The new law No 2017-242 of February 27, 2017 doubled the statutes of limitations for the prosecution of criminal offences, extending them to 20 years for the prosecution of crimes (felonies) and to 6 years for the prosecution of délits (misdemeanors).
The statutes of limitations for the prosecution of contraventions (petty offences) remains unchanged as well as the derogatory statutes of limitations for the prosecution of particularly serious felonies and misdemeanors.
Concerning clandestine offences (breach of trust, misappropriation of corporate assets, tax fraud and other financial and economic offences), the law introduced a deadline of 12 years for misdemeanors and 30 years for felonies after which the prosecution of offences, even if not discovered, is time-barred. This period starts running from the date on which the offence was committed.
The Law does raise a number of issues concerning, in particular, the preservation of evidence and court congestion.