Fully Understanding the Statute of Limitations

Understanding the Statute of Limitations


A statute of limitations is the time frame in which a person or party can file a lawsuit against another person for being part of a crime. The time periods will vary depending on when the crime took place. The most heinous crimes like aggravated rape or murder have no statute of limitations. The clock for the statute of limitations begins at the point when the crime was committed.

Say, for example, a person has been arrested for sexual assault, which has a 6 year statute of limitations. The victim of the assault chooses not to file charges because of fear of embarrassment. However, 3 years later, the victim decides to file charges. The court will allow that into evidence because it is still within the proper time frame. Once again, let’s assume that 6 ½ years have passed. In this particular case, the victim can no longer file charges against their abuser for this crime. More than 6 years have passed and the statute of limitations has expired for a specific sexual assault case against this specific person. If there are any other victims, it’s assumed that each one of them would have their own stretch of 6 years to be able to file charges.

Victims of crimes, as well as those who are accused of committing them, will be notified of the statute of limitations for the crime that occurred.

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