Statute of Limitations Michigan (All You Need To Know)

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What is the statute of limitations in Michigan?

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What Is The Statute of Limitations In Michigan

“Statute of limitations Michigan” refers to the laws adopted by the state of Michigan intended to limit the time a person has to file a claim against another.

In other words, depending on the nature of the complaint, the law will establish a timeline before which the victim or the plaintiff must file a lawsuit after which the matter will be time-barred.

For example, the MI statute of limitations in criminal law may vary depending on the type of offense committed by the defendant.

The Michigan state may have statutes of limitations of 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, or even none at all for various types of crimes.

In civil law, the statute of limitations sets the timeline a private person or entity may file a lawsuit against another in the context of a civil lawsuit such as a personal injury claim, contractual dispute, breach of contract, or other.

In criminal law, the statute of limitations refers to the time given to the prosecutor to file criminal charges against a person on behalf of the state.

The statute of limitations can be used as a defense in both civil lawsuits and as a criminal defense.

A defendant can present an affirmative defense against a complaint by demonstrating that the plaintiff’s action must be dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations timeline.

Purpose of MI Statute of Limitations

The objective of establishing statute of limitations laws in Michigan is to provide certainty to those involved in accidents or events that may lead to a cause of action.

By filing a claim or lawsuit in a timely manner, the plaintiff or claimant can better present his or her case as the evidence may be more readily available and the witnesses, including the plaintiff, may better remember more recent events.

The statute of limitations is also beneficial for individuals, businesses, and defendants in general as they know that they are exposed to legal liability for a certain period of time only.

Once the deadline is expired, the defendant will know that it will no longer be exposed to lawsuits.

Imagine a company selling goods or products to millions of people over the course of the past thirty years, it would be unreasonable to demand that the company remain liable to all its customers for a long period of time.

However, with the application of the statute of limitations, the company may know that its legal exposure to a client who bought the product ten years ago is much lower than a person who bought the product a year ago.

Michigan Criminal Statute of Limitations

Let’s look at a few examples of the criminal statute of limitations in Michigan to better illustrate the concept.

It’s important to note that this article is intended to give you general guidance on the topic of Michigan statute of limitations and should not be considered as legal advice.

If you are dealing with a legal matter, it’s important that you consult with a qualified criminal lawyer or defense attorney to get legal guidance and representations so you have an accurate understanding of your rights and obligations.

Here is a summary of some crimes that may be committed in Michigan along with the applicable statute of limitations:

  • Murder: no limit
  • First-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct: no limit
  • Human trafficking: 25 years 
  • Child Sex Trafficking: 25 years
  • Attempted murder: 10 years
  • Manslaughter: 10 years
  • Second and Third-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, Victim is Under 18: the later of 15 years or victim’s 28th birthday 
  • Second and Third-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, Victim is 18 or Older: the later of 10 years or victim’s 21st birthday 
  • Fourth-degree CSC: the later of 10 years or victim’s 21st birthday 
  • Armed Robbery: 10 years
  • First-degree home invasion: 10 years
  • Extortion: 10 years 
  • Identity Theft: six years after the suspect was identified
  • Misdemeanors: 6 years
  • Domestic Violence Against a Minor: 10 years

Michigan Civil Statute of Limitations

Under Michigan civil laws, the statute of limitations provides a specific time period for claimants to file a claim or lawsuit against another party.

Depending on the nature of the lawsuit, the statute of limitation may be different and varies by the type of claim.

The idea of setting a time period for claims to be filed is to prevent that individuals and companies have perpetual and indefinite potential liability towards others (an outcome that may not be fair).

This article is intended to provide a general overview of the notion of civil law statute of limitation Michigan.

If you have a civil matter or complaint to deal with, we recommend that you call or speak to a qualified attorney experienced in the field of law related to your complaint.

Now, here is a brief summary of different types of statutes of limitations in the Michigan civil laws:

  • Injury to Person: 3 years
  • Libel/Slander: 1 year
  • Fraud: 6 years 
  • Injury to Personal Property: 3 years
  • Professional Malpractice: 2 years: 
  • Trespass: 6 years 
  • Collection of Rents: 6 years
  • Written contracts: 6 years 
  • Debt collection: 6 years
  • Collection on Judgments: 10 years

You can refer to the Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 600. Revised Judicature Act of 1961 § 600.5805 and other relevant sections for details.

Tolling of The Statute of Limitations

There are instances when the statute of limitations can be tolled or the time period to file a claim extended.

The legal doctrine of “tolling” allows for the legal clock to be “paused” or deadline “extended” allowing the victim or claimant potentially more time to file an action.

The tolling of the statute of limitations in Michigan can get complicated so you want to consult with a qualified attorney.

To help you understand the concept, here are some common reasons when statutes of limitations are tolled:

  • The plaintiff was a minor when the cause of action accrued
  • Mental incompetence of the victim
  • Imprisonment of the plaintiff 
  • Bankruptcy filing staying other proceedings
  • The physical absence of the defendant in the state 
  • Good faith negotiations between the parties 

In criminal law, the timeline to file charges for a crime typically starts from the date the crime was committed.

However, there are instances when it is not possible to discover the crime on the same day or the victim may not report the crime due to fear.

In cases when the suspect cannot be identified, the criminal statute of limitations will not run and be paused (once the suspect is identified, the clock starts to run).

Michigan Statute of Limitations Takeaways 

So, what does the Michigan statute of limitations entail?

How does it work?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Statute of Limitation In Michigan (MI)

  • Statute of limitations laws in Michigan set the time limit for the state (in criminal cases) and a private party (in civil cases) to file a claim or charge against another 
  • If a person does not file his or her complaint before the expiration of the legal deadline, the legal action will be time-barred
  • In criminal laws, depending on the type of offense or charge, the prosecutor may have a different timeline to observe (for example, rape and murder have no time limit whereas misdemeanors will generally have a 6-year time limit)
  • In civil laws, depending on the nature of the claim, a different timeline may apply (personal injury is 3 years for instance whereas professional malpractice is 2 years)
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