murder, attempted murder, Class A felonies, and attempts to commit a Class A felony. The law says prosecutors can charge someone with one of these crimes no matter how much time has passed. 

In cases of forgery, fraud, property theft or misconduct in public office, the statute of limitations is three years in Delaware. All other felonies carry a deadline of five years unless DNA evidence is discovered, which extends the time period to ten years. Class A misdemeanors are provided a three year time limit, while all other misdemeanors are given two years.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitations in Delaware:

Code SectionTit. 11 §205(a), (b), (h), (c), (e), (i)
FeloniesMurder, attempted murder, Class A felonies, attempted Class A felonies: none; Forgery, fraud, property theft or misconduct in public office: 3 yrs.; 5 yrs. for all other felonies unless forensic DNA evidence is found, in which case the limit is extended to 10 yrs.
MisdemeanorsClass A: 3 yrs.; others: 2 yrs.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not RunIf an alleged criminal is in hiding or out of state

State laws are always subject to change. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting a Delaware attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching. 

Delaware Recording Laws