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Legal Statutes: Wisconsin

UPDATED August 7, 2017

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Subchapter VI. Rights of the Accused

back to top939.74. Time limitations on prosecutions

(1) Except as provided in subs. (2) and (2d) and s. 946.88(1), prosecution for a felony must be commenced within 6 years and prosecution for a misdemeanor or for adultery within 3 years after the commission thereof. Within the meaning of this section, a prosecution has commenced when a warrant or summons is issued, an indictment is found, or an information is filed.

(2) Notwithstanding that the time limitation under sub. (1) has expired:

(a)1. A prosecution under s. 940.01, 940.02, 940.03, 940.05, 940.225(1), 948.02(1), or 948.025(1)(a), (b), (c), or (d) may be commenced at any time.

2. A prosecution for an attempt to commit a violation of s. 940.01, 940.05, 940.225(1), or 948.02(1) may be commenced at any time.

(am) A prosecution under s. 940.06 may be commenced within 15 years after the commission of the violation.

(ar) A prosecution for a violation of s. 940.225(2) or (3) may be commenced within 10 years after the commission of the violation.

(b) A prosecution for theft against one who obtained possession of the property lawfully and subsequently misappropriated it may be commenced within one year after discovery of the loss by the aggrieved party, but in no case shall this provision extend the time limitation in sub. (1) by more than 5 years.

(c) A prosecution for violation of s. 948.02(2), 948.025(1)(e), 948.03(2)(a) or (5)(a)1., 2., or 3., 948.05, 948.051, 948.06, 948.07(1),(2), (3), or (4), 948.075, 948.08, 948.085, or 948.095 shall be commenced before the victim reaches the age of 45 years or be barred, except as provided in sub. (2d).

(cm) A prosecution for violation of s. 948.03(2)(b) or (c), (3), (4), or (5)(a)4. or 5., 948.04 or 948.07(5) or (6) shall be commenced before the victim reaches the age of 26 years or be barred, except as provided in sub. (2d).

(2d)(a) In this subsection, “deoxyribonucleic acid profile” means an individual's patterned chemical structure of genetic information identified by analyzing biological material that contains the individual's deoxyribonucleic acid.

(am) For purposes of this subsection, crimes are related if they are committed against the same victim, are proximate in time, and are committed with the same intent, purpose, or opportunity so as to be part of the same course of conduct.

(c) If, before the applicable time limitation under sub. (1) or (2)(am), (ar), (c), or (cm) for commencing prosecution of a felony under ch. 940 or 948, other than a felony specified in sub. (2)(a), expires, the state collects biological material that is evidence of the identity of the person who committed the felony, identifies a deoxyribonucleic acid profile from the biological material, and compares the deoxyribonucleic acid profile to deoxyribonucleic acid profiles of known persons, the state may commence prosecution of the person who is the source of the biological material for the felony or a crime that is related to the felony or both within 12 months after comparison of the deoxyribonucleic acid profile relating to the felony results in a probable identification of the person or within the applicable time under sub. (1) or (2), whichever is latest.

(e) If, within 6 years after commission of a felony specified under sub. (2)(a), the state collects biological material that is evidence of the identity of the person who committed the felony, identifies a deoxyribonucleic acid profile from the biological material, and compares the deoxyribonucleic acid profile to deoxyribonucleic acid profiles of known persons, the state may commence prosecution of the person who is the source of the biological material for a crime that is related to the felony within 12 months after comparison of the deoxyribonucleic acid profile relating to the felony results in a probable identification of the person or within the applicable time under sub. (1) or (2), whichever is latest.

(3) In computing the time limited by this section, the time during which the actor was not publicly a resident within this state or during which a prosecution against the actor for the same act was pending shall not be included. A prosecution is pending when a warrant or a summons has been issued, an indictment has been found, or an information has been filed.

(4) In computing the time limited by this section, the time during which an alleged victim under s. 940.22(2) is unable to seek the issuance of a complaint under s. 968.02 due to the effects of the sexual contact or due to any threats, instructions or statements from the therapist shall not be included.

L.1955, c. 696, § 1. St.1955, § 939.74 .L.1981, c. 280, § 9, eff. April 27, 1982.1985 Act 275, § 4, eff. April 30, 1986.1987 Act 332, §§ 26, 27, eff. July 1, 1989.1987 Act 380, § 2, eff. May 3, 1988.1987 Act 399, § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 1989.1987 Act 403, § 234, eff. June 7, 1988. 1989 Act 121, § 102, eff. Jan. 31, 1990 . 1991 Act 269, § 1163m, eff. May 1, 1992 . 1993 Act 219, § 6, eff. April 22, 1994 . 1993 Act 227, § 28, eff. April 23, 1994 . 1993 Act 486, § 585, eff. June 11, 1994 . 1995 Act 456, § 6, eff. July 11, 1996 . 1997 Act 237, §§ 722c to 722e, eff. June 17, 1998 . 2001 Act 16, §§ 3934 to 3936c, eff. Sept. 1, 2001 . 2001 Act 109, § 582p, eff. July 30, 2002 . 2003 Act 196, §§ 1, 2, eff. April 23, 2004 . 2003 Act 279, § 9, eff. May 1, 2004 . 2003 Act 326, § 130, eff. June 12, 2004 . 2005 Act 60, §§ 29, 30, eff. Dec. 31, 2005 . 2005 Act 276, §§ 1 to 4, eff. April 20, 2006 . 2005 Act 277, § 61, eff. April 20, 2006 . 2007 Act 80, §§ 9 to 11, eff. March 27, 2008 . 2007 Act 97, § 310, eff. March 28, 2008 . 2007 Act 116, § 34, eff. April 3, 2008 . 2009 Act 203, §§ 1 to 7, eff. May 6, 2010 . 2011 Act 260, § 80, eff. April 20, 2012 . 2011 Act 271, §§ 3 to 5, eff. April 24, 2012 . 2011 Act 282, §§ 1 to 4, eff. April 27, 2012 . 2013 Act 167, § 2, eff. March 29, 2014 . 2015 Act 121, §§ 1, 2, eff. Dec. 18, 2015 . 2015 Act 366, §§ 16, 17, eff. April 21, 2016 .