Illinois Statute of Limitations

A stylized image of the state of Illinois with the words statute of limitations overlaid on top of it

Statute of Limitations IL- Summary

Illinois’ 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 Illinois. 

Illinois Civil Statute of Limitations

Illinois’ 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 – twenty 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 Illinois:

Injury to Person2 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-202
Libel/Slander1 yr. 735 ILCS 5/13-201
FraudFor concealment of a cause of action: 5 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-215; Fraud by decedent: 2 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-220
Injury to Personal Property5 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-205
Professional MalpracticeMedical: 2 – 4 yrs. §735 ILCS 5/13-212; Legal: max. 6 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-214.3
Trespass5 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-205
Collection of Rents
ContractsWritten: 10 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-206; Oral: 5 yrs. 735 ILCS 5/13-205
Collection of Debt on Account
JudgmentsJudgment may be revived within 20 yrs., 735 ILCS 5/13-218

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

Illinois Criminal Statute of Limitations

Illinois’ criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state. As it is in most states, Illinois does not place a deadline on bringing charges for crimes considered especially heinous, and there are numerous crimes for which there is no time limit to prosecute. Most other felonies have a statute of limitations of 3 years, and misdemeanors must be prosecuted within a year and six months. See the chart below for a comprehensive list of crimes and the statutes of limitation they carry in Illinois.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitations in Illinois:

Code SectionIllinois Statutes Ch. 720. Criminal Offenses 5/3-5; 5/3-7
Felonies– 1st-degree murder: none.
– 2nd-degree murder: none.
– Attempt to commit first-degree murder: none.
– Criminal solicitation to commit murder: none.
– Involuntary manslaughter: none.
– Reckless homicide: none.
– Treason: none.
– Arson: none.
– Residential arson: none.
– Aggravated arson: none.
– Child pornography: none.
– Forgery: none.
– Any offense involving sexual conduct / sexual penetration of a minor in which the offender’s DNA is obtained and entered into a DNA database within 10 yrs of the offense: none.
– Theft of property exceeding $100,000 in value: 7 yrs.
– Identity theft: 7 yrs.
– Aggravated identity theft: 7 yrs.
– Financial exploitation of an elderly person or person with a disability: 7 yrs.
– Any other felony: 3 yrs.
Misdemeanors 1 year and 6 months
Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run – If the defendant is not usually and publicly residing within Illinois.
– If the defendant is a public officer charged with theft of public funds while in office.
– If prosecution is pending against the defendant for the same conduct.
– If a a proceeding or appeal relating to the cancellation or enforcement of a Grand Jury subpoena issued in relation an investigation of a violation of Illinois law is pending
– If a material witness is placed on active military duty or leave.
– If defendant is the victim of unlawful force or threat of imminent bodily harm to obtain information or a confession, or is incarcerated due to unlawful force or threats.

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

Illinois Recording Law

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