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The statute of limitations can impact criminal cases

The statute of limitations is an important factor in many criminal justice cases. The statue of limitations sets time limits for how long prosecutors have to press charges against someone for a specific crime. In most cases, the time limit starts when the crime is committed. However, there might be some exceptions to this.

One exception that usually applies is that the statue of limitations won’t be enforced if the person who is said to have committed the crime is not living out in the open. Typically, the person must still reside in the state. That means that a person who goes into hiding to try to avoid being charged with a crime might still be able to be charged even if the statute of limitations expires.

The statue of limitations can be very short, such as a 30-day limit for specific misdemeanors in Allegany County. Many other misdemeanors have a time limit of one to two years.

The statute of limitations on felony charges can be as short as one year, which is the case for assault. In some some cases, such as murder, the statute of limitations doesn’t apply at all.

If you are facing criminal charges for something that happened a long time ago, you might want to find out if the statute of limitations applies to your case. If it does, you need to find out if it is expired. An expired statute of limitations would mean that the charges might not be valid. Having your case evaluated and learning more might help you to find out if that is the case.

Source: FindLaw, “Time Limits for Charges: State Criminal Statutes of Limitations,” accessed Oct. 18, 2016

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