Where Can Bigamy Be Prosecuted and For How Long?
In CA, when the offense of bigamy is committed, the jurisdiction is generally in any competent court within the jurisdictional territory of which the marriage took place, or cohabitation occurred or the defendant was apprehended. New Jersey courts have held that jurisdiction to bring a bigamy charge is only where the marriage took place.
Please see the following CA statutes:
2201. (a) A subsequent marriage contracted by a person during the
life of a former husband or wife of the person, with a person other
than the former husband or wife, is illegal and void from the
(1) The former marriage has been dissolved or adjudged a nullity
before the date of the subsequent marriage.
(2) The former husband or wife (i) is absent, and not known to the
person to be living for the period of five successive years
immediately preceding the subsequent marriage, or (ii) is generally
reputed or believed by the person to be dead at the time the
subsequent marriage was contracted.
(b) In either of the cases described in paragraph (2) of
subdivision (a), the subsequent marriage is valid until its nullity
is adjudged pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 2210.
281. (a) Every person having a husband or wife living, who marries
any other person, except in the cases specified in Section 282, is
guilty of bigamy.
(b) Upon a trial for bigamy, it is not necessary to prove either
of the marriages by the register, certificate, or other record
evidence thereof, but the marriages may be proved by evidence which
is admissible to prove a marriage in other cases; and when the second
marriage took place out of this state, proof of that fact,
accompanied with proof of cohabitation thereafter in this state, is
sufficient to sustain the charge.
282. Section 281 does not extend to any of the following:
(a) To any person by reason of any former marriage whose husband
or wife by such marriage has been absent for five successive years
without being known to such person within that time to be living.
(b) To any person by reason of any former marriage which has been
pronounced void, annulled, or dissolved by the judgment of a
Please see the following NJ statutes:
2C:1-6 Time limitations.
a. (1) A prosecution for any offense set forth in N.J.S. 2C:11-3, N.J.S. 2C:11-4, N.J.S. 2C:14-2 or sections 1 through 5 of P.L. 2002, c. 26 (C. 2C:38-1 through C. 2C:38-5) may be commenced at any time.
(2) A prosecution for any offense set forth in N.J.S. 2C:17-2, section 9 of P.L. 1970, c. 39 (C. 13:1E-9), section 20 of P.L. 1989, c. 34 (C. 13:1E-48.20), section 19 of P.L. 1954, c. 212 (C. 26:2C-19), section 10 of P.L. 1984, c. 173 (C. 34:5A-41), or section 10 of P.L. 1977, c. 74 (C. 58:10A-10) may be commenced at any time.
b. Except as otherwise provided in this section, prosecutions for other offenses are subject to the following periods of limitations:
(1) A prosecution for a crime must be commenced within five years after it is committed;
(2) A prosecution for a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense must be commenced within one year after it is committed;
(3) A prosecution for any offense set forth in N.J.S. 2C:27-2, N.J.S. 2C:27-4, N.J.S. 2C:27-6, N.J.S. 2C:27-7, N.J.S. 2C:29-4, N.J.S. 2C:30-2, N.J.S. 2C:30-3, or any attempt or conspiracy to commit such an offense, must be commenced within seven years after the commission of the offense;
(4) A prosecution for an offense set forth in N.J.S. 2C:14-3 or N.J.S. 2C:24-4, when the victim at the time of the offense is below the age of 18 years, must be commenced within five years of the victim's attaining the age of 18 or within two years of the discovery of the offense by the victim, whichever is later;
(5) (Deleted by amendment, P.L. 2007, c. 131).
c. An offense is committed either when every element occurs or, if a legislative purpose to prohibit a continuing course of conduct plainly appears, at the time when the course of conduct or the defendant's complicity therein is terminated. Time starts to run on the day after the offense is committed, except that when the prosecution is supported by physical evidence that identifies the actor by means of DNA testing or fingerprint analysis, time does not start to run until the State is in possession of both the physical evidence and the DNA or fingerprint evidence necessary to establish the identification of the actor by means of comparison to the physical evidence.
d. A prosecution is commenced for a crime when an indictment is found and for a nonindictable offense when a warrant or other process is issued, provided that such warrant or process is executed without unreasonable delay. Nothing contained in this section, however, shall be deemed to prohibit the downgrading of an offense at any time if the prosecution of the greater offense was commenced within the statute of limitations applicable to the greater offense.
e. The period of limitation does not run during any time when a prosecution against the accused for the same conduct is pending in this State.
f. The limitations in this section shall not apply to any person fleeing from justice.
g. Except as otherwise provided in this code, no civil action shall be brought pursuant to this code more than five years after such action accrues.
a. Bigamy. A married person is guilty of bigamy, a disorderly persons offense, if he contracts or purports to contract another marriage, unless at the time of the subsequent marriage:
(1) The actor believes that the prior spouse is dead;
(2) The actor and the prior spouse have been living apart for 5 consecutive years throughout which the prior spouse was not known by the actor to be alive;
(3) A court has entered a judgment purporting to terminate or annul any prior disqualifying marriage, and the actor does not know that judgment to be invalid; or
(4) The actor reasonably believes that he is legally eligible to remarry.
b. Other party to bigamous marriage. A person is guilty of bigamy if he contracts or purports to contract marriage with another knowing that the other is thereby committing bigamy.