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Georgia Statute of Limitations

A stylized image of the state of Georgia with the words Statute of Limitations overlaid on top of it

Statute of Limitations GA- Summary

Georgia’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 Georgia. 

Georgia Civil Statute of Limitations

Georgia’s civil statute of limitations sets deadlines under which lawsuits and other civil actions must be filed in the state. These limits typically range from one – five years, depending on the type of case or procedure. 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 Georgia:

Injury to Person2 yrs. §9-3-33
Libel/Slander1 yr. §9-3-33
Fraud2 yrs. §9-3-33
Injury to Personal Property4 yrs. §9-3-32
Professional MalpracticeMedical: 2 yrs., max. of 5 yrs. §9-3-71
Trespass4 yrs. §9-3-30
Collection of Rents
ContractsWritten: 6 yrs. §9-3-24; Oral: 4 yrs. §9-3-26
Collection of Debt on Account4 yrs. §9-3-25
Judgments5 yrs. foreign judgment §9-3-20

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

Georgia Criminal Statute of Limitations

Georgia’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state. As it is in most states, Georgia does not place a deadline on bringing charges for murder. The state also makes a specific provision regarding the use of DNA evidence to identify suspects, which states that prosecution for armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery “may be commenced at any time when DNA evidence is used to establish the identity of the accused.” This means that for the crimes listed above, there is no statute of limitations if DNA evidence determines a suspect.

Aside from the particular felonies listed in the chart below, every other felony offense in Georgia has a statute of limitations of four years, and all misdemeanors carry a limit of two years.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitations in Georgia:

Code SectionGeorgia Code Title 17. Criminal Procedure § 17-3-1, et seq.
FeloniesMurder: none; forcible rape: 15 years; felonies punishable by death or a life sentence: 7 yrs.; crimes against victims under 14: 18 yrs.; for victims under 16 of crimes including rape, sodomy, incest, and child molestation (occurring after 7/1/92), the statute begins to run once the victim turns 16 or the violation is reported – whichever occurs earlier.

If DNA evidence determines a suspect in armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery: none

All other felonies: 4 yrs.
Misdemeanors2 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 Georgia attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching. 

Georgia Recording Laws