West Virginia Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations WV- Summary Statute of Limitations laws as they apply to the state of West Virginia

West Virginia’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 West Virginia. 

West Virginia Civil Statute of Limitations

West Virginia’s civil statute of limitations can range from 1 year to 10 years, depending on the nature of the case. The statute of limitation for injury to person, injury to personal property, professional malpractice and trespass is 2 years, while rent collection disputes carry a 5-year limit. The date of discovery of an incident or date an offense is committed 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 West Virginia:

Code SectionCode 55-2-101, Limitation of Actions and Suits
Injury to Person2 yrs. §55-2-12(b)
Libel/Slander1 yr. §55-2-12(c)
FraudNot specified.
Injury to Personal Property2 yrs. §55-2-12(a)
Professional Malpractice2 yrs. §55-2-12(b)
Trespass2 yrs. §55-2-12(a)
Collection of Rents5 yrs. §55-4-21
ContractsWritten: 10 yrs Oral: 5 yrs. §55-2-6
Collection of Debt on AccountNot specified.
JudgmentsForeign judgment: 10yrs §55-2-13

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

West Virginia Criminal Statute of Limitations

West Virginia’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state, but there is no deadline for almost all felonies in West Virginia. The only felony with a time limit is perjury which has a 3-year limit. Misdemeanors committed in this state carry a 1-year limit with the exception of bribery in political and official matters which carry a 6-year limit. These limitations are established to ensure criminal charges are handled efficiently and in a timely manner. The limits also help preserve the integrity of evidence such as testimonies from witnesses that may become unreliable with time.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitation in West Virginia:

Code SectionCode Section 61-11-9
FeloniesPerjury: 3 years
All other felonies: none
MisdemeanorsGenerally: 1 yr.
Bribery in political and official matters: 6 years §61-5A-9
Acts During Which Statute Does Not RunWhen the indictment is stolen, lost, or destroyed.

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

More West Virginia Laws

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