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Rhode Island Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations RI- Summary Rhode Island Statute of Limitations

Rhode Island’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 Rhode Island. 

Rhode Island Civil Statute of Limitations

Rhode Island’s civil statute of limitations sets deadlines under which lawsuits and other civil actions must be filed in the state. These limits can 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 Rhode Island:

Injury to Person3 yrs. §9-1-14
Libel/SlanderSlander: 1 yr. §9-1-14
Fraud10 yrs.
Injury to Personal Property10 yrs.
Professional MalpracticeMedical, Legal, Veterinarian, Accounting, Insurance, or Real Estate: 3 yrs. §9-1-14.1; 9-1-14.3
Product Liability3 yrs.  
Trespass
Collection of Rents
ContractsWritten: 10 yrs. under seal; 4 yrs. sale of goods §§6A-2-725; 9-1-17
Collection of Debt on Account
Judgments20 yrs. §9-1-17
Wrongful Death2 yrs.

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

Rhode Island Criminal Statute of Limitations

Rhode Island’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state, but there is no deadline for crimes considered especially heinous, including murder, treason, homicide, rape, sexual assault, child molestation, burglary, robbery, forgery, and more. Depending on the offense, other felonies must be prosecuted within a time-frame typically ranging from three – ten years, and all misdemeanors carry a three-year limit.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitations in Rhode Island:

Code SectionRhode Island General Laws Title 12. Criminal Procedure § 12-12-17; 12-12-18
Felonies– Murder; treason; homicide; arson; burglary; counterfeiting; forgery; robbery; rape; sexual assault; child molestation; bigamy; manufacturing, selling, distributing or possession of controlled substance; conspiracy to commit any of the above: none.
– Larceny; embezzlement; bribery; extortion; racketeering; antitrust violation; conspiracy to commit any of the above: 10 yrs.
– Violations of refuse, hazardous waste disposal or water pollution: 7 yrs. 
– Other felonies: 3 yrs.
Misdemeanors2 yrs.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not RunIf an indictment has been stolen or destroyed, a new indictment may be filed within one year.

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

More Rhode Island Laws