Statute of Limitations ME- Summary
Maine’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 Maine.
Maine Civil Statute of Limitations
Maine’s civil statute of limitations sets deadlines under which lawsuits and other civil claims must be filed. Civil actions in this state, including personal injury and injury to personal property claims, generally must be filed within a six-year period. However, there are exceptions depending on the type of case or procedure, which you can find listed in the chart below. 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 Maine:
|Injury to Person||6 yrs; unless injury is based on assault, battery, or false imprisonment, in which case: 2 yrs.|
|Injury to Personal Property||6 yrs, unless otherwise stated by law, Maine Code Revised Title 14, Section 752.|
|Libel or Slander||2 yrs, Maine Code Revised Title 14, Section 753|
|Professional Malpractice||It depends on the type of professional|
– Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors: 4 yrs within discovery of negligence or malpractice; no later than 10 yrs. since completion of construction or services contract
– Attorneys: 2 yrs in most cases; however real estate title opinions can be claimed after discovery up to a maximum of 20 years later, and the will drafting deadline doesn’t begin until the negligence is discovered
– Medical: 3 yrs; minors have 6 or 3 years after reaching adulthood (whichever comes first); 6 yrs: mental health provider malpractice based on sexual acts (until July 1, 2017)
|Contracts||20 yrs: Written contracts under seal or promissory notes signed by witnesses, with evidence of bank debt|
|Collection of Rent||6 yrs.|
|Collection of Debt on Account||6 yrs.|
|Court Judgments||20 yrs, Maine Code Revised Title 14, Section 864.|
State laws related to filing lawsuits can change often. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting a Maine attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching.
Maine Criminal Statute of Limitations
Maine’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state. As it is in most states, Maine does not place a deadline on bringing charges for crimes considered especially heinous, including murder, first or second degree criminal homicide, incest, rape, or gross sexual assault if the victim is under 16 years old. The law says prosecutors can charge someone with one of these crimes no matter how much time has passed. Most other felonies have a statute of limitations of six years in Maine, while misdemeanors typically carry a limit of three years.
A summary of criminal statutes of limitations in Maine:
|Code Section||Maine Code Revised Title 17-A: Maine Criminal Code, Section 8: Statute of Limitations|
|Felonies||Murder: none; first or second degree criminal homicide: none, incest: none, rape: none, gross sexual assault if the victim is under 16 years old: none; other unlawful sexual contact or gross sexual assault: 8 yrs.; other felonies (Class A, B, or C crimes): 6 yrs.|
|Misdemeanors||3 yrs.; breaches of fiduciary obligations: 1 year with max. extension of 5 yrs. after discovery; official misconduct of a public servant: 2 yrs. with max. extension of 5 yrs. after discovery|
|Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run||Defendant is absent from the state, but only for a maximum of 5 years|
If complaint or indictment is dismissed due to an error or defect, a new prosecution of the same crime can be brought within 6 months
If prosecution is pending against the same defendant for the same crime based on the same conduct
If defendant has a pending juvenile crime in juvenile court based on the same conduct
State laws are always subject to change. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting a Maine attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching.