Public Law 280

All state courts have criminal jurisdiction over sexual assault crimes committed by non-Indians against other non-Indian victims in Indian Country. A federal law known as Public Law 83-280 (also known as “PL280”) confers state court criminal jurisdiction in select jurisdictions.

In these select jurisdictions, state courts have criminal jurisdiction over both Indians and non-Indians who commit sexual assault crimes in Indian Country. In the six “mandatory” PL280 jurisdictions listed below, the states have criminal jurisdiction over all crimes committed in Indian Country except for those crimes of general national applicability such as violation of the RICO Act, theft from the United States mail, treason, violation of immigration law, etc.

The six "mandatory" PL280 states are:

It is important to note that some of the above-listed states have “retroceded” jurisdiction back to certain tribes within their states. Several additional “optional” states that have adopted all or part of PL280 jurisdiction over Indian Country. Under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009, the federal government may elect to exercise jurisdiction upon request from Tribes.

Contact NICCSA

PO Box: 2100 E Speedway Blvd, Box 40805, Tucson, AZ 85719

Phone: (520) 623-8192
Fax: (520) 623-8246

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*NICCSA is a project of the Southwest Center for Law and Policy ( This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-SA-AX-K001, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.