A statute of limitation sets a specific period of time the state can prosecute a particular crime. After that time passes, they lose the right to bring a case forever.
Generally speaking, the more serious or violent the crime, the longer the statute of limitation is and some offenses have no limitation at all. In certain situations, the state can be granted additional time to bring a case by having the statute of limitation tolled or suspended. (Wis. Stat. § 939.74)
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